Swami Tattvavivananda, 28 lectures and a few meetings.



Last March in Rishikesh I joined a friend to the first lecture of Swami Tattvavidananda.
So much i liked what i heard that in the end i even extended my stay to be able to attend all of them, 28 in totall.

The Swami was one of the speakers, (apart from that he also gave guided and for sure Vedic meditation in the morning and satsang in the evening), in the so called Advaita Vedanta Camps that were held in the Swami Dayanand Saraswati Ashram.

Of course the Vedic content was very interesting to hear, but what was mostly enjoyable was the fact and the way he was adressing the predominantly upper class Indian audience.
Apart from being a renowned scolar on Sanskrit and Advaite Vedanta, the Swami is a great and entertaining speaker who has a strong tendency to the rebellious side of the spectrum. A streak that appeals to me strongly.
He was all the time, let’s say it mildly, teasing the Hindu crowd with all those strange and if taken serious in fact supersticious habits.

So, i experienced the lectures partly as ‘eating culture’ and he put words to many things that are by me rather vagely put in words like: ‘i go to India for the spirit that is kind of hanging in the air, but at the surface consists of lots of superstition’.

The Swami as a speaker you will find in abundance on youtube.
You even find him when you search for Swami TV, as he is friendly nicknamed in California.

One night i also went to his satsang but for practical reasons gave up doing this.
So, when in me the questions came, the question was also how to ask ‘m.
At some point i just wrote down my questions and at some other point adressed the Swami when i met him ‘in the wild’.

From then on some meetings happened and the following reports sprang from it:
Meeting with Swami TV, notes for myself. And to be shared with some bcc friends.

Rishikesh, March 21 2017.

Today i had a short meeting with Swami Tattvavidananda in his room in the Dayanandashram.

Quite some remarks of him of the last two weeks have had a as positive experienced effect on my model of the world.
It was about time to ask him some questions in satsang.
Yet, my questions tend to be rather complex and you have to put them on a piece of paper to begin with. cc
Then you have the risk that he says ‘that question i keep for tomorrow’.

And going to his satsang in the evening is quite an operation, i have done it and stopped going.
So, what to do?

As a result of whatsapping with A., I already had once sought the opportunity to approach the Swami in the wild, so that i could send him greetings and good wishes from his Dutch fan A.
So he already knew my face.

Today i saw him again out in the open again; when they feed all those saddhus around the Mahasamadhi of Swami Dayananda, Swami tv appears and hands out one hundred rupee bills, one per saddhu.

I hung around a bit and at some moment my feet started walking. I passed the Swami, stopped close to him and waited till he looked up.
I asked if we could have a short conversation together.
So you want to meet?
Yes please.
Okay, after this is over.

We met.

I had prepared two satsang questions, that i showed him after the short social talk (what is your good name?) and some introductory talking by me. (Some quick outlining of ‘me’, like having been in satsang for 20 years, for long I have considered what happened in the first weekend as being enlightenment and then the forever cleaning up started. Since a few years it is clear to me that this ‘enlightenment’ is what is called the initial waking up and a few more things were spoken).

When i wanted to read my questions to him he moved his chair around so that he could simultaniously read it for himself.

1 A. As far back as I remember watching the miracle that the experiential world is, I was already the boy, the young researcher: there was a seeing of the miracle plus a vague sense that there was something to be resolved, to be understood.

As human beings we are equipped with language. So are you. How can we see the world as it was before we acquired language?

1 B. Getting moksha is about giving up conditionings. Yet, language is kind of our root conditioning. It makes us humans

And so called enlightened beings do not go mute. So, how can we get before this root conditioning, while awake and alert?

Then we had a intensive and not easy to reproduce exchange.
My topic is language. I told him that for long i had the idea that when the mind is totally quiet, i should be able to see my own language the way i see Chinese characters. And that i have actually tried to reach this point of what i supposed would be a level of relaxation. and that i gave up. Accepting that our conditioning is not a degree of being tense perse.

Swami mentioned looking without language.

I mentioned having learned that all perceiving is vritti.

No, he said, it is only with language that it is vritti.

Then i said that i had learned this in the Coimbatore Dayanandashram.

No, he said, vriiti is always with language.
He even added at some point ‘Swami Dayananda did not go into this’.

(i already had told him before that i had been in that ashram the time that Dayananda was ill and did not come, i even had mentioned that i have written a blog on my experience there).
It went so quick that i protested that the swami was not there, and autocorrected myself by saying that all the swamis teaching there, of course were telling us what swami Dayananda has taught them.

[I feel like mentioning the swami who was doing the meditations there as an exception. Also with him i could openly communicate, which we did. Those meetings were what made my stay there valuable. See blog Temporalily guruless gurukulam part 2: https://www.hansvandergugten.nl/?p=2918 ].

So, thoughts and thougt patterns are vritti.
And, according to Swami Tattvavidananda, all vritti’s are lingual, or language based or language related.

Pfffffffffff. That means a lot of resetting. We’ll see how this works out.

My homework after our conversation as he wrote it under my questions:
Look at a tree with total attention. ~~ Without the intervention of the mind.

And added: please, do come again.
Me: yes please, we’ll see what happens.


Today is day 2 of advaita vedanta camp 3.
I have been busy already for days with my homework.
Brings up a lot.
Already wanted to ask the Swami some questions before starting doing the homework, to rule out a few things.
But, being practical, i just went on.

I will, also for myself, make a report of all that was brought up so far.

Rishikesh, March 25 2017.

PS. Just remembered that i also asked the Swami if he could see the world without language. His answer was that he can look at me like that.
By now i feel that my question was not really answered and next time i intend to ask him if he can look at the Aum sign without in fact seeing its meaning.

PS 2. Psychotic etc. I suddenly remember that at some point i said that when you see the world completely without any conseptual meaning, you are psychotic.
You can call it like that, was the calm answer, but it can be done.
Let me write it down for you.


Homework report for second meeting with Swami TV.

Rishikesh, completed March 29 2017.

“Look at a tree with total attention. ~~ Without the intervention of the mind.”

‘Staring the world down’.

One of the first things that popped up from memory, is the experience of the outside world falling away. It happened to me when as a boy i was attending a church service and in this half dark place i was kind of fascinatingly staring at the face of the man upfront preaching.
Suddenly the whole image collapsed, it simply disappeared.
I felt a shock in my body as a reaction to what happened.
And at the same moment the image appeared again.

(When the image disappeared, also the point on which i was unnoticed focussing disappeared, the eyes loose the fixation point and they move, bringing the image back to live as it were. A kind of refreshing the page, as we might say nowadays).

Later i learned do this trick at will.
It is a trick, based on depriving the eyes of the inbuild moving around as a way to keep the image fresh.
I forgot a bit about it lately, but the awareness that the world appears on a screen made a deep impact on me and never left me.
It may have been the first trigger towards becoming a so called seeker.

So, my first question right away was if this in any way is related to the homework?
I decided for the moment: not.

It took quite a while before i actually started looking at trees.
Meanwhile questions came up like why a tree? (i realized again that i tend to do things in not the easiest way; why no look at bricks or just looking anywhere?).
And then the realisation when i started looking at trees/nature, how rare it is that you can look at a tree nowadays (and here in Laxman Jhula) without seeing also culture.
Culture in whatever form, be it garbage, with or without recognizable brand names and colours. Or electricity masts and wires, water pipes, parts of the sewer system, houses, ruines, loose pieces of plastic, people, dogs, and what not.

So,the question why a tree, why nature, why not anything?
And then we are back at the language thing.
All kinds of memories came back. For instance about a specific mixture of nature/culture: my late father used to be a flower merchant. So he would know a lot of them by name. Also the more and more becoming commonplace orchids. And all those other plants and flowers that were more and more coming from other countries. And later, and this is the one that stands out in this context, there were those plants and flowers of which my father could say: those did not yet exist some time ago.
Meaning that it were human made new variations.
So my father recognized, saw, culture in so called nature.

That reminded me of a remark of my favourite philosopher Peter Sloterdijk.
I even found his statement, in fact an observation that i could strongly relate to, also in fact with a feel of loss.
Here it is: Als eerste druk van het zichtbare raakt de natuur in diskrediet. Ze verliest het vermogen dwingende boodschappen de wereld in te sturen – en dat komt doordat ze door wetenschappelijk onderzoek en technische vooruitgang wordt beroofd van haar oorspronkelijke tover.
In English this goes: As the first print of the visible, nature turns into disrespute.
It looses the ability to send compelling messages to the world – and that’s because by scientific research and technical progress it gets deprived of its original magic.
(Je moet je leven veranderen, Boom 2011, p 29. My translation).

Then came this, coming up bit by bit, ‘tree by tree’: “With total attention?”

What is meant by this, precisely?
Very intentional?
So, intense?, with effort almost?
Or totally relaxed, receptive?
In other words:
What happens to the intention?
As wide as possible?
Or as pinpointed as possible?

Looking at a tree without the intervention of the mind.
This is a paradoxical start: look at a tree means knowing that something that is perceived is commonly called a tree.

Is what follows a doing? A waiting?  Grace?

Does this exercise have a goal?
I mean, the underlying expectation seems to be that the discovery will happen that there is only perception.
Yet this ‘shift’ already has happened for me long ago.
And what a shift it was!
Before this happened it was just a matter of pure simple ‘logic’; for perception to happen two things are needed: an observer and something being observed.
It was rather shocking when this went down the drain as not self-evident anymore.

The other suggestion seems to be that it is the effect of language and conseptualisation only, that covers up the ‘seeing’ of oneness.
I dunno.
It reminds me of what i read a few days ago in Purnamidah Purnamidam by the late Swami Dayananda, on page 29.
“However, seen experientially from the point of view of their common level of reality, subject-object differences seen very real but the knowledge, aham idam sarfam, I am this, or, ‘this stone and I are one’, is not a conclusion to be reached experientially. When subject and object enjoy the same degree of reality, the experienced difference is not eliminated as experience but is negated as non-real through knowledge. Simple reasoning, logical inquiry, skakes the reality of difference. Sruti as pramana, a means of knowledge, destroys the difference and reveals oneness.”

Looking at a tree with total attention and with the intend to keep any intervention of the mind out, was quite a challenge.
It reveiled many ways of looking, of focussing and or letting in the periphery, of defocussing the eyes or not, of staring.

Then i was strongly reminded of this super short experience that happened last year during a Tomatis Listening Training session………{By now the second meeting with Swami TV has taken place and i have decided to give it a go to talk with him about this experience when i get a chance to meet him a third time, for which i was invited, so a description of it may follow in the preparation for it}.

Summary of all my  looking at trees so far:

The seeing that comes closest to the original magic for me, is when I close my eyes for a while and then slowly open them from the intended perspective ‘as if what will be seen will be seen for the very first time, i can’t wait’.

[just saw Swamiji walking into the office, he agrees to see me later today].



Second meeting with Swami TV. Rishikesh, finished on March 30 2017.

After a few minutes the Swami left the office again and said ‘we can do it now’.
So i followed him to his room.
We sat down and all he said was ‘tell me’.

So, i said that i had written a report on my findings and that he might want to read it.
It was clear that he wanted me to speak.
I told him haphazardly and as brief as possible, a bit quick as if in a hurry, a selection from my report.
About my father seeing culture in nature and a lot more about, oh well, read my report.
I explicitely mentioned the part about the falling away of the compelling necessity of both subject and object to be there. That disappeared long ago. And that for instance, when this body mind gets (also for instance) offended, this here
(the body mind) can become more dense. But there is always a seeing thereof.

Whrn i stopped after my long riddle, Swami smiled radiantly, apparently satisfied and his body language meant that as far he was concerned, the meeting was over.

I felt like a student who was cum laude being dismissed.
So i said that for you this seems to be enough and over (he moved his head) but i have a few questions left.
Another of this minute head movements that Indians use to speak without words.

First this one about vritti.
He restated that vritti always means ‘language involved’.
So, i checked, that means that a young baby has experience, but no vritti?
He confirmed that.

Then i have this question about language and the quiet mind that i told you about.
It is by now almost a conscience question. I have sent  the report of our first meeting to the friend that you thought to recognize in me from last year. And he answered that of course the Swami will be able to see only the Om sign without the meaning, because, he says, it is just a habit to see the meaning. I myself think that this is impossible. Swami, when you see the Om sign you see the meaning, right?
He confirmed, nodded. and i repeated the thing about the deep rooted conditioning.
Yes, that’s so.

So, then we were done.
I said that i felt like a child, but that there is those remnants of a adult trying to keep itself together, but a child i am.

Be like a child, that’s good said the Swami while he stood up. He looked around. Shall i give you a fruit, do you want a fruit, let me give you a fruit.

I happily received an orange and left. Are you in the camp, he asked?
No, i only follow your lectures.
Do come again.
I would love to, but it already stops April 1.
But i will also be here after the swami said.
We’ll see what happens i said and left.

Just wrote the above quickly in front of the office of Dayanandashram, after first having consumed the orange prasad.
And now for something completely different, and something with happily ever after.
Of zoiets.



Third meeting with Swami TV and the preparing thereof.

On April 1 i wrote: After todays lecture i met the Swami again by going to his room.
i asked my prepaired questions and left, not without an orange.
A bit later i went back to give him my address info and the money for the books he is going to send me.
By the way, i also shared with the Swami that i just had bought the almost 10 kilo heavy and 9 volumed Bhagavad Gita Home Study Course by Swami Dayananda. They provide it in a nice red bag, you could take it as hand luggage, yet i will send it home.
I added that i expected the reading for a good deal to be ‘eating culture’, in the same way i have experienced your lectures and i enjoyed it very much, thanks again.

I ad now that the shere size of the purchase reminded me of once having read Marcel Proust’s In search of the lost time. That one i finished reading, we’ll see what will happen to the newly acquired gain.

Here are the prepared questions:

On Wednesday March 27 ’17 I was sitting in the Mahasamadhi that they build for and around the late Swami Dayananda.
Questions started to come up to be asked Swami TV and i decided to write them down immediately:

*Swami, when you wrote or said ‘we do not read the book we read, we read the image of the book’, is then the book experience and the reading process vritti?

*Is the finding of this question, the process of finding clarity through the intellect, is that vritti?

*What is a good practice?

*What is the source for your interpretation that vritti is language bound?
Have you written about it?
And, more general, do you have any reading advice?

*Is the intellect vritti?
Or, same question other words, is there intellect without language?

*I want to share an experience i had last year in Auroville during a Tomatis Listening Training Session and have your reaction on it, please.

And here an attempt to reproduce the gained answers:

I have a question about practice, i mean i sit daily for at least an hour, for the rest i just try to be aware.
*Being aware is a good practice.

*Intelligence is not vritti. Our intellect is.

*The aha moment is not vritti.

Have you written about vritti as being language bound?
*Yes, Advaita Makaranda.
(It is not in the bookshop, I can send it to you. Yes please).

*You can also read about it in the Dŗg-Dŗśya-Viveka.
(google says: Although also attributed to Shankara, the text is mostly
attributed to Bĥaratī Tīrtha (c. 1350). It also known as Vakya Suddha, which is
attributed to Shankara.)

*And in the Laghu vakya vritti of Sri Adi Sankaracharya.

Then i shared my experience that happened last year during a Tomatis Listening Training session in Auroville.
(in the  later to be assembled blog version of the meetings with Swami TV i will describe this experience extensively, if only for myself. For now, i am running out of left India time, another story also has to be finished before take off). [See the PS below].
*The screen is awareness. What is on it, is the mind.

The conversations with the Swami are quick and jumpy.
I forgot the context, but in my notes is also that Swami said to look for a book about Wittgenstein and Advaita Vedanta.
Funny, already for decades i know the first and last sentence of Wittgensteins main book by heart. What is in between those lines was when i gave it a first try some forty years ago way over my head.
First sentence of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus?
“The world is all that is the case.”
Last one?
“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”

Here is the book that Swami meant:
Wittgensteinian Philosophy and Advaita Vedanta: A Survey of the Parallels, 2007
by Ravindra K.S. Choudhary (Author)

Time to be silent.

McLeod Ganj, April 14 2017.
PS. “The Auroville Experience”

A few years ago I came across Alfred Tomatis and his work.
I did quite some Tomatis Listening Training sessions since.
(See for instance wiki and this blog).
Last year I found out that you can also do those sessions in India, with the Auroville Language Lab Tomatis Research Centre, which I did.

During one of those sessions out of the blue, or better said in a greyish black nothing, a void, suddenly a mini flash happened. It was, how to describe, as if one put two 6 volt charged electrical wires touched and a tine spark exploded in two directions.
Suddenly and also in a flash a latent and emtpy consciousness came alive and something seemed to move. It was attention that seemed to bounce on those tiny sparks and back to….? To what?
I was aware that I was aware of this. I also was aware that this happened in a corner of my ‘mind’, awareness where a split second before there had been nothing, not even consciousness in the form of attention.
The minute happening made a deep impact on me. And it still does. It seems to be the most primordial experience that I have been aware of.
I was aware that the movement of the sparks and the attention being drawn to it, was accompanied by a tiny eye movement.
And there was the instant discovery that with that movement space had appeared. And with the eye movement and the possibility to look back upon it, in memory, time was born.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in my blog. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Swami Tattvavivananda, 28 lectures and a few meetings.

  1. SRI RAM T says:

    By chance I came across this blog
    Hope you are back for the 2019 Camp

  2. Thanks for your reply.
    It is indeed my intention to come again in Februari.
    And tomorrow morning I go see Swami Tattvavidanda in De Roos in Amsterdam.


  3. T sri ram says:

    Hari Om
    I missed the class of 2019
    Snippets of the class were uploaded on youtube
    swami Dayananda Ashram tek

    Swamihji’s compilation of Mandukya Opanishad has just been uploaded

    Hari Om

Leave a Reply to Hans van der Gugten Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you a robot ? * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.