The American Institute of Vedic Studies
Founded and directed by Dr. David Frawley D. Litt., (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri), the Vedic Institute serves as a vehicle for his work, offering on-line access to go with his many published writings. The institute works with associated organizations throughout the world. It encourages a deeper study of the Vedic teachings in all forms and branches and is interdisciplinary in approach.
We have four major on-line courses. Our website addresses our international audience, its views and its concerns, and tries to maintain a global perspective.
Dr. David Frawley founded the ‘Vedic Research Center’ in 1980 for his work on the Vedas that he had been pursuing since 1970. This early work focused on research into the Rigveda, the oldest Vedic text. In 1988, Vamadeva expanded the center into the ‘American Institute of Vedic Studies’ to promote Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology as Vedic knowledge systems.
Yogini Shambhavi Devi (Shambhavi.Yogini@gmail.com)joined this work in 2004 and offers consultations, retreats, training programs and personal guidance, particularly in the field of Shakti Sadhana. This greatly enriches the perspectives and insights that Vamadeva began. Yogini Shambhavi is one of the most important women gurus coming out of India today and holds many sacred traditions of the Himalayas. You can contact Yogini Shambhavi relative to her Vedic Astrology Consultations.
Audio Introduction to our Work by our Director
In terms of Ayurveda we teach the foundation of Ayurveda for wellness, right living, and countering common diseases. Our specific focus is on Ayurveda and Yoga psychology as addressing the complications of our high tech society and drug-based medicine, including the spiritual aspects of Ayurveda.
In terms of Yoga, we teach Raja Yoga, the approach of the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras, with reference to Vedanta or the Yoga of knowledge, and an emphasis on Yoga psychology and the science of consciousness. In addition we teach the spiritual Tantric Yoga of mantras, deities, working with the subtle body, the chakras, Kundalini and Shiva/Shakti energies.
In terms of Vedic astrology or Jyotish, we emphasize the astrology of healing, Vedic medical or Ayurvedic astrology, yogic astrology, mantras and deities relative to astrological remedial measures. We also examine mundane astrology, social, political and civilizational issues. We do offer astrological consultations.
In terms of Vedic counseling, we emphasize an integral approach combining Vedic knowledge systems of Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, along with teaching Vedic dharma and karmic life-management.
We also have extensive teachings in Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma, the foundation of all the dharmic and Vedic traditions.
Besides these online courses we have many books, articles and social media presentations extending to Vedic translations, ancient history from a Vedic view and civilizational issues confronting India and the world today.
Connecting with the Vedic Institute
As our work is educational and web-based, you can easily connect with us through the internet, including our over one hundred on-line articles as well as four on-line courses relative to Ayurvedic Healing; Ayurvedic Astrology; Yoga, Ayurveda, Mantra and Meditation; and Integral Vedic Counseling. Each course consists of extensive special course lessons, enhanced by special illustrations, audios and videos.
You can also find information on our over forty published books going into twenty-five languages worldwide, including excerpts and some on-line versions.
Note that we do not have an on-site center that is open to the public. We do not operate any clinic or store for people to visit, receive treatments or buy products. Our work is mainly online and by special programs and conferences throughout the world.
Contact Information: Best way to contact us is by email. We do not offer any phone contact without prior email communication.
American Institute of Vedic Studies
PO Box 8357, Santa Fe NM 87504, USA
We have many foreign web visitors, particularly from India but worldwide. Dr. Frawley’s twitter account (@davidfrawleyved – twitter) has over four hundred thousand followers, including prominent leaders in India up to the Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi.
We have several special fields:
- Vedic Astrology Consultations with Yogini Shambhavi Devi.
- Vedic Counseling Sessions with Vamadeva (Dr. Frawley) on Sadhana or Healing issues.
- Study of Consciousness with a new book The Yoga of Consciousness.
- Vedic Yoga and teaching prime Vedic practices of mantra, pranayama and meditation.
- Vedic Shaivism: the Integration of Shaivite and Shakti teachings or spiritual Tantra with the older Vedic teachings.
- Shakti Sadhana Guidance with Yogini Shambhavi Devi.
Our Main Gurus and Their Teachings, by Vamadeva
Our teachings are rooted in those of the gurus we have followed over the last fifty years. We share that basic information here, with the key teachers involved, through there were others we will discuss elsewhere.
Our main influence since 1970 has been the teachings of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and the tradition of Advaita Vedanta that he was connected to going back to Adi Shankara and the Upanishads. We visited the ashram many times over the years, wrote a number of articles for their Mountain Path publication, and spoke before their centers in India and the West, studying and practicing Bhagavan’s teachings as the basis of our sadhana. Most importantly we received Ramana’s presence and teaching into our lives at various visions and experiences at the ashram, the Tiruvannamalai temple, and the Arunachala mountain.
Yet our connection with Ramana developed another special dimension to it. We came into contact with the teachings of Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni (1878-1936), perhaps the chief disciple of Ramana, through K. Natesan, one of his oldest living disciples. Ganapati was probably the greatest Sanskrit writer of modern India and a Raja Yogi of the highest order, for whom all the secrets of Kundalini and the chakras, as well as the depths of Advaita, were on the tip of his tongue expressed through his mantric powers.
Natesan (1912-2009) had been with Ramana since the age of 12 and with Ganapati since the age of 18, with regular contact with both. He received a special mission to preserve through Ramana and Ganapati to carry on Ganapati’s works, from his Sanskrit renderings of Ramana’s teachings to his vast studies that included Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Jyotish, revealing the secrets of the Vedas along with Shakti Sadhana and a new vision of India and humanity. Since first meeting him in 1991 to the time of his passing, I shared these teachings and took them up, as they resonated with my own ongoing sadhana and teachings that already included Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda, Jyotish and Vedas, with views similar to Ganapati.
Sri Sri Anandamayi Ma
From 1976-1982 I was blessed to be in correspondence with Sri Sri Anandamayi Ma (1896-1992), the bliss-permeated Mother, perhaps modern India’s most famous woman guru, through her disciples Swamis Atmananda and Nirvananda. I used to say that Ramana was my father and Anandamayi Ma was my mother. Ma inspired me inwardly and encouraged both my Vedic research and Vedantic contemplations. Her continued communication aided in my confidence in approaching such profound teachings from India. She said I should never doubt my path or my work in the Vedic field and that she would always be with me.
Since discovering his teachings in 1970, Sri Aurobindo has remained a primary influence in our work. In 1979 I met Sri MP Pandit (1919-1994), then Secretary of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in India, who began publishing my Vedic research in various ashram publications and books in India through 1986, and encouraged my writings overall. Besides connecting me more with the influence of Sri Aurobindo, he also brought the teachings of the Mother at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, more strongly into my life and awareness. Aurobindo’s vision of the Secret of the Vedas and the need for a new evolution of consciousness in humanity have marked my thought as well, including an integral approach to Yoga and all life as Yoga.
Sadguru Sivananda Murty
I met Sadguru Sivananda Murty first in Hyderabad in 1994 and remained in close contact with him until his Mahasamadhi in 2015. Guruji was the head of the Saiva Mahapeetham, a Shaivite order from Andhra Pradesh, which we joined. He was connected to Ramana Maharshi but also to Trailanga Swami, and many important gurus and teachings of South India of an esoteric nature.
Besides Raja Yoga and Advaita Vedanta, he was adept in Jyotish, Mantra and knew the essence of Telegu culture and music, aiding in the renovation of temples. He visited the West several times and we visited him regularly at his Gurudham in Warangal and his Ashram near Vishakhapatnam. Guruji was most unassuming and accessible outwardly but held tremendous power and insight, holding many of the deeper teachings of Bharat
The background and philosophy of the American Institute of Vedic Studies can be understood by the following presentations of Vedic Knowledge Systems, their Yogic applications, and Hindu (Sanatana) Dharma. Note Lord Brahma below who gives the Vedas to humanity in every world age.
Vedic Knowledge Audio Overview with our Director
As representing Vedic Studies, we would like to share with you our view of Vedic knowledge.
The Vedas are a vast set of spiritual teachings dating from the dawn of history. They consist of the mantras of numerous great Himalayan yogis and seers, who were said to have founded the spiritual paths for humanity at the beginning of this world-age ten thousand years ago. The Vedas are the origin of Hindu Dharma and have influenced religions and philosophies all over the world. The Vedas contain the basis for the spiritual traditions of India that arose in the Himalayan region, including those of Yoga, Vedanta, Puranas, Tantra, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology. The Vedas also contain keys to the pagan traditions of all Indo-European peoples – the Greeks, Romans, Celts, Germans and Slavs – whose ancient languages and cultures resemble the Vedic. The Vedas reflect the ancient solar religions and enlightenment traditions that once dominated the world from Mexico to China.
As such, the Vedas represent the ancient global spiritual culture and yogic approach to life behind our deepest spiritual heritage as a species. The Vedas are centered in the deepest yogic and Self-knowledge – the unity of the individual reincarnating soul (Jiva) with the Divine. They teach us that there is only One Self (Atman, Purusha) in the universe, in which is bliss and liberation from the cycle of karma and rebirth. Vedic knowledge expands from this central point to help us understand the meaning of our existence on all levels including the physical body and the world of nature.
The Vedas notably present the mantric key behind the entire process of cosmogenesis, but this key is cryptic and requires special insight and instruction in order to access it. Vedic science is an integral spiritual science, which can bring about a truly harmonious global civilization. It provides both knowledge of our True Self and the Conscious universe, revealing all the secrets of nature and its laws.
The Four Vedas
- The Rigveda is the oldest of the four Vedas and presents the key wisdom of the ancient Rishis. It reflects the power of the Divine Word or universal mantra. It is the most important Vedic text that all the others derive from. We have produced extensive translations from the Rigveda in several books.
- The Yajur Veda presents the Vedic ritual, which inwardly is a practice of Yoga involving speech, breath and mind.
- The Samaveda is the Veda of chanting, music and song showing the ecstasy of Self-realization.
- The Atharva Veda provides additional special mantric insights for particular issues including healing.
The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita
The Upanishads are clearest and most understandable portion of the mysterious Vedas. They present the spiritual secret of the Vedas, the knowledge of the Supreme Self or Divine I-am. They contain many yogic secrets as well. The Bhagavad Gita teaches the essence of the Upanishads, the great teaching of Vedanta, through the figure of Sri Krishna, the Yogavatara or avatar of Yoga.
Vedangas and Vedic Astrology
There are six limbs of the Vedas of which the most important is Jyotish or Astrology. The others are Chhandas (Meter), Nirukta (Etymology), Shiksha (Pronunciation), Vyakarana (Grammar), and Kalpa (Ritual). Most of these deal with sound and mantra. Vedic astrology unfolds the science of time and karma, making it essential for our right living individually and collectively. Our Vedic birth chart shows our karmic DNA, the subtle patterns of our karmas and their likely manifestation through time, so we can manage it in the optimal manner. We teach Vedic astrology in harmony with Yoga, Vedanta and Ayurveda.
Upavedas and Ayurveda
There are four Upavedas or Secondary Vedas of which the most important is Ayurveda or Vedic healing/medicine. The others are Dhanur Veda (martial arts), Sthapatya Veda (Architecture) and Gandharva Veda (Music). Ayurveda is not just a medical system but shows us how to find complete well-being and harmony in terms of body, mind and consciousness, covering our entire nature physical, psychological and spiritual. Knowing our individual Ayurvedic constitution and the appropriate life-style for it we can maximize all our life potentials. We teach Ayurveda for body, mind and consciousness, aligned with Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology.
Yoga in the deeper sense
Yoga in the traditional sense is the practice of Vedic knowledge that develops our inner faculties through meditation, leading us to Self-realization. There are many forms of Yoga as Karma (action) Bhakti (devotion), Jnana (knowledge), Raja (meditation), Hatha (working with Prana). They are based on traditions found in the Mahabharata, Puranas, Upanishads and Vedas. Patanjali Raja Yoga is an integral science of asana, pranayama, mantra and meditation based upon dharmic living principles. Its popular physical side in the West today is only its outer aspect. We follow the Yoga line of Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, the chief disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, which is mainly a form or Raja Yoga.
Vedanta is the practical philosophy of Self-realization that arises from the Upanishads and systematizes their teachings. Its Advaita or non-dualistic form, such as found in the works of Shankaracharya, teaches the unity of the soul (Jiva) and the Creator (Ishvara) in the Supreme Self (Paramatman) or Absolute (Brahman) beyond time, space and karma. Devotional philosophies of Vedanta, like those of Ramanuja, Madhva and Chaitanya, emphasize the Divine as the Supreme Person (Purushottama). We follow the Advaitic line of Shankara to Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi and the Yoga of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga).
These are encyclopedias of sacred knowledge and stories, covering all aspects of life and culture. There are about twenty Puranas and two Itihasas, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, the stories of Krishna and Rama. Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Jyotish are common topics in them, explained in detail. The Puranas are probably the most extensive and profound yet neglected spiritual literature coming out of India.
Tantra is a profound yogic path of ritual, mantra, and meditation. It centers on the devotional worship of Lord Shiva and the Goddess or Divine Mother. Traditional Tantra is concerned with the integration of male and female energies in the psyche through internal yogic practices. The sexual Tantra popular in the West is only the lower side of this greater system.
Tantric insights and practices are important in Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology. The worship of the Ten Great Wisdom Forms of the Goddess (Dasha Mahavidya) is one of the key Tantric practices, as is the Sri Vidya or knowledge of Sri Yantra. We follow the Tantric Yoga approach of Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, chief disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi, which Yogini Shambhavi teaches for us.