To know Ram, as he calls himself, is to love him. James' life has been an exotic journey around the world including a heavy dose of Indian lore, mahatmas and supernatural stories thrown in. To fully hear from whence he has come would require a book. That book has been written (click here). An "Indiana Jones meets Shiva" story from top to bottom. What fascinates me is that having abandoned all hope of Moksha, James had returned to the United States, where finally met his true Guru, Swami Chinmayananda.
Swami Chinmayananda was a very famous and highly respected Indian holy man, studying for years with Swami Shivananda on the Ganges River. As popular as Vivekananda, Chinmayananda attracted thousands of devotees in every city he travelled to throughout the world.Founding the on-going Chinmayananda Mission, he wrote dozens of compositions on the Upanishads, Brahma Sutras, and Bhagavad Gita.
My experience with Ram started in India, where James has kept a home for decades. We travelled from Tiruvannamala, the home of Ramana Maharshi, to Varanasi, as he unfolded one ancient text after another, with the same precision of his teacher, the great Chinmayananda, yet with a western vantage point a mirthful touch throughout.
James still travels throughout the workd and he blessed me as my guest when he visits California, normally in the spring of each year.
Along the way, we devleoped a passion for de-mystifying Vedanta for a Western audience much in need of its wisdom. He has been patient and tireless in these efforts, all the while radiating the sparkle in his eyes and playful humor in his talks.
Click here to read some of the many short books James has written on Vedanta including What is Advaita, Tattva Both, Atma Both, Mandukya Upanishad, Narada Bhakti Sutra, Bhagavad Gita, Panchadasi and The Kathopanishad.
We have recorded more than 20 hours of James' work, and the offspring of this work can be found here. Click here to view video clips as he explains in plain English the complex discoveries of the Rishis in a simple down-home manner that has delighted his students throughout the years.
If you would like to explore Advaita Vedanta in a direct way that a Westerner can easily grasp, you might be interested in his video series, Introduction to Vedanta. The first in a series of four DVDs covering many subjects of traditioinal Advaita Vedanta, Introduction to Vedanta is nicknamed 'The Great Tresure Hunt" becausewhen one is bitten by Love for the Truth, life truly resembles one. Click here to expllore the first of four DVDs of James Swartz unfolding the mystery of Vedanta in his humorous gentle way.
Be sure to visit his spectacular website as well: www.shiningworld.com
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