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‘The purpose of the lecture series is to educate people on the eternal values of life’ - Sunandaji ‘The purpose of the lecture series is to educate people on the eternal values of life’ - Sunandaji (Pic by Chandana Wijesinghe)

Sunandaji tells you how to

Indian spiritual teacher Sunandaji finds audiences warming up to her whenever she makes tours abroad. She propagates Vedanta (the ancient philosophy of living an efficient life) and has been teaching for over three decades.  She is a disciple of her father, the famous Vedanta guru Swami A. Parthasarthy. She is also a Senior Administrator and Trustee of Vedanta Cultural Foundation in India.

Sunandaji will pick material for her lectures for the Sri Lankan audience from chapter 16 of Bhagavad Gita, which focuses on “The Yoga of Distinction of Divine and Demoniac Nature”.

This year too Sunandaji will visit Sri Lanka for a series of lectures which will be held from March 1 to 4 at Buddhist Cultural Centre in Havelock Road (near Thimbirigasyaya) in Colombo 5. Lectures will be held each day between 6-8pm.

In an email interview done with her, Sunandaji underscored that self-development is a prerequisite to finding peace both individually and collectively.

QIs there a special reason behind your visit to Sri Lanka this time?
The purpose of visiting Sri Lanka and other nations of the world is to educate people on the fundamental human values. The philosophy of Vedanta enunciates the eternal principles of life and living. People all over the world lack this fundamental knowledge of living. And become victims of stress and strain.

Those who imbibe the knowledge of Vedanta, learn and practice the technique of living, live a dynamic life of action while enjoying perfect peace and happiness within.
Above all, the Vedanta philosophy helps you evolve to greater heights in your own spiritual path. It provides you with the knowledge and guidance to reach the ultimate in human perfection: the goal of Self-Realization.

Q-    Can you tell us before hand what areas you will touch on from your spiritual teachings this time?
Bhagavad Gita chapter 16 is entitled “The Yoga of Distinction of Divine and Demoniac Nature”. The chapter describes the divine and demoniac class of human beings. Enumerates their respective quality and conduct. The chapter explains how to live in peace and happiness until one attains the goal of Enlightenment.

Q: What sort of audience do you wish to educate this time?
The knowledge of Vedanta is meant for one and all. Irrespective of caste, creed, religion, race, gender or age. However, it is the young and enquiring minds that are best suited to receive this knowledge.

Q: What sort of opinion do you have on the ability of Sri Lankans to understand and apply the spirituality they learn in their lives?
The knowledge of Vedanta is scientific, universal and practical in its application. People of any nationality, race or religion would be able to imbibe and apply these eternal values in their day-to-day living so long as they are willing to dedicate time and effort on a daily basis. It works like developing physical fitness. Everyone has equal ability to develop physical strength and stamina provided they go through a proper regime of exercises.

Q: If you happen to recognize anyone in the Sri Lankan audience who was there for your earlier programs, will you check his or her progress?
The purpose of the lecture series is to educate people on the eternal values of life. Individual progress depends on one’s own inclinations and self-effort. The individual himself is the best judge of the progress he or she makes. Much like physical strength.

Q: What is the biggest challenge encountered when propagating the Bhagavad Geetha in a country like Sri Lanka where there are so many other religions practiced?
The essence of the Bhagavad Gita is the Vedanta philosophy. Vedanta expounds the truth methodically, logically. It does not rely on the authority of a preceptor. Its truth is its authority. No master can claim it. No religion has a hold on it. Its scientific exposition appeals to all lovers of truth irrespective of the religion practiced by individuals.

Q: How have you enjoyed your role as a spiritual teacher over the years?
The role and duty is to study, reflect, understand and implement eternal values in life. The sense of fulfillment lies in sharing these values with people to the best of one’s ability.

Q: Sri Lanka just had a huge spiritual experience when Pope Francis visited the island. Do you think you will capitalize on the euphoria that’s still in the air?
People of Sri Lanka have always shown interest in spiritual discourses being held annually. Before me, my father and guru Swami Parthasarathy has been visiting the island since the ‘70s. His discourses attracted large audiences. The interest has been consistent over the years.

Q: How important is peace in a nation for spiritual growth in people?
When people engage themselves in spiritual development which is self-development, there will be peace. Within themselves, in the society, communities and the nation at large. Self-development is a pre-requisite to finding peace both individually and collectively.

Q: Do you have any special message for Sri Lankans who await your arrival in March?
The message is important, universal and urgent. The human race alone is blessed with the equipment to think, reason and decide its course of action through life. This wondrous equipment - the intellect - has to be developed by oneself. The program will help individuals to develop the intellect and surmount mundane challenges of life. Devoid of the intellect humans become helpless victims of the rigors of the external world. A powerful intellect helps humans overpower these onslaughts. But the role of the human intellect does not end there. The intellect has the unique capacity to even transcend the world and reach the ultimate state of spiritual enlightenment.

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