Ask the Swami

These questions are answered by Swami Satyamayananda. If you have a question for the Swami, please email it to

What is meant by “all beings are potentially divine.”?

QUESTION: When Swami Vivekananda explains that “all beings are potentially divine,” is he referring to the paramata–that aspect of bhagavan which resides in all beings–referred to in Bhagavad Gita? ANSWER: Yes, when Swami Vivekananda said that all beings are potentially … Continue reading

Posted: February 26th, 2013

If one were to take initiation in the Vedanta Society, would he or she have to give up other spiritual practices?

QUESTION: If one were to take initiation in the Vedanta Society, would he or she have to give up other spiritual practices that have helped them along the way?  For example, would the spiritual teacher expect the disciple to give … Continue reading

Posted: February 26th, 2013

How does japa help in gaining control over the mind?

ANSWER: One characteristic of an uncontrolled mind is that it gets bored doing the same thing over and over again. Japa is repeatedly chanting the same Mantra. An uncontrolled mind is reluctant to do such monotonous chanting. In spite of … Continue reading

Posted: December 19th, 2010

What does the term meter mean with respect to the Gâyatrî Mantra?

QUESTION: I need an answer to my question concerning a statement that you made about the “Gâyatrî Mantra” in your book, The Essentials of Hinduism. You wrote that the Sâvitrî Mantra (revealed to the sage Vishwâmitra) was composed in the … Continue reading

Posted: November 15th, 2010

What would you consider signs of spiritual progress?

ANSWER: Spiritual progress is no other than progress in regard to one’s state of mind. As and when a person goes on becoming more and more unselfish, he or she is progressing spiritually. It is selfishness that makes a person … Continue reading

Posted: October 28th, 2010

What does the title Paramahamsa really mean and what are the qualities of a true Paramahamsa?

ANSWER: The word Paramahamsa applies to a person who has experienced God and knows the difference between what is “real” and what is not “real.” According to the Vedantic/Hindu tradition, God alone is real. Literally, the word Paramahamsa means “the … Continue reading

Posted: October 21st, 2010

What is Japa?

ANSWER: Japa is a time-honored technique that enables one to gain control over the mind, purify it, master concentration, and eventually have God-vision. This technique consists of chanting a holy name of God or a prayer over and over again. … Continue reading

Posted: October 11th, 2010

What is the best time for meditation?

ANSWER: According to the sages of India, the best times to meditate are when night changes into day and day changes into night. In other words, sunrise and sunset hours are the best times for meditation. Yogis have observed at … Continue reading

Posted: October 6th, 2010

Meditation and daily life

QUESTION: It is said that if we strive to perfectly perform even small daily tasks, we will meditate better. Why? What’s the relationship between the two? ANSWER: Meditation is the most intense concentration of mind. But it must fulfill two conditions. … Continue reading

Posted: September 20th, 2010

So, “What is Vedanta?”

ANSWER: Vedanta is the ultimate truth that forms the very core of a person’s existence. Vedanta is the knowledge of what we truly are, that each and every soul is divine. A person can abandon everything extraneous to him or … Continue reading

Posted: September 13th, 2010