American Vedantist

Submissions for Issue #73, Spring 2018

Dear Friend and Reader,

You are invited to contribute to the next issue of American Vedantist. The theme for our Spring 2018 edition (AV #73) is:

The Roots and Branches of Vedanta in America

In late December of 1892, while in the south of India, Swami Vivekananda had an extraordinary dream. He saw his Master, Sri Ramakrishna, walking into the water of the ocean, beckoning him toward the West. He also heard the authoritative word, ‘Go!’ Swamiji wrote to Sri Sarada Devi, his late Master’s wife, about this dream. She wholeheartedly blessed his plan for such a journey, and the Swami’s Chennai disciples, and the Raja of Khetri, offered to pay for his voyage.

Swami Vivekananda took ship for America from Mumbai on May 31, 1893. On September 11th of that year, at the first World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swamiji spoke the words that began to unfold his destiny as a teacher of Vedanta in the West.

“Sisters and brothers of America” — he said simply this, and the audience of thousands rose to offer him a two-minute standing ovation. Such was the power that Sri Ramakrishna had passed to Vivekananda. That power continued to manifest during the Parliament — Swamiji became the 16-day-long event’s most popular and influential speaker.

He stayed to teach in the West for most of the next 10 years. In February 1895, speaking to the Brooklyn Ethical Society, Vivekananda said, “I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East.” That message, which Swamiji was to sum up in the word Vedanta, is still offered to spiritual seekers throughout America, and the places where it is taught have become many.

American Vedantist hopes you will share your experience of Vedanta with your fellow readers: How did you come to Vedanta? Why did you stay? What have your teachers shared with you, that has transformed your life? Tell us the history and the current circumstances of the Vedanta Society, Center, or less formal sangha you attend. What does it give you, that you particularly like? What do you expect or hope for, that is not yet provided?

We will welcome your article, essay, story, poem, or other visual or verbal form that somehow responds to one or more of these questions. Or, that answers any related questions that we did not think to ask.

It’s easy to send us your work, using the Contact and Submissions form.

We really would like to hear from you! To get AV #73 out on May 31 — the 125th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s first voyage to America — your contribution is needed no later than March 31, 2018.

Questions? Email me at

May you be well and in bright spirits,
Br. Shankara, Coordinating Editor

Issue #72, Winter 2017-2018

Spiritual Life: How Do I Keep the Main Thing
the Main Thing in These Turbulent Times?

Main ThingThe world we share has not become a whit less turbulent since the invitation to contribute to this edition of American Vedantist was sent out. This year has been tragic and disturbing in many ways, for reasons both man-made and natural — and sometimes a combination of both, like the recent horrific wildfires in California and elsewhere.

Therefore, the efforts of those who contributed to this edition of AV are most welcome. Some responded directly to the question asked in our theme — bravo! Yet, every article, essay, and poem somehow encourages the reader to take refuge in spiritual thoughts and practices that have meaning for them.

Taken together, their work suggests this short answer to the question we asked: We may find clarity and solace, even in these troubled times, by following the instructions of our teachers with utmost care. Swami Prabhavananda summarized our task this way. “If each of us would see ourselves as the Atman, the true Self, and look at things of the world objectively, everything would pass by, and be all right.”*

Good reading! May you be well and in bright spirits,
Br. Shankara
Coordinating Editor

*From page 467 of Realizing God, edited by Edith Dickinson Tipple


American Vedantist is a not-for-profit online journal dedicated to developing Vedanta in the West and to facilitating companionship among Vedantists.

As a Vedanta magazine, we are committed to:

  • Stimulating inner growth through shared devotion to the ideals and practice of Vedanta
  • Encouraging critical discussion among Vedantists about how inner and outer growth can be achieved
  • Exploring new ways in which Vedanta can be expressed in a Western cultural context
  • Networking through all available means of communication with Vedantists in the United States and other countries, and
  • Facilitating the establishment of grass roots Vedanta groups and social service projects.


We invite our readers to join with American Vedantist in these endeavors. Please send us articles, essays, poems, songs, letters to the editor, ideas for action programs and other suggestions for achieving our goals. For more information see our Contact & Submissions page.

You may also participate by commenting on our articles or sharing your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Vedanta Magazine

American Vedantist is no longer being published in a print edition; however, we have some issues available for (free) download. And we are looking into having more back issues scanned and made available to readers in the future.

Editorial Board

The following people serve on our Editorial Board:
William A. Conrad • William Davis • Sister Eleanor Francis • Sister Gayatriprana • Barbara Henry • Steven Walker • Interim Coordinating Editor Brother Shankara

Vedanta West Communications

American Vedantist is a project of Vedanta West Communications, which also produces Vedanta-themed music recordings and scores. Vedanta West Communications Inc. is tax-exempt as a Georgia not-for-profit corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

What is Vedanta?

Vedanta, the religion and philosophy of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita in ancient India, teaches that the essence of each person is divine, and that the purpose of life is to unfold and realize this divinity, to make it manifest in every movement of life, as Swami Vivekananda said. All religions are accepted as paths to this realization.

Vivekananda came to America in 1893 to attend the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago. He continued to work in the West for several years and founded the first Vedanta Societies in America. An important part of his life’s work was the formulation of Vedantic teachings in language that is not culture-specific.