अहं वृक्षस्य रेरिवा। कीर्तिः पृष्ठं गिरेरिव। ऊर्ध्वपवित्रो वाजिनीव स्वमृत्मसमि।

ahaṁ vṛkṣasya rerivā| kīrtiḥ pṛṣṭhaṁ gireriva| ūrdhvapavitro vājinīva svamṛtmasami|

I am the sustainer of the tree of this universe! My fame is as high as the peak of a mountain!

I am absolutely pure! I am immortal like the sun!

– Taittirīya Upaniṣad, Śikṣāvalli 10

Vedanta Ankuranam – Sprouting of Vedanta

What is Vedanta? How will this study affect my life?
Our Vedanta students share insights from their own experience


In 2005 I received a flyer from the Vishnu-devananda Yoga center and was delighted to hear of the center in Berkeley. I had studied with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in San Francisco and yearned to again experience the profound sense of well being their systematic approach offered. I began my weekly sessions at the Berkeley center in 2005 and consider the instruction to be a fundamental part of my health and well being.

In 1984 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which is a disease that randomly attacks the central nervous system. Over the years I have found their specific series of asanas which focus on a healthy spine has assisted me in the health of my whole body. The meditation and pranayama which is offered in the class has been very beneficial for the management of the emotional and physical pain associated with MS. As we deal with life’s daily challenges it is uplifting to know that I will finish the class with a complete sense of well being, contentment and a desire to explore life’s purpose.

The Vishnu-devananda Yoga center has created a haven of delight that I enjoy sharing with friends. I believe the center is a decisive instrument to join us together as we contribute to the momentous task of bringing our planet back into balance.

(2009) My path to the yoga center began in 2007, with a weekend visit to the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley. When I arrived back in the Bay area, I discovered the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Berkeley. I began with the beginner course, and have been attending classes and day retreats on a pretty regular basis for the past 2 years. I find Gajananam to be a patient and thoughtful teacher, one whom I know I can learn from. My fellow yogis come from a variety of backgrounds, and are always welcoming and inspiring to be with. This summer I took the opportunity to go on the Vishnu-devananda Center’s annual retreat to India. Truly, this was a life changing experience for me. With the full impact of my short time there still not fully realized. I have 2 grown children who, while not yogis themselves, are truly grateful that their mom has found a path in life that has brought our relationships closer. Even as a beginner in the yoga lifestyle, I find the benefits to both my physical and mental well being to be pretty amazing. I can truly say I have found a home at the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Center in Berkeley.

(2024) After a hiatus of formal classes, I began the online Vedanta classes that were introduced in 2019. I have remained a student ever since, and also attend the day long retreats, when I am able. Through this study, I am finding a developing sense of calmness, of balance, of inner peace in my life. I find when I delve deeper, when I replay a class, when I ponder a concept…I find an inner understanding.

Sometimes I get frustrated-with terminology, perhaps with concepts that are not clear, right away. But I am learning-to listen, to think, to sit with these thoughts and ideas. This is a process, not a race to the finish. I am grateful for the teachings, and their presentation through a very patient and knowledgeable teacher. I have found a way of life, of thinking, that gives me some direction in my humanness.



We so much enjoyed the visit to India during August 2009 that was organized by Gajananam and the Vishnu-devananda Yoga Center. My wife, daughter and self accompanied the group and each of us found the trip to be fun, educational and enlightening. I have known Gajananam for many years so knew that the retreat would be a success due to his in-depth knowledge of yoga and Indian culture. We were fortunate to practice yoga and meditation in the Himalayas – a dream for many spiritual aspirants, and to meet yogis and saints who don’t seek publicity. My wife and daughter, who are both new to yoga also thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip, and have since delved into yoga practice themselves!