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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Self Enquiry Life Fellowship

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, International, Promotion of International Understanding, Religion, Religion-Related

Mission: The ancient Vedic order is a vast spiritual heritage rich with the esoteric sciences of prayer, meditation and monasticism. It is our goal to preserve the nonsectarian teachings of the authentic Vedic tradition, including that of the mystical Himalayan yoga lineages and to research the sacred Sanskrit scriptures, texts and manuscripts. We wish to create awareness through cultural exchange, introducing ayurvedic principles, Vedic arts, rituals, ceremonies and music to the Western culture while being a model of sustainability, living in harmony with nature.

Community Stories

138 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Like so many others, my introduction to SELF came amidst a lifelong search for answers to life’s biggest questions. What is the purpose of this life and my relationship with others? Who am I, where do I come from, and where am I going?
These questions are difficult to answer without the help of a wise spiritual master who has established the highest level of intellect and communion to assist with any human dilemma. The spiritual founder of Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, Swami Vidyadhishananda is a master of this stature.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have come across this nonprofit under the guiding wisdom of Gurudev. My life has been reshaped thanks to the teachings. It is much easier to follow one’s life journey when guided by the light of a Guru who knows the way. Furthermore, it is a joy to share this journey with so many others who yearn to know the truth and to discover their true nature and to express it fully.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is rare to find an organization with such integrity and transparency, one that lives it's teachings through countless acts of kindness. People from all walks of life find their spiritual home in this rich and varied traditional wisdom teaching.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to programs, events organized by various spiritual organizations in the past yet I have never experienced such authenticity in the Vedic wisdom teachings, Himalayan meditation and pranayama techniques as that offered through SELF.
SELF organization founded and led by His Holiness Swami Vidhyadhishananda is one of the very rare gems that I am fortunate and grateful to be a part of.
His Holiness is a highly ordained Vedic monk who hails from unbroken lineages of meditation adepts from Himalaya.
The ancient Vedic wisdom teachings from the Sanskrit scriptures are profound and very much applicable to our lives.
Himalayan meditation guided by His Holiness has had a calming, deeply peaceful effect on me every time I have practiced it.
The organization also imparts wellness, mindfulness in the form of Yoga vinyasa, Ayurveda teachings derived from Atharvaveda, Vedic Classical music rooted in the Samaveda, Sacred paintings of altars and deities.
Each of the above offerings under the direction of His Holiness is disseminated as per Vedic tradition with utmost quality and standards that I have not come across anywhere else.

In the past year and half of being a volunteer with the organization, I can say that my outlook towards life has been more positive, inspired me to be a better human being by inculcating the wisdom teachings into my daily life.
If you are looking for authentic meditation and ancient Vedic wisdom teachings, I would highly recommend the non-profit organization and would encourage you to
learn more on www.hansavedas.org.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known our dear teacher Swami Vidyadhishananda since 1999 and I can say that anything I know today that is of any value has come from his loving teachings and his gentle encouragement to practice meditation daily.
Cultivation of truth, wisdom, sacrifice, compassion, strength and peace.
These are all possible when in the presence of a realized monk.
His meditation teachings along with lifestyle guidance are deeply transformative.
Swami’s tireless work to build a sustainable platform for genuine seekers is his gift to the world.
If there is a way to end suffering and live in peace and joy, then surely Sanskrit based teachings point the way.


Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has always been necessary for human beings to find ways and means to cultivate inner peace, acquire wisdom and eradicate suffering. Some do make it.
And although many have expounded on how to achieve this, my question is why not go directly to the source, to the enlightened definitive guide, the miraculously compiled Vedic Sanskrit texts; those beautiful verses addressing every angst we have in a wise and loving way. It is not possible to find better advice to achieve peace in one's own Self and make sense of life. Its sheer wisdom and loving proses melt your heart and mind and lifts you into permanent positive action.
The combination of the magical texts and an equally magical teacher monk to spoon feed us this wisdom and to gently encourage us, has transformed myself and countless of others.
Through teachings, retreats, meditations, soothing divine melodies and personal guidance, your heart becomes lighter, more loving and compassionate and your mind more in your control where finally anxiety can give way to inspiring action.
This is it, the winning combination of love and peace versus suffering.
This has all been made possible due to one simple monk who has sacrificed much to become an exalted teacher to all of us here in the West who are yearning and ready to let in the light.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am based in Europe and have been involved as a volunteer with Self Enquiry Life Fellowship since 2005 when the organization was first founded in the US. Right from its humble beginnings, it has always had a lofty vision of spreading and preserving the wisdom of the Vedic scriptures and ancient India for the benefit of seekers everywhere. Authentic meditation techniques are taught as well as mindfulness and a healthy lifestyle conducive to meditation.

What strikes me in my volunteering for the organization is the professionalism I meet. The motto is: if a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well. My volunteering skills are honed by working with such a highly-motivated and professional group of people. The organization has a great team of volunteers. For example, when programmes are arranged in Europe, many volunteers give their time to arrange events and take care of guests. The staff are there to support them in their efforts. Such was the case in England in 2017.

The nonprofit is not slow to adopt the latest information technology to disseminate wisdom. I have watched how the website has come to fruition in the last two years as a prime resource for seekers of truth and knowledge. The multimedia part of the website is expanding rapidly into a wealth of discourses and guided meditations.

The regular livestreaming of discourses enables people like me who are far away to follow the teachings on a monthly basis. These livestreams are also an opportunity for like-minded people to gather and watch the broadcasts together.

The nonprofit is based in California but draws on the wisdom and knowledge of an advisory council of Vedic monks hailing from India. The head monk of the nonprofit organization is His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda who has the rare skill of explaining the deeper meaning of Sanskrit scriptures in clear, eloquent English. He has been a profound influence on me with his teachings and I can recommend his discourses and guided meditations highly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I found this organisation when I was deeply seeking truth. It has given me more than I could have asked or imagined in terms of truth, faith and divinity. A platform that is in complete alignment from the way a file is stored in their office to the teachings of the saintly monk who founded this non profit.

Often I hear how rare it is to find teachings like these in the West. But as a person who was raised in India and moved to the West, finding these teachings are a rarity and privilege anywhere in the world.

Each discourse and interaction with Swami Vidyadhishananda peels away layers of teachings that are deeply rooted in an unbroken lineage of ancient Sanskrit Vedic wisdom.

I could write essays about the past four years with the organisation and how much it has changed me from the core to every part of my being. But no words can do justice in describing the experience of it.

Here you will find an inclusive eclectic fellowship of the most heart open, generous and sincerely devoted people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It has been an incredible journey since I had the privilege of meeting His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda a few years ago. I remember the day when I had the honor of being in presence of His Holiness for the first time – I was waiting outside the meditation alter in the Nonprofit’s office in Santa Barbara to attend a fellowship when a saintly monk walked up to me, asked my name and guided me to the alter room offering me a seat right in front of His seat. Such humility! The ease and clarity with which He presented the profound teachings from the ancient indigenous Sanskrit scriptures and how He delivered the teachings such that it can be relevant and meaningful to those us living in today’s world, was truly remarkable! Fully present at every moment, He was an embodiment of wisdom, humility, compassion, patience and fairness.

Looking back at my life for last few years, I am profoundly grateful for His presence, blessings, teachings and guidance in my journey. It is an incredible and enormous undertaking by the Nonprofit to preserve and disseminate such authentic spiritual teachings and Himalayan meditations not only to local communities but also to global communities through its digital learning platform, a precious resource of wisdom teachings and guidance for both present and future generations to imbibe!

For those of you who are not familiar with the Nonprofit or have never been in presence of His Holiness, if I may share one more thought, it would be that don’t be satisfied by reading about experiences of others – go ahead and directly experience it yourself – nothing can supersede that direct experience!

Thank you!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Self Enquiry Life Fellowship in July of 2013, at a local gathering in Pacific Palisades. This meeting was a catalyst for the greatest shift in my life. At that time, I was in a fairly tumultuous state of mind with nearly every category of my life accompanied by varying degrees of dissatisfaction. As a result, I was flooded with existential questions that compelled me to search for clarity and higher understanding.

Immediately after listening to Swami Vidyadhishananda speak, I was enraptured by the stories he shared, depicting his life in India where he meditated over 55 thousand hours in the frigid Himalayan climate, living amongst the greatest yogis and hailing from an ancient tradition and linage. His stories were always coupled with invaluable teachings that I was able to apply to my life and daily experiences. It was apparent that all those who were involved with the nonprofit were selflessly dedicated to sharing this profound wisdom with all yearning seekers.

After my initial meeting, I made every attempt to see His Holiness whenever I could. In time, I noticed that where I once had confusion, now there was clarity. Peace began to override the anger and discontent, selfishness evolved into selfless service, and the all too familiar internal roller coaster I was previously accustomed to started to dissipate as I became more grounded.

Now here I am, 4 years later, a completely renovated individual in every capacity. In truth, no amount of writing can suffice to accurately describe the impact that this nonprofit has had on my life. Those who know me personally can attest to the positive changes I have experienced over the years. I consider SELF my home, and the volunteers my family. Swami Vidyadhishananda has been a priceless treasure in my personal and spiritual journey.

Jaya Gurudeva

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I came to know about Swamiji and SELF around 8 years ago through dear and respected friends. My journey in kriya yoga began 4 years ago and it really is Devine. Gurudev' s compassion towards disciples and uncompromising discipline towards the sadhana are exactly what I needed. My meeting with gurudev is the fructification of all my past good karma. There is nothing more or better or sweeter than gurudev. Gurudev is God for me.

Jai gurudev.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have generally been content and blessed in my life and career thus far. And yet the skeptical scientific side of my mind can not satisfy something the soul wants. Self Enquiry Life Fellowship is a group composed of old souls with young hearts and bright minds. I kid you not. It has been the answer to my yearning to dive deeper into discovering the more authentic Self. GuruDev is a guinuine realized monk that has helped facilitate this journey for so many of us through his devine wisdom and compassion. By identifying with this organization I have not become a mindless trivial number amongst many devotes. My own freedom and self impowerment over the ups and downs of life has strengthened. I am truly thrilled about all the things I have yet to learn, discover and practice to help me navigate this journey.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SELF organization led by spiritual founder HH Swami Vidhyadhishananda is a very rare institution that imparts authentic Vedic wisdom teachings and Himalayan meditations. All of the meditations are based on a Sanskrit sutra and is extremely powerful. I have not come across such meditations until here. The pranayama techniques are extremely rejuvenating.

The organization offers other branches of Vedic based teachings like ayurveda, vedic art work, musical recordings which are excellent in their respective areas. I am always amazed at the diversity and the standards of the offerings. This is possible only because the organization is led by Swami who is so highly ordained from an unbroken lineage of vedic tradition. As a volunteer I have been exposed to many opportunities which enabled me to view life from a higher perspective. The learnings learnt here definitely adds to build a character to be able to discriminate wisely.I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in learning authentic meditation, yoga , pranayama to this organization .

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've always had wonderful interactions with the great office staff and volunteers during events that I've attended.
They are typically generous, thoughtful, and meticulous in every aspect of their program offerings and their attention to smallest details.

All of this makes their programs and relationship with them exceptional!

I've felt cared for at ever point from from briefings on what I need to pack to shuttles meeting my flights and volunteers considering my every need. It's all taken into account with kindness and care.

Delightful enthusiasm and friendly greetings make you feel like you're part of their family.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Many of the reviews on this page outline some of the great and noble qualities that this organization support and their mission to preserve the Vedic wisdom and knowledge. I would agree that Self Enquiry life fellowship (SELF) is unique in which it provides education for children in India to learn the Vedic and Sanskrit texts, and supports the local community here in the U.S. Yet, it has another dimension which makes it even more unique and distinguished. And that would be the authentic meditation and mindfulness practices that are taught. In my opinion, this is what makes SELF so profound. The cream of this organization reveals itself in its name. It literally takes you right into your own Self. I can only share my own personal experience from the three years that I have been involved. At first, I came intrigued about the idea of a great master who had wisdom and genuine meditation instruction for candid seekers. So I attended the monthly fellowships, engaged with the volunteers and community members, attempted meditation, and within a few months I began to just be a little more aware. Aware of mental chatter, aware of hidden emotions, aware of everything I have been hiding from. I didn't manifest a new car or start winning the lottery. Rather, I wanted to find truth in my life. So when I would practice mindfulness, which meant to be without condition, I just felt whatever I was feeling without any judgment. I noticed myself going from a more mental and thinking space to being able to flow and allow an experience. I had forgotten to slow down and go into myself to observe how I felt. His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda talks about mindfulness being free from the anxiety of striving. Once I started to tap into these truths I began to see my life become freer and understand that there is no way to truth, truthfulness is the way, there is no way to joy, joy is the way, and there is no way to love, love is the way. I have found that any real change has to come from personal, self, reflective work. Sometimes I almost feel as though I am starting to engage with the world in a more innocent and joyous way. I want to smile, just because! Laugh without boundaries! Express myself with freedom! It's not about what I'm doing anymore, it's about how am I being. Every day isn't perfect, but I'm definitely on my way. I am just so happy that I found an organization that helped me re - discover my inner child, and it is my hope that you will become inspired in your own way and be patient to find the depth of yourself and your true potential.

Julia.Brouwers

Client Served

Rating: 5

Words fail to describe the magnificence of Swami Vidyadhishananda. I was seeking a teacher and found my Sat Guru.
As I come to grow more into this community I wish I lived more close by.
Yet the livestream discourses and the new multi media website and app make up for that loss.
All the people I've met so far are so open hearted, loving and willing to share. It moves me so much to be a part of that.
Thanks to Swamiji, Sister Girija and the amazing organization ( this small team puts in such tremendous effort and results are prodigious) I found a bit of coming home.
I feel blessed and hope I can contribute to inspire people to get acquainted with the profound authentic spiritual teachings of His Holiness

Julia, The Netherlands

Client Served

Rating: 5

His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishanda Giri brings to the world the rare teachings of Himalayan yoga techniques. I attended the Pranayama workshop in April 2016 and then the Kriya Yoga retreat in May 2016. It is indeed such an honor and privilege to be in his presence and enjoy the dissemination of the highest Vedic wisdom, known only to a few. All the work of the organization is done by just a handful of staff and volunteers and it is remarkable to see their dedication and execution to perfection of every detail. The experience of the retreat has been immeasurably uplifting. Now within weeks of practice I am beginning to experience monumental shifts in my life. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to His Holiness and all the staff and volunteers.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is an organization that taught me how to lead the highest quality of life in peace and harmony. It taught me the subtlety and importance of life. I relearned how to eat, sleep and live.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a child I was very interested in being a part of this organization. Both of my parents are initiates since 2000, so I have seen this organization as a child. Self Inquiry Life Fellowship has a very great aim and perspective. Swami Vidyadhishananda giri ji, is one of the most knowledgeable beings, having received the "mahamahopadhyaya", a prestigious award given to scholars. His holiness and the organization helps society by spreading knowledge and wisdom through live streams, books, videos, sat sang and etc. Being a volunteer at this organization really helped me learn to be mindful in what I do.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I took the Kriya Yoga 6 day session with Self Enquiry Life Fellowship in May'16. Swami Vidyadhisananda Giri is very knowledgable about the Kriya Yoga and Himalayan Pranayama techniques. The sessions were very well organized. It was a combination of Meditation, Yoga, and healthy eating. It was quite above my expectations. It has also helped me in my daily routine to improve my meditation and yoga. I would recommend Self Enquiry Life Fellowship program for others to experience based on their needs and available options of Kirya Yoga, Kriya Laya, and Kriya Mantra. Thank You.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I`ve been introduced to His Holiness Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri slightly over 8 months ago. If words can do any justice, the impact, this encounter left on this being is life transforming.
It feels as the purest ancient wisdom hidden in Himalayan planes came down and I feel very grateful to have such an opportunity in this human journey, to be in such a close proximity and involved in this nonprofit organization with such a noble cause.
I`ve been volunteering in various nonprofits throughout my life. SELF is a true gem.One feels truly inspired by the level of integrity, transparency, authenticity, fairness this organization operates and not to forget loving compassion of the Master.
Surely not to be missed.
In deep gratitude and beyond
Martina

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This organization is a gem. I attended a Pranayama workshop in October 2015 guided by His Holiness, Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri. I was immediately taken in by His Holiness’s presence and knowledge, and exemplary teaching of the Pranayama breathing techniques. Within weeks of practice, I saw improvements physically in breath control during exercise, mentally in calming chatter, and spiritually in awakening the dormant self. Nowhere have I seen this type of authentic Yoga from ancient practice, layered with science, and propelled by blessing from age old lineage to be disseminated in a concise clear way. I since have attended two Kriya Yoga retreats, and the experience has been priceless. The non-profit organization runs with the utmost integrity and standard of quality, every detail is addressed with grace and ease. I highly endorse anyone interested in true self enquiry to participate!