Sadhviji was raised in an American family in Hollywood, California and graduated from Stanford University. She was completing her Ph.D. when she left America in 1996 to come and live permanently at Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, India. She has been living there for the last twenty-one years, engaged in spiritual practice and dedicated service.She was officially initiated into the order of Sanyas (monastic renunciation) in the year 2000, by her Guru, His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji.
Sadhviji is a renowned speaker who gives keynote addresses at large forums, on a wide variety of topics ranging from conscious business to science and spirituality to sustainable development to the keys of happiness and peace in life to all aspects of yoga. She has also been a featured speaker at the United Nations, Parliament of World Religions and many international conferences and summits. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East, and she is renowned as a spiritual bridge between the two cultures.
She has also received numerous national and international awards and recognition.
At Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, where Sadhviji lives most of the year, she gives daily spiritual discourses and satsang, teaches meditation, provides counseling and oversees myriad charitable and humanitarian projects and activities.
Secretary-General of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, an international interfaithorganization dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation & hygiene to the children of theworld.
President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a foundation dedicated to bringing education and empowerment to women and children which runs free schools, vocational training programs and empowerment programs.
Director of the annual world-famous International Yoga Festival at Parmarth which has been covered in Time Magazine, CNN, New York Times, Le Monde and other prestigious publications.
Sadhviji has a Ph.D in Psychology and was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism.
One night in 1997 Richard Schoeller thought he was dying because he found himself surrounded by both sets of deceased grandparents. They reassured him that it wasn’t his time to join them in the afterlife and that their visit was to help him understand that he could now “see them.” Who could ignore a visit like that? Richard had to learn more about what had just happened, so he began taking classes and researching the ability to communicate with those who have passed into spirit.
Richard is now an ordained Spiritualist minister, Certified Medium, Commissioned Spiritualist Healer.
Aside from being a member of the Lily Dale Assembly, he served on the Board of the National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) for six years, and he is currently the Vice President of the International Spiritualist Federation and a Director and Teacher with the Inner Spiritual Center in Wayne, New Jersey.
Richard has taught classes and demonstrated mediumship in England, Holland, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland and Germany as well as served a number of Spiritualist churches and centers throughout the United States.
It gives him great pleasure to be of service and to provide information to his clients that help them to come to and understanding that life and love continue after the change known as death.
When I was 11 years old our school took a bus trip to the local library. While most of the children were off exploring the mysteries of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, for some reason I found myself in the row of books called Philosophy and Religion.
I recall pulling a hardbound book off the shelf and directly opening it to an old black and white photograph of the Portola Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. At that moment, it was as if all my breath was sucked out of me and my mind went totally quiet. Somewhere in the depth of my being, I knew I was looking at a very familiar place, one that I may once have called home. I stood there for a very long time just staring at that photograph.
Then, like a starving young man having a meal laid before him, I hurriedly began to devour the book. When it was time to leave the library and head back to school, I took the book with me to the check-out counter. What followed was a pitched battle with my teacher and the librarian on one side, and one very determined boy on the other. In the end, I got to take the book home.
That book changed my life. At the time, I took the descriptions of a world rarely seen to be real mysticism. With great determination and passion, I began reading everything I could get my hands on about Tibet, its culture, and spiritual teachings. Thus, began a lifelong pursuit for of spiritual insight and knowledge mystical experience.
In my youthful naivety, I also began what I deduced as a meditation practice from stories in the book. This practice was quite complex and involved sitting quietly in the lotus posture with my spine perfectly straight while emptying my mind of everything. Then, with eyes closed, the idea was to develop a specific color spot in my field of vision at, what one might imagine to be, an arm’s length away, and then start spinning it into other colors, all while keeping all thoughts at bay. I would do this at night after having gone to bed, or during the day when no one else was home. As you might imagine it was a difficult exercise, however, for short periods of time, I began to experience gaps in my thought pattern.
Then it happened. After about four years of practicing my meditation, one day I was sitting quietly and deep into it, when the bottom dropped out. No mind, no thought—just a great expanse. When the experience ended, I felt the most amazing deep sense of happiness bliss. This bliss we might describe as “the peace which passeth understanding”.
I didn’t know it at the time but I had transcended and experienced the basis of all life that which is complete fullness yet contains nothing. This is sometimes called non-abiding Samadhi.
The problem was my meditation practice was extremely difficult and required great effort and time to achieve the effortless state. I began to search for something easier. My readings led me to try Zen, which, while intellectually satisfying yielded no repetition of the state of no thought only pure awareness. I tried several other practices and even religions until one day I received a phone call that was to be another turning point in my life.
My best friend had gone off college and suggested that I leave my job with the Forest Service and continue my education. I think he just wanted someone to share the rent with but it got me there.
When I arrived on campus to find Maharishi Mahesh Yogi teaching a course about meditation and training young men and woman like me how to teach Transcendental Meditation, a mantra-based meditation practice. I snuck into his lectures and listened attentively and knew this was the spiritual practice I had been seeking.
At the advice of my new friends, I went to ask Maharishi if he would personally teach me. Maharishi was rarely on time anywhere and I waited outside his door a long time for him to emerge. When he finally came out the door there were a number of people waiting like me, some to ask a question, some pay their respects. With about a dozen people ahead of me in the line I waited for my turn, but then I had the thought that I shouldn’t take his time, that I should instead dedicate myself to freeing his time so he could bring this knowledge of meditation and its philosophy to as many as possible, that I should work to serve him selflessly without regard to my own needs and desires. In that moment, I took the Bodhisattva vow and walked away to learn Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation from one of his teachers.
I knew I had found what I was looking for in my first meditation. Upon learning I experienced quite easily that state of mindlessness I had been struggling so hard for. I knew for certain that TM worked for me when I was walking down the street feeling the perfect bliss within yet realizing that nothing what so ever had happened in my life save for meditation to make it so.
Within six months of beginning the practice, I had gone from a 1.28 GPA to a 4.0, typical of TM practitioners, and had made the decision to become a TM Teacher. I am dyslexic and while blessed with an IQ in the top 1% school had been hell for me, a constant struggle, all that had changed for the better. I became a teacher of Transcendental Meditation in 1972; I am extremely grateful to Maharishi for all his teachings and wisdom that have shaped my life.
After many years of practice, I had a classical awakening into higher consciousness. Now living in non-duality or as Maharishi described it “living 200%, the fullness of the absolute and the relative lived completely and utterly together”.
Kavitha Chinnaiyan, MD, is a cardiologist, meditation teacher and tantrika. She became drawn to the Direct Path through the teachings of Greg Goode and Sri Atmananda Krishna Menon, and has studied yoga, Sri Vidya Sadhana, Vedanta and Tantra through the teachings of Chinmaya Mission, Sri Premananda, Sally Kempton, Paul Muller-Ortega and Sri Chaitanyananda Natha Saraswati. She blends her expertise in cardiology with her knowledge of Ayurveda, yoga, Vedanta, Tantra, and the Direct Path in her approach to healing, enabling patients to discover bliss amid chronic illness. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Rochester, MI.
Natalie Sudman is an author, artist and psychic intuitive. Natalie worked as an archeologist in the Great Basin states for 16 years before accepting a position managing construction contracts in Iraq. In 2007 Natalie was injured by a roadside bomb. During this incident she had a near-death experience that she details in her book Application of Impossible Things. After recovering from her injuries, Natalie retired from government service to concentrate on art and writing, both long-time passions. Raised in Minnesota, Natalie has lived most of her adult life in eastern Oregon, Montana, and South Dakota. She now lives in southern Arizona.