Swami Sarvapriyananda has been Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Vedanta Society of New York since January 2017. He was a Nagral Fellow at Harvard Divinity School during the 2019-20 academic year. Prior to this, he served as assistant minister of the Vedanta Society of Southern California for 13 months. Swami joined the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in 1994 and received Sannyas in 2004. Before coming to serve in the US, he served as an acharya (teacher) of the monastic probationers’ training center at Belur Math in West Bengal, India (the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda, the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa). He has served the Ramakrishna Math and Mission in various capacities including being the Vice Principal of the Deoghar Vidyapith Higher Secondary School, Principal of the Shikshana Mandira Teacher Education College at Belur Math, and the first Registrar of the Vivekananda University at Belur Math.
This conversation hosted by the Association for Spiritual Integrity explores the profound interconnections between ethics and Advaita Vedanta. An ethical life is foundational to the spiritual quest, a non-negotiable sine qua non to any real spiritual development. One can be good without being particularly “spiritual”, but there is no spirituality without goodness. But it is also true that ethics are a consequence of nonduality. For as long as thinkers have pondered ethics, they have searched for a foundation, a grounding, for ethics. Why should one be good and do good? The various answers thinkers have come up with through the ages – utilitarianism, deontology, and so forth – have all been found seriously wanting. Nonduality claims to provide a deep foundation for ethics. In this talk and Q&A, Swami Sarvapriyananda explores the philosophical and practical, as well as the individual and social dimensions of ethics in nondual spirituality.
Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.
Recorded September 28, 2020
Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.