Sunday Service: Walking Joy

Week of April 12 – 18, 2015

This week we bring you a spiritual talk from our archives. We’ve published or reprinted so many spiritual talks over the years, sometimes it is good to go back and reprint some of the earlier work; this site is too deep to fully explore, so many gems can get lost or overlooked.

It is worth noting that we also have pages devoted to faiths other than Vedanta that highlight spiritual talks we have delivered in the context of those faiths. These pages include Christianity, Buddhism and Islam right now. All of our talks are in the context of Vedantic truth, of course, but these pages help bridge the gap between religions and share truth that otherwise go unnoticed in the Vedanta tradition.

So here you go.

Enjoy, and happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

Yours in service,


This Week’s Spiritual Talk

Walking JoyNamaste

By: Peter Kowalke

When I approach, they smile. Almost everyone.

My coworkers at the bookstore do it. The groundskeepers and the administrative staff do it. Even the monks have begun doing it, a reversal of the normal practice where we acknowledge them.

People smile, or they say “namaste” and put their hands together in a prayer, or their face lights up. Often there is an informality bordering on rudeness here in India; no goodbye at the end of a conversation, no “please” when you ask for salt, no recognition when you pass someone on the street. But with me there always is a moment; there always is a smile. I am walking joy, as someone described it.

This is not because I exude some ineffable quality that commands love or respect. People smile when I approach because I smile back, because they have learned that I will be saluting them. I smile and give a casual but significant “namaste” to everyone I pass, strangers and friends alike. In group settings, sometimes it looks like I am working a crowd.

Some wait for my salutation; you see it in their eyes, waiting with hands and smile at the ready for my hello. Others break into smile whenever they see me, as if I were an object of adoration. They pay their respects to the saints on the wall with a prayer, then they turn and pay their respects to me with a smile.

But really I am the one praying. They are my objects of adoration, which is why I smile with such meaning.

Everyone has divinity at their core. I just make a practice of seeing it. I look past a person’s persona, their physical attributes, their history and their traits. I focus on the God in people, and only then do I pay attention to the other details.

I’ve gotten really good at spotting the divinity in people; loving others has become my worship. Instead of worshipping and loving an impersonal God, I worship and love the God in people around me. Muslims pray five times a day, but I pray every time I am in the presence of another human being.

My smile is my prayer. It is a gift of affection. Thank you for being here, I say indirectly. Please stay.


(read more)



videoVedanta Television

American Vedanta on YouTube

Finding lasting happiness. Applying the Bhagavad Gita to daily life. Learning about the history of Vedanta in the U.S. These are some of the topics covered at American Vedanta’s YouTube channel. We curate a list of spiritual videos that will help advance your spirituality and expand your mind. When wanting spiritual videos, give our YouTube channel a look.

We also recommend other resources such as Booksaudio lectures and web sites, among other resources.


Spiritual Fitness

Do You have a Spiritual Routine?

Vedanta, if not practical, has no other relevancy. The key to practical Vedanta is an individualized spiritual routine.

There are six components of a good spiritual routine.

Swan1. Find a Community. If you have an existing church, temple or mosque, attend regularly. If not, join our Facebook group and see our list of recommended spiritual organizations.

2. Seek Guidance. Find a mentor within your existing spiritual community or contact us for a referral.

3. Attend Spiritual Services Regularly. If you don’t live near an appropriate spiritual community, we offer a weekly spiritual talk delivered by email, Facebook and Twitter. We also host a regular Vedanta Dinner for those who live in the New York City area.

4. Incorporate Individual Study. We keep a list of books and resources for your individual study needs.

5. Take Responsibility for Your Spiritual Life. Read our talk about listening to your own inner compass and contact us when you have a question that your spiritual community isn’t answering adequately.

6. Leverage Rituals Thoughtfully. As an example, read our essay about the power of saying grace.

Our longer talk about spiritual routine can be found here.

Happy Sunday! Peace be unto you. Peace be unto all.

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