The highest spiritual wisdom experienced by the Seers of Truth in ancient times has been passed down to the present day through an unbroken line of traditional teachers. Its metaphysical side (Advaita Vedanta) establishes, by reasoning, a non-dualistic explanation of the universe; its practical side (Adhyatma Yoga) gives clear guidance as to how man should act and the means whereby the purpose of life may be fulfilled. The essentials of the teaching are:
- That God alone is real, and all else is unreal (transient)
- The self of man in essence is identical with God
- The purpose of life is the conscious realisation of this identity; and that it can be achieved while actively engaged in the duties of life
- That it gives unbroken peace, poise and bliss, and the ability to impart these to others.
Shanti Sadan, a centre of Adhyatma Yoga, was founded in 1933 by the late Hari Prasad Shastri, at the wish of his Teacher, the spiritually enlightened saint Shri Dada of Aligarh.
Recordings of some talks and meditation sessions can be viewed and heard here.
The Founder of Shanti Sadan
Hari Prasad Shastri (1882-1956) was born into a Brahmin family at Bareilly in the United Provinces of India. He received a traditional Indian education, distinguishing himself as a Sanskrit scholar and finishing his studies at Varanasi (Benares) University. He later became well-versed in English literature, history and philosophy and also studied Persian, Chinese and Japanese literature.
Even at this time his main interest in life was the pursuit of the spiritual Yoga and its ideal of enlightenment. He learnt the traditional methods of Yoga practice and enquiry from his own Teacher, the Mahatma Shri Dada of Aligarh, and also visited many of the Yogis and Mahatmas who were living in the region of the Himalayas at that time. As a result, as well as being a scholar of wide experience and a remarkable linguist, Dr Shastri also became an Acharya (Teacher) in the direct line of one of the oldest teaching schools of the classical Yoga, the Yoga of Self-Knowledge (Adhyatma Yoga).
In 1916 Dr Shastri went to Japan where he lectured at the Imperial University and Waseda University in Tokyo and established a centre of Adhyatma Yoga under the name of Ichi-no-do (the Cave of Non-duality). Some personal impressions of his two-year stay in the country have been published by Shanti Sadan in the little book Echoes of Japan.
As a result of a chance encounter with Dr Sun Yat Sen, the founder and first President of the Republic of China, he was invited to go to that country. He went in 1918, remaining there for 11 years. Dr Sun Yat Sen became a personal friend of Dr Shastri and studied Yoga under him until his untimely death in 1925. In China Dr Shastri taught and published at many centres of learning. He brought out the Hardoon edition of the Buddhist classics, supervised a translation of the Koran into Chinese, and later (after coming to England) himself translated the Analects of Confucius into Hindi.
Dr Shastri came to London in 1929 at the wish of his teacher, and founded the Centre which he called Shanti Sadan (Temple of Inner Peace). He gave hundreds of lectures in London and elsewhere and published many original works and translations, notably The Ramayana of Valmiki, which has become the standard translation of the Sanskrit epic. He died early in 1956.