New in the EDL: Easwaran’s Audio Talks


This year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation, and it’s already been a year in which we’ve seen some of our long-term projects come to fruition. A month ago we celebrated the new edition of The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, together with the brand new audiobook of Easwaran’s verse-by-verse commentary.

Now we’re pleased to share that we’ve begun adding some new series of audio talks in the Easwaran Digital Library (EDL). Read on to learn more about this free resource and how you can access it. You can also read the stories of one of Easwaran’s early students who helped capture these remarkable talks, and of a dedicated volunteer who has been helping to prepare them for a worldwide audience.

Easwaran’s Audio Talk Series

Under the Audio Playlist section of the EDL you’ll find collections of talks on different subjects. At the time of launch, we’ve shared three series, The Patanjali TalksThe Meister Eckhart Talks, and Favorite Verses From the Bhagavad Gita, as well as recordings of all the passages in God Makes the Rivers to Flow and Timeless Wisdom. There are over a dozen additional audio series that we’ll be releasing over the coming year and we know this will be a rich source of inspiration for years to come. If you haven’t yet created a free account to access the EDL, you can do so at

Easwaran gave over 1,000 talks that were captured as audio recordings. Most of these were given in Berkeley and Oakland between 1966 and 1977, so they pre-date the talks that were recorded as videos. These series of audio talks range in length from 160 on the Upanishads to five talks on the poems of St. Teresa of Avila, and all are full of Easwaran’s deep spiritual insights and practical instruction in spiritual living. If you’ve watched Easwaran’s videos you’ll have noticed that his speech, cadence, and delivery change over the decades, and you’ll find that these early talks have their own special qualities. The younger Easwaran is often very animated, and we enjoyed hearing his warm laughter alongside the live audience.

Of course, these talks wouldn’t even exist for us today without Easwaran’s own foresight and the dedicated efforts of his early students who captured these talks for the future. We’re pleased to share a reflection from Bob, who made many of the original recordings of these audio talks.

From Bob in Tomales, CA

I began regularly recording Easwaran's talks back in the 60s as a graduate student in Berkeley, using a tape deck that I brought from home. At that time, he was giving four talks a week in the evenings. As I recall Tuesday was on the Gita, Wednesday was World Mysticism, Thursday was on the Upanishads, and Saturday was my favorite, on Patanjali. In addition, he would give detailed instruction in meditation on Saturday to benefit the many Cal students who would come to hear him.

Thursday was his night out. He would invite several of his closest students to accompany him to dinner and often a play at the Berkeley Rep. Needless to say just being in his presence was special. And we would have long meditations with him on Saturday mornings.

I am pleased that over all these years his talks have survived and made it into a form that is available freely to a world audience. It is more than I could have ever thought, that they could be shared with other students like myself who are searching for guidance and meaning in a confusing and sometimes hostile world. Let me end by expressing my admiration and support for anyone who seriously undertakes the disciplines that Easwaran teaches. I send you my deepest love.

Behind a big project like this lie years of unseen effort, including decades of preservation work to ensure that the talks stayed safe until they could be shared more widely. Patience and skill were needed to convert the original talks, made on reel-to-reel machines, to a digital format. Here is a short story from Ken, who has been sharing his audio expertise in preparing the files for the EDL.

From Ken in Grass Valley, CA

Like many of Easwaran’s students who have wanted to draw closer to him, after starting passage meditation I volunteered to help with BMCM’s work. Some of my first jobs were carrying chairs and doing filing in the office; at the time I never dreamed I would edit the audio recordings of Easwaran’s classes.

Over the years Easwaran gave talks in many diverse locations, and the recordings can contain many different kinds of noises that interfere with the intelligibility: buzzes, hums, airplanes, passing vehicles, a church organ, audience coughs, etc. The audio processing technology available to remove distracting sounds has greatly improved since Easwaran began giving talks, and in the last four years the software technology advanced dramatically — from requiring individual “hand editing” for each fix to supporting batched global multiple-step processing. The new technology made it possible to prepare many hundreds of talks more consistently and within a reasonable amount of time.

The process of editing talks has many steps, requiring patience and one-pointed attention. Using the eight-point program was vital to me in doing this work — especially the mantram, applied on “successes” and “failures.” Doing this work as selflessly as possible has been a powerful part of my sadhana. Working closely with Easwaran’s words, I felt immersed in them and closer to him. Many times I was so drawn into what he was talking about that I stopped working for a bit to just listen. My work over the past twelve years follows in the footsteps of the many other students who recorded, transcribed, archived, processed, and published Easwaran’s talks. I am grateful to have been able to help make Easwaran’s teachings more accessible; it has been a great honor of my life.

As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BMCM, we are filled with gratitude for all of Easwaran’s students, like Bob and Ken, who have supported Easwaran’s work and helped to provide us with direct access to his teachings, so that his timeless wisdom can carry into the future and continue to inspire spiritual seekers around the world.

Exploring the Audio Talk Series

With such a rich library to explore it can be hard to know where to begin, but we know that however you approach the library you’ll leave with the inspiration from Easwaran that you need. We’ll share some ideas of how you might experiment with using the audio talks to find what works best for you.

You can start by reading the high-level overview of each series. Here are the descriptions of the three series that are already available in March 2021:

The Patanjali Talks: Patanjali is a constant presence in Easwaran’s talks. From 1966 to 1969, every Saturday evening in Berkeley and Oakland, Easwaran brought out the practical meaning of the abstruse aphorisms in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, commenting on the original Sanskrit and on the commentary by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood called How to Know God, which Easwaran consistently recommended as an introduction to Patanjali’s teaching. “Great sages like Patanjali convey to us the practical disciplines by which we can deliver ourselves from time into the eternal now by discovering that we are not the body, we are not the senses, we are not the mind, we are not the intellect; we are the infinite, immortal, eternal spirit that is called Atman in the Sanskrit scriptures.”

The Meister Eckhart Talks: Easwaran gave these talks on Meister Eckhart on Wednesday evenings between June 5 and October 30, 1968, first at Williams College in the Berkeley hills and then at the First Christian Church in Oakland. His text was the only translation of Eckhart’s works then readily available, Raymond Blakney’s Meister Eckhart: The Essential Writings. Easwaran begins the first talk in this series like this: “We are going through the eloquent Talks of Instruction on the spiritual life given by one of the greatest mystics of the west, Meister Eckhart, who bears a striking resemblance to the great Hindu mystic Shankara. For me I can never get over my amazement at Shankara, who lived in the eighth century in Kerala state in India, and Meister Eckhart, who lived in the fourteenth century in Germany, using almost the same language to express the same universal spiritual experience that can come to all of us through the practice of meditation.”

Favorite Verses From the Bhagavad Gita: The talks Easwaran gave on the Bhagavad Gita on Tuesday evenings from January 3, 1967 to May 24, 1977 – 514 talks in all – became the heart of his three-volume commentary, The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living. Often, in commenting on a verse from the Gita, Easwaran would mention it was one of his favorites. In the 87 talks in this audio series he comments on some of these favorite verses, which he used regularly in meditation.

Ways to Enjoy the Talks

Unlike the videos in the EDL which rotate in and out, these audio talk series are a permanent collection, so you can take your time working through them – this may be a life-long project! You can immerse yourself in Easwaran’s teachings on a particular subject in your own home and at your own pace. You might choose to start at the beginning of a series and work your way through, or you could choose to dip in and move between the series. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting some sample talks in the biweekly EDL email that you can sign up for when you create an EDL account, and we hope this might give you an idea about where to start.

For some people, listening to Easwaran in an audio talk is an ideal way to explore his wisdom, but others may find that it requires more effort than watching a video or reading a book. Experiment to find the time length where you can optimize your one-pointed concentration while listening. The EDL saves your place in the talk, so you can always pick it up later right where you stopped. You might also experiment with how you best absorb Easwaran’s teachings. You could try taking notes, or, if video calls have tired you out over the last months, simply sit with your eyes closed and let his words wash over you. You might like to find the book that Easwaran is commenting on and follow along in the original text. Since the talks are up permanently, you can consider this a long-term study opportunity, and take your time!

Regardless of how or where you start, each of the talks in the audio series is a gem – so above all we encourage you to join us in diving in to explore this rich resource!

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