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!