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A German Vedanta student

Draped in a white kurta and spotless veshti with vibhuthi and kumkum smeared on his forehead, Saarthaka has been learning Vedanta since 2012. German by birth, Saarthaka (Anselm Schoen) was exposed to Indian culture from early on in life.

His father was a yoga teacher having learnt this ancient Indian physical and mental well being practice from books and practitioners from India who visited Germany in the post war years. At 89, Saarthaka’s father still continues to practice yoga.

Saarthaka’s spiritual quest began early in life. He was first introduced to Vedanta when he started taking classes from James Swartz, a Vedanta teacher who runs Shining World which is dedicated to the dissemination of non-dual wisdom. Swartz has learnt Vedanta from Swami Chinmayananda as well as our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. “My search for Moksha, enlightenment and spiritual quest began in my youth,” says Saarthaka.

The final spiritual rebooting took place in 2012, when he started taking classes from Swami Paramarthananda, a disciple Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. He also had the good fortune of meeting our founder, Pujya Swami Dayananda Saraswati. Recollecting that moment, Saarthaka says that “Swamiji has been the biggest blessing in his life thus far.”

Elaborating on his tryst with Vedanta, Saarthaka states with conviction that Vedanta teaches you Dharma and Karma Yoga and a final understanding of who you are. “I did not get answers to many of those in the religion that I was born into.”

Saarthaka is a regular visitor to India and comes to Chennai every winter to deepen his knowledge in Vedanta. He has also been part of two Vedanta retreat camps that were held in Manjakkudi in the recent past.

But to master Vedanta, a sound understanding of Sanskrit becomes critical. So Saarthaka embarked on a four year study of the language as a guest student in the University of Gottingen, Germany. “The varsity has a vast digital library in Sanskrit,” he says.

While in Germany, Saarthaka continues to pursue his study in Vedanta and is part of an eight member Vedanta home study group who meet up frequently to clear doubts and have discussions. He resides north of Frankfurt and is self employed. Saarthaka provides CAD/CAM (Computer- aided design and manufacturing) support for the structural and construction industry.

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