The Author

Vasanti Jayaswal (born 1943) is an expert on Indian art, culture, religion, and philosophy.

Vasanti is the eldest daughter of the Guru Gopinath and Thankamani, who were pioneers in the revival of Indian classical dance in Kerala and who gave her extensive training in Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Kerala Natanam. A rank holder in Zoology from Bangalore University, Jayaswal has concentrated more on the arts and dharmic studies since her arrival in the United States in the 1960s. She received extensive training in Vadalur paani Bharatanatyam, Rabindra Natak, Karnatic and Hindustani classical music from other teachers. Jayaswal founded Kalamandiram, the oldest academy of classical Indian dance in Los Angeles and was instrumental in the growth of several children's classes under Chinmaya Mission and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. In the 1990s, she went back to college to further her interest in child education. For several years, Jayaswal worked as an enrichment program coordinator in West Los Angeles elementary schools. In India, she successfully conducted dance camps under Nehru Yuva Kendra and a special summer school program, Sahridaya, for orphan girls.

Jayaswal's thirst for spiritual knowledge has led her to the study of Vedanta, Tantra and Vajrayana Buddhism and her teachers in various darshanas have included Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Easwaran Namputhiri, R. Anjaria, Ven.Garchin Rimpoche, Ven.Chetsang Rimpoche and His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. She has also had instruction under Rabbi Chaim Solomon in the Kabbalistic way of life.

She has taught spiritual culture and dance extensively in the U.S. and India, and has expressed her scholarship and intuitive and experiential knowledge through numerous lectures, creative projects, books and articles.

Her home in Trivandrum has been handed over to AIM for Seva, and it houses currently destitute boys who are being brought up in gurukulam tradition.

In the US she is actively involved in many volunteer and community projects. She conducts a Heritage of India program for children of Indian immigrants and teaches private classes in the understanding of Hindu scriptures.

The presence of the feminine divine principle in the form of a powerful icon, Shree Vidyamukambika, that is now worshipped in Eugene, Oregon and the extensive ritual she performed for Mount Rainier are just two of the many examples that illustrate her intense work with energy principles that are latent in the North American continent.

The current personal project that she is involved in is in the area of Dormant Energy Principles. She is also researching and practicing rituals that connect ancient belief systems of Greece and Rome with that of her native India.with the view to put them to meaningful use here in the States.

June 2010 saw Vasanti entering the field of Turkish devotional music. She has attended music workshops associated with the Mevlevi Order Of America directed by noteworthy musicologist Dr. Timuçin Çevicoğlu.

In Petaluma she has constructed a sacred grove dedicated to major religions. The Adobe Shrine here, houses a beautiful Shaakaambaree ( the cloud that rains the greens) deity for meditation purposes. In addition a homa kunda ( Fire altar) based on Samkhya principles and a house honoring ancestors are also present.

BOOKS PUBLISHED

1. The Devimahatmyam- Glory of the Feminine Principle Word to word meaning and translation. Forward by Swami Svahananda , Vedanta Society, Hollywood.

2. Hastamudra Dhyanam- Reflections

A manual for students of Kerala Natanam

3. Shri Mukambika Mahatmyam

4. Shri Durga Mahatmyam

5. Margasheersha sandesham

Translation of the Thirupavai

KALAMEZHUTHU ( Ancient ritual and worship of ground drawings executed in Kerala)

RARE FORMS

1. Tamasi, Tvisha and Koushiki devatas

2. Shaakaambari

3. Vatapatrashayee Balanarayana

 

FORMAL EDUCATION

London Matric- University of Madras, India

Bachelor of Science ( Zoology)- University of Madras, India

Master of Science, First Rank ( Zoology-Cytology )- University of Bangalore, India

Associate of Arts- ( Travel)- West LA College, Los Angeles

Child Education Units - El Camino College and CORE - UCLA, Los Angeles

Diploma ( Vedanta) - Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Bombay, India

Hinduism Units - Hindu University, Florida

Diplomas(performance and teaching Kathakali classical dance )- Viswa Kala Kendra, Trivandrum, India

STUDIES, INITIATIONS under TRADITIONAL TEACHERS

Classical Dance-Kerala Natanam: Guru Gopinath and Thankamani Amma

Classical Dance-Bharatanatyam, Vadalur pani: Shri Udipi Jayaraman

Others: Shri Suchindram M.N. Pillai, Shri Paramasivan Natuvanar

Classical Dance- Manipuri: Shri Gopal Roy

Dance-Rabindra Natak: Smt. Prithvi Ghosh

Classical Music- Karnatak: Shri Rama Bhagavathar, Shri Chandra Bhagavathar and Shri Narayana Nambudiri

Classical Music- Hindusthani: Shri Amiya Das Gupta

Philosophy- Vedanta: Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda Sarasvati

Tantra- Keraleeya: Brahmashri Easwaran Namputhiri

Tantra- Shrividya: Shri R. Anjaria

Buddhism- Vajrayana, His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Buddhism- Vajrayana, Drikung Kagyu: Ven Garchen Rimpoche

Buddhism- Vajrayana, Drikung Kagyu: Ven. Chetsang Rimpoche

Judaism- Kabbalah: Rabbi Chaim Solomon