Sovereign Self Book Summary - Sovereign Self Book explained in key points
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Sovereign Self summary

Acharya Shunya

Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita

4.8 (388 ratings)
23 mins
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    Sovereign Self
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    Wisdom begins with knowledge of the self.

    The Vedas are a set of religious texts which originated in ancient India. Although they’re revered by Hindus, they predate Hinduism. They also play a major role in other religious traditions in the Indian subcontinent, such as Jainism and Buddhism. 

    Divided into four books called the Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda, they address age-old questions about the nature of existence, suffering, fulfillment, and the afterlife. 

    The answers to these questions are said to be without a human author. Instead, this transcendental wisdom was revealed over the ages to male and female sages known as rishis and rishikas

    At the heart of this wisdom is an extended meditation on the nature of the self, which the Vedas regard as the key to spiritual freedom. 

    The key message here is: Wisdom begins with knowledge of the self. 

    The word Veda means knowledge in Sanskrit. And, broadly speaking, the Vedas are interested in two different kinds of knowledge. 

    The first is known as dharma, or ethics – knowledge of how to behave justly. The second is knowledge of the true self, which the Vedas call atman

    Atman is what connects you to the infinite – the reality of existence, because as the Vedas put it, the self of the individual and the self of the universe are identical. To discover atman, which is a source of complete wisdom and joy, is to live in harmony with this ultimate reality. 

    Atman is always there, waiting to be discovered, even when your mind is clouded or your happiness seems blocked. Awakening to this true self isn’t a journey outward toward something new – it’s a journey inward toward something that’s always been there. Put differently, discovering the self is about remembering who you already are. 

    The reason it’s hard to see this is simple: humans spend too much time worrying about the external, material world of people and objects rather than looking inward. That external world, however, is a distraction. As a sage puts it in a famous passage, “the self alone is worthy of seeing, hearing, contemplating, and realizing, because the self alone is the supreme truth.” 

    The rewards of this spiritual quest are great. When you rediscover and reclaim your forgotten self, you are freed from the desires that keep you trapped in a cycle of suffering. And to exit this state of frenzied and unfulfilled being is to discover a deep sense of purpose, belonging, and well-being. 

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    What is Sovereign Self about?

    Sovereign Self (2020) explores the Vedas. Revealed over 5,000 years ago, these texts are a cornerstone of Hinduism, Buddhism, and countless other religious traditions in the Indian subcontinent. Packed with spiritual insights, the Vedas revolve around a single central question: How to live in accordance with the true nature of reality? As you’ll discover in these blinks, the answer begins by discovering your own, true self. 

    Who should read Sovereign Self?

    • Spiritual seekers
    • Open-minded atheists 
    • Self-improvers looking for new ideas

    About the Author

    Acharya Shunya is an award-winning spiritual teacher, the president of the Awakened Self Foundation, and the founder of the philanthropic nonprofit Vedika Global. Shunya is the first female lineage holder in a 2,000-year-old line of Indian Vedic teachers. Her previous books include Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom

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