By Acharya Shunya

We humans have accepted a shackled existence. We go about life imprisoned in our false beliefs, confirming our imagined personal limitations. We beg for freedom, recognition, and love from others, forgetting that our happiness, acceptance, and worth are achieved through an inward journey toward the Self, never outward. This Self is known as Atman in ancient Sanskrit, which means “the boundless one.”

Teachings and practices from ancient, enlightened men and women of India, known as the Vedic seers, were preserved in a body of sacred literature known as the Vedas (VAY-duhs). Once exclusively transmitted orally from a lofty master to a trusted disciple, the great wisdom of the Vedas can be found easily today, published as four big books. The second part of each of the Vedas, known as the Upanishad section, is of special significance. These texts contain pure nondual wisdom— mystical teachings on the true Self beyond the mind and body. The Upanishads try to answer the question, “Who am I?”

The Sanskrit word suggests that despite the compelling appearance of separation and diversity of bodies and mind, there is only one universal essence, one reality behind the multiple things: the Self.

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Copyright © 2020 by Acharya Shunya, adapted excerpt with permission from Sovereign Self: Claim Your Inner Joy and Freedom with the Empowering Wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita, published by Sounds True. Acharya Shunya is a wisdom teacher and catalyst for empowering health and elevating consciousness worldwide. As an internationally recognized author and sought-after spiritual teacher of Vedic nondual wisdom, she is committed to sharing authentic knowledge, illuminating the way forward. The first woman lineage holder in a 2,000-year-old line of Vedic spiritual teachers, Acharya Shunya spent fourteen years training under her paternal grandfather and Guru, “Baba” Ayodhya Nath. Baba tasked Shunya to bring these teachings to the modern world. To find out more, visit or

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