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Discovering Bliss Through Yoga Philosophy
Happiness is an underlying goal to virtually all spiritual and yogic pursuits. We all want to be happy. But what exactly is happiness? How is it tied to yogic practice? And why does it remain elusive in its transiency? Classical Yoga traditions convey unique approaches towards happiness, which parallel some popular goals of wellness and psychological growth; yet are radically different. In this talk, Neil Dalal will highlight these important differences with special reference to the Bhagavadgītā’s foundational yogic methodologies. These teachings provide a process for handling the vicissitudes of life and mind with joyful equanimity, and an insightful reflexive inquiry designed to discover an innate stable wholeness that is the reality of one’s self.
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Neil Dalal is the Director of Religious Studies at the University of Alberta, where he teaches in both the Philosophy Department and Religious Studies Program. He received his PhD in Asian Cultures and Languages from the University of Texas at Austin where he specialized in Sanskrit and Indian philosophy, and an MA in East-West Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Dalal’s interests explore philosophy of mind, contemplative psychologies, and meditation practices found in classical South Asian Yoga systems. He grounds this research in classical Sanskrit texts and commentaries as well as their living traditions. Dalal’s current research focuses on the intersections of contemplative practices, textual study, and embodiment in Advaita Vedanta. He is the co-director of Gurukulam (The Orchard/Sony Pictures), a sensory-ethnographic study of a contemporary Advaita Vedanta community, co-editor of Asian Perspectives on Animal Ethics (Routledge Press), and has published articles in venues such as the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of Indian Philosophy, and Journal of Hindu Studies. Dalal is also a teacher within the traditional lineage of Śaṅkarācārya Advaita Vedānta. He spent several years living a monastic lifestyle in India while studying under the direct guidance of the renowned Advaita Vedantin, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who gave him permission to teach in 2002.