In Santa Barbara, very few things are free – but on Saturday, July 19, Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri will give a lecture at the Victoria Hall which is offered free to all. Swami Vidyadhishananda is the resident spiritual director of the Self Enquiry Life Fellowship, a monastery and non-profit spiritual organization located in the foothills of Carpinteria.

Swami Vidyadhishananda is one of the world’s more eminent yogis, and has a long history of speaking on a wide variety of subjects, from women’s health to Indian mythology, and from Ayurvedic healing techniques to literary criticism. This week’s lecture takes on the idea of transcending overly emotional, intellectualized, and body-conscious motivations in the human mind, in order to unravel the divine potential the Swami believes exists in every person. As he prefers to speak without either a prepared speech or lecture notes, Swami Vidyadhishananda’s lecture will be a spontaneous discussion of transcendence.

This lecture is the second of two events sponsored by the Self Enquiry Life Fellowship this week. The first, a Vedic fire ceremony called the Guru Parnima, was held at the monastery on Thursday, July 17. This ceremony, which lasted approximately eight hours, was intended as an offering to the community – its peaceful effects are supposed to extend a thousand miles from its location. Four priests participated, each of whom were brought from a different part of the country and chosen for their knowledge of Vedic scripture. The fire ceremony always takes place on the full moon, and the Self Enquiry Life Fellowship holds one each July.

While Swami Vidyadhishananda’s lecture is not directly related to the fire ceremony, it is also intended as an offering to Santa Barbara. All events held by the monastery are free; anyone with an interest is encouraged to attend, and this lecture is no exception. In addition to the lecture, two of the Swami’s Danish disciples, both professional classical musicians, will perform for the audience. There will be a short period of meditation following the Swami’s discourse. In honor of Swami Vidyadhishananda, Mayor Marty Blum will attend as well, and will welcome and greet him before the lecture.

Swami Vidyadhishananda has already been named a Mahamahopadhyay, which translates as “Great Ordained Teacher”; this honor reflects the high regard in which his teachings and his knowledge are held by other Sanskritic teachers. The subject on which he plans to speak on Saturday, Divinity in the Light of Transcendence, is one on which he’s particularly expert. Anyone with an interest in Vedic spirituality will find this event fascinating.


Swami Vidyadhishananda Giri will speak at the Victoria Hall Theatre, at 33 W. Victoria St., on Saturday, July 19, 6pm-8pm. The lecture is free, and seating may be limited. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early. Doors will open at 5:45pm. For more information, call 909-543-6003 or email


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.