The Essence of Enlightenment

Vedanta, The Science of Consciousness


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This new book by James Swartz follows his very popular How to Attain Enlightenment, which has introduced many readers to the ancient science of consciousness known as Vedanta. In The Essence of Enlightenment, Swartz more thoroughly develops teachings he presented in his earlier book. He discusses values and the enlightened person, examines dharma and the essence of enlightenment in considerable detail, and thoroughly explains the relationship between consciousness, the individual and the total.

Swartz begins by asking us what we want from our life, takes a good look at how we generally try to achieve happiness, and investigates its true source. He analyzes many of the popular spiritual paths, with an eye towards their efficacy and limitations. Then he goes about a detailed explanation of all the ways the time-tested principles of Vedanta can assist us in reaching the goal of liberation.

Swartz refutes many of the erroneous concepts Westerners have picked up in their quest to understand enlightenment and offers readers a bracing dose of truth and clarity.

Like its predecessor, this book sufficiently demystifies the topic of enlightenment. Although it is inspirational, it is not just another vague inspirational read. Swartz writes in a simple style that makes the science of self-inquiry accessible to seekers and finders everywhere.


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The counterintuitive, radical message of Vedanta, the ancient science of self-inquiry, is that reality is non-dual consciousness. What this means and how it benefits people in their quest for freedom from limitation is the subject of The Essence of Enlightenment: Vedanta, the Science of Consciousness. In an accessible style, James Swartz’s The Essence of Enlightenment develops teachings introduced in his popular first book, How to Attain Enlightenment, covering topics such as values and the enlightened person, dharma and the essence of enlightenment, and the relationship between consciousness, the individual, and the total. Demystifying enlightenment, The Essence of Enlightenment makes Vedanta understandable to all.

Exceptionally “reader friendly” in organization and presentation, The Essence of Enlightenment is a thoroughly informed and informative study that will prove to be an enduringly popular addition to community and academic library Metaphysical Studies reference collections, as well as the personal studies of non-specialist general readers with an interest in the Vedanta science of consciousness.

—Midwest Book Review

about the author

James Swartz

James Swartz grew up in Montana and graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. He briefly atended University of California at Berkeley before finding his niche in the world of business. He saw great success as a businessman, but in 1967 he experienced a major epiphany that turned him away from that path. Instead, he traveled to India on a spiritual journey, searching for the path to enlightenment. It was here that he learned of the famous Indian sage Swami Chinmayananda, whose knowledge and teachings proved to be the means to set James free.

Now a disciple of the sage, James travels extensively to cities in America, Europe, and India to hold seminars on Vedanta, the science of self-inquiry. He has previously self-published two non-fiction books: Meditation: An Inquiry into the Self (1998) and The Mystery Beyond the Trinity (1998).

James Swartz's website is