logo.gif (9413 bytes)

A Representation of the Homepage

Vedanta Society of Southern California -Homepage http://www.vedanta.org/
" In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and elevating as that of the upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of my death."


Vedanta teaches that our real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers, and sons of God, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.

The Vedanta Society of Southern California was founded in 1930 and incorporated as a non-profit religious corporation in 1934. It maintains a temple, convent, and monastery in Hollywood; a temple, convent, and monastery in San Diego; and a Swami Vivekananda Memorial House in South Pasadena. There are sixteen other Vedanta Societies in the United States, Europe and South America. Although the societies are under the spiritual  guidance often Ramakrishna Order of India, each is an independent, self-supporting unit.

About Southern California Web Site
A close look at the Vedanta society of Southern California's Web site will show what possibilities there are for having the message of Vedanta reach around the world. Constructed in 1997, the Vedanta Society of Southern California's Web site was our Center's contribution to the Ramakrishna Mission's centenary celebration.

The first thing you notice when you click open the Web site is the Seal of the Ramakrishna Order: radiantly beautiful, the white swan rests upon variegated blue waters backed by an azure horizon and a rising, deep-orange sun. But the Seal is more than just a pretty face: it is hyperlinked. The word sounds worse than what it is. We've seen the word 'hypertext' earlier: it's a distinguishing characteristic of the Web. Hypertext is a word or words which appear in a Web site and are connected-'linked '-to other texts, thus allowing the reader to roam through various pans of the text and read in a non linear way. Hypertext is generally underlined so you can distinguish it from the rest of the text. The Seal of the Order is hyperlinked: this means that when you click the mouse on the Seal's icon, a whole new page of material pops up on the screen. This page is entitled 'Seal of the Ramakrishna Order' and it explains the Seal's imagery and meaning.

Welcome to the Vedanta Society of Southern California's Web Site' the home page announces; it is followed by a quotation from Schopenhauer: In the whole world there is no study so beneficial and elevating as that of the   Upanishads. It has been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of mydeath. By the time this article is printed [the January 1998 issue, that quote will be gone and another introductory quotation will be displayed.

Why so. much emphasis on change? A  Web site may appear interesting the first few times you visit it, but after repeated viewings the site will begin to feel stale. If it is boring, people will stop looking at it. To counterbalance cyber-tedium, the material is continually updated. The lecture schedules posted by the Vedanta Society of Southern California [ /www.vedanta.org ] are changed every month and the site itself is continually reassessed for effectiveness: new links' (more on that later) are assessed and the text is continually re+examined for accuracy and general appeal.

Thwarting cyber-boredom is but one reason why sites need frequent refreshing. Another significant point is that if a site remains static for months on end, you get the distinct impression that no living human being is on the other side of the computer line. Part of the Web's attraction lies in the fact that you're contacting not only different people's interests and philosophies, you're also contacting the people themselves. Nearly every Web site is interactive: it usually has an e-mail address for reader input with other features to allow readers a direct and personalized response.

Brevity, Shakespeare said, is the soul of wit. It is also the soul of a home page since the Web site's raison d'etra should be stated there as succinctly as possible. 'Vedanta,' says the Vedanta Society of Southern California's home page, 'teaches that our real nature is divine, that the true object of human life is to unfold and manifest this divinity, and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all the religions of the  world and reveres the great prophets, teachers, and sons of Cod, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.' This Vedanta-in-a nutshell hopefully sparks enough interest to keep the viewer reading further. This brief introduction is followed by an equally brief paragraph on the Vedanta Society of  Southern California.

What surely will catch the reader's at tention is an elegant vertical line of blue boxes located directly beneath the Seal of the Order.

These boxes provided the menu that offers the following sections: 1)  Background; 2) Calendar; 3) What Is Vedanta.? 4)Literature; 5)Worldwide Centers; 6) Monastic Life; 7) Contact Us; and 8) Home.
If you should click on the 'Background' bar, a brief history of the Vedanta Society of Southern California appears, along with short biographies of Swami Swahananda,the current head of the Center, and of Swami Prabhavananda, its founder. In this section the various Southern California Centers are underlined (hypertext again), thus giving the reader the option of seeing each location's descriptive page.
Let's say, however, that you don't really care about the Vedanta Society's background. You just want to find out what's happening at the Hollywood temple next Sunday.One click on the 'Calendar' section will bring up a calendar on the screen- much like the calendar that adorns most people's desks. Simply click on the date you have in mind-January 25, 1998, for example-and in the blink of an eye you will see who is speaking on what subject in all the Vedanta Society of Southern California locations.
Perhaps the following week you'll want to visit Santa Barbara; the lecture posted on the Web site looks interesting. But what does the Santa Barbara temple look like, and how do you get there? Click on the  underlined words 'Santa Barbara Temple' (you guessed it: hypertext) and the Santa Barbara page appears on the screen with a beautiful color photo of the temple and a map showing how to get there. The same applies to all the Center's individual pages.
But now let's suppose you're in the middle of Arkansas-there's no Vedanta Center around anywhere, but a friend of yours who's a Vedanta devotee in Toronto has piqued your curiosity; you want to know more about it. The 'What is Vedanta' section is a good place to start. One quotation particularly touches you: "'Find God. That is the only purpose in life." Ramakrishna.' Clicking Ramakrishna links you to the page devoted to Sri Ramakrishna; it also provides his dear photograph and a small  section of his sayings. When you return to the 'What is Vedanta' site, you can read about 'the methods' where the. four yogas (each yoga is hypertext) are discussed. Swami Vivekananda is another hypertext link, and again his photograph and quotations are provided on his page.
Maybe by now you're almost getting hooked. You want to study Vedanta more deeply, but you're stuck in the middle of Arkansas. Where can you go from here? Click on the 'Literature' box and a whole  new world will open for you. The 'Literature' section suggests some introductory reading as well as offering the traditional scriptures along with books for specialized interests. Were you in Southern California, you could visit the three bookstores listed (with maps and photos) on the Web site. But since you're in Arkansas, the most practical idea is to click 'Vedanta Press/Vedanta Catalog' and order books through the mail.
Let's say you're interested in yoga; you've heard the word but don't know much about it. All you have to do is type' yoga' into the labeled box and all the books that are about yoga will pop up on the screen; not only that, selections from the books are also included so that you can actually read from the books that interest you. In the near future, an audio capability will be added so that at the click of the mouse you'll be able to listen to selections from the Bhagavad Gita, Raja Yoga, and other texts. Unencumbered by geography, this cyberbookstore is one of the most effective ways of spreading the message of Vedanta throughout the world; requests for Vedanta literature come from as far away as Iceland and Spain. Many people (over 1,600 as of this writing) have already visited the Vedanta Press/Vedanta Catalog site since it was constructed, and the numbers will no doubt greatly increase as time goes by.
Vedanta Society of Southern California
1946 Vedanta Place, Hollywood,
CA 90068   213-465-7114
Minister: Swami Swahananda
Assistant Minister: Swami Sarvadevananda
Ramakrishna Order of India

| What is Vedanta |

| Ramkrishna Ashram | Ramkrishna Mission | Swami Vivekananda |
| Ramkrishna Order | Vedanta In Cyberspace | Audio & Video | Home |