Vasanti Jayaswal (born 1943) is an expert
on Indian art, culture, religion, and philosophy.
Vasanti is the eldest daughter of the Guru Gopinath and Thankamani, who were pioneers in the revival of Indian classical dance in Kerala and who gave her extensive training in Kathakali, Mohiniattam, and Kerala Natanam. A rank holder in Zoology from Bangalore University, Jayaswal has concentrated more on the arts and dharmic studies since her arrival in the United States in the 1960s.
She received extensive training in Vadalur paani Bharatanatyam, Rabindra Natak, Karnatic and Hindustani classical music from other teachers. Jayaswal founded Kalamandiram, the oldest academy of classical Indian dance in Los Angeles and was instrumental in the growth of several children's classes under Chinmaya Mission and Vishwa Hindu Parishad. In the 1990s, she went back to college to further her interest in child education. For several years, Jayaswal worked as an enrichment program coordinator in West Los Angeles elementary schools. In India, she successfully conducted dance camps under Nehru Yuva Kendra and a special summer school program, Sahridaya, for orphan girls.
Jayaswal's thirst for spiritual knowledge has led her to the study of Vedanta, Tantra and Vajrayana Buddhism and her teachers in various darshanas have included Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Easwaran Namputhiri, R. Anjaria, Ven. Garchin Rimpoche, Ven. Chetsang Rimpoche and His Holiness, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. She has also had instruction under Rabbi Chaim Solomon in the Kabbalistic way of life.
She has taught spiritual culture and dance extensively in the U.S. and India and has expressed her scholarship and intuitive and experiential knowledge through numerous lectures, creative projects, books and articles.
Her home in Trivandrum has been handed over to AIM for Seva, and it houses currently destitute boys who are being brought up in gurukulam tradition.
In the US she is actively involved in many volunteer and community projects. She conducts a Heritage of India program for children of Indian immigrants and teaches private classes in the understanding of Hindu scriptures.
The presence of the feminine divine principle in the form of a powerful icon, Shree Vidyamukambika, that is now worshipped in Eugene, Oregon and the extensive ritual she performed for Mount Rainier are just two of the many examples that illustrate her intense work with energy principles that are latent in the North American continent.
She has been deeply involved in applying her training in Keraliya tantra to the worship of the Greek Deity Demeter, based solely on the Homeric Hymn. In 2017 she travelled to Greece visiting archaeological sites and museums to further this pursuit. She hopes to eventually train interested Greeks in this upasana.
June 2010 saw Vasanti entering the field of Turkish devotional music. She has attended music workshops associated with the Mevlevi Order Of America directed by noteworthy musicologists Dr. Timucin cevikoglu. and continues to receive guidance from Dr. Osman Oksuzoglu. After her return from visiting Turkey in 2016, she has furthered her passion for this music through " Mystical Dimensions" a monthly program held in Rohnert Park and Petaluma, where she sings ilahis, shares her translations of the poems of Turkish mystic poets and conducts healing zikrs.
In Petaluma she has constructed a sacred grove dedicated to major religions. The Adobe Shrine here, houses a beautiful Shaakaambaree ( the cloud that rains the greens) deity for meditation purposes. In addition a homa kunda ( Fire altar) based on Samkhya principles and a house honoring ancestors are also present. She is an active member of the Interfaith Council of Sonoma County where her expertise on Vedic and Puranic knowledge is actively sought. At the monthly Rivertown A-muse-ings, in Petaluma, she gets to read poems that she writes on a variety of subjects.
1. The Devimahatmyam- Glory of the Feminine Principle Word to word meaning and translation.
Forward by Swami Svahananda , Vedanta Society, Hollywood.
2. Hastamudra Dhyanam- Reflections
A manual for students of Kerala Natanam
3. Shri Mukambika Mahatmyam
4. Shri Durga Mahatmyam
5. Margasheersha sandesham
6. Translation of the Thirupavai
7. The Yoga of Karma- in brief
KALAMEZHUTHU ( Ancient ritual and worship of ground drawings executed in Kerala)
1. Tamasi, Tvisha and Koushiki devatas
3. Vatapatrashayee Balanarayana
London Matric- University of Madras, India
Bachelor of Science ( Zoology)- University of Madras, India
Master of Science, First Rank ( Zoology-Cytology )- University of Bangalore, India
Associate of Arts- ( Travel)- West LA College, Los Angeles
Child Education Units - El Camino College and CORE - UCLA, Los Angeles
Diploma ( Vedanta) - Sandeepany Sadhanalaya, Bombay, India
Hinduism Units - Hindu University, Florida
Diplomas(performance and teaching Kathakali classical dance )- Viswa Kala Kendra, Trivandrum, India
STUDIES, INITIATIONS under TRADITIONAL TEACHERS
Classical Dance-Kerala Natanam: Guru Gopinath and Thankamani Amma
Classical Dance-Bharatanatyam, Vadalur pani: Shri Udipi Jayaraman
Others: Shri Suchindram M.N. Pillai, Shri Paramasivan Natuvanar
Classical Dance- Manipuri: Shri Gopal Roy
Dance-Rabindra Natak: Smt. Prithvi Ghosh
Classical Music- Karnatak: Shri Rama Bhagavathar, Shri Chandra Bhagavathar and Shri Narayana Nambudiri
Classical Music- Hindusthani: Shri Amiya Das Gupta
Philosophy- Vedanta: Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayananda Sarasvati
Tantra- Keraleeya: Brahmashri Easwaran Namputhiri
Tantra- Shrividya: Shri R. Anjaria
Buddhism- Vajrayana, His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Buddhism- Vajrayana, Drikung Kagyu: Ven Garchen Rimpoche
Buddhism- Vajrayana, Drikung Kagyu: Ven. Chetsang Rimpoche
Judaism- Kabbalah: Rabbi Chaim Solomon