“One morning (many years ago), I woke up early, cherishing the quiet of the dawn. As the coffee brewed, I began putting away clean dishes from the night before when my eyes fell upon the block of kitchen knives. I casually wondered what it would be like to die. I wasn’t suicidal or depressed—the thought was one of innocent curiosity. As I contemplated this possibility, I had a vibrant vision of the trajectory of my life on the path of habitual seeking. I saw myself as an externally successful but deeply unfulfilled middle-aged woman who was worn-out and unhappy. She looked like she had missed out on the most important thing in life. The vision faded.
As my attention returned to the kitchen, I noticed that several minutes had passed and my hand was frozen in midair, still clutching a utensil. A stream of joy bubbled up from the depths of the ennui that had enveloped me until then. Finally I knew! What I was really seeking was the end of seeking. And it had nothing whatsoever to do with gathering, achieving, or acquiring.” ~Excerpt from Shakti Rising (Nonduality Press, 2017)
MEET KAVITHA CHINNAIYAN
Dr. Kavitha Chinnaiyan is a Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine, a wife, and a mother. She has published more than a hundred papers in peer-reviewed journals and several book chapters, and serves on several national and international committees and organizations in the field of cardiology.
She is a Śrīvidyā initiate and disciple of Śri Chaitanyananda Nātha Saraswatī (Haran Aiya), pīṭhādhipati and founder of the Rājarājeśvarī Pīṭham in Rush, NY.
She is a long-term student of Dr. Sumit Kesarkar, who is her Vidyā Guru in all traditions and who encouraged her to establish Śabda Institute.
She has studied Advaita Vedanta at the Chinmaya Mission, the Direct Path with Greg Goode, Śrīvidyā with Śri Śivapremananda, and Non-dual Śaiva Tantra (also known as Kashmir Śaivisim) with Paul Muller-Ortega and Sally Kempton.
She has studied Tantra, Advaita Vedanta, Yoga and Āyurveda with teachers across the globe. Her workshops, courses and writings strive to bring these time-honored traditions to modern living in practical ways.
She is the author of Shakti Rising (Nonduality Press, 2017), which won the Nautilus Gold Award for Best Books of 2017, The Heart of Wellness (Sfaim Press, 2020), Glorious Alchemy: Living the Lalitā Sahasranāma (New Sarum Press, UK, 2020), and Fractals of Reality: Living the Śrīcakra (Sfaim Press, 2022).
"What I had been seeking all my life was the end of seeking."
THE ŚABDA TEAM
Holly works in humanitarian response, and is also an artist.
For Holly, studying with Kavithaji has been an immeasurable gift, the answer to a deep and indecipherable longing. Since being with her, she is continuously experiencing miraculous transformations in health and perception as the teachings progressively unfold into an embodied reality.
"Being Amma’s student is an immense privilege that is entirely transforming my lived experience. Her cutting logic, practicality, generosity, and unfathomable compassion touches every aspect of my life. I want nothing more than to dissolve fully into her wisdom."
Holly runs operations for Śabda Institute.
Professionally, Joanne heads a team of specialists in international trade finance, a field in which she has worked for 20 years. Beyond this, she’s had a lifelong passion for just about any activity that gets her out exploring nature.
Joanne has had a dedicated spiritual practice for years, though it had often felt like it was at odds with her hectic householder life. It was therefore quite amazing for her to discover Kavitha’s teachings through The Heart of Wellness book, and to see Kavitha making her spiritual path her commitment and priority even in the midst of a hectic and successful professional and home life. Through Kavitha, Joanne has learned that the challenges of life are what give us the chance to grow. To face these in a practical manner and with continuous self-inquiry are critical factors in our sadhana. Joanne is also fascinated at how impactful lifestyle is in reducing stress in the body and mind. She is thrilled to be a part of the Śabda Institute and to see it grow, bringing these profound yet practical teachings to a broader audience.
Kristen leads the community organizing department of a labor union representing workers in grocery, healthcare and retail. She is also a trained mediator with a focus on workplace disputes.
While having a dedicated practice for many years, Kristen’s sadhana was separate from the rest of her life. This longing to center practice in work, activism, and relationships, drew Kristen to Kavithaji's all-encompassing, women-centered, embodied teachings for householders. She had no idea the radical transformations that were to unfold, the deep unlearning that needed to happen and the boundless grace that brought her here.
“Amma continuously shows me where I am stuck in a dualistic mindset, suffering in my own limited view. She opens my heart, mind, and body to the possibility of freedom in every moment. Amma leads me to the sweetness of life through her unconditioned love.”SI is home to Kristen, and she is honored to be part of the team. Kristen is a coordinator of Śabdopāya.
Laura is a Yoga Therapist and Mental Health Therapist based in Seattle. She supports people while they heal from the effects of trauma and cultivate resilience. When she returned from her first trip to India in 2018 she put a prayer on her altar to find a radical, feminist, woman Tantra teacher. Within 3 months Kavithaji found her and Laura has been experiencing her grace and guidance ever since.
Laura says, "My entire life transformed through Kavithaji's grace. My relationship with myself, my body, my family and the world changed, and I am forever grateful." Laura manages membership for the Śabda Institute. You can learn more about Laura at www.seedyogatherapy.com.
Shyama has been working in the Technology industry for more than 30 years across various platforms, industries and geographies. The last decade of her work has been transforming corporate organizations and teams by implementing enterprise agility due to her passion for transformation. This passion drove her to search for her own transformation within, where she was called to Śabda Institute.
She says she is blessed to be guided by her beloved Śri Guru and sangha members as a part of Śabda Institute, which has transformed her holistically inside and out. This has helped her to work on her past conditionings, and her seeking has ended. Out of all the courses, workshops and many books she has read, nothing can truly compare to the transformation that she has experienced here in such a short period. She continues to transform on her journey.
Shyama supports the Śabda Sphota and Setu programs for Śabda Institute.
With more than 25 years of professional experience as a Clinical Psychologist working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders Tanuka was seeking a spiritual foundation that would help her growth as a woman juggling work and home, which she found through Kavitha. Her teacher soon taught her that her whole life was her sādhanā and there is no split between work and personal life. This experience was further enhanced when Tanuka had the blessed opportunity to join Team Kavitha. Her heart opened wide to the power of women working in perfect alignment and support of each other. She learnt that approaching life’s issues with clear and honest intentions, pragmatism, rational and precise communication but with detachment to the outcome were key to harnessing creative flow and ensuring success.
Tanuka feels that being part of this space of power, devotion and commitment is the sādhanā of a lifetime. Tanuka manages the Śabda Sphota and Sphota Stambha programs for Śabda Institute.
Tatiana has been exploring different paths all converging into a journey towards well-being and personal growth. She completed a training in classical homeopathy, as well as a yoga certification which inspired her to offer programs for mental and physical health adapted to a multitude of contexts. Tatiana is also involved in business management and loves the growth that comes with being in this field.
"Kavithaji’s grace and wisdom reveal the true meaning of what it is to be wholesome in this world. Studying with Kavithaji has radically changed my perspective in a personal and professional sense, helping me understand the inherent non-separation of all aspects of one’s life and its implication for personal evolution and growth. I am thrilled and honoured to be a part of the team of women who empower each other and the greater community of practitioners by their relentless devotion to the teachings."
Téa is a poetess and a scholar-practitioner. She writes bhakti poetry and her research interests include Śāktism, the Mahābhārata and non-dual philosophy.
Téa's deep longing for a teacher was answered when she met Kavithaji, whose presence instantly impacted her to her core. Kavithaji's exquisite and highly practical teachings are radically transforming every inch of her being, and continuously enrich her writings with the insights, delight and fervour unearthed only through practice. She is immeasurably grateful to walk the path while being held by the overflowing grace of the Guru and supported by the love of the Śabda saṅgha.
Téa is part of the Marketing Team of Śabda Institute and creates Sanskrit glossaries for the ŚI courses.
You can find out more about Téa and her writings here: https://teanicolae.com/
Vanitha started her career working in the healthcare industry as an information systems analyst. Over the course of time her focus shifted to health and wellness with an intention to improve quality of life for herself and her near and dear ones. This inspired her to take up yoga teacher certification and change her diet patterns. She looked for healthier ways to cook meals incorporating natural foods and spices. She began experimenting with food combinations and traditional cooking techniques. She is also an artist and spends time doodling and painting using watercolors, acrylics and digital media.
Vanitha says, “I am grateful to be part of the Śabda team and its noble vision. The simplicity, directness and practicality of Kavitha’s teachings, rooted in the authority of Tantra, Vedas and other paths, had a profound impact on me and my outlook towards life as I immersed myself in her deep knowledge and wisdom.”
Vanitha manages the Heart of Wellness community and is also involved in creating the Bliss Recipe Book for Śabda Institute.