At the Aspen Ideas Festival 2008, Swami Parthasarathy, a self-realized soul and the founder of the Vedanta Cultural Foundation, discusses the question- "who am I?"
Swami Parthasarathy is a Self-Realized Soul and the founder of the Vedanta Cultural Foundation. VCF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educational programs based on Vedanta, India’s ancient philosophical wisdom. He has translated and written commentaries on such texts as the Bhagavad-Gita and the Upanishads and is the author of 8 other books, most notably Vedanta Treatise: The Eternities and The Fall of The Human Intellect. He is the Chief Acharya of the Vedanta Academy (India) which he founded in 1988. The Academy runs 3-year, full-time residential courses on Vedanta philosophy and its practice. Swami also leads corporate seminars and workshops in India and abroad on management techniques for senior executives and professionals.
Swami Parthasarathy discusses the irony in humans relating to animals better than other humans. He says this happens because animals have a collective nature and so are predictable: "kittens are cute, tigers are ferocious." Each human, on the other hand, has a different nature.
An audience member asks Parthasarathy how one reaches the most achieved state of self-realization. He says, "the more unselfish you are, you're getting nearer to the truth." The steps to self-realization are: withdrawal from desire, then concentration, and then meditation.