Welcome to the 7th Annual Texas Yoga Conference in Houston, TX!
February 19-21, 2016
India Houston
8888 W. Bellfort Street
Houston, TX 77031
avatar for Jayadvaita Swami

Jayadvaita Swami

Jayadvaita Swami—writer, editor, publisher, and teacher—is an American monk in the Indian tradition of Krishna spirituality. He has edited more than forty books, mainly translations and commentaries for Sanskrit spiritual texts. He oversees the African division of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, the world’s largest publisher of India’s classic spiritual books.

Traveling year round, he has taught in more than sixty countries. He speaks especially from the Bhagavad-gita, India’s best-known text of spiritual wisdom, the original book of yoga.

In the 1980s he spent a year and half traveling in India on foot, staying in a different town or village every night.

He is the author of Vanity Karma: Ecclesiastes, the Bhagavad-gita, and the Search for the Meaning of Life.

Jayadvaita Swami was born in 1949 as Jay Israel to a Reform Jewish family. He grew up in Englewood, New Jersey, a suburban town neighboring New York City. As a teenager in a Jewish Sunday school he encountered the biblical book of Ecclesiastes and at once understood—all too well—its opening argument that life is meaningless.

In a brief encounter in 1964 at the New York World’s Fair, a Roman Catholic priest told him, “Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” This the young boy at once accepted.

He dropped out of high school, did a stint as a drop-in student at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), dropped out again into the 1960s counterculture, and at last, at the age of 19, came in touch with the teachings of Krishna.

He quickly took up the path of bhakti-yoga taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita and became a full-time spiritual student. In 1968 he accepted initiation from his spiritual teacher, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who had brought “Krishna consciousness” to America. At initiation the new student received the name Jayadvaita Dasa, meaning “a servant [Dasa] of Krishna, or God.”

Srila Prabhupada, as Jayadvaita’s teacher was known, was a prolific author, and from the start Jayadvaita began to assist him in publishing, first as a typist, then as a proofreader and production manager, and finally as his editor.

Over time, Jayadvaita began to travel widely in North America to teach from the works he was helping publish. In 1970 he also began to spend a month a year in India.

In 1978 he accepted initiation as a sannyasi, or monk, and became Jayadvaita Swami. He then added Europe, Latin America, and Australasia to his travels and began spending more time in India.

In 1985 and 1986 he spent a year and a half traveling with a party of pilgrims on pada-yatra, a journey on foot, through various states of India, stopping in a different town or village every night. He walked about ten thousand miles.

Since 1988 he has served as a trustee of Srila Prabhupada’s publishing house, the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust. In 2009 he led in setting up the BBT’s African unit, which he continues to guide. He now spends several months a year in various countries of Africa, making South Africa his base.

Apart from his work in publishing, he continues to travel widely to teach. These are the countries in which he has taught:

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Congo-Kinshasa, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, India, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela.