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David Frawley

David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)
David Frawley in 2007
Born (1950-09-21) September 21, 1950
Wisconsin, United States of America
Nationality American
Occupation Vedacharya, Ayurvedic teacher, Vedic astrologer, writer
Spouse(s) Yogini Shambhavi Chopra
Website .com.vedanetwww

David Frawley (or Vāmadeva Śāstrī वामदेव शास्त्री), born 1950, is an American Hindu teacher (acharya) and author, who has written more than thirty books on topics such as the Vedas, Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma), Yoga, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology, published both in India and in the United States. He is the founder and director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers educational information on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Vedic astrology.

His wife Yogini Shambhavi Chopra joins him in his teachings.[1] He is a frequent contributor to the magazine Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), and a Jyotishi (Vedic astrologer). Frawley has been repeatedly recognized as a noted spiritual teacher, especially of Yoga.

In 2015, he was honored by the President of India with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award granted by the government of India for "distinguished service of a high order to the nation."


  • Career 1
  • Reception 2
  • Partial Bibliography 3
  • Notes 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


In 2000, in his book How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma, Frawley details his move from a Catholic upbringing to embracing Hinduism and Vedic knowledge. He discovered the Vedas through the work of Sri Aurobindo around 1970 as part of his examination of Yoga and Vedanta.[3] His first published translations of hymns from the Rigveda occurred in 1980-1984 in various Sri Aurobindo Ashram journals, under the auspices of M.P. Pandit.[4] His article Vedic Mysticism brought me into Hinduism occurs in the book How to Become a Hindu from the Himalayan Academy.[5]

In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was named Vamadeva Shastri after the Vedic Rishi Vamadeva. In 1996 he was given the title of Pandit along with the Brahmachari Vishwanathji award in Mumbai, India.[6] He carries on the work of Kavyakantha Ganapati Muni, the chief disciple of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.[7] He is aligned with India Shaivite teacher Sadguru Sivananda Murty.[8] He has a D.Litt. in India from SVYASA (Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana).

In 1980, Frawley founded the Vedic Research Center, which he changed into the American Institute of Vedic Studies in 1988, which represents his work and teachings, including many on-line resources.[9]

Frawley or Vamadeva Shastri has studied, written and taught extensively in the field of Ayurveda, starting with his work with Vasant Lad in 1983.[10] He works with multiple Ayurvedic institutions including: The Chopra Center University of Deepak Chopra (where he is a Master Educator);[11] Kerala Ayurveda Academy (where he is a primary advisor and teacher);[12] The California College of Ayurveda (which he advised Marc Halpern during its formation); The Kripalu school of Yoga and Ayurveda;[13] The National Ayurvedic Medical Association, (where he has been one of the four main advisors since its inception in 2000);[14] and the Association of Ayurveda Professionals of North America (AAPNA, where he is an advisor).[15] He also previously taught Chinese herbal medicine and western herbology.[16]

Frawley was closely connected to the noted Indian astrologer Dr. B.V. Raman (Bangalore Venkata Raman).[17] He was one of the first Americans to receive the title of "Jyotish Kovid" from the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS) in 1993, followed by “Jyotish Vachaspati” in 1996. He was a founder and first president of the American Council of Vedic Astrology (ACVA) from 1993-2003.[18] He uses astrology in his books on ancient history, following Sri Yukteswar (Yukteswar Giri) and emphasizing a current “Harmonization with the Galactic Center”, linking human events with cosmic time cycles.[19]

In his Vedic educational work he is associated with the Swaminarayan movement (BAPS, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha) and their many temples throughout the world.[20]

In books such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India and Subhash Kak has rejected the Aryan Invasion Theory and supported the Indigenous Aryans theory.[22]

On 26 January 2015, the Indian Government honored Frawley with the Padma Bhushan award, one of the highest civilian awards,[23] which are rarely given to non-Indians working in Frawley's fields of expertise.


In his book American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, in the section "Passions for India," Philip Goldberg (2010) mentions David Frawley or Vamadeva Shastri as among three important teachers or Andrew Harvey.[24] In its “Meet the Innovators” section, the magazine Yoga Journal, speaks of David Frawley as “one of the first Americans to bring Ayurvedic Medicine and Vedic Astrology to the West.”[25]

In the foreword to Frawley’s book Vedic Yoga: The Path of the Rishi, Swami Veda Bharati (2014) notes, "Every page of Vamadeva’s book is an example of what the Vedic Rishis have extolled as manisha or mantra-bearing inspirational wisdom.” [26] Swami Veda Bharati also contributed a chapter to the book agreeing with Frawley's views on the Vedic Yoga.[27]

Referring to his book Yoga and Ayurveda, Frawley is mentioned as one of the main Yoga teachers of Deepak Chopra and David Simon in their book, the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga (2005).[28] Deepak Chopra (2015) states of Frawley/Vamadeva, relative to Frawley's book, Shiva, the Lord of Yoga, "Vamadeva Shastri has been a spiritual guide and mentor of mine for several decades. For anyone who is serious about the journey to higher divine consciousness, this book is yet another jewel from him."[29]

Rajiv Mehrotra (2003) of the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, India, interviewed Frawley as one of twenty important spiritual teachers in his book The Mind of the Guru.[30] Frawley has been highlighted for calling Paramahansa Yogananda, “the father of Yoga in the West.” [31] The Hindu (2014) notes Frawley as a “Yoga and Vedanta expert.”[32]

Frawley’s Swami Vivekananda: The Maker of a New Era in Global Spirituality occurs in a Ramakrishna Mission book anthology in honor of the one hundred and fiftieth birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.[33] Prabuddha Bharata (2014), a publication of the Ramakrishna Order, states relative to Frawley’s book Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound, “The book is a revelation in terms of the astonishing width of literature that Frawley touches upon. Volumes can be written on each individual chapter.”[34]

Bryant (2001) commented that Frawley's historical work is more successful in the popular arena, to which it is directed and where its impact "is by no means insignificant", rather than in academic study[35] and that "(Frawley) is committed to channeling a symbolic spiritual paradigm through a critical empirico rational one".[36]

In 2002, Frawley in an article[37] in The Hindu newspaper drew on the then recent marine archeological discoveries at Gulf of Cambay of existence of submerged city dating from 7500 BC, to further suggest possibility of coastal origin for Vedic civilisation. Frawley further suggested in his article that it concurs with the texts of the Rig Veda includes close connections with ocean based on the repeated occurrence in the texts of the Sanskrit word samudra, meaning ocean. Following this, Michael Witzel wrote a response article in The Hindu rejecting Frawley, based on Witzel arguments that the Sanskrit work samudra means confluence of river and does not mean the traditional meaning of ocean, and hence writers of the Vedic civilization were from a place far from any oceans and not originally from India. Witzel suggests for the meaning of samudra as presented by him, that the roots of samudra as formed from "sam"(together) "+ udra". The "+udra" he refers to have the same origin as English water, Old Norse watn and Green hudoor.[38] The debate between Frawley and Witzel continued with few more articles written by both to state their reasons to speculate that Vedic writers had roots from lands close to the oceans of India or far from ocean not from India, respectively.[39] [40] [41] [42]

Bruce Lincoln (1999) attributes autochthonous ideas such as Frawley's to "parochial nationalism", terming them "exercises in scholarship ( = myth + footnotes)", where archaeological data spanning several millennia is selectively invoked, with no textual sources to control the inquiry, in support of the theorists' desired narrative.[43]

Alternative archaeologist Graham Hancock (2002) quotes Frawley’s historical work extensively for the proposal of highly evolved ancient civilizations prior to our current estimate of history, including in India.[44] In addition, note Kreisburg (2012), for Frawley’s “The Vedic Literature and Its Many Secrets”.[45]

Partial Bibliography

  • Arise Arjuna: Hinduism and the Modern World (1995), Voice of India. New Delhi, India ISBN 978-81-85990-27-9
  • Astrology of the Seers: A Guide to Vedic (Hindu) Astrology (1991), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-89-6
  • Ayurveda and the Mind: the Healing of Consciousness (1997), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-36-5
  • Ayurvedic Healing: A Comprehensive Guide (1989), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-97-7
  • Gods, Sages, and Kings: Vedic Secrets of Ancient Civilization (1991), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-37-7
  • Hinduism: The Eternal Tradition (Sanatana Dharma) (1995), Voice of India, New Delhi, India ISBN 81-85990-29-8
  • In Search of the Cradle of Civilization (1995), (with Georg Feuerstein and Subhash Kak), Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois ISBN 0-8356-0720-8
  • Mantra Yoga and Primal Sound: Secrets of Seed (Bija) Mantras (2010), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 978-0-9102-6194-4
  • Vedantic Meditation: Lighting the Flame of Awareness (2001), North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California ISBN 978-1-55643-334-4
  • Vedic Yoga: The Path of the Rishi (2014), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 978-0-9406-7625-1
  • Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-healing and Self-realization (1999), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-81-0


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See also


External links

  • David Frawley's homepage
  • Interview with Vedacharya David Frawley
  • US Publisher of books by David Frawley
  • India publisher of books by David Frawley
  • Online books by David Frawley
  • Online version of Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations
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