James Swartz was born in Butte, Montana in 1941. He grew up in Lewiston, Idaho and had a very happy childhood. However, the small world of Lewiston could not contain him and at seventeen he left for a military prep school in Minnesota. He spent two years in a liberal arts college in Wisconsin, was expelled for disciplinary reasons, and enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley in 1963. Six months short of graduation he ran off to Hawaii where he started a successful small business. But something was terribly wrong; at twenty six he had become an alcoholic, chain-smoking, gluttonous adulterer and felt like life in every respect was not worth living. One day in the Post Office in Waikiki he had a life changing epiphany that put him on the path to freedom. Shortly after this he met his teacher Chinmayanada of the Chinmaya Mission and he discovered the liberating teachings of Vedanta. Since then Vedanta has been his life.The principal influences on his teaching have been Swami Chinmayananda, Swami Abhedananda and Swami Dayananda. James has been teaching traditional Vedanta around the world for the past 50 years. He has written a number of books on Vedanta including “The Essence of Enlightenment”, “How to Attain Enlightenment” and “The Yoga of the Three Energies”. He currently lives in southern Spain with his wife Sundari.