The Vedanta Society of Northern California maintains a retreat in west Marin County, about an hour’s drive from San Francisco in the town of Olema, where spiritual seekers may meditate and study away from the disturbances of urban life. Upon approval, individuals may stay overnight at the retreat from time to time after an interview at the Vedanta Society in San Francisco. The retreat occupies over 2000 acres on the Point Reyes Peninsula ― a sparsely settled, still largely pristine area on the coast of northern California. The Vedanta Society maintains a retreat house for men, as well as a separately located house for women. Each house accommodates retreat guests in private bedrooms. The purpose of the retreat is to provide spiritually-minded people, of any faith or spiritual path, a supportive environment for spiritual practice.
Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) was the foremost disciple of Sri Ramakrishna and a world spokesperson for Vedanta. After his first visit to the West, Swami Vivekananda returned to India and founded the Ramakrishna Order in 1898. His lectures, writings, letters, and poems are published as The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda.
Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient religious philosophies and one of its broadest. Based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India, Vedanta affirms the oneness of existence, the divinity of the soul, and the harmony of religions. Vedanta is the philosophical foundation of Hinduism; but while Hinduism includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.