Hema Patankar has spent her life immersed in study, practice and service to the Vedic tradition. It began when she was a teenager irresistibly attracted to the sound of Sanskrit and images of yogis who had become profoundly wise and blissful through meditation.
An alumni of a gurukula in Western India, Hema spent over 30 years intimately engaged with the traditions that have emerged from the Vedas. She worked on research, translation, and editorial projects in the company of learned pandits and scholars. She assisted with yajnas – ancient fire ceremonies – and rituals, which allowed her to get extraordinarily close to the living practice of Vedic traditions. She immersed herself in the sādhana of singing Sanskrit hymns and the songs of the poet saints, which she studied intensively with her Gurus and traditional devotional singers. She became known for devotional singing, and taught students from around the world.
Hema has a passion for the preservation of sacred Vedic heritage. For several years she was the Executive Director of the Muktabodha Indological Research Institute. There she spearheaded the development of an extensive online collection of rare Sanskrit texts. She nurtured the establishment of a traditional Vedic school where an endangered branch of the Vedas is preserved. She also directed the video documentation of remarkable Vedic rituals and brought rare texts on Śaiva philosophy and Vedic ritual to publication.
She later studied traditional Āyūrveda and earned a Vaidya Bhusana (vaidyabhūṣaṇa) Ayurvedic Practitioner degree. She is President of the Board of Trustees of Vedika Global, a school for the study and practice of traditional Āyūrveda and Vedic sciences. She has published articles on Āyūrveda, the Bhakti tradition, and the preservation of Vedic manuscripts. Most recently she edited a text on Vedic full and new moon rituals. Her current writing focuses on the intersection of living Ayurveda with the rituals and philosophy of the Vedic tradition.