What is Vedanta?



The word Vedanta comes from Sanskrit. It consists of two parts, namely, “Veda,” meaning knowledge, both temporal and spiritual, and “Anta,” meaning literal end. The Vedas are the oldest Hindu scriptures and the eternal source of knowledge, guiding the Hindus for thousands of years to lead meaningful lives on this earth and to help others around the world to become better socially, culturally and spiritually. become. The Vedas consist of two parts, namely the Karma-kanda and the Jnana-kanda.

The Karma-kanda deals with all forms of secular knowledge such as ritual worship, prayer, hymns and sacrifices, while the Jnana-kanda deals exclusively with spiritual knowledge. The last part of the Vedas, which sums up the purport and essence of the scripture in its entirety, consists of the Upanishads. They deal with spiritual knowledge. Hence, Vedanta literally means “closing of the Vedas,” as a teaching of spiritual knowledge for the benefit of all mankind regardless of nation, culture, nationality, or religion.

Fundamental Principles of Vedanta

1) Truth or ultimate goal is one, though people give it different names

2) Man is an essence divine.

3) The purpose of human life is to know this latent divinity.

4) Anyone can acquire this knowledge through personal and sincere effort

5) The Yoga techniques are available to man to master the truth.

One can follow them according to personal preference. These techniques [yogas] are; Jnana,  Bhakti,  Karma, and Raja i.e. the way of discrimination, of love and devotion, of selfless action and of meditation.

History and Universality

Advaita-Vedanta teaches that Brahman is absolute reality, “eternal, “infinite and”immortal. The universe is a projection of this reality and is called maya.

It is temporary, finite and always changeable. The truth is one and never changes no matter the circumstances. The same is true of the Self, the Spirit, or God, as the followers of the various religions call it. Therefore, there need not be any conflict between the differing conceptions of God, who is Father or Mother to all of us. Vedanta teaches this broad universality of Deity and helps mankind to develop morally and spiritually through the teaching of great prophets and that of divine incarnations the world has ever produced. Jesus Christ said: ‘God is truth. God is spirit, worship Him in truth and in spirit” and the Buddha; “Keep the truth.”

The oldest scripture of the Hindus, the Rig Veda, teaches ‘Ekam sat viprà bahudhà vadanti, The truth is one, sages give it different names.’ Or in the words of Shri Ramakrishna: ‘God is one, the people call Him by various forms.’  And this does not contradict the revelations of the ancient sages and saints of India. We are children of the same God, whether we call Him Father or Mother according to our preference. In fact, we are all brothers and sisters wherever we live and whatever religion we follow according to our traditions and beliefs. The Vedanta teaches this universal eternal philosophy.

Although Vedanta as a philosophy proclaims the unity (non-duality) of the highest existence according to the teachings of Shankaracharya, other philosophies are not rejected, such as qualified non-dualism and dualism, taught and explained by Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya respectively. The modern Vedanta teachings of Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) and his disciple Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) unites all these different philosophies into one common spiritual philosophy, “accepting the different phases of human evolution, “from dualism through qualified non-dualism to non-dualism or monism (Advaita). Vedanta accepts and respects all the great spiritual teachers and their teachings, who aid humanity in its spiritual development.