The ideology of Vedanta, as it is commonly called today, also contains all the various denominations that now reside in India. Thus there were various views, and in my opinion, they were positive, beginning with the dualistic or Advaita and concluding with the non-dualistic or Advaita. Let us look at why do Hindus believe in Vedanta as the absolute truth?
The term Vedanta simply implies the conclusion of the Vedas is the scriptures of the Hindus. Even the Vedas in the West is referred to mainly as the Vedas ‘hymns and ceremonies. But at present, these sections have almost gone out of usage, and the Vedanta is generally represented by the term Vedas in India.
Both of our commentators, when they choose to quote a verse from the scriptures as a law, quote from the Vedanta, which with the commentators has another formal name the Shrutis. (Including the whole Vedic literature, the word Shruti meaning “that which is said” is primarily extended by the commentators to the Upanishads.)
Now, not all the books called by the Vedanta name were published entirely after the ritualistic portions of the Vedas. For eg, one of them the Ishâ Upanishad forms the Yajur-Veda’s fortieth portion, that being one of the Vedas ‘oldest sections.
There are many Upanishads that shape sections of the Brahmanas or ritualistic writings; and the majority of the Upanishads are separate, not included in any of the Brahmanas or other parts of the Vedas; yet there is no justification to think that they were entirely autonomous of certain parts, because, as we all know, many of these have been totally lost and many of the Brahmanas have been obsolete.
Therefore it is also likely that certain Brahmanas contributed to the separate Upanishads, which fell into disuse in the course of time, whereas the Upanishads prevailed. Such Upanishads are sometimes called Aranyakas or Books of the Wood.
The Vedanta, therefore, essentially shapes the scriptures of the Hindus, and all schools of religion that are orthodox will take it as their foundation. The third, the Vyâsa method, took a stance on the Vedas doctrines rather than the prior regimes did and sought to harmonize the preceding theories, such as the Sânkhya and the Nyâya, with the Vedanta doctrines.
Therefore it is especially called the Vedanta theory; even in modern India, Vyasa’s Sutras or aphorisms are the foundation of Vedanta theory. Yet again, separate scholars have described these Vyasa Sutras in numerous forms. In India now there are usually three kinds of commentators3; three schools of thought and religions have arisen from their interpretations.
One is the dualistic, or Advaita; the second is the non-dualistic eligible or Vishishtâdvaita, and the third is the non-dualistic, or Advaita. Of these, the most various Indian citizens are the dualistic and the trained non-dualistic. The total of the non-dualists is relatively small.
Now I’m going to seek to put before you the ideas that are found in all these three sects; but before moving on, I’m going to make one remark that these various Vedanta systems have one similar psychology, that is, the Sankhya framework psychology. The philosophy of the Sankhya is quite close to the psychologies of the structures of the Nyaya and Vaisheshika, which vary only in small specifics.
On three points all the Vedantists consent. They believe in Heaven, as revealed in the Vedas, and as in cycles. We’ve seen the Vedas before. The belief in cycles is as follows: all matter in the world is the product of one primal matter called Âkâsha; and all energy, be it momentum, desire, or repulsion, or existence, is the product of one primal force called Prâna. Prana working on Akasha establishes the world. Throughout the outset of the process, Akasha is still motionless, unmanifested.
Then, more and more, Prana starts to behave, making grosser and grosser types out of Akasha plants, creatures, people, stars, etc. For an incalculable time, this transformation ends and the involution continues, as a new process occurs, it is transformed back into the initial Akasha and Prana through finer and finer ways. There is also everything that goes beyond Akasha and Prana. A third element named Mahat the Celestial Mind can overcome both. This Cosmic Mind does not create but changes into, Akasha and Prana.
We are now going to take on the beliefs about mind, soul, and God. According to the widely recognized Sankhya psychology, there are first of all the tools of awareness, the brain, insight in the case of hearing, for example. Behind the instruments, the eyes are the vision system, or Indriya the optic nerve, and its centers which is not the actual device, but through which the eyes can not see. Perception also wants more. Mind or Manas have to come in and bind themselves to the brain.
Then after this, the feeling must be taken to the mind or Buddhi the deciding, receptive state of mind. When the response arrives from the Buddhi, the outer world and egoism flash along with it. The will is here, then; but not everything is through. Just like any vision, consisting of successive impulses of light, must be combined on something stationary in order to shape a whole, so all ideas in the mind must be collected and imposed on something stationary comparatively to the body and mind that is, on what is called the Soul or Purusha or Âtman.
The receptive state of mind called Buddhi or intelligence is the result, the transition, or any representation of the Mahat or Universal Mind according to the Samkhya theory. The Mahat is converted into vibrating thought, and that becomes the organs in one section, and the fine particles of matter in the other. The remainder of this world is created from the synthesis of all these.
Behind only Mahat, the Sankhya conceives a certain condition that is called Avyakta or unmanifested, where there is not even the appearance of the consciousness but just the reasons remain. It is called Prakriti, too. Beyond this Prakriti, and eternally distinct from it, is the Purusha, the Sankhya’s consciousness which is omnipresent yet without qualities. The Purusha is the observer and not the doer.
The Crystal Analogy is used to clarify the Purusha. The above is supposed to be like a colorless diamond, in which various colors are set, and then the colors above it seem to color, but in fact, it is not. The Vedantists dismiss the essence and existence of Sankhya’s thoughts. We say there is a massive gap between them to be bridged over.
The Sankhya mechanism appears to exist on the one hand and then at once, it needs to hop over to the other side and move to the spirit, which is totally different from itself. How will these various shades, as they are named by the Sankhya, function upon the soul which is colorless by its nature? And the Vedantists, from the very first claim that this spirit and existence are one. Also, the dualistic Vedantists agree that the Atman or Deity is not only the power source of this world but the material source as well.
Yet in too many terms, they claim only that. Life and spirit are, as it is, God’s flesh and it may be assumed in that way that God and the entire world are one. But for all time this world and all these disparate beings remain separate from each other. They only become visible at the beginning of a cycle; and when the process finishes, they become perfect, and remain in a fine condition. The Advaita Vedantists the non-dualists oppose this soul doctrine, and, having embraced almost the whole spectrum of the Upanishads, build their ideology completely upon them.
All the books found in me Upanishads have one subject, one mission before them — to prove the following theme: “As through the awareness of one lump of clay we have the awareness of all the clay in the universe, then what is that, understanding that we know all in the universe?” The purpose of this is to generalize the entire world into one that is really all of t.
And they believe that this whole world is one, that it is one Being which expresses itself in all these different ways. They accept that there is something the Sankhya called existence but they claim existence is Heaven. It is this Being, the Sat, that has become all this — the world, man, spirit, and everything that remains. Mind and Mahat are nothing but the embodiments of one Sat. But then the problem emerges that it will be pantheism.
Why did the unchangeable Sat come to be transformed as they accept (for that which is utter is unchangeable) into that which is changeable and perishable? Here, the Vedanta yogis have an idea they call Vivarta Vâda, or obvious presentation. Compared to the dualists and the Sankhyas, the evolution of human beings is the origin of this world. According to some of the Vedanta and some of the dualists, this world as a whole is emerging from God.
And according to the proper Vedanta yogis, the disciples of Shankaracharya, God’s evident creation is the whole cosmos. God is this universe’s material origin but not necessarily, seemingly just. The common example mentioned is that of the rope and the serpent, where the rope seemed to be the serpent but wasn’t actually like that. No, the rope didn’t turn into the serpent. And then this entire world is the Being because it occurs. It’s constant and all the improvements that we see are just evident in it.
Such shifts are induced by Desha, Kâla, and Nimitta (space, time, and causation), or by Nâma and Rupa (name and form) according to a higher generalization of the psychology. Differentiating one element from another is by name and type. The name and the form alone affect the disparity. We are simply one of the same.
Again, it’s not because there is anything like phenomena and anything like noumenon, the Vedantists claim. The chain is evidently simply transformed into the serpent; so as the illusion ends, the serpent dies. He sees the phenomena while one is in denial, and does not understand God. This world for him absolutely vanishes as he sees Heaven.
Ignorance, or Mâyâ, as it is named, is the origin of all this phenomenon the True, the Unchangeable, is taken as this world formed. This Maya isn’t absolute zero, nor is it inexistent. It is known as neither being nor non-existing. It is not life since it can only be said of the Absolute, the Unchangeable, and Maya is in existence in this context.
Once again, it can not be assumed that this is non-existence; because if it were, it would never be able to generate phenomena. So it is everything that is neither; so it is called Anirvachaniya or inexpressible in the Vedanta doctrine. Maya, therefore, is the universe’s real source.
Maya provides the name and type of what the substance is offered by Brahman or God, and the above seems to have been turned into all of that. And the Vedanta yogis have little space for the human spirit. They claim that Maya produces human souls. They can not occur in fact. If there was just one life in, how could I actually be one, and you are one, and so on? We are all one and the concept of duality is the root of bad.
As soon as I start to realize like I’m different from this world, anxiety arrives first, and then suffering follows. “Where one hears another, one sees another, that is low. Where one does not see another, where one does not hear another, that is the best, that is, Heaven. In that best, there is total happiness.
In little things, there is no happiness.” According to the theory of Advaita, therefore, this separation of matter, these occurrences, for a while, mask the true nature of man; but the true nature of man; The same sacred essence is present in the lowest worm, and even in the growing human being. The worm form is the lower form in which Maya overshadowed the divinity more; this is the higher form in which it was least overshadowed.
The same divinity resides underneath it, and from this derives the foundation of morality. Do not harm any. Honor each as your own selves, for the whole world is one. I injure myself in hurting someone; in harming someone, I love myself. From this also emerges the concept of morality in Advaita that was summed up in one term self-abnegation.
The little tailored self is the source of all my suffering, the Vedanta yogis claim. The individualized nature that separates me from all other things includes hatred and envy and suffering, battle, and all those horrors. And when it’s got rid of this notion, all suffering will end, all pain will disappear. And this needs to be discarded.
We will still stand ready, even to submit our lives to the lowest beings. If a man is willing even to give up his life for a little bee, he has achieved the purity that the Vedanta yogis wish to achieve; and at the moment when he is so happy, the curtain of confusion falls away from him, and he can sense his own essence.
He can know that even in this lifespan he is one with the world. The entirety of this incredible universe will, as it is, vanish for him for a while so he will know what he is. Yet as long as this body’s Karma exists he will continue to work. This condition is what the Vedantists term the Jivanmukti, living liberty, where the veil has disappeared and yet the body persists for some time.
When a guy has been deluded by a mirage for some years, and the mirage fades one day if it returns the next day, or at another date, he may not be deluded. The guy had not been able to differentiate between fact and illusion until the mirage fell away.
Yet after it is cracked, he will see the vision as long as he has lungs and eyes to operate with, but will not be deluded anymore. The great contrast between the true world and the mirage which he saw, and the latter may no longer delude him.
And the entire universe has disappeared for him since the Vedantist understood his own reality. It’ll rise again, but not the same universe of suffering anymore. The cage of suffering has become Sat, Chit, Ânanda — Pure Life, Utter Knowledge, Happiness Eternal — and the completion of this is the aim of Advaita Philosophy.
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Meet Krishnaprasath Krishnamoorthy, a Yoga, Vedanta, and Hindu spiritual aspirant with a passion for sharing the ancient wisdom and practices of Sanatana Dharma with others. With 20 years of experience on the spiritual path, Krishnaprasath Krishnamoorthy has a deep understanding of the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of Yoga, Vedanta, and Astrology.