Thursday, February 21

Vedanta philosophy

Vedanta is derived from two words Veda - Knowledge, and Anta - End. Vedanta means the end of knowledge. This ancient philosophy presents the eternal principles of life and living.

Life is a mystery characterized by constant change. There are painful realities such as pain, suffering, illness, old age, and death. Happiness depends upon peace of mind, self control, and awareness of the self.

Vedanta teaches there is an ultimate reality. Self knowledge is the goal of all goals. There are four human values: righteous conduct, acquisition of wealth, fulfillment of desires, and freedom of the soul. Freedom of the soul is attained through self knowledge and this gives meaning and purpose to the other three values.

Vedanta is the teaching of major Hindu scriptures and obtains its authority from four Vedas: Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, and Atharvaveda.

Ultimate reality is pure consciousness. It is not real but apparent. It appears as a world of matter and souls and is endowed with the activity of creation, preservation, and dissolution. Why do we see multiplicity if all is pervasive consciousness? It is due to ignorance (Avidya), absence of light to the self. In terms of religion Avidya is sin; in terms of ethics, it is immorality; in terms of aesthetics, it is ugliness; in terms of logic, it is fallacy.

The world in an ocean: the near shore which we know, and the far shore remains a mystery. Life is a journey, an attempt to cross the ocean and reach the other shore, which is immortality. No one can take us across the ocean. We must build our own rafts.

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