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Essays on Vedanta
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Essays on Vedanta
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About the Book

Department of Philosophy is a full-fledged academic department under the University of Kerala engaged in teaching, research and extension activities in the field of Philosophy. Regular program of the Department include Masters Course in Philosophy (M.A & M.Phil) and Ph.D. Undertaking programs for the dissemination of Philosophical orientation, organising Seminars/Workshops at different levels and programs of free exchange of ideas beyond the boundaries of local and national language and culture is a unique feature of the Department. The type of courses offered at the post-graduate levels, research done and the various programs organised very appropriately indicate this. National Seminars/Refresher Courses sponsored by Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, Seminars/Workshops supported by the University are regular features of the Department. The publication program is the latest venture of the Department.

Introduction

This is the age of science and technology. The developments in these fields are so far reaching that it has changed our attitude towards not only the world in general but of man in particular. Science and technology are concerned with enriching the material comforts of life resulting in growing materialism and consumerism. Apart from the benefits to the happiness of man, science has failed to give lasting solutions to our questions, resulted in the crisis of the disintegration of the meaning of human life into fragmented understandings and emotional expressions. Technology as the ‘window’ of pure sciences is more harmful than sciences in providing easier and better means of living. It is said that technology is a ‘package deal which includes an outlook that separates the individual’s intellect, imagination, emotions and spirit, makes man slave to the immediate practical necessities and prevents him from pondering over the true meaning of life as a whole’. In the name of progress man has created a number of problems like violence, terrorism, population explosion and issues relating to poverty and environment. The communication revolution has made the world smaller and brought people closer to the extent that we speak of ‘global village’. But waves of separation of various kinds are seen everywhere: ethnic, linguistic, religious, economic and the like.

We witness erosion of values everywhere; unsocial behaviour and absence of self respect is the order of the day. Religion is no longer accepted as a source of comfort and consolation. Man has lost faith in the possibilities of science and technology has proved itself to be an unstable guide. The longing for a meaningful and wholesome life is to be re kindled; an outlook on life which does not say ‘no’ to the physical cravings and intellectual aspirations of man but at the same time exhorts him to go deeper and unfold the purer, vaster and more creative energy resources that lie dormant in him, is to be placed at his disposal. Man is required to be reminded that life must be a continuous movement to achieve higher and higher levels of un-folding. Arrested and made stagnant at the sensate level, life ceases to be life. Life today all over the world shows the evils of such stagnation. We have to stir up the waters of life, make it flow on as a healthy stream of human energy, revealing greater and greater dimensions of truth, beauty and goodness. The western mind steeped in materialism and bankruptcy found a redeeming vision in Vedanta, the traditional wisdom of the east. Therefore, there is the urgency to recover and redeem that part of our heritage called Vedanta, to re-examine and re interpret the scriptural texts, have a fresh look at the life saving messages of our great acharyas and evaluate the traditional teachings that have stood the test of time.

The great philosophy of Vedanta which India has developed since ages has continued to re-authenticate down to our own times through a succession of saints, sages and thinkers, has a tremendous relevance for humanity. It is the pure message for human growth, development and fulfilment. It has got a science and technique that is contained in the great prasthanatrayas of the Upanisads, the Bhagavat gita and the Brahmasutras. Vedanta is always a quest for the Supreme Truth. The central teaching of Vedanta can be summarized as: a. The reality is the Supreme Truth(Brahman) b. the identification of the individual self(atman) with Brahman, c. there are different paths that lead to self realization d. Dharma or righteousness is for the welfare of everything and every being in the universe. This teaching implies that: Vedanta is not only for sages and saints but for all human beings, Loka samgraha or happiness of the whole world is its goal, it is an eternal quest for Truth and as such neither ancient nor modern but eternal. It is a science, the science of spirituality or adhyatmavidya and hence the most relevant in a scientific age. It is axiological for it assumes the concept of dharma as the guide to all activities, it is humanistic to the core since it is open to al] as a technique for bringing out the inner, hidden and infinite possibilities of man.

Vedanta does not mean Advaita Vedanta as is ordinarily made to understand. Historical reasons contributed to this understanding. But along with this there is the need to project the views of other vedantic systems such as Visistadvaita, Dvaita and their variations for these systems have developed out of the basic assumption that people differ in their intellectual abilities, temperaments, peculiarities, emotional needs and social responsibilities. The whole fabric of Vedanta is to be projected and their bearing upon the phenomenal life is to be examined.

The non dualist tradition in Vedanta as taught in the Prasthanatrayas of the Upanisads or the sruthi prasthana, the Bhagavat gita or the smriti prasthana and the Brahma sutras or the nyaya prasthana are valid for all- young and old, men and women, aspirants in all walks of life and conditions of society. The teachings of the Upanisadic sages of Uddalaka, Yajnavalkya in Upanisads like Isa, Katha and Brhadaranyaka are the cardinal principles of advaita. The Brahmasutra of Badarayana refers to the early teachers of Vedanta. The message that the immutable Lord himself is the individual soul which is eternal and unchanging consciousness, the elements and sense organs are the products of avidya that import the difference between the soul and the Supreme self and when the true knowledge dawns, the illusion disappears and the non difference realized, are nothing but advaitic teaching.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









Essays on Vedanta

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NAU848
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164
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About the Book

Department of Philosophy is a full-fledged academic department under the University of Kerala engaged in teaching, research and extension activities in the field of Philosophy. Regular program of the Department include Masters Course in Philosophy (M.A & M.Phil) and Ph.D. Undertaking programs for the dissemination of Philosophical orientation, organising Seminars/Workshops at different levels and programs of free exchange of ideas beyond the boundaries of local and national language and culture is a unique feature of the Department. The type of courses offered at the post-graduate levels, research done and the various programs organised very appropriately indicate this. National Seminars/Refresher Courses sponsored by Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, Seminars/Workshops supported by the University are regular features of the Department. The publication program is the latest venture of the Department.

Introduction

This is the age of science and technology. The developments in these fields are so far reaching that it has changed our attitude towards not only the world in general but of man in particular. Science and technology are concerned with enriching the material comforts of life resulting in growing materialism and consumerism. Apart from the benefits to the happiness of man, science has failed to give lasting solutions to our questions, resulted in the crisis of the disintegration of the meaning of human life into fragmented understandings and emotional expressions. Technology as the ‘window’ of pure sciences is more harmful than sciences in providing easier and better means of living. It is said that technology is a ‘package deal which includes an outlook that separates the individual’s intellect, imagination, emotions and spirit, makes man slave to the immediate practical necessities and prevents him from pondering over the true meaning of life as a whole’. In the name of progress man has created a number of problems like violence, terrorism, population explosion and issues relating to poverty and environment. The communication revolution has made the world smaller and brought people closer to the extent that we speak of ‘global village’. But waves of separation of various kinds are seen everywhere: ethnic, linguistic, religious, economic and the like.

We witness erosion of values everywhere; unsocial behaviour and absence of self respect is the order of the day. Religion is no longer accepted as a source of comfort and consolation. Man has lost faith in the possibilities of science and technology has proved itself to be an unstable guide. The longing for a meaningful and wholesome life is to be re kindled; an outlook on life which does not say ‘no’ to the physical cravings and intellectual aspirations of man but at the same time exhorts him to go deeper and unfold the purer, vaster and more creative energy resources that lie dormant in him, is to be placed at his disposal. Man is required to be reminded that life must be a continuous movement to achieve higher and higher levels of un-folding. Arrested and made stagnant at the sensate level, life ceases to be life. Life today all over the world shows the evils of such stagnation. We have to stir up the waters of life, make it flow on as a healthy stream of human energy, revealing greater and greater dimensions of truth, beauty and goodness. The western mind steeped in materialism and bankruptcy found a redeeming vision in Vedanta, the traditional wisdom of the east. Therefore, there is the urgency to recover and redeem that part of our heritage called Vedanta, to re-examine and re interpret the scriptural texts, have a fresh look at the life saving messages of our great acharyas and evaluate the traditional teachings that have stood the test of time.

The great philosophy of Vedanta which India has developed since ages has continued to re-authenticate down to our own times through a succession of saints, sages and thinkers, has a tremendous relevance for humanity. It is the pure message for human growth, development and fulfilment. It has got a science and technique that is contained in the great prasthanatrayas of the Upanisads, the Bhagavat gita and the Brahmasutras. Vedanta is always a quest for the Supreme Truth. The central teaching of Vedanta can be summarized as: a. The reality is the Supreme Truth(Brahman) b. the identification of the individual self(atman) with Brahman, c. there are different paths that lead to self realization d. Dharma or righteousness is for the welfare of everything and every being in the universe. This teaching implies that: Vedanta is not only for sages and saints but for all human beings, Loka samgraha or happiness of the whole world is its goal, it is an eternal quest for Truth and as such neither ancient nor modern but eternal. It is a science, the science of spirituality or adhyatmavidya and hence the most relevant in a scientific age. It is axiological for it assumes the concept of dharma as the guide to all activities, it is humanistic to the core since it is open to al] as a technique for bringing out the inner, hidden and infinite possibilities of man.

Vedanta does not mean Advaita Vedanta as is ordinarily made to understand. Historical reasons contributed to this understanding. But along with this there is the need to project the views of other vedantic systems such as Visistadvaita, Dvaita and their variations for these systems have developed out of the basic assumption that people differ in their intellectual abilities, temperaments, peculiarities, emotional needs and social responsibilities. The whole fabric of Vedanta is to be projected and their bearing upon the phenomenal life is to be examined.

The non dualist tradition in Vedanta as taught in the Prasthanatrayas of the Upanisads or the sruthi prasthana, the Bhagavat gita or the smriti prasthana and the Brahma sutras or the nyaya prasthana are valid for all- young and old, men and women, aspirants in all walks of life and conditions of society. The teachings of the Upanisadic sages of Uddalaka, Yajnavalkya in Upanisads like Isa, Katha and Brhadaranyaka are the cardinal principles of advaita. The Brahmasutra of Badarayana refers to the early teachers of Vedanta. The message that the immutable Lord himself is the individual soul which is eternal and unchanging consciousness, the elements and sense organs are the products of avidya that import the difference between the soul and the Supreme self and when the true knowledge dawns, the illusion disappears and the non difference realized, are nothing but advaitic teaching.

**Contents and Sample Pages**









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