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Books > Hindu > Vedas > Vedic Philosophy and Religion
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Vedic Philosophy and Religion
Vedic Philosophy and Religion
by Viswam
Description
About The Author

Born in Tirunilayi village of palakkad district (Kerala state), TRV (age 76) is a post graduate of the Madras University in Humanities. After a brief stint at journalism he joined the government of India immediately after independence. Initially he served in the ministry of external Affairs and moved on to several other Ministries including commerce and Industry, steel and Mines, Finance. He assisted the administrative reforms commission for five years on subjects mainly relating to Personnel industry, Defence and defence production. He retired as Deputy secretary from the Ministry of steel and mines. During the concluding period of his service he had the unique opportunity to handle inter connected subjects of geology, mining and metallurgy which took him to heights in Himalayas and depth in mines one of the deepest being the Kolar in Mysore. This exposure left an everlasting spiritual thirst in him. The sacred peaks of Himalayas thereafter beckoned him frequently. From amaranth in the western Himalayas to Arunachal Pradesh in the east he did pilgrimage to several sacred place including Kailas and manasarover. His travels include visits to U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Spiritual awakening comes in several ways. Being in the immediate presence of spiritual leaders is one such. Such golden opportunities came his way from his child hood; with the parmacharya of Kanchi immediately after his upanayanam at the age of eight, with Ramana Bhagavan for several weeks in 1942-43 with Swami Sivananda during 1947-60.

He spent the major part of his post of his retirement life in spiritual pursuits which included pilgrimage to almost all holy places and sat-sangam with holy men.

He was initiated into “Srividya” by Swami vimarsananda (who attained Samadhi in Chennai in 1996), a few days before his retirement from government service. Since then he is engaged in spiritual pursuit only. Bharatiy Vidya bhavan recently published his first book “Sanatana Dharma Eternal Religion.”

Introduction

The essence of the Vedic philosophy and religion lies hidden in several scriptures. Moreover, Vedas, the source were never written down but were learnt orally form a Guru by the student. Due to the wearing out of the oral tradition by efflux of time only some portions of Vedas have come down. It is a difficult task is even more difficult when it comes to the question of understanding them as they are written in Sanskrit. A spiritual seeker cannot be expected to undertake such stupendous task as a preliminary to the spiritual quest. Moreover he may not have a sound knowledge of Sanskrit. The common man who wants to familiarize himself with them may therefore, feel neglected or ignored. Hence there is need for a concise work in intelligible from covering all the known aspects of our philosophy and religion, present work it is an attempt in that direction. The main object of this work is to explain the fundamental in a single volume. All aspect of our religious has been covered in order to make it a reference manual too. The book has been made as concise as possible. However those interested in deep study of any part of it can go to the original. Every effort has been made to exclude the superfluous and unwanted aspect like mysticism, mythology, tradition, superfluous and unwanted aspect like mysticism, mythology, tradition, superstition and the like (except for briefly explaining them) and present only the correct picture of the myriad aspects of the religion.

There is confusion in the mind of many in regard to religious as a part of life. The necessity for religion itself is in doubt. Their life style leaves the youth very little time to devote to religion or even to think about it. They think of religion or God only when faced with difficulties failures and misery. A proper understanding of religion in the early stage of life will enable one to begin the spiritual journey at any time and in any manner one wants. The variety in religion offers choice to the individual to chose his form of religious life according to his mental makeup. One cannot adopt several forms simultaneously. If the choice is made in favour of idol worship for instance the idol to be worshipped should be the Ishta Devata (Personal God). By directing the attention to a single personal God it will be possible to reach the goal set for a religious life.

From time immemorial divine personalities have left behind for our benefit a cogent explanation of “Divinity” in its diverse names and forms, so that everyone will have a wide choice a choice to be exercised with discrimination according to one’s mental disposition. The ancient sages and gurus did not dingle out a particular name or form for this purpose; it has been left to the sweet will of the individual. This is the ideal of tolerance preached and practiced by the wise in the land. The exercise of the choice is a matter between the individual and his conscience although some guidance is necessary for those not familiar with the subject. The author hopes that such a guidance will be available in this book.

The book has been divided into three sections. The first and second sections cover philosophy and the third religion, which is applied philosophy. The Saiva and the Vaishnava doctrines have been explained in detail. They are not separate religions nor can our religion be so segregated. We may now begin with the groundwork of religion.

Divine Life:
God is manifestation of Shakti within us. We identify ourselves as specialist like teacher, doctor, sportsperson, musician, entertainer, agriculturist and the like. But we forget that we are also a bundle of potential schemes (crafts and arts and other skills) which are dormant in us. Ideas awaken these dormant psychic energy. We are unaware that we use up only a fraction of the potential, because we are ignorant of our own capabilities. It is only when we become conscious of our behavior pattern that we acquire the power to live in a mental or spiritual body. Then by freeing ourselves of external influence we rise to our full potential.

Science tells us that rays from outer space have oscillation vibration and frequency. All of us are subjected to these ethereal phenomena. Radiation from distant stars reach earth today even though the stars might have disintegrated long ago. Old notion of time distance and life have since changed. But the eternal presence of Divine Grace through a personality whether embodies or not looks more distinct now than before. If earth can be illumined possible that the hearts of its inhabitant are illumined and sanctified by Divine Grace with emanated from a spiritual spring alive in the distant past such divine grace can be realized when one is attuned to it.

God is realized by one own self. The inquiry therefore can start from one own inner quarters. When selfishness born out of ego is given up divinity enters the heart. The exercise is one of shifting the centre of gravity from the ego to the self i.e. form the fresh and blood of man to God inside him. When the ego disappears in the self the man in us merges in the God in us.

Only human beings are endowed with the discriminating power of intellect to realize the ultimate truth. For the sake of easy understanding we may call jivatma as “Soul” before it enters a body and “self” after it has found a body. Jivatma or self is circumscribed ad its knowledge is limited by time space and matter while the knowledge identified with universal self or paramatma is unlimited. The self is subject to dual experiences of pain and pleasure and the like while Paramatma is not bound by such dualities’. We are tied down by vasanas i.e. desires which are related to the sense even when the sense perception is absent as in the case of blind, deaf or dumb; the blind has eye vasana deaf has era vasana, dumb has speech vasana all vasanas are like vapour and Brahmam is beyond them. Self is under the influence of the power of maya exercised by Paramatma which leads to such dual experiences. But the individual atma which lead to such dual experiences. But the individual atma and the Universal Arma are one and the same. When this knowledge is attained we are freed from all bonds. The question is how to attain this knowledge. The individual atma is self plus mind. The mind develops desire (ie. Attachment to pleasure) or a dislike (ie. Aversion to pain) and takes therefore full of desires to perform certain actions which bring pleasure and avoid certain actions to avoid pain. Karma is sum total of all such desires a small portion of which leads to birth and during the life of the being many acts are done which increase the sum total of karma. It is of birth and deaths can be finally broken. These desires are very powerful and grip our mind firmly. They could be controlled only through a rigorous spiritual discipline. The body function through indriyas or instruments which take commands from the mind. Because of its connection with mind the individual self think that he is the doer and becomes responsible for the results of the deeds which leads to samsara or births and deaths. The universal consciousness is the paramatma or the substratum of the whole. Both the individual self and universal Atma are same.

We need a guide for adopting a correct attitude to life because a soul can receive impulses only from another soul. This guide is a guru a teacher. His teachings should be followed with the sincerity and devotion. It is also not necessary to be tied down to one teacher all the time because others may have something better to say.

We may begin by accepting life with all its trials and tribulations and also with a sense of repentance for not being able to detach ourselves from worldly desires. We will then proceed with a sense of gratitude for what we are and what we have. To concentrate on God one should repeat his blessed name and recall his blessed from. Meditation has been suggested as the best medicine for spiritual rejuvenation. The best way is to meditate in a closed room from where one will not see other nor be seen by other. Meditation is passive but it cleanses the mind of its impurities and makes it pure enough to receive the divinity. When we pray to god, we actually beg of him but in meditation we surrender to him. Prayers is taking to god while meditation is waiting for response which can come from our inner depths or from other like guru saints, sages.

Cosmology astronomy, astrophysics are studies of outer space. But the vastness of space defies our imagination. There is however a fundamental rhythm of universe a cyclical movement governed by an impersonal law which is responsible for the day night cycle and cycle of seasons on the earth. In the variety that is the universe three factors stand our viz., nature human being and the supreme God. Neither nature nor man is real although reality is in them and beyond them. God exists in all beings as the all pervading spirit. God exists in all beings as the all pervading spirit. The realized person discovers him sleeping in stones waking in plants, waking in animals and thinking in man. Man is the climax of creation and has a concentration of divinity in him. The manifestation of God’s power is of divinity in different beings; in some it is manifestation of power of knowledge and in other it is power of ignorance; in some greater manifestation then in other. It is very difficult to conceptualize god because no one has so far finally determined what God is and what god is not. It is the spiritual conduct alone which enable one to experience divinity associated with god. Epics and puranas depict god as human incarnation. Bhagavata purana itself narrates 22 such incarnations. These enable us to become devotees of god in any such incarnation. It is easy to cognize God as Rama, Krishna, Siva, Parvati and the like and visualize a particular human form as one personal God to see the man in God which all of us normally do. God to see the by his attributes. His omnipresence is not physical form but in his qualities like the sweetness of sugar. Name form abode are not important consideration of god. What is important is the divinity which is present in everything is equal before god. The concept of Narayana is the sum total of divinity. Its origin is not known as it sis the origin of everything time place is not causation. There is nothing prior to it. That is why there is no Jayanthi (birthday) of for Nayaryan.

God is the only realty and world is the its appearance god needs no proof. The concept of eswars is unique to Hinduism. It is through this concept that the sublime concepts of “Divine” and “Divine” are sought to be explained. The individual Atma is called Jivatma and the Atma of Eswara is called paramtama. Eswara a creation of maya. Wields that power to create the multiplicity that is universe and remains as a bridge between the individual Atma and paramatma.

Vedanta (one of the six system of Vedic philosophy) is based on the universal law of evolution. It studied man who can develop from a brute to God himself. It takes man from his lowest and elevates him to his highest. It takes him as he is leads him on inspiring him with love and filling him with such light as his mind could grasp.

When spiritual development grows and matures into identification of self with the infinite then we find God and divinity in such a person i.e. such a person becomes God himself we find the God in man. The philosophy of Vedanta dares to call man god himself and not merely his son or servant. Indian being a spiritual stage several such men have made their appearance here and left a bounty of spiritually treasure for the posterity. Even now we have in our midst several such divine being who move about spraying their fragrance of spirituality. In their company we become spiritually rich overnight without working for it. Years of sadhana (spiritual practice) have made them what they are the total benefit of which is passed on to us by our simply listening to them. Such holy company is not easy to get one gets it perhaps once in a lifetime.

“Devotees from the lowest level of society became saints. In the grand religious Republic of Vedanta the highest class Brahmin often gets degraded into fetish worshippers and men of the lowest classes rise to towering heights as saints and sages (like Nandan and Kannappa). The constitution of Vedanta provides for any one to climb to the highest spiritual position of Attmagnana irrespective of caste provided they have the mental capacity for it. But Vedanta does not condemn anyone or give up anyone as hopeless says B.R. Rajam Iyer.

We then pass on the mental and physical aspects of spiritual development. The mental aspect is called upasana (forms of worship and prayer) and the physical is yoga. Our body is the field which has to be cultivated because it is the temple of Kshetragna or the knower of the field. The true devotee should constantly watch his spiritual progress by improving his habits and purifying his mental attitudes. Because divinity is present in each body and in fact every limb in the body has divine potency. By cultivating and refining character by avoiding envy and hatred divine love can be developed. It is not necessary to search for divinity and divine love outside. God nearness to us in our own body proves his dearness to us in our own slowly but steadily step by step because it is related to one capacity. It is sadhana or constant practice. We see the tree with branches leaves flowers and fruits but we do not see the roots on which all these depend. Similarly the world of his creation is dependent on the divine force of shakti which is not visible.

Temples assume great significance not only because of the idols installed in them but because of the worship meditation and bhajans done by devotees there over a period of time. Similarly the human body which is also a temple (in which the Atma dwells) has to be cultivated spiritually. The sense organs are measuring instruments the tongue measures taste the eye evaluated what it sees and the ear what it hears, and so on. They shoul be used properly to see the divine taste the divine and hear the divine. Hence we have to control them and not be controlled by them. It is the mind that controls them as well as the organs of actions. Therefore the mind has to be directed through them to see good, think good, speak good, be good and do good.

The virtues of compassion and love are exclusive to man, which distinguishes him from animals. By practicing them without reservation he will be overwhelmed by spiritual love. God has to be approached with love and humility and not with a bargaining mind. Motivated bhakti is limited in its objective because it ends with the achievement of the objective. At any stage in life and in any situation one will certainly realize higher and nobler values by going deeper and deeper into himself; it is indeed a pilgrimage into one own self.

Dharma:
The word Dharma is unique. There is no word equal to it in English language. It refers to a set of traditional customs and conventions which conduce to the stability of society and the maintenance of social order including customary ruler or code of duties which hold together the different part of the society. It is spiritual righteousness having the force of law in an organized society and is different from organized religion. It protect those who uphold it. This was the last message of Bhisma to Yudhishtra (Mahabharata).

Dharma is the spiritual way of loving everyone as one loves oneself which is based on devotion to God and service to fellow humans especially the weak among them and is indeed the foundation of humanity. The weak oppressed by the strong could be protected only by Dharma i.e. by a society organizes on Dharma. Religion is relevant only to human beings but Dharma is applicable to the entire creation including nature. Religion is like a river while Dharma is like a ocean. All rivers finally merge in the ocean. The essence of all religions the message of all scriptures and the goal of all devotees is dharma. It orders the right relationship between man and man, man and society and society and society. Brahmavidya may be defined as the knowledge of attaining Brahman (supreme beings). Dharma sastra shows us the path to reach that supreme being. Both of them are contained in the Vedas. Upanishads speak of Brahmavidya while the Karmakhanda consisting of Samhita refer to dharma.

Vedas along with the entire philosophy behind them epics and puranas smritis (holy scriptures) and the entire classical literature that followed and the fine arts of dance drama and music, all originated from Dharma. This leads us on to the concept of culture which is the relation of the inherent divinity in man manifesting in his way of life culture is the essence of spiritually. A life without culture is like living in a dark house. Culture molds character.

Rita or rhythm is harmony in thought word and deed and is the mental realization of the actual truth which is the moral order the cosmos. Saya (truth) is expression in speech of rhythm. Dharma is truth in deed. The cosmic order based on rhythm uphold the Universe and is the same as the moral order which rules man destiny. Mundakopanishad has given us the motto “Satyameva Jayathe” (Truth alone triumphs but not falsehood). These are not empty words to be laughed at as Utopian. The framers of our constitution have adopted this motto as the guiding principle of governance so that the polity runs smoothly on the rails of Dharma.

The value of things differ according to their nature; water has natural value gold attributed value furniture created values and money store value. But real value is happiness. The absence of happiness is due to three causes; 1. Mental and bodily distortions, i.e. arising from mind and body. 2. Natural forces beyond human control like floods earthquake etc. 3. Pain inflicted by others like animals or fellow humans. We seek “liberation” from these miseries. Human form is believed to be assumed by Devas (Angles) and Asuras (Devils) too. Devas are represented by the world affluent people how consume half the resources of the world; they therefore need to exercise restraint in consumption. Asuras are the cruel lot represented by the dictator, terrorists, rapists, greedy and physically powerful, who have to tone down their ferocity and show compassion to the weak and downtrodden. The average human beings has the bad quality of possessiveness; he should learn the art of sharing with the less fortunate through charity. The exercise of self restraint compassion and sharing will therefore make for a better life for al. purva mimamsa one of the six systems of philosophy treats Dhara as divine potency we would revert to dharma sastras in the next chapter.

Mind:
The biological mind (i.e. physical or material is believed by some to be connected with the bran which is a complex instrument. The brain is a well defined object that can be cognized (i.e. visualized touched and handled) but not so the mind which is a subtle one. All function like seeing, hearing, tasting, moving etc. are functions of the mind but we do not know how they are performed. The entity behind these actions cannot be cognized. The subtle nature of mind raises question of its location because of three aspects of life which it covers. They are: Firstly mind embodies the basic emotions with which one is born like wants and desires. Secondly the mind matures as it grows and imbibes what is taught particularly concepts such as right and wrong. Thirdly the mined ultimately shapes into ego through intellect and thought flow. Moreover mind has three compartments called conscious) where our experiences are stored. These considerations lead one to conclude that the location of the mind is not in brain but in the soul or the subtle body. Mind is neither created nor destroyed. The true nature of mind is buddhi or inward vision and introspection. Once we realize this nature we become free.

The mind is central to speculation. Soul and mind are different entities but their relationship determines the quality of our life and gives rise to thoughts and feeling which establish our identity. Our destiny is shaped by the way we respond to such thoughts and feelings. Negative qualities like jealousy greed anger overpower us but they could be overcome by spiritual life of meditation mantra japa and selfless service to others leading to the manifestation of the divine shakti in us. Mind always wanders but when we meditate we can convert it into a laboratory. The mind should be allowed a free ride but the awareness in us should watch for the gap or pause in the mind working.

These gaps between thought are significant because during such intervals one becomes fully aware of oneself and the environment and can decide to return to meditation or mantra japa. Mind power is therefore of utmost importance and a study of the human mind should precede the spiritual quest. Mind has a dual nature of perceiving and being perceived. What can see. When the conscious mind is inactive. Mesmerism and hypnotism are methods of controlling the subconscious mind takes over and becomes active. Mesmerism and hypnotism are methods of controlling the subconscious mind by sending the conscious mind into a dreamlike state. Surplus energy is stored at nerve centres all along the spinal column known as chakras (plexus). When a person has freed himself from the control of senses he is ready to begin spiritual experiments. Normal mind works through sense but psychic power are exercised through mind without the association of the senses i.e. by an extra sensory perception a faculty to perceive things without the use of the five sense. Hallucination and illusion are sensory deceptions of which one has to be vary of during any spiritual exercise. Telepathy, clairvoyance, clair-audience etc. (in the realm of occult sciences) are the mental power attained at the height of one mental ability and perfection. Telepathy is communication of thought from one brain to another without any external media and independent of recognized channels of sense perception. In clairvoyance the person sees as o a movie screen, events taking place elsewhere, embedded in his subconscious mind. In telepathy a faculty of sixth sense located in subconscious mind works as extra sensory perception. In clairvoyance it is extra sensory perception of objects events past present and future in a vision a faculty lying in a sleeping state in the subconscious mind. Auto suggestion is planting of an idea in oneself by oneself in the subconscious state. This is supposed to cure diseases; it is interesting to note that while one state of mind induces disease another cures it. When the mind is filled with wisdom a sage is born but when it is filled with ignorance the result is often disastrous.

The existence of a supernatural state is a fact although very little is known about its nature. It is described in chapter 6 of section 1.

There is a higher mind in us and that is the intellect and still higher to it she cosmic mind which is called eswara. The lower mind of ours is overwhelmed by maya and needs to be controlled by our higher mind or intellect. Mind is strong and fast that is why it is uncontrollable. But it can be controlled by practice and determination. It is a yoga of concentrating the wandering mind on an idea. The process of mental elevation goes through physical consciousness to subconscious and then to mental consciousness and superconsciousness. Staring from instinct moving up to reason and up again to understanding it ends in intuition. It is a question of thinking willing feeling and ending in nirvikalpa Samadhi or asampragnata Samadhi (super silence) it is through this silence that Lord Siva preached the science of self realization to the juvenile saints called Sanakas in His incarnation as dhakshinamurhty the supreme Guru. Religion can take us only upto a limited extent; it can kindle the spirituality in us. Concentrated spiritual exercise helps cognize the reality beyond which it is all one eternal bliss. Anyone who goes deep into any field with single minded purpose is bound to be rewarded with a flash of understanding or intuition. This has happened to great men like Einstein. Mind is a portable paradise and one should know how to use it.

Name and Form:
The world of manifestation is divided into name and form of which name is more significant as from is susceptible to change. Name and form are also attributes of God although he has no attributes. Between the unqualified absolute and qualified Divinity name is a good intermediary a clever interpreter revealing the truth of both. Sound being more abiding the name which is in the form of sound is more effective and powerful than the owner of the name and survives him. That is how the names of Gods in various manifestations in sound have inherent identity with the eternal Brahman and can elevate the devotee toward the supreme. Divine from depends on one own perception also known as bhava which is often reached by meditation. It is the tuning of the mind to the appropriate wave lengths. It is the spirit or consciousness with in us which is divine and which is the master giving orders and the subconscious mind obeys. The subconscious mind cannot function on its own. It is the divine spirit in us which determines the course of action which the subconscious takes. It is the confidence of the self coupled with the sacrifice of the self which leads to self realization. The ego or simple self is termed as ‘Aham’ and the mind complex as ‘idam’.

Ego is maya or self illusion that the universe around us is real. Sense based attractions like wealth name fame pleasures and the like are considered real because our ego dictates them. Such ego is the greatest enemy to self realization. When we see a movie or experience a dream we get involved in it but when it ends we know that it is not real but only a make believe. In the same way the universe is also a make are compatible with maya as illusion disappears like a cloud or mirage.

All that one perceives belongs to the realm of the seen. The perceiver who enters into the perception of all things is the reality. He remains unchanged through past present and future. He is atma. The ‘I’ is the cosmic nature of the universe defies precise definition. Earth of which we are aware is only an insignificant part of the solar system which in turn is an insignificant part of the milky way which too is only one of the numerous galaxies. With periodical disoversies of a new planet or star or galaxy the universe expands in our conception but no one has determined its limits. We can only conceive of a time scale which in reality is the Kalapurusha the master of time or the ultimate person.

Spiritual Freedom:
Man is a combination of body mind intellect and spirit for bodyhe needs comfort for mind security for intellect order and for his spirit freedom. When he attains all these he gains happiness and attains God.

There cannot be a division of labour between the spiritual and non spiritual (i.e. between the clergy and the layman). Everyone has an inherent right to spiritual excellence. Vedas and the scriptures are therefore non dual and do not exclude any section of society from the spiritual quest.

Spiritually backward minds are perhaps fertile grounds for growth of wicked ideas which could be cleared only through spiritual development and rehabilitation. Such a mind can be spiritually rehabilitated through a discipline of devotion (bhakti). Spiritual poverty can be removed only through spiritual leader so emphasize they are the patsh leading to redemption. Religion beings only by shedding ego.

Immanuel kant of Germany (1724-1804) stated his spiritual quest by dying god then proceeded to affirm spiritual quest by denying God then what he demined and ended up by proclaiming that he discovered God. He said our knowledge does not all comes through our sense. Senses are not perfect. We should try to understand the real word not through our perception but through our conceptions not through our impressions but through our intellect.”

Baruch Spinoza a Dutch Jew (1632 – 1677) said world is eternal god is world. Every object in the world is a momentary idea of God. God is not above us but within us. Each of us though a small part of god is an equally important part we are chained to our destiny. Our greatest victories are won not by arms but by the greatness of soul. The body dies but lives.”

Revelation is the basis of Hebrew bible Christian Bible and Koran. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of catholic religion who was canonized. According to him there to sources of (spiritual) knowledge viz. revelation and philosophy representing theology and reason respectively. Revelation is a divine source of knowledge and revealed the truth which must be believed even if it is not understood fully.

The truth underlying the system of “varna” ahs not been understood. Too much attention is focused on the unhealthy practices connected with the “varna” system which are not sanctioned by Vedas or Sastras. As a result of the over emphasis on the caste factor we have today not four but hundreds of caste which are screaming for recognition. Ethnic differences are bound to be pronounced. Human beings could be categories into more than forty blood groups. Nature and nurture play a significant part in this differentiation which is termed as Eugenics the essence of which is that a child inherits not only the colour of the eyes or skin but the innate qualities of reacting mentally and bodily to its entire environment. What is not already within us cannot be produced but what is not already within us cannot be produced but what is within can be developed. According to manu when the end comes the soul will be reborn in another body for which the individual had made himself fit by his gunas (characteristics) and Karma.

The differences like mental intellectual moral psychic spiritual are all temperamental. It is to match that the spiritual paths too are diverse. These limitations are imposed by heredity environment association training and other causes which is another way of saying that capacity skill etc. are not same in us.

Religion is a purely private affair and its place is in one’s own conscience. When the same or similar spiritual ideas are shared by a group of people then they are united by a bond which is called religion. Thus religion can only be a unifying force and can never be otherwise. Religion being a spiritual pursuit cannot be an instrument for political or ethnic domination. In fact all prophets and saints have been tolerant and democratic but some of their followers have been fanatic and autocratic. Human rights were enumerated from time to time in the past. They have now been codified in national and international law. The contents of these rights have been accepted all over the world. All right thinking societies have enshrined them in their constitutions. The most important right recognized and respected by international Bodies and progressive countries is the right to religion. Denial of this right and persecutions in the name of religion have therefore to be fought on national and international levels with utmost viogur. Two world wars were fought to make the world safe for democracy but the world is still unsafe and it will be so until the right to religion is secured to every citizen of the world in unequivocal terms. It is not secularism but tolerance that should be the goal. Secularism is a negative approach while tolerance is positive.

Religion and Spirituality:
Religion influences life trough morality. When it takes deep root in life through values of non violence truth and other virtues the individual graduates in spiritualism.

The focal point of any spiritual exercise is the supreme being whom we call God. All religious scriptures reveal that the supreme being I reduced to a view rather one own view of divine truth form the level of one own spiritual development and that the god of another is but the different view of the same truth form another points of view according to his level of spiritual development. Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “religion is personal experiences of God. It is a feeling emotion sentiment instinct belief fait. All spiritual experiences are real whatever their character; they are true according to the truth of the stage situation and time in which they are experienced. They are not contradictory although they may appear to be. To illustrate the experiences one has of a mountain at a distance is not false because scripture are records of spiritual experiences of masterminded that have come face to face with reality the divine truth. All seers and founders of religions have realized certain facts in the state of their mind transcending the limitations of senses and power of reasoning which are the basis of all religion. It is the intuitive knowledge gained in a mystic state unrelated to sense seeking the infinite. The subconscious mind is the source of the intuition.

The nature of realization cannot be described and even if described cannot be evaluated comparatively because it is a subjective exercise. It cannot be described objectively by all because it is an intellectual process and the intellectual capacity differs according to temperament. Moreover there are different levels of spiritual experience there is however absolutely to difference in the spiritual experiences of the divine truth and became themselves. Some of them were great reformers who appeared from time to time to correct the prevailing undesirable trends.

It is the diversity of approach to the same truth which emphasize the need for tolerance one hand (tolerance) and also the need to prevent the imposition by force of one creed on those following different creeds. It would be easy or practice if it is realized that all paths lead to the same goal. There is enough room for all the existing paths and if need be for many more.

Scripture talk of Moksha and Mukti as salvation and ultimate goal of man. Moksha is not a place one should aspire for; it is an experience of freedom and bliss. Mukti is the end of our spiritual quest and the end is for the mind and not for Atma which is endless.

Contents

DedicationV
MessageIX
IntroductionXI
Section 1: Vedic Philosophy
Chapter 1Vedas3
Chapter 2Purana (mythology) and Ithihasa (epics)20
Chapter 3Six systems of Vedic philosophy109
Chapter 4Brahmasutras and Upanishads122
Chapter 5Bhagavad geeta132
Chapter 6Review of Vedic philosophy158
Chapter 7Commentaries on the scriptures185
Chapter 8Sanatana Dharma203
Chapter 9Bhakti Yoga213
Chapter 10Gnana Yoga223
Section 2: Upanishads
Introduction247
Chapter 1Isvasyaopanishad250
Chapter 2Kenopanishad253
Chapter 3Katopanishad257
Chapter 4Aitryopanishad264
Chapter 5Taittiriyopanishad269
Chapter 6Cahnogyopanishad272
Chapter 7Brihadranyakpanishad279
Chapter 8Mundakopanishad284
Chapter 9Prasnopanishad288
Chapter 10Mandukyopanishad292
Chapter 11Svetasvataropanishad297
Chapter 12Mahanaryanopanishad300
Chapter 13Other Upanishads304
Section 3: Practical Religion: Tantric System and Agamas
Introduction321
Chapter 1Siva and shakti Doctrines336
Chapter 2Saivism334
Chapter 3Mother worship337
Chapter 4Mantra Yoga341
Chapter 5Kundaalini Yoga348
Chapter 6Srividya354
Selected bibliography360

Vedic Philosophy and Religion

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NAF235
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2001
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8172762232
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English
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Vedic Philosophy and Religion

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About The Author

Born in Tirunilayi village of palakkad district (Kerala state), TRV (age 76) is a post graduate of the Madras University in Humanities. After a brief stint at journalism he joined the government of India immediately after independence. Initially he served in the ministry of external Affairs and moved on to several other Ministries including commerce and Industry, steel and Mines, Finance. He assisted the administrative reforms commission for five years on subjects mainly relating to Personnel industry, Defence and defence production. He retired as Deputy secretary from the Ministry of steel and mines. During the concluding period of his service he had the unique opportunity to handle inter connected subjects of geology, mining and metallurgy which took him to heights in Himalayas and depth in mines one of the deepest being the Kolar in Mysore. This exposure left an everlasting spiritual thirst in him. The sacred peaks of Himalayas thereafter beckoned him frequently. From amaranth in the western Himalayas to Arunachal Pradesh in the east he did pilgrimage to several sacred place including Kailas and manasarover. His travels include visits to U.K., Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Spiritual awakening comes in several ways. Being in the immediate presence of spiritual leaders is one such. Such golden opportunities came his way from his child hood; with the parmacharya of Kanchi immediately after his upanayanam at the age of eight, with Ramana Bhagavan for several weeks in 1942-43 with Swami Sivananda during 1947-60.

He spent the major part of his post of his retirement life in spiritual pursuits which included pilgrimage to almost all holy places and sat-sangam with holy men.

He was initiated into “Srividya” by Swami vimarsananda (who attained Samadhi in Chennai in 1996), a few days before his retirement from government service. Since then he is engaged in spiritual pursuit only. Bharatiy Vidya bhavan recently published his first book “Sanatana Dharma Eternal Religion.”

Introduction

The essence of the Vedic philosophy and religion lies hidden in several scriptures. Moreover, Vedas, the source were never written down but were learnt orally form a Guru by the student. Due to the wearing out of the oral tradition by efflux of time only some portions of Vedas have come down. It is a difficult task is even more difficult when it comes to the question of understanding them as they are written in Sanskrit. A spiritual seeker cannot be expected to undertake such stupendous task as a preliminary to the spiritual quest. Moreover he may not have a sound knowledge of Sanskrit. The common man who wants to familiarize himself with them may therefore, feel neglected or ignored. Hence there is need for a concise work in intelligible from covering all the known aspects of our philosophy and religion, present work it is an attempt in that direction. The main object of this work is to explain the fundamental in a single volume. All aspect of our religious has been covered in order to make it a reference manual too. The book has been made as concise as possible. However those interested in deep study of any part of it can go to the original. Every effort has been made to exclude the superfluous and unwanted aspect like mysticism, mythology, tradition, superfluous and unwanted aspect like mysticism, mythology, tradition, superstition and the like (except for briefly explaining them) and present only the correct picture of the myriad aspects of the religion.

There is confusion in the mind of many in regard to religious as a part of life. The necessity for religion itself is in doubt. Their life style leaves the youth very little time to devote to religion or even to think about it. They think of religion or God only when faced with difficulties failures and misery. A proper understanding of religion in the early stage of life will enable one to begin the spiritual journey at any time and in any manner one wants. The variety in religion offers choice to the individual to chose his form of religious life according to his mental makeup. One cannot adopt several forms simultaneously. If the choice is made in favour of idol worship for instance the idol to be worshipped should be the Ishta Devata (Personal God). By directing the attention to a single personal God it will be possible to reach the goal set for a religious life.

From time immemorial divine personalities have left behind for our benefit a cogent explanation of “Divinity” in its diverse names and forms, so that everyone will have a wide choice a choice to be exercised with discrimination according to one’s mental disposition. The ancient sages and gurus did not dingle out a particular name or form for this purpose; it has been left to the sweet will of the individual. This is the ideal of tolerance preached and practiced by the wise in the land. The exercise of the choice is a matter between the individual and his conscience although some guidance is necessary for those not familiar with the subject. The author hopes that such a guidance will be available in this book.

The book has been divided into three sections. The first and second sections cover philosophy and the third religion, which is applied philosophy. The Saiva and the Vaishnava doctrines have been explained in detail. They are not separate religions nor can our religion be so segregated. We may now begin with the groundwork of religion.

Divine Life:
God is manifestation of Shakti within us. We identify ourselves as specialist like teacher, doctor, sportsperson, musician, entertainer, agriculturist and the like. But we forget that we are also a bundle of potential schemes (crafts and arts and other skills) which are dormant in us. Ideas awaken these dormant psychic energy. We are unaware that we use up only a fraction of the potential, because we are ignorant of our own capabilities. It is only when we become conscious of our behavior pattern that we acquire the power to live in a mental or spiritual body. Then by freeing ourselves of external influence we rise to our full potential.

Science tells us that rays from outer space have oscillation vibration and frequency. All of us are subjected to these ethereal phenomena. Radiation from distant stars reach earth today even though the stars might have disintegrated long ago. Old notion of time distance and life have since changed. But the eternal presence of Divine Grace through a personality whether embodies or not looks more distinct now than before. If earth can be illumined possible that the hearts of its inhabitant are illumined and sanctified by Divine Grace with emanated from a spiritual spring alive in the distant past such divine grace can be realized when one is attuned to it.

God is realized by one own self. The inquiry therefore can start from one own inner quarters. When selfishness born out of ego is given up divinity enters the heart. The exercise is one of shifting the centre of gravity from the ego to the self i.e. form the fresh and blood of man to God inside him. When the ego disappears in the self the man in us merges in the God in us.

Only human beings are endowed with the discriminating power of intellect to realize the ultimate truth. For the sake of easy understanding we may call jivatma as “Soul” before it enters a body and “self” after it has found a body. Jivatma or self is circumscribed ad its knowledge is limited by time space and matter while the knowledge identified with universal self or paramatma is unlimited. The self is subject to dual experiences of pain and pleasure and the like while Paramatma is not bound by such dualities’. We are tied down by vasanas i.e. desires which are related to the sense even when the sense perception is absent as in the case of blind, deaf or dumb; the blind has eye vasana deaf has era vasana, dumb has speech vasana all vasanas are like vapour and Brahmam is beyond them. Self is under the influence of the power of maya exercised by Paramatma which leads to such dual experiences. But the individual atma which lead to such dual experiences. But the individual atma and the Universal Arma are one and the same. When this knowledge is attained we are freed from all bonds. The question is how to attain this knowledge. The individual atma is self plus mind. The mind develops desire (ie. Attachment to pleasure) or a dislike (ie. Aversion to pain) and takes therefore full of desires to perform certain actions which bring pleasure and avoid certain actions to avoid pain. Karma is sum total of all such desires a small portion of which leads to birth and during the life of the being many acts are done which increase the sum total of karma. It is of birth and deaths can be finally broken. These desires are very powerful and grip our mind firmly. They could be controlled only through a rigorous spiritual discipline. The body function through indriyas or instruments which take commands from the mind. Because of its connection with mind the individual self think that he is the doer and becomes responsible for the results of the deeds which leads to samsara or births and deaths. The universal consciousness is the paramatma or the substratum of the whole. Both the individual self and universal Atma are same.

We need a guide for adopting a correct attitude to life because a soul can receive impulses only from another soul. This guide is a guru a teacher. His teachings should be followed with the sincerity and devotion. It is also not necessary to be tied down to one teacher all the time because others may have something better to say.

We may begin by accepting life with all its trials and tribulations and also with a sense of repentance for not being able to detach ourselves from worldly desires. We will then proceed with a sense of gratitude for what we are and what we have. To concentrate on God one should repeat his blessed name and recall his blessed from. Meditation has been suggested as the best medicine for spiritual rejuvenation. The best way is to meditate in a closed room from where one will not see other nor be seen by other. Meditation is passive but it cleanses the mind of its impurities and makes it pure enough to receive the divinity. When we pray to god, we actually beg of him but in meditation we surrender to him. Prayers is taking to god while meditation is waiting for response which can come from our inner depths or from other like guru saints, sages.

Cosmology astronomy, astrophysics are studies of outer space. But the vastness of space defies our imagination. There is however a fundamental rhythm of universe a cyclical movement governed by an impersonal law which is responsible for the day night cycle and cycle of seasons on the earth. In the variety that is the universe three factors stand our viz., nature human being and the supreme God. Neither nature nor man is real although reality is in them and beyond them. God exists in all beings as the all pervading spirit. God exists in all beings as the all pervading spirit. The realized person discovers him sleeping in stones waking in plants, waking in animals and thinking in man. Man is the climax of creation and has a concentration of divinity in him. The manifestation of God’s power is of divinity in different beings; in some it is manifestation of power of knowledge and in other it is power of ignorance; in some greater manifestation then in other. It is very difficult to conceptualize god because no one has so far finally determined what God is and what god is not. It is the spiritual conduct alone which enable one to experience divinity associated with god. Epics and puranas depict god as human incarnation. Bhagavata purana itself narrates 22 such incarnations. These enable us to become devotees of god in any such incarnation. It is easy to cognize God as Rama, Krishna, Siva, Parvati and the like and visualize a particular human form as one personal God to see the man in God which all of us normally do. God to see the by his attributes. His omnipresence is not physical form but in his qualities like the sweetness of sugar. Name form abode are not important consideration of god. What is important is the divinity which is present in everything is equal before god. The concept of Narayana is the sum total of divinity. Its origin is not known as it sis the origin of everything time place is not causation. There is nothing prior to it. That is why there is no Jayanthi (birthday) of for Nayaryan.

God is the only realty and world is the its appearance god needs no proof. The concept of eswars is unique to Hinduism. It is through this concept that the sublime concepts of “Divine” and “Divine” are sought to be explained. The individual Atma is called Jivatma and the Atma of Eswara is called paramtama. Eswara a creation of maya. Wields that power to create the multiplicity that is universe and remains as a bridge between the individual Atma and paramatma.

Vedanta (one of the six system of Vedic philosophy) is based on the universal law of evolution. It studied man who can develop from a brute to God himself. It takes man from his lowest and elevates him to his highest. It takes him as he is leads him on inspiring him with love and filling him with such light as his mind could grasp.

When spiritual development grows and matures into identification of self with the infinite then we find God and divinity in such a person i.e. such a person becomes God himself we find the God in man. The philosophy of Vedanta dares to call man god himself and not merely his son or servant. Indian being a spiritual stage several such men have made their appearance here and left a bounty of spiritually treasure for the posterity. Even now we have in our midst several such divine being who move about spraying their fragrance of spirituality. In their company we become spiritually rich overnight without working for it. Years of sadhana (spiritual practice) have made them what they are the total benefit of which is passed on to us by our simply listening to them. Such holy company is not easy to get one gets it perhaps once in a lifetime.

“Devotees from the lowest level of society became saints. In the grand religious Republic of Vedanta the highest class Brahmin often gets degraded into fetish worshippers and men of the lowest classes rise to towering heights as saints and sages (like Nandan and Kannappa). The constitution of Vedanta provides for any one to climb to the highest spiritual position of Attmagnana irrespective of caste provided they have the mental capacity for it. But Vedanta does not condemn anyone or give up anyone as hopeless says B.R. Rajam Iyer.

We then pass on the mental and physical aspects of spiritual development. The mental aspect is called upasana (forms of worship and prayer) and the physical is yoga. Our body is the field which has to be cultivated because it is the temple of Kshetragna or the knower of the field. The true devotee should constantly watch his spiritual progress by improving his habits and purifying his mental attitudes. Because divinity is present in each body and in fact every limb in the body has divine potency. By cultivating and refining character by avoiding envy and hatred divine love can be developed. It is not necessary to search for divinity and divine love outside. God nearness to us in our own body proves his dearness to us in our own slowly but steadily step by step because it is related to one capacity. It is sadhana or constant practice. We see the tree with branches leaves flowers and fruits but we do not see the roots on which all these depend. Similarly the world of his creation is dependent on the divine force of shakti which is not visible.

Temples assume great significance not only because of the idols installed in them but because of the worship meditation and bhajans done by devotees there over a period of time. Similarly the human body which is also a temple (in which the Atma dwells) has to be cultivated spiritually. The sense organs are measuring instruments the tongue measures taste the eye evaluated what it sees and the ear what it hears, and so on. They shoul be used properly to see the divine taste the divine and hear the divine. Hence we have to control them and not be controlled by them. It is the mind that controls them as well as the organs of actions. Therefore the mind has to be directed through them to see good, think good, speak good, be good and do good.

The virtues of compassion and love are exclusive to man, which distinguishes him from animals. By practicing them without reservation he will be overwhelmed by spiritual love. God has to be approached with love and humility and not with a bargaining mind. Motivated bhakti is limited in its objective because it ends with the achievement of the objective. At any stage in life and in any situation one will certainly realize higher and nobler values by going deeper and deeper into himself; it is indeed a pilgrimage into one own self.

Dharma:
The word Dharma is unique. There is no word equal to it in English language. It refers to a set of traditional customs and conventions which conduce to the stability of society and the maintenance of social order including customary ruler or code of duties which hold together the different part of the society. It is spiritual righteousness having the force of law in an organized society and is different from organized religion. It protect those who uphold it. This was the last message of Bhisma to Yudhishtra (Mahabharata).

Dharma is the spiritual way of loving everyone as one loves oneself which is based on devotion to God and service to fellow humans especially the weak among them and is indeed the foundation of humanity. The weak oppressed by the strong could be protected only by Dharma i.e. by a society organizes on Dharma. Religion is relevant only to human beings but Dharma is applicable to the entire creation including nature. Religion is like a river while Dharma is like a ocean. All rivers finally merge in the ocean. The essence of all religions the message of all scriptures and the goal of all devotees is dharma. It orders the right relationship between man and man, man and society and society and society. Brahmavidya may be defined as the knowledge of attaining Brahman (supreme beings). Dharma sastra shows us the path to reach that supreme being. Both of them are contained in the Vedas. Upanishads speak of Brahmavidya while the Karmakhanda consisting of Samhita refer to dharma.

Vedas along with the entire philosophy behind them epics and puranas smritis (holy scriptures) and the entire classical literature that followed and the fine arts of dance drama and music, all originated from Dharma. This leads us on to the concept of culture which is the relation of the inherent divinity in man manifesting in his way of life culture is the essence of spiritually. A life without culture is like living in a dark house. Culture molds character.

Rita or rhythm is harmony in thought word and deed and is the mental realization of the actual truth which is the moral order the cosmos. Saya (truth) is expression in speech of rhythm. Dharma is truth in deed. The cosmic order based on rhythm uphold the Universe and is the same as the moral order which rules man destiny. Mundakopanishad has given us the motto “Satyameva Jayathe” (Truth alone triumphs but not falsehood). These are not empty words to be laughed at as Utopian. The framers of our constitution have adopted this motto as the guiding principle of governance so that the polity runs smoothly on the rails of Dharma.

The value of things differ according to their nature; water has natural value gold attributed value furniture created values and money store value. But real value is happiness. The absence of happiness is due to three causes; 1. Mental and bodily distortions, i.e. arising from mind and body. 2. Natural forces beyond human control like floods earthquake etc. 3. Pain inflicted by others like animals or fellow humans. We seek “liberation” from these miseries. Human form is believed to be assumed by Devas (Angles) and Asuras (Devils) too. Devas are represented by the world affluent people how consume half the resources of the world; they therefore need to exercise restraint in consumption. Asuras are the cruel lot represented by the dictator, terrorists, rapists, greedy and physically powerful, who have to tone down their ferocity and show compassion to the weak and downtrodden. The average human beings has the bad quality of possessiveness; he should learn the art of sharing with the less fortunate through charity. The exercise of self restraint compassion and sharing will therefore make for a better life for al. purva mimamsa one of the six systems of philosophy treats Dhara as divine potency we would revert to dharma sastras in the next chapter.

Mind:
The biological mind (i.e. physical or material is believed by some to be connected with the bran which is a complex instrument. The brain is a well defined object that can be cognized (i.e. visualized touched and handled) but not so the mind which is a subtle one. All function like seeing, hearing, tasting, moving etc. are functions of the mind but we do not know how they are performed. The entity behind these actions cannot be cognized. The subtle nature of mind raises question of its location because of three aspects of life which it covers. They are: Firstly mind embodies the basic emotions with which one is born like wants and desires. Secondly the mind matures as it grows and imbibes what is taught particularly concepts such as right and wrong. Thirdly the mined ultimately shapes into ego through intellect and thought flow. Moreover mind has three compartments called conscious) where our experiences are stored. These considerations lead one to conclude that the location of the mind is not in brain but in the soul or the subtle body. Mind is neither created nor destroyed. The true nature of mind is buddhi or inward vision and introspection. Once we realize this nature we become free.

The mind is central to speculation. Soul and mind are different entities but their relationship determines the quality of our life and gives rise to thoughts and feeling which establish our identity. Our destiny is shaped by the way we respond to such thoughts and feelings. Negative qualities like jealousy greed anger overpower us but they could be overcome by spiritual life of meditation mantra japa and selfless service to others leading to the manifestation of the divine shakti in us. Mind always wanders but when we meditate we can convert it into a laboratory. The mind should be allowed a free ride but the awareness in us should watch for the gap or pause in the mind working.

These gaps between thought are significant because during such intervals one becomes fully aware of oneself and the environment and can decide to return to meditation or mantra japa. Mind power is therefore of utmost importance and a study of the human mind should precede the spiritual quest. Mind has a dual nature of perceiving and being perceived. What can see. When the conscious mind is inactive. Mesmerism and hypnotism are methods of controlling the subconscious mind takes over and becomes active. Mesmerism and hypnotism are methods of controlling the subconscious mind by sending the conscious mind into a dreamlike state. Surplus energy is stored at nerve centres all along the spinal column known as chakras (plexus). When a person has freed himself from the control of senses he is ready to begin spiritual experiments. Normal mind works through sense but psychic power are exercised through mind without the association of the senses i.e. by an extra sensory perception a faculty to perceive things without the use of the five sense. Hallucination and illusion are sensory deceptions of which one has to be vary of during any spiritual exercise. Telepathy, clairvoyance, clair-audience etc. (in the realm of occult sciences) are the mental power attained at the height of one mental ability and perfection. Telepathy is communication of thought from one brain to another without any external media and independent of recognized channels of sense perception. In clairvoyance the person sees as o a movie screen, events taking place elsewhere, embedded in his subconscious mind. In telepathy a faculty of sixth sense located in subconscious mind works as extra sensory perception. In clairvoyance it is extra sensory perception of objects events past present and future in a vision a faculty lying in a sleeping state in the subconscious mind. Auto suggestion is planting of an idea in oneself by oneself in the subconscious state. This is supposed to cure diseases; it is interesting to note that while one state of mind induces disease another cures it. When the mind is filled with wisdom a sage is born but when it is filled with ignorance the result is often disastrous.

The existence of a supernatural state is a fact although very little is known about its nature. It is described in chapter 6 of section 1.

There is a higher mind in us and that is the intellect and still higher to it she cosmic mind which is called eswara. The lower mind of ours is overwhelmed by maya and needs to be controlled by our higher mind or intellect. Mind is strong and fast that is why it is uncontrollable. But it can be controlled by practice and determination. It is a yoga of concentrating the wandering mind on an idea. The process of mental elevation goes through physical consciousness to subconscious and then to mental consciousness and superconsciousness. Staring from instinct moving up to reason and up again to understanding it ends in intuition. It is a question of thinking willing feeling and ending in nirvikalpa Samadhi or asampragnata Samadhi (super silence) it is through this silence that Lord Siva preached the science of self realization to the juvenile saints called Sanakas in His incarnation as dhakshinamurhty the supreme Guru. Religion can take us only upto a limited extent; it can kindle the spirituality in us. Concentrated spiritual exercise helps cognize the reality beyond which it is all one eternal bliss. Anyone who goes deep into any field with single minded purpose is bound to be rewarded with a flash of understanding or intuition. This has happened to great men like Einstein. Mind is a portable paradise and one should know how to use it.

Name and Form:
The world of manifestation is divided into name and form of which name is more significant as from is susceptible to change. Name and form are also attributes of God although he has no attributes. Between the unqualified absolute and qualified Divinity name is a good intermediary a clever interpreter revealing the truth of both. Sound being more abiding the name which is in the form of sound is more effective and powerful than the owner of the name and survives him. That is how the names of Gods in various manifestations in sound have inherent identity with the eternal Brahman and can elevate the devotee toward the supreme. Divine from depends on one own perception also known as bhava which is often reached by meditation. It is the tuning of the mind to the appropriate wave lengths. It is the spirit or consciousness with in us which is divine and which is the master giving orders and the subconscious mind obeys. The subconscious mind cannot function on its own. It is the divine spirit in us which determines the course of action which the subconscious takes. It is the confidence of the self coupled with the sacrifice of the self which leads to self realization. The ego or simple self is termed as ‘Aham’ and the mind complex as ‘idam’.

Ego is maya or self illusion that the universe around us is real. Sense based attractions like wealth name fame pleasures and the like are considered real because our ego dictates them. Such ego is the greatest enemy to self realization. When we see a movie or experience a dream we get involved in it but when it ends we know that it is not real but only a make believe. In the same way the universe is also a make are compatible with maya as illusion disappears like a cloud or mirage.

All that one perceives belongs to the realm of the seen. The perceiver who enters into the perception of all things is the reality. He remains unchanged through past present and future. He is atma. The ‘I’ is the cosmic nature of the universe defies precise definition. Earth of which we are aware is only an insignificant part of the solar system which in turn is an insignificant part of the milky way which too is only one of the numerous galaxies. With periodical disoversies of a new planet or star or galaxy the universe expands in our conception but no one has determined its limits. We can only conceive of a time scale which in reality is the Kalapurusha the master of time or the ultimate person.

Spiritual Freedom:
Man is a combination of body mind intellect and spirit for bodyhe needs comfort for mind security for intellect order and for his spirit freedom. When he attains all these he gains happiness and attains God.

There cannot be a division of labour between the spiritual and non spiritual (i.e. between the clergy and the layman). Everyone has an inherent right to spiritual excellence. Vedas and the scriptures are therefore non dual and do not exclude any section of society from the spiritual quest.

Spiritually backward minds are perhaps fertile grounds for growth of wicked ideas which could be cleared only through spiritual development and rehabilitation. Such a mind can be spiritually rehabilitated through a discipline of devotion (bhakti). Spiritual poverty can be removed only through spiritual leader so emphasize they are the patsh leading to redemption. Religion beings only by shedding ego.

Immanuel kant of Germany (1724-1804) stated his spiritual quest by dying god then proceeded to affirm spiritual quest by denying God then what he demined and ended up by proclaiming that he discovered God. He said our knowledge does not all comes through our sense. Senses are not perfect. We should try to understand the real word not through our perception but through our conceptions not through our impressions but through our intellect.”

Baruch Spinoza a Dutch Jew (1632 – 1677) said world is eternal god is world. Every object in the world is a momentary idea of God. God is not above us but within us. Each of us though a small part of god is an equally important part we are chained to our destiny. Our greatest victories are won not by arms but by the greatness of soul. The body dies but lives.”

Revelation is the basis of Hebrew bible Christian Bible and Koran. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) was one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of catholic religion who was canonized. According to him there to sources of (spiritual) knowledge viz. revelation and philosophy representing theology and reason respectively. Revelation is a divine source of knowledge and revealed the truth which must be believed even if it is not understood fully.

The truth underlying the system of “varna” ahs not been understood. Too much attention is focused on the unhealthy practices connected with the “varna” system which are not sanctioned by Vedas or Sastras. As a result of the over emphasis on the caste factor we have today not four but hundreds of caste which are screaming for recognition. Ethnic differences are bound to be pronounced. Human beings could be categories into more than forty blood groups. Nature and nurture play a significant part in this differentiation which is termed as Eugenics the essence of which is that a child inherits not only the colour of the eyes or skin but the innate qualities of reacting mentally and bodily to its entire environment. What is not already within us cannot be produced but what is not already within us cannot be produced but what is within can be developed. According to manu when the end comes the soul will be reborn in another body for which the individual had made himself fit by his gunas (characteristics) and Karma.

The differences like mental intellectual moral psychic spiritual are all temperamental. It is to match that the spiritual paths too are diverse. These limitations are imposed by heredity environment association training and other causes which is another way of saying that capacity skill etc. are not same in us.

Religion is a purely private affair and its place is in one’s own conscience. When the same or similar spiritual ideas are shared by a group of people then they are united by a bond which is called religion. Thus religion can only be a unifying force and can never be otherwise. Religion being a spiritual pursuit cannot be an instrument for political or ethnic domination. In fact all prophets and saints have been tolerant and democratic but some of their followers have been fanatic and autocratic. Human rights were enumerated from time to time in the past. They have now been codified in national and international law. The contents of these rights have been accepted all over the world. All right thinking societies have enshrined them in their constitutions. The most important right recognized and respected by international Bodies and progressive countries is the right to religion. Denial of this right and persecutions in the name of religion have therefore to be fought on national and international levels with utmost viogur. Two world wars were fought to make the world safe for democracy but the world is still unsafe and it will be so until the right to religion is secured to every citizen of the world in unequivocal terms. It is not secularism but tolerance that should be the goal. Secularism is a negative approach while tolerance is positive.

Religion and Spirituality:
Religion influences life trough morality. When it takes deep root in life through values of non violence truth and other virtues the individual graduates in spiritualism.

The focal point of any spiritual exercise is the supreme being whom we call God. All religious scriptures reveal that the supreme being I reduced to a view rather one own view of divine truth form the level of one own spiritual development and that the god of another is but the different view of the same truth form another points of view according to his level of spiritual development. Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “religion is personal experiences of God. It is a feeling emotion sentiment instinct belief fait. All spiritual experiences are real whatever their character; they are true according to the truth of the stage situation and time in which they are experienced. They are not contradictory although they may appear to be. To illustrate the experiences one has of a mountain at a distance is not false because scripture are records of spiritual experiences of masterminded that have come face to face with reality the divine truth. All seers and founders of religions have realized certain facts in the state of their mind transcending the limitations of senses and power of reasoning which are the basis of all religion. It is the intuitive knowledge gained in a mystic state unrelated to sense seeking the infinite. The subconscious mind is the source of the intuition.

The nature of realization cannot be described and even if described cannot be evaluated comparatively because it is a subjective exercise. It cannot be described objectively by all because it is an intellectual process and the intellectual capacity differs according to temperament. Moreover there are different levels of spiritual experience there is however absolutely to difference in the spiritual experiences of the divine truth and became themselves. Some of them were great reformers who appeared from time to time to correct the prevailing undesirable trends.

It is the diversity of approach to the same truth which emphasize the need for tolerance one hand (tolerance) and also the need to prevent the imposition by force of one creed on those following different creeds. It would be easy or practice if it is realized that all paths lead to the same goal. There is enough room for all the existing paths and if need be for many more.

Scripture talk of Moksha and Mukti as salvation and ultimate goal of man. Moksha is not a place one should aspire for; it is an experience of freedom and bliss. Mukti is the end of our spiritual quest and the end is for the mind and not for Atma which is endless.

Contents

DedicationV
MessageIX
IntroductionXI
Section 1: Vedic Philosophy
Chapter 1Vedas3
Chapter 2Purana (mythology) and Ithihasa (epics)20
Chapter 3Six systems of Vedic philosophy109
Chapter 4Brahmasutras and Upanishads122
Chapter 5Bhagavad geeta132
Chapter 6Review of Vedic philosophy158
Chapter 7Commentaries on the scriptures185
Chapter 8Sanatana Dharma203
Chapter 9Bhakti Yoga213
Chapter 10Gnana Yoga223
Section 2: Upanishads
Introduction247
Chapter 1Isvasyaopanishad250
Chapter 2Kenopanishad253
Chapter 3Katopanishad257
Chapter 4Aitryopanishad264
Chapter 5Taittiriyopanishad269
Chapter 6Cahnogyopanishad272
Chapter 7Brihadranyakpanishad279
Chapter 8Mundakopanishad284
Chapter 9Prasnopanishad288
Chapter 10Mandukyopanishad292
Chapter 11Svetasvataropanishad297
Chapter 12Mahanaryanopanishad300
Chapter 13Other Upanishads304
Section 3: Practical Religion: Tantric System and Agamas
Introduction321
Chapter 1Siva and shakti Doctrines336
Chapter 2Saivism334
Chapter 3Mother worship337
Chapter 4Mantra Yoga341
Chapter 5Kundaalini Yoga348
Chapter 6Srividya354
Selected bibliography360
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