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Vedanta Teachings

Know the core of Vedanta Teachings.

Vedanta brings, first of all, the lesson of universal toleration – that there is truth in all religions.

Vedanta points out that all are true for their day and generation. No other position, they say, will stand logical analysis. For, if what we believed yesterday be false because we think differently today, then our today’s belief is equally false because we shall certainly advance from it to another belief hereafter…

The vedantists say that each successive modified belief is part of a main stairway… of progress toward the ideal, of which each particular stair is as necessary as every other…Each individual step, from the lowest to the highest, is necessary and important and true.

Every thought of our mind, every act of our body, has its cause and will in turn be a cause. And what one is today is nothing other than the sum of the thoughts, desires and aspirations of one’s past.

Source - Prabuddha Bharata magazine December 1905

What does Vedanta teach us? – Swami Vivekananda

What does Vedanta teach us? In the first place, it teaches that you need not even go out of yourself to know the truth. All the past and all the future are here in the present.

No man ever saw the past. Did any one of you see the past? When you think you are knowing the past, you only imagine the past in the present moment. To see the future, you would have to bring it down to the present, which is the only reality — the rest is imagination.

This present is all that is. There is only the One. All is here right now.

One moment in infinite time is quite as complete and all-inclusive as every other moment. 

All that is and was and will be is here in the present.      

Don't look back — forward, infinite energy, infinite enthusiasm, infinite daring, and infinite patience — then alone can great deeds be accomplished. We must set the whole world afire.

Inner and outer are mere terms, and not ultimate reality – Vedanta Kesari

To get rid of bondage, one has to begin from where one is — and slowly turn one’s time, space, and other causes into means to purify the mind and reach the inner divinity. In classical metaphors used in explaining Vedanta, it is illustrated by way of saying, ‘break the space enclosed by a pot and merge it with the larger space.’ Inner and outer are mere terms, and not ultimate reality.

Slowing down does not mean promoting inactivity and inefficiency but, paradoxically, slowing down helps one achieve greater and truer happiness. This simply means making space in our crowded lives, space to think over what is right and wrong, and learning to examine our lives in the perspective of the ultimate goal of life.

One must find time for introspection and self-study which are vital to check if one is going in the right direction. It may look difficult, even impossible, at first but a careful and honest review of one’s life and activity would reveal that there are certain things we can do without. (Vedanta Kesari Editorial January 2016)

Quotes and Thoughts on Vedanta and Science – Swami Ranganathananda

All science is the search for unity. Vedanta discovered this unity in the Atman; it followed its own method relevant to this field of inquiry. But it illustrated its conclusions with whatever positive knowledge was available at that time.

In recent centuries, this knowledge has been advanced radically and vastly by modern science, the impact of which on Vedanta, however, has been most wholesome.

In fact, Vedanta hopes for and welcomes further radical advances in modern science by which its own spiritual vision of the One in the many may be corroborated by positive scientific knowledge, so that the spirituality of science and the spirituality of religion may flow as a united stream to fertilize all aspects of human life.

Vedanta is thus both religion and philosophy. As religion, it discovers the truths of the inner world, and fosters the same discovery by others. And as philosophy, it synthesizes this science of the inner world with the other sciences of the outer world, to present a unified vision of total reality, and to impart to human life and character depth of faith and vision along with breadth of outlook and sympathy.

Source - page 14 and 15 of The Charm And Power Of The Upanishads written by Swami Ranganathananda

Swami Vivekananda on Uniqueness of Vedanta

This Vedanta philosophy has certain peculiarities. In the first place, it is perfectly impersonal; it does not owe its origin to any person or prophet: it does not build itself around one man as a centre. Yet it has nothing to say against philosophies, which do build themselves around certain persons.

In later days in India, other philosophies and systems arose, built around certain persons — such as Buddhism, or many of our present sects. _ ey each have a certain leader to whom they owe allegiance, just as the Christians and Mohammedans have. But the Vedanta philosophy stands at the background of all these various sects, and there is no fight and no antagonism between the Vedanta and any other system in the world.

One principle the Vedanta claims to be found in every religion in the world – that man is divine, that all this which we see around us is the outcome of that consciousness of the divine.

Everything that is strong, and good, and powerful in human nature is the outcome of that divinity, and though potential in many, there is no difference between man and man essentially, all being alike divine. There is, as it were, an infinite ocean behind, and you and I are so many waves, coming out of that infinite ocean; and each one of us is trying his best to manifest that infinite outside.

So potentially each one of us has that infinite ocean of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss as our birthright, our real nature; and the difference between us is caused by the greater or lesser power to manifest that divine.

Therefore the Vedanta lays down that each man should be treated not as what he manifests, but as what he stands for.

Each human being stands for the divine, and therefore, every teacher should be helpful, not by condemning man, but by helping him to call forth the divinity that is within him. It also teaches that all the vast mass of energy that we see displayed in society and in every plane of action is really from inside out; and therefore what is called inspiration by other sects, the Vedantist begs the liberty to call the expiration of man.

At the same time it does not quarrel with other sects; the Vedanta has no quarrel with those who do not understand this divinity of man. Consciously or unconsciously, every man is trying to unfold that divinity. Man is like an infinite spring, coiled up in a small box, and that spring is trying to unfold itself; and all the social phenomena that we see are the result of this trying to unfold.

Source From The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2013), 1.398-99.