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Ultimately The Object Of All Meditation Is The Same

In the Brahma Sutra, there is discussion about whether different Upanishads teach diverse conceptions of Brahman as the object of meditation and, if so, how a Vedantin reconciles these diversities. Sri Shankaracharya explains that meditations are the same because of the similarity of name (akhya), form (rupa), injunction about performance (codana), and connection with result (samyoga). The diverse meditations are to be so interpreted as to sublate their apparent diversity with an eye to their underlying unity. Moreover, the Vedas aim to show the unity of transcendental knowledge, for in all Upanishads the selfsame Brahman is expounded. The Katha Upanishad speaks of ‘the goal which all the Vedas with one voice proclaim’; hence Brahman as the object of meditation is the same in all the Upanishads.

The saga of spiritual disciplines undertaken by Sri Ramakrishna is the best illustration of this doctrine. He approached the Divine in both its personal and impersonal aspects and reached the goal. He made no distinction between the two paths. But what he repeatedly emphasized was the importance of sincerity in spiritual practice and the need for intense yearning for realization of the Divine. According to the Master, these two requirements form the crux of spiritual life, not the nature of the path one chooses. The Upanishads call such an endeavor an adventure. God has directed all the senses outwards, and it is left to the brave, dhira, to turn them inward with great effort and aspiration and realize the indwelling spirit (2.1.1). The Upanishads also warn that the Atman cannot be attained by the weak.