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Vedanta Teaches Us To Go Beyond The Ever-Changing Tides Of External World

It is simply necessary to scan briefly the past and present history of the world, to enable us to see that only a tiny fraction of the inner consciousness of humanity has been awakened. The very thought of a wasted life brings a feeling of sadness. It is surely a painful spectacle to see before you a being of god-like endowments and measureless potentialities, utterly ignoring them, and giving the reins to the undeveloped, the low; to a vampire that enslaves and bewitches all who come under her spell; thus becoming a victim spiritually dead.

The world goes on its ceaseless round; the multiplicity of clashing interests, the innumerable and
overwhelming materialities weary the heart and dazzle the attention. There are so many corrupting influences and so much that strangles and destroys high idealism and lowers the standard of morals. We drift on the ocean of the world without rudder or anchor.

The great messengers to humanity, the teachers of their fellow-men, who with infinite love and pity hold a mirror up to life, affirm again and again that all earthly power and the glory of the things it fashions are transitory — that all delights culminate in unsatisfying results and suffering. There is
no good shutting our eyes to obvious facts or affecting to believe that in due time we shall witness in the world a new birth of all that is great and good.

But those people who have finer moral and intellectual developments sometimes pause and inquire
whether in this whirling, seething world of unrest, misery, and discontent, amid this interplay of human passions and human desires, with their legion of undesirable consequences; among these ever-changing forms, what things are real? Is there not something stable beneath all these phantoms and jangling discords? Upholders of the Vedantic view answer with an uncompromising affirmative. There is no rest for a body till it is united to its center. The center of rest for the soul is the Oneness which it seeks. “He who is the One Life in the Universe of death; He who is the constant basis of an ever-changing world; One who is the only Soul of which all souls are but delusive manifestations.” Spirit is superior to and controls matter, because all matter is changing and spirit is unchangeable and eternal. The spirit that reigns within man is independent and creates the desire for freedom. As the sun is eclipsed by masses of cloud, so the spiritual sun “I” remains eclipsed by the images of objects in the phenomenal world. Vedanta teaches us to place ourselves beyond the reach of the ever-changing tides of the external world. It lays down principles by which we can still the insatiate longings of the human heart; it teaches that spiritual realisation is everything.

Source Excerpts from Chasing the Shadows: Published in the January 1909 edition of Prabuddha Bharata Magazine.