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Core of Hinduism: Know about the Concepts of Vedanta Philosophy

Vedanta goes on to assert that beneath this outward changing lies a fundamental reality which is supreme, called Brahman

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  • Main concepts of Vedanta- the first is human’s real nature is divine and the second concept is that the aim of human life is to realise this divinity
  • Brahman is designated by Advaitins as saccidananda: as “being” (sat), “consciousness” (cit), and “bliss” (ananda)
  • Brahman, for Advaita Vedanta, is a name for that fullness of being which is the “tranquillity” of non-dualistic spiritual experience

Vedanta philosophy or Uttara Mimamsa is the orthodox philosophy of Hinduism. It has two main concepts. The first is human’s real nature is divine and the second concept is that the aim of human life is to realise this divinity. Vedanta goes on to assert that beneath this outward changing lies a fundamental reality which is supreme, called Brahman.

The Hindu scriptural tradition is quite remarkable for its size and diversity;not only are there a very large number of works designated as revelation,but the specific content of these works varies greatly. In order to make this vast body of literature more manageable, it was necessary for theologians to summarise and reconcile the many different theological doctrines found in scripture. Within the Hindu tradition, the task developed into a separate field of theological writing, known as Mimamsa, mentioned the Hinduism expert Subhamoy Das in hinduism.about.com.

The Mimamsa tradition developed along the two lines that stand out in varying degrees of conflict and conformity throughout the Hindu tradition, namely the distinction between Karma (or dharma) and jnana or action and knowledge as the means of liberation. From this tradition came two Mimamsa-type works, the Kalpa Sutras, which were concise descriptions of the Brahmanical sacrifices, and the Purva Mimamsa Sutras, which summarised the doctrines and principles behind the sacrificial tradition. Uttara Mimamsa represented a systematisation of jnana Kanda and drew its texts primarily from the Upanisads and Aranyaka portion of the Brahmans.

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Knowledge of Real-Self

The hinduism.about.com mentioned, in the age of scepticism and materialism, few people care to know their real Self, which is divine and eternal. But the knowledge of the true Self has always been the principal theme of Vedanta philosophy. Upanishads, which form portions of the Vedic Scriptures, discovered and taught that knowledge of self-lies at the root of all knowledge, whether science, philosophy or religion. Every sincere seeker after knowledge , hence, who aspire intellectual, moral or spiritual development, must first learn to distinguish between spirit and matter, soul and body, and then realise the all-knowing spiritual Self who is the eternal foundation of the universe.

Advaita Vedanta

Advaita means oneness. According to the scriptural approach, the Advaitic thinking can be condensed into three concise statements: Brahman is non-dual; the world is a delusion; (Atman) which is immortal is not different from reality (Brahman).

SwansCygnus olor.jpg
The swan is an important motif in Advaita, Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Brahman is designated by Advaitins as saccidananda: as “being” (sat), “consciousness” (cit), and “bliss” (ananda).

Being (sat)- point to the ontological principle of unity, to the oneness not constituted of parts, to the existential sun stratum of all subjects and objects. Brahman is experienced as pure unqualified being. In fact, it alone truly “exists” – which means that manner of being is not comparable to the supposes existence of anything else.

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Consciousness(cit) indicates to the principle of awareness which informs being and which is, for the Advaitin, an unchanging witness of our being.Brahman experience is an illuminating experience; it is a state of conscious enlightenment.

Bliss (Ananda) indicates to the principle of value; to the fact that Brahman-experience is ecstatic and nullify all partial value in its incomparable splendour.

Advaita Vedanta distinguishes two aspects or modes of Brahman, nirguna, and saguna. Nirguna Brahman: a Brahman without qualities is just that transcendent interminate state of being about which ultimately nothing can be affirmed. Saguna Brahman: a Brahman with qualities, is Brahman as interpreted and affirmed by the mind from its necessarily limited standpoint.

Overall: Brahman, for Advaita Vedanta, is a name for that fullness of being which is the “tranquillity” of non-dualistic spiritual experience: an experience in which all distinctions between object are shattered and in which all distinctions between subjects objects are shattered and in which remains only pure unqualified “oneness”.

–  by Akanksha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: Akanksha4117

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Right of Nature: Are Rivers Living Beings?

Should rivers be considered Living Entities?

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Right of Nature
Many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

By Dr. Bharti Raizada, Chicago

Science says that water bodies are not living entities, as water does not need food, does not grow, and reproduce. Water is required for life, but in itself it is nonliving.

However, many cultures across the globe believe that rivers are living beings or Gods/Goddesses and they just take the form of water bodies.

The Maori tribe in New Zealand considers the Whanganui River as their ancestor and the Maori people fought to get it a legal status as a living being. In 2017, a court in New Zealand gave this river the status of living being and same rights as humans, to protect it from pollution. Thus, now if someone pollutes in it then it is considered equivalent to harming a human.

ALSO READ: Worshiping mother nature part of our tradition: Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Right of Nature
Rivers are sacred in many religions, including Hinduism. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

Rivers are sacred in Hinduism also. Hindus believe that the Ganga descended from heaven and call her Ganga Maa. A few days after New Zealand’s court decision, Uttarakhand high court in India gave the Ganga and Yamuna rivers and their tributaries the status of living human entities. The Court-appointed three officials as legal custodians. However, the court did not clarify many aspects related to this decision.

After this verdict some of the questions, which naturally came to mind, were:

Can Hindus still do rituals of flowing ashes, leaves, flowers, diyas in river or no? Can a dam be built on the river after this judgment? If some damage, to a person, animal, plants, or property, occurs because of river e.g. overflow, hurricanes, flooding etc., how the river will pay the liabilities? What if all rivers, oceans, ponds etc. are given the status of living beings? Will drinking water from river become a crime? What about taking water and using it for routine needs,  agriculture or building structures? Will it be illegal? If a child throws a stone in water, will it be a criminal act? Will fishing be considered stealing? What about boating? If someone is using heat near water and water evaporates, is it equal to taking the body part of a human being? What about taking a bath in the river?

Right of Nature
If the river gets a living status, as human, then we cannot use it for anything without its permission, so everyone has to stop touching the water. Image courtesy: Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: Decoding supernatural: What is the nature of entities and gods who influence human behavior

Other queries, which arise, are:

Will animals and plants get the same status? What if you kill an ant or a chicken etc. or cut a tree? Will all animals and plants get a legal custodian?

Where is all the waste supposed to go? It has to go somewhere back in nature, right?

Uttrakhand state government challenged the judgement in Supreme Court and the latter reversed the judgment.

Right of Nature
So where do we stand? In my opinion, granting living status to nature is a different thing than giving protected status or preserving nature. Image by Dr. Bharti Raizada

ALSO READ: How nature destroys the negative tendencies in a positive manner

Ecuador’s constitution recognized the Right of Nature to exist, specifically Vilcabamba river, in 2008.

Then Bolivia passed the law of the right of mother earth and granted Nature equal rights as humans.

Many communities in the U.S.A. passed the Right of Nature law.

These laws are creating a dilemma or quandary also, as people need to use these resources. We cannot live without using natural resources. However, there is a difference between using natural resources and afflicting or destroying these. So, please use natural resources very diligently. Try not to vitiate nature.

On World Water Day (March 22), please start taking care of rivers, so that there is no need for future celebrations. It should not be a one-day celebration anyway, we should scrupulously look out for nature all the time.

Dr. Raizada is a practicing anesthesiologist.