Vedanta holds an unparalleled and unique place among the six systems of Indian philosophy. Though the Vedas are the fountainhead of Indian philosophical systems, Vedanta incorporates the philosophical thoughts resplendent in the Upanishads, the Brahmasutras, the Bhagavatgita, and in the commentaries on all these texts.
An Introduction to Vedanta introduces the Vedanta philosophy in brief and talks about its cardinal issues like self-control and the meaning of worship, maya and its gunas, upadhi, the theory of cycle, subtle bodies, the role of meditation, samadhi and its four major obstacles, Brahman realization and the state of a jivanmukta and his relation with Brahman and the world.
Dr R. Subramony (1976—), is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of English at The Madura College (Autonomous), Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He was born in Thiruvananthapuram in a family that hailed from Palakkad district of Kerala. A postgraduate in English literature, he was awarded PhD for his thesis on "Comparative Study of Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin". His first book Frying Pan and Other Stories was published under the nom de plume Raja. He has to his credit another book Paramahamsa: A Vedantic Tale and several other books covering the field of Indian religion and philosophy.
MAN'S search for the Ultimate Reality has led to the emergence of different philosophical systems. Among the six systems of Indian philosophy, Vedanta has a unique and unparalleled place, and it is widely accepted. Though the Vedas are considered as the fountainhead of Indian philosophical systems, Vedanta, in addition, includes the philosophical thoughts in the Upanisads, the Brahmasatra, the Bhagavadgitii and in the commentaries on all these texts. The introductory chapter takes one through the four Vedas, major Upanisads and other literary works that are the sourcebooks of Indian philosophical systems, the to and fro relationship between religion and philosophy, the proof of truth, the four stages of life, the four ideals in human life, the four castes, karma and rebirth, the significance and role of a guru, four qualifications of a pupil, etc.
Chapter 1 "The Meaning of Self-control" vividly delineates the role and importance of self-control in Vedantic discipline. Self-control really means the development of willpower and also of the strengthening of the buddhi, or the determinative faculty, which controls all the sense organs. This chapter also specifies the meaning of worship from the Vedanta world view.
"The Methods of Vedanta", Chapter 2, discusses the Vedanta philosophy. The Vedantic teachers arrive at the Truth using two methods, adhyaropa and apavada. Chapter 3 "The Meaning of Maya" talks about the maya, a fundamental concept of Vedantic philosophy. It has different meanings in the Vedas, the Bhagavadgrta, the Upanisads, etc. Vedantists use terms such as avidya,ajnana and prakrti as the synonyms of maya.
Maya has three gums: sattva, rajas and tamns. These gunas are present in varying degrees in all objects, gross or subtle, including the mind, the buddhi and the ego. Chapter 4 "The Three Gunas" details the quality of maya, talks about its two powers: the concealing and projective powers. It also gives a brief account of the two modes of mar. Maya becomes upadhi, a limiting adjunct, of Brahman. Upadhi seems to alter or limit the true nature of an object. Chapter 5 "The Upadhi" briefs on the different shades of Brahman, the meaning of microcosm and macrocosm, the different stages of sleep, especially tuff!" and so on.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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