How should I approach the Vedanta philosophy


Literally translated, Vedanta means the end of knowledge (Veda = knowledge, Anta = end) or the essence of the Vedas. This Indian philosophy was recorded in writing in the Upanishads, the last part of the Vedas. It cannot be dated exactly - depending on the author, it could be over 5000 years or 2500 to 2800 years old. She deals with universal philosophical thoughts. Today it is one of the most popular philosophical directions in India. The scholar and philosopher Shankaracharya (788 - 820 AD) made Vedanta known. The Upanishads, in turn, are a collection of philosophical writings from ancient India - the oldest of the 108 Upanishads were made around 800 BC. Written in BC.

Advaita Vedanta

There are different directions within Vedanta. For the sake of simplicity we want to deal with the most important of today: the Advaita Vedanta. Advaita means non-duality, non-duality (literally A = without and Dvaita = duality). And so we are already in the middle of the core idea of ​​this philosophy: Advaita Vedanta leads the world, life, everything back to a single principle: The individual soul (Atman) and the absolute, the universe (Brahman) are one. You may feel separate from the world, from others, but ultimately you are one with everything. One can find this out through philosophical inferences, but many also experience it through meditation. The differences between me and my fellow human beings, between me and animals, between me and the world are becoming smaller. I then feel more empathy for other beings and can better empathize with them. Of course, that doesn't mean I have to approve of everything others do. But I may be able to respond more appropriately to their behavior.

The aim of Advaita Vedanta is to recognize one's true self, which is one with everything, to overcome the illusion of being a separate individual. According to Vedanta, our individual soul is the same as the world soul, it is one with the highest metaphysical reality.

Practical meaning of Vedanta

And what's in it for me? Everyone strives for the one great, unchanging, infinite, eternal state of happiness. Once I fit back into the jeans that I wore when I was 21 and built this dream home for myself and my family, then everything will be fine. Or not? Vedanta says: Bliss can only come from a state of being that is unchangeable, that is not subject to change. The jeans will wear out, so they will change. The dream house will also deteriorate over the course of the decades, then the windows will have to be repainted, the heating will have to be replaced and so on. It changes. And myself? My body, my feelings, my thoughts? Are constantly changing!

I experience happiness in the unchangeable. But what is immutable anyway? To find out, to experience that, that's what it's all about. For this one has to dissolve all patterns, all thinking habits, all wrong ideas, maybe even give up all worldly desires.

According to Vedanta, all our suffering comes from this fallacy that I feel separate from the rest. As soon as I recognize the unity of all being, I feel a deep, calm and serene bliss, joy and love, an intuitive wisdom. In ancient India, that was also the goal of yoga: to recognize one's true being. The physical exercises made up only a small part of the total yoga practice in order to get closer to this goal. You should prepare the body for meditation.

Drive the clouds away

There is a beautiful picture from the Vedanta, from a Sanskrit poem, in which a yogi says to himself:

Why are you crying my friend There is neither fear nor death for you. Why are you crying? There is no suffering for you, because you are like the infinite, blue sky, unchangeable in your being. Clouds of all colors move over it, play for a moment and then disappear. It stays the same sky. All you have to do is drive away the clouds.

Swami Vivekananda, Vedanta, The Ocean of Wisdom, O.W. Barth Verlag, new edition 2010

You can try to visualize the picture when a louse has run down your liver again or just like that in a little meditation: I am the infinite, blue sky. Thoughts and feelings pass over it like clouds. But they don't change me. They pass by. I am the infinite blue sky.

Perhaps then your breath, your pulse will calm down, and a small, satisfied smile will cross your face.

Last changed on January 26th, 2019, you can comment on this post via email

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