Vedic Approach to Knowledge and Education – Vedic Management Center
Axial Age is a term coined by German philosopher Karl Jaspers in the sense of a "pivotal age" They propagated the religion of sramanas (previous Tirthankaras) and It has also been suggested that the modern era is a new axial age, wherein relationships between religion, secularity, .. Roman · Slavic · Vedic Hinduism. Excerpt from The Religion of the Veda: The Ancient Religion of India (From Rig- Veda to Upanishads) I. The Object of this Association shall be to provide courses . Similar books to The Rig Veda [Unabridged, English Translation] (The Vedas . that it gives you a glimpse into our proto-religions, of which there are many, and.
Who is the founder of advaita? There is no single founder of advaita. Since the philosophy of advaita is rooted in the upanishads, which are part of the eternal vedas, the advaita tradition does not trace itself to a historical personality. However, SankarAcArya is venerated as the most important teacher of advaita vedAnta, as he wrote commentaries to the basic scriptural texts, and placed the living advaita tradition on a firm footing.
Before SankarAcArya's time, the tradition was passed down mainly through oral instruction. Even today, the traditional way to learn advaita is to sit at the feet of an accomplished guru. Mere reading of the texts is insufficient. More details about the guru paramparA of advaita are at http: There is a description of pre-Sankaran vedAnta at http: What are the basic tenets of advaita?
The essential identity of the Atman and brahman is the most important tenet of advaita. The innermost Atman, the real Self, is the same as this antaryAmin, and identical to brahman.
Yogic practices help in the road towards such realization, because they help the seeker in practising control of the senses, and in directing the antahkaraNa the 'internal organ' - consisting of the mind, intellect, awareness and I-ness inwards. The practice of ashTAnga-yoga is recommended to seekers by teachers of advaita.
The seeker has to be equipped with requisite qualifications - qualities such as patience, forbearance, ability to focus one's concentration in an intense manner, an ability to discriminate between the Real and the non-Real, dispassion, and a desire for liberation. However, it is important to remember that moksha is not a result of mere ritualistic practice. Being identical to brahman, moksha always exists. Ritualistic practices help only to the extent of achieving citta-Suddhi, and in developing the above-mentioned qualities.
When asked why duality is perceived in this world, advaita has a multi-pronged answer to the question. The world of multiplicity can be explained as due to mAyA, the power of creation wielded by the Creator, who is therefore also called the mAyin.
This is akin to the false perception of a snake in a rope. When the rope is known, the snake vanishes. Similarly, on brahman-realization, the world of multiplicity vanishes. This does not mean that the individual's ignorance creates the external world.
However, the perception of multiplicity in the world, instead of the One brahman, is due to avidyA, i. When avidyA is removed, the individual knows his own Self Atman to be brahman, so that there is no more world and paradoxically, no more individual. Here, the Self alone IS. Removal of avidyA is synonymous with brahman-realization, i. What is the relationship between advaita and buddhism?
Is advaita a mere copy of buddhism? No, advaita is not a mere copy of buddhism. For a few centuries now, advaita has been criticized as being "pracanna bauddham" - buddhism in disguise. This criticism stems mainly from some of the vaishNava schools of vedAnta, but it is misplaced. Firstly, there is no one "buddhism" and for the criticism to be valid, it must be specified which school of buddhism is being referred to.
SankarAcArya expends a lot of effort criticizing many of the philosophical positions taken by various schools of buddhism in his commentaries. Among modern academic scholars, advaita vedAnta is most often compared with the madhyamaka and yogAcAra schools of buddhism. This has been inspired mainly by the fact that the mANDUkya kArikAs, written by gauDapAda, Sankara's paramaguru, exhibit a great familiarity with this school of buddhism.
However, if it is held that advaita vedAnta is essentially the same as madhyamaka buddhism, it must be pointed out that such a view stems from a misunderstanding of the important tenets of both advaita vedAnta and madhyamaka buddhism. There are many key details in which advaita differs from the madhyamaka school of buddhism. As for yogAcAra, the points of similarity arise from the fact that both advaita vedAnta and yogAcAra buddhism have a place for yogic practice, as do other schools of Indian philosophy.
For further details, consult http: Why is advaita sometimes referred to as mAyAvAda?
Vedic Approach to Knowledge and Education
The word mAyAvAda serves many purposes. Since advaita upholds the identity of the individual Atman with brahman, a doubt naturally arises about the origin of the variegated universe.
The appearance of difference in the universe is attributed to mAyA. Within advaita, mAyA has a technical significance as the creative power Sakti of brahman, which also serves to occlude, due to which the universe is perceived to be full of difference, and the unity of brahman is not known.
See fuller details in response to Q. Some vaishNava schools use the word mAyAvAda in a derogatory sense. However, this criticism interprets mAyA solely as illusion and criticizes advaita for dismissing the world as an illusion that is nothing more than a dream.
Such a criticism neglects the philosophical subtlety of the concept of mAyA in advaita. Isn't advaita falsified by everyday experience?
In fact, advaita acknowledges that everyday experience leads one to infer plurality, but it maintains emphatically that the transcendental experience of brahmAnubhava sublates the ordinary everyday experience that is based on perception through one's senses. The tradition holds that it is not correct to make one's conclusions on issues of metaphysics based only on normal everyday experience.
All schools of vedAnta rely on scripture, i. As advaita vedAnta is learnt only from the upanishads, it is not falsified by everyday experience. On the other hand, the knowledge of brahman's identity sublates normal perception. It is also pointed out there would be no need for scripture if one's conclusions were based only on everyday experience.
Read more at http: An account of the post-Sankaran development in thinking about the One brahman vis-a-vis the manifold universe can be found at http: What is the concept of scripture, according to advaita? Thus, The vedas, arranged into the Rk, yajus, sAma and atharva vedas are valid scripture. The vedas are considered apaurusheya unauthoredand eternally valid texts. They constitute Sruti, i.
A number of other texts, admittedly of human authorship, are also given scriptural status, but they are subordinate to the vedas in their authority, and are valid where they do not conflict with vedic precepts. These other texts are called smRti, i. The upanishads teach the knowledge of brahman, and are not meant to eulogize the fruits of ritual action. A second, more subtle philosophical difference with pUrva mImAm.
This acceptance of a "source" of the veda would not be acceptable to the true pUrva mImAm. The upanishads, which constitute the jnAnakANDa of the vedas, are therefore called Sruti prasthAna, and form one of the three sources of advaita vedAnta. The most important smRti prasthAna of advaita tradition is the bhagavad-gItA, which is perhaps the best known Indian religious text in modern times. The third text is the collection of brahmasUtras, by the sage bAdarAyaNa. The brahmasUtras establish the logical principles of orthodox vedAntic interpretation of Sruti, and are therefore called the nyAya prasthAna.
The truth of advaita vedAnta is therefore said to be established on the tripartite foundation prasthAna trayI of revealed scripture Srutiremembered tradition smRti and logic nyAya. How does worship by advaitins differ from worship in other schools of vedAnta?
The orthoprax advaita tradition is closely allied to the smArta tradition, which follows the system of pancAyatana pUjA, where vishNu, Siva, Sakti, gaNapati and sUrya are worshipped as forms of saguNa brahman. In some sources, the concept of the pancAyatana is replaced by the notion of shaNmata, which adds skanda to the above set of five deities. The worship is done both on a daily basis and on specific festival occasions.
Questions of who is superior, vishNu or Siva, which are very popular among many groups of Hindus, are not relished by advaitins. In the words of Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati -the accomplished jIvanmukta, "you cannot see the feet of the Lord, why do you waste your time debating about the nature of His face? In worship, advaitins do not insist on exclusive worship of one devatA alone.
Mantras during the Vedic era were a system by which realized knowledge was turned into a hymn for students to memorize easily. Students would then reflect on the mantras and then develop their understanding.
This was at all levels of education. The thinking process was inculcated from the beginning. We must remember that it was a time when printing technology had not even been conceived, so books were in scarcity. Hymn which were essentially poems were easier to memorize as well as recollect.
This was by far a better way to transfer knowledge from Shikshak teacherAcharya professor or Guru Mentor to Shishya student. So a shishya student would have to seek refuge in a shikshak, acharya or guru to learn anything that he may so desire.
Vedic shikshak-shishya parampara tradition was also extended to trades like carpentry, smithy, stone carving, and martial arts along with spiritual knowledge. During the Vedic era, there were no real expectations from a student. The student did not pay hefty donations. Gurudakshina was given as the way of showing gratitude and ensuring that Guru was provided for so that the tradition of education would continue. It was not a parental or ancestral wealth that was given.
For most, the Guru was considered dearer than ones parents. The student was not a means of earning wealth for the Guru. Gurus were realised beings, quite capable of taking care of themselves in all spheres of life. The skill of Nidhidhyasan, the most crucial element of the education process, was something Shishyas practiced even after they became gurus to other shishyas.
Nidhidhyasan, or continuous contemplation of all attained data and information, was a lifelong process. Gurus of the Vedic era were clear, that facts were not eternal truths. Facts change with time and context. What is a fact today may not be a fact tomorrow? Therefore relevance of facts has to be tested from time to time. If they fail the test shishyas were advised to let go of such data and information. Relevance was eternal, as well as supreme. This was also considered as the foundation of wisdom.
Although Gurus were revered everything that was learned from them was eternally put to test and worked upon. The knowledge were improved upon with experience and then passed on to the next generation or if it was considered irrelevant it was simply let go after serious contemplation. The hallmark of Vedic wisdom was neither blind belief nor blind reverence.
Downloadable Books from Archeological Survey of India (ASI) site
To conclude let me recollect another interesting tale from the Vedic folklore: Yogeshwara grandmaster of yoga Shiva was once teaching his students about spirituality, meditation, and morality. After the end of the course, Shiva decided to test his disciples. He asked them to do something that was completely unethical, unjust as well as immoral.
The students were in a complete dilemma for they believed in following their guru blindly although Shiva himself never taught that.