Sunday, March 20, 2016

Vedanta and Siddhanta (வேதாந்தம், சித்தாந்தம்)

Vedanta and Siddhanta 
“I concluded my last discourse with the statement that there are two important schools in Hinduism, namely Vedanta and Siddhanta.  Today we are concerned only with the former. There is a mistaken idea that by Vedanta philosophy is meant a philosophy confined exclusively to the Vedas or India’s sacred scriptures. The term at present does not refer to a book but to ‘wisdom’. The word ‘anta’ means literally the ‘end’. So, the term Vedanta implies literally ‘end of wisdom’. It explains what end is, and how to attain it.
Upanishads, Gita and Brahma Sutras are considered as Prasthana Traya – the three most important books on Vedanta. Upanishads form the crest-jewels of Vedas and the quintessence of the Upanishads is found in Bhagawad Gita. The Quest of the Reality is really the main theme of the Upanishads.
The concept of God, mystery of the soul, etc, are discussed under this theme, I must also here mention another ancient scripture which is claimed to be earliest work in Sanskrit of the highest order on Vedanta. It is known as Yogavasishta Maha Ramayana, containing the principles of Vedanta as taught by Vasishta Muni to his royal pupil Rama.
The non-dual nature of Brahman, the non-existence of the world in the three periods of time, and that the knowledge of Self alone can free from one from the round of births and deaths, form the three fundamental truths of this scripture.

 (This is a part of the excerpts of the speech of Mr. Ramachandra, the highly esteemed Editor of the internationally famous ‘Religious Digest’, who delivered this speech to sixty four Roman Catholic Nuns, belonging to different Orders, at the Aquinas University College, Colombo in 1971.)