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What is Vedanta?

29 September 2006 YogiVishwaVedanta

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What is Vedanta? What does it really mean - literally, philosophically and realistically? Where do you find the teachings of Vedanta? Let’s understand these basics.

Literal meaning
"Vedanta” is a combination of two words: “Veda” which means “knowledge” and “anta” which means “end”. Thus, Vedanta means the culmination of Vedic wisdom or final step on our spiritual journey.

Philosophical Meaning
Vedanta is one of the six schools of Vedic philosophy, in which study reveals the purpose or goal of the Vedas. It is an idealistic and philosophical approach for self-realization.

Realistic meaning
Vedanta is a system of philosophy based on a study of the Upanishads. The word Upanishad can be translated as “to sit close by,” so this part of Vedic knowledge was usually reserved for advanced students, who would gather around their teacher for the higher teachings.

Where do you find the teachings of Vedanta?
The teachings of Vedanta are mostly found in the following texts

  1. Upanishads
  2. Brahmas Sutras
  3. Bhagavad Gita
  4. Yoga Vasistha
  5. Ashtavakra Gita

The first three texts are the primary, in which the Upanishads give us the goal, the Bhagavad Gita gives us practical advice for getting there, and the Brahma Sutras discuss the nature of human existence and summarizes the teachings of the Upanishads.


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