Q. What is Vedanta?

A. Vedanta is the end and extinction of all worldly knowledge. Worldly knowledge is arrogance. So Vedanta is the end of arrogance. In Vedanta, true knowledge glows in its perfection. Each individual can attain this experience of perfection within himself .It is an experience free from all diversities. It is an experience that makes life meaningful.


Q. If this is so, why do men incessantly run after pleasures day and night?
It is into a mould of foolishness that man takes his birth and spends the rest of his life. The society is an asylum of misunderstandings and superstitions. It is mostly filled with people who are accustomed to ways and customs of society. The brave and wise souls who have sought and understood the mystery of life are very few. In human history the Buddha or Jesus or Sankara or Gargi, or Meera or Akka Mahadevi come about only very rarely. And normally we never peep into their lives or care to listen to their words. Neither do we have time to realize the experience of divine bliss. We seek wealth and happiness in the outside world. The unending and futile search after the pleasures of life serves only to make us insane. Actually it is our ignorance that makes us engage in such pointless activities.


Q. Why doesn’t man become conscious of his ignorance?
If in a society of thousand men all the thousand are insane, who will inform whom? We continue to live in ignorance because there is nobody to make us aware of our ignorance.

Q. Will the world ever get reformed?
A. Waiting for the world to change is a perverse argument. In fact the world changes only when we make changes in ourselves. We must be able to lead our lives sincerely, based on what we think is right and true. We don’t have to be concerned about the world. We just have to destroy the worldliness in us. Instead of understanding things with our external eyes we have to turn inward and comprehend everything rightly and properly. Vedanta therefore does not envisage a social revolution; it aims at individual transformation.


Q. If that is so, why does Swamiji speak about the one-world concept?
‘One-world’ is not a concept related to social reformation. Each one’s world is that which he himself creates. The disunity or diversity that prevails among us is born of the diversities within us. The beginning and the end of the journey from diversity to unity is within our own selves. Vedanta is the ultimate destination and end of that journey. The world shines in its wholeness within us, within our selves. You just have to stop creating obstacles in the pathway. All obstacles are interferences by the ego.

Q. Today’s education tells us nothing about these things. Why ?
Today’s education is meant only for amassing wealth and achieving public recognition. It does not lead you to the meaning and essence of life. It merely imposes fragmented information on to your brain. Modern man’s anxiety is the manifestation of the craving to be rid of such unnecessary garbage. It is a long time since we lost the basis of an education founded on spirituality. The School of Vedanta aims at illuminating the values of spirituality in you. 


Q. Can the politicians or the government do anything towards wiping out the prevailing ignorance from the minds of men?
Politics does not agree with any sort of personal enquiry. A politician’s attitude towards men is quantitative, never qualitative. For him a man represents only a vote. The ruling party as well as the opposition struggles to win that vote over to his side. He has no other commitment to people. Politics all over the world represents the same erosion of values. 

Q. Can modern science offer any solution to the fundamental problems of human life?
Modern science is in a state of confusion. The scientific researches are all motivated by destructive forces and are used for developing military strategies. This is the fundamental pauperism of science. Science can never guarantee peace and joy in human hearts. Although modern science and technology appears to have made giant leaps, it is obvious that it is incapable of providing harmony in human life. What is worse, the growth and development of science has damagingly affected the life and spontaneity of Mother Nature. The destruction of the ozone layer, the deadly radiation of ultra-violet rays ,the steady melting of the arctic region, the dangerous expansion of desert areas, the destruction of sea life, global warming , endangered species of fauna and flora are all the inevitable consequences of man’s never ending greed to achieve comfort through science. In fact modern science has done more harm than good to the life on this planet.

Q. Have there been only imperfect philosophies and ideologies in human history?
Philosophies and ideologies cannot be assessed as complete and incomplete. Only a person who has experienced perfection or wholeness can provide us the truth. His words are scientific and it is when we seek the meaning of his words do we partake of the same experience. Philosophy or science has to reach perfection in each one of us. It is the individual who is perfect or imperfect, not the sciences.


Q. In that case, why do people praise certain religious texts and condemn others?
It is natural for an unhealthy mind to be attached to something. Praise of one’s own religion and condemnation of others’ are the two sides of the same coin. The greater one’s belief in one’s own religion the stronger will be his hatred towards the others. Vedanta is not concerned with belief or hatred. It aims at Self-awareness. It does not instruct you to believe or condemn. It only exhorts you to know your own inner profundity. One who has known the depth of his Self knows that that everything is a part of himself. He will have a vivid understanding that the entire Universe is the variegated manifestations of the One undivided Self. So Vedanta is the final pronouncement of Self-experience. Those who have had no such experience continue to argue and dispute. Leave them alone.

Q. What does Sri Narayana Guru say about these things?
This is a relevant question .No one is interested in finding out the meaning of Guru‘s words. Guru is the perfection of Self-Awareness. Every word he spoke is for the spiritual welfare of humanity. It is clear and certain that every creature seeks happiness in life. There have been constant attempts to make that happiness everlasting. All religions are pointers towards them. That is why Guru emphasized that the essence of all religions is the same.

Q. Does Vedanta accept or reject God?
Vedanta answers this question in the following manner—each person has his own opinion about God. So what we must know is the meaning a person attaches to the word. Vedanta comprehends God as Truth, experiences God as Knowledge and enjoys God as perfect Bliss. God is neither a symbol nor a sign; neither an image nor a concept. He is indeed the Supreme Self. Sri Narayana Guru addresses this Essence as Knowledge, Atma, or the Self. Whatever be the term applied, the essence is of supreme importance. When the name is devoid of essence the religion begins to decay. It is in such a context that Nietsze lamented that ‘God is dead.’ Before the God of Vedanta is born in us, the God of small faiths should die in us.

Q. The answer is really soothing. How did Vedanta achieve such clarity of vision?
Vedanta exists not only in India. It is a true universal experience undergone by Masters like Socrates, Prophet Mohammed, Jalaluddeen Rumi, St.Teresa of Avila ,St.John of the Cross and St.Francis of Assisi. Later Sri Sankara, Madhwacharya and Sri Ramanuja made attempts to re-evaluate its meaning. In the modern age, Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri NarayanaGuru and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa remain as the true witnesses of this Experience. Their teachings are not parades of erudition. When their inner Selves were illuminated, their words spontaneously acquired clarity of vision. It is not an artificial vividness achieved with the help of the intellect. It is the lucidity of innocence born of profound Self-experience. Those who do not have this would never be able to grasp Vedanta.

Q. Will the ordinary people get any benefit through meditation or listening to Vedanta?
. Listening to Vedanta will not make a common man wise overnight. At first listening to Vedanta fills him with doubts, which in turn make him a seeker. The seeker passes through different paths and finally reaches the Wise Master. He then realizes his own status as a disciple and that of the Master as the Guru. Both the Guru and the Master is within the seeker himself. Then the Vedantic enlightenment naturally takes place within him. Vedanta does not distinguish among men. It only teaches you to live with full and perfect awareness. It destroys the mechanical way of life.


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