Vedānta is derived from Veda. Veda means knowledge and anta means conclusive. Therefore Vedānta means conclusive knowledge. Vedānta is a philosophy that clears doubts about the Brahman. Knowledge here means not the worldly knowledge. Worldly knowledge is materialistic in nature and is acquired for material prosperity. Worldly knowledge is all about temporal and corporeal objects. Spiritual knowledge is different from worldly knowledge. Spiritual knowledge deals with infinite and eternal Brahman. Worldly knowledge has different dimensions. Spiritual knowledge deals only with Eternity that is beyond human comprehension. It does not deal with objects. Worldly knowledge is gained by affirmation and spiritual knowledge is gained by negation.

Let us take an example. We call a cup as a cup. The teacher tells her students about the cup by physically showing the cup. Therefore, students know what a cup will be. In spirituality, this is not possible. No one can really show God and say this is God. Any type of spiritual teaching leads to the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality of the universe. No body has seen the Brahman as He is beyond normal human comprehension. But, the potency of the Brahman is realized through experience. Material knowledge does not deal with omnipresence, whereas the spiritual knowledge deals only with omnipresence.

Vedānta is a very deep subject, involving different schools of thought, different interpretations and different aspects. The ultimate goal of Vedānta is to realise the Brahman within. Here comes the difference between religion and spirituality.  Religions consider God as someone different from us, whereas spirituality affirms with authority that God exists everywhere and He is One, not many. Vedānta does not give names and forms to God. It calls Him as the Creator, Brahman, Supreme Soul, Ātman, etc. Vedānta says that spirituality alone leads to eternal joy and happiness, called as bliss. The first step to Vedānta is a simple question “who am I”. Vedānta answers this question from different view points.

A spiritually ignorant person cannot realize the Brahman.  A religious person also cannot realize the Brahman. Both of them do not have spiritual knowledge. Spirituality exclusively deals in realizing the Brahman, only by negations and affirmations. He cannot be described, as He is beyond description. At the most Brahman can be described sat-cit-ānanda (eternality, purest form of consciousness, bliss), satyam-jñānam-anantam (truth, knowledge and infinite).

This new series will genuinely attempt to understand the intricacies of Vedānta for ultimately realising the Brahman.

Further Readings:

Types of Vedanta Philosophy

Advaita Philosophy

Vedanta - Three Types of Bodies