Vedanta, the Mountain Peak
June 9, 2013 Comments Off on Vedanta, the Mountain Peak
As we progress on the spiritual path, we must have a clear
intellectual understanding of the map leading to the eventual destination, as
well as what is required to prepare ourselves and to take with us to complete
the journey. To begin, we shall discuss Vedanta and Siddhanta,
monism-pluralism, advaita-dvaita and the traditional part that yoga plays
within the midst of Hindu Dharma.
Vedanta is a philosophy and an ideal. It sets its sights on
the mountain peaks and declares emphatically these heights as man’s true abode.
Life as we normally live it, says Vedanta, is based on ignorance of our true
nature. We are like pedigreed animals wallowing in the mud, believing we are
swine, divine beings thinking ourselves to be mere humans. But once we
recognize our true nature, we will rise up from the mud and leave behind,
forever, our previous ignorant ways. Vedanta does not budge from its vision. It
sees no excuse for the nonattainment of its ideals. No human weaknesses are
recognized as reasons for falling short of the goal. They are but challenges.
Vedanta sees all men as equal. It makes the same declaration
of truth to all men, regardless of their varying capabilities. Vedanta tells
the instinctive man, the intellectual, the spiritual man, the man at the gallows
and the man speaking from the pulpit each the same message–that he himself is
the Truth that all men seek, that this world of experience and the role he is
playing in it are based on ignorance of his true nature, that he is himself
God, the Absolute.
Vedanta is the word of sages who have spoken out their
realized truths, not based on needs of individual disciples or attached to a
practical means of reaching followers. Vedanta is simply the goal, the final
truths that man can attain to. The lofty Himalayan peak rises far above the
surrounding country, breaking through the clouds, standing alone in silent
declaration of its majesty. We may see this peak from a distant valley. We may
know and learn much about it. Perhaps we even desire to reach this peak ourselves.
Yet it remains so distant, giving us no clue of the path which could lead us to
it. This is Advaita Vedanta in its purity–a mountain peak truly majestic, but
so far aloft that for most it can only serve to inspire awe and deference
toward heights that are out of our reach.
Vedanta, as an ideal and philosophy, can and perhaps should
leave us just where it does, with a vision, a grand vision, a grand vision of
our potential, but a vision without a practical means of reaching it. The
practical means, the carefully thought out and guided approach, belongs to
another field of experience. And this we would call religion. It is the duty
and purpose of religion to recognize the lofty goal, recognize the realistic
capabilities, potential and present state of those seeking the goal, and
provide a sensible and safe path toward that goal–a path that can take the
strong to the final heights and yet not leave the weak on treacherous
precipices along the way. Religion is the path, the only true path.
Lesson 302 from Living
with Siva: from Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami’s trilogy: Dancing with Siva,
Living with Siva and Merging with Siva;
3,000 page trilogy on Hindu philosophy, culture and metaphysics, available in
the full-color volumes of Dancing, Living and Merging with Siva at our Minimela
online store. Kauai’s Hindu Monastery; Himalayan Academy.com