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The principle of non-duality and the various schools of thought in Hinduism

July 22, 2012

I was talking about the ‘hidden truth’ in the last post but never wrote about what is the hidden truth. In this post, I shall try to explain what I meant by that. Remember, it’s based on my understanding so i could be way off the mark when compared to the actual truth. Do correct me in that case.

The ‘hidden truth’ what I was talking about is the Brahman-the formless supreme being. Everything in this world is the manifestation of the Brahman or the Supreme Consciousness. Essentially it means that all of us are merely the same being i.e. there are two parts to every human being-the physical body of each human(the form) and the supreme consciousness(the formless) which is common to everyone on earth. The path to this realization is called ‘moksha’ and a realized soul(eg: Amma, Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) is one who has realized this truth(there’s a truth in the way we know this fact and how the realized souls do).

So why does Hinduism worship deities such as Sri Rama, Sri Krishna, Shiva, Maha Kali etc? How does it fit into this truth theory? It does and I’ll explain how or why we have so many deities whom we worship. It is believed that such an advanced concept cannot be easily accepted by normal people and so several forms were superimposed upon the formless. This way, normal people focus on one of the many forms they like and once they completely focus on a single form alone, destroying that form which one has so passionately worshipped will only leave the formless Brahman and the mind would have realized the fact that the world is unreal as well as divined the ultimate truth.

There is a school of thought in Hinduism called Samkhya(another variant I’ve heard is Sankhya-not sure which is right) which believes only this concept-‘prakriti'(corresponds to man) and ‘purusha'(corresponds to Brahman)-there is no concept of ‘Ishvara'(God) in this school of thought(This is how atheism is incorporated in Hinduism-the Sankhya/Samkhya school believes Hinduism is a way of life and not a religion). The other schools include Vaishesika(school of atomism; later merged with Nyaya), Mimamsa(school of orthopraxy), Yoga(school of meditation), Nyaya(school of logic) and Vedanta(literally ‘end of Vedas’; also called ‘Jnana Kanda’-section of knowledge).

Many of our Hindu prayers(such as the one said before each meal) are directed to the Supreme One, Brahman. It’s one of the most beautiful concepts that teaches humanity that each and every one of us are essentially the same regardless of religion, geography, history, race, caste, status and what not! As my professor says “We are all like the waves in the ocean-we rise from the infinite ocean(consciousness), exist as a wave and then join the ocean again. However, we forget mostly that essentially we’re water and think we are the individual wave. Our goal is to realize this is false and the truth is that we are in fact water and nothing more. And the Guru is a wave who is thrown up from the ocean and who knows the truth(that we are indeed water and not the wave). A Guru’s objective is to lead us from darkness to light and help us realize this fact”.


From → Spirituality

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