Vedanta can be learned only by practice3 min read

Theory is one thing and practice is another. Vedanta can he learned only by practice. Theories are innumerable but the practice is only one. Who will deny the world of limitations which covers the light of the Self? As all the limitations are illumined or revealed by the light of the Self, they are mere adjuncts to it. It is by practice that we know the real bliss of Vedanta. What practice shall we follow? Withdrawal of our attachment from the outer objects, conversion of the mind into the light of the spirit by self-control, selfless devotion and benevolence and finally evaporation of the mind into the stream of knowledge through meditation. The whole practice is based on Vairagya. The real meaning of life is Tyaga (renunciation) as illustrated in modern times by the life of Shri Swami Rama Tirtha. Our greatest barrier is a desire for self-recognition, self-advertisement. As long as we expect to be recognised as somebody we are in the muddy pool of deep ignorance. How ridiculous it is that one following the ideal of Vedanta should allow his birthday to be publicly celebrated. We can learn a good deal even from the modern Mahatmas but not from the self-advertising ones. Disciple-hoarding is against the spirit of Vedanta.

To keep the mind in a liquid state, to prevent it from being crystallised into attachment to worldly objects, we must devote ourselves to the study of Shastra. The study of the Ramayana of Valmiki is of supreme importance. The Shri Dada Sanghita is a basic manual of Yoga.

The holy Guru will not ask when you leave this body what you have thought but what you have contributed by practice to your own enlightenment and to the illumination of others. Mere Theories have not brought peace to anybody. Many European scholars have been well versed in the theories of Vedanta but such theories by themselves are, as Swami Rama Tirtha says, “roses made of paper, excellent in form but without fragrance and freshness”.

Index for this series of essays

1.Introduction : Limitations make Reality appear what it is not

2.Preliminary Observations : ”Darshana” means the search after the ultimate truth of life in the world

3.Brahman as the cause of the world : According to Vedanta, Brahman is the highest truth

4.The Jiva : Shri Shankara gives no hint as to the birth of the Jiva

5.Advaita : There is no other existence apart from the existence of Self (Atman)

6.Maya : The theory of Maya is found both in the Upanishads and in the writings of Shankara

7.Theory and Practice : Vedanta can he learned only by practice

8.The help of a Guru is needed : The real essence of Shruti is the great experience of the Sage

9.The function of Reason : Realised experience alone is the highest proof in determining the nature of Self

10.Contemplation (Niddhidhyasana) : Sat-Chit-Ananda is an experience of the Self and not of the mind

11.Renunciation (Sannyasa) : In the philosophy of Shri Shankara, the highest good is Moksha

12.Moral virtues : Ethical living according to Dharma makes the spiritual experience easier

13.The Personal God (Ishvara) : In Vedanta, devotion to God is the greatest instrument of spiritual cognition

14.Release (Moksha) : According to the Advaita Vedanta of Shri Shankara, release (Moksha) is eternally true.