Vedanta is a philosophy taught by the Vedas, the most ancient scriptures of India. Its basic teaching is that our real nature is divine. God, or Brahman as it is called, exists in every living being.
Religion is therefore a search for self-knowledge, a search for the divine within ourselves. We should not think of ourselves as needing to be "saved." We are never lost. At worst, we are living in ignorance of our true nature.
Vedanta acknowledges that there are many different approaches to God, and all are valid. Any kind of spiritual practice will lead to the same state of self-realization. Thus Vedanta teaches respect for all religions.
The Main Ideas of Vedanta
Following are some of the main tenets of Vedanta:
God is one without a second, absolute and indivisible. Though impersonal, beyond name and form, God assumes various personal forms to reveal itself to us. God is our soul. We are primarily consciousness, part of the cosmic consciousness.
All of the incarnations (manifestations of God on Earth) are actual embodiments of Divinity. No one incarnation can be regarded as the only manifestation of that Divinity.
There is no accident in the cosmic universe. Human destiny is governed by the law of cause and effect.
We are born on earth repeatedly to finish the unfinished work of realizing our divinity. Although we suffer because of actions, we can control ourselves and hence our destiny.
There is a higher state of consciousness which can be achieved in this human birth.
There are many ways to achieve union with God, through the intellect, emotions, actions, and the will. A specific path or a combination should be followed to realize the aim and objectives of life.
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