Practical Vedanta

mmsudan mmsudan at BOL.NET.IN
Sat May 8 07:23:47 CDT 1999


In view of responses I think I need to explain context of some of the  words
i.e Practical Vedanta,materialism and consumerism etc. I have used in my

What I mean by Practical Vedanta is those basic  principles of Advaita
Vedanta which needs to be applied by all persons, irrespective of their
position, in their daily life.
Is Vedanta only other worldly to be practiced by monks? I donot believe so.
Lord Krishna preached those principles in the midst of battlefield.
Shankracharya  did not retire to forest for meditations and writing
commentaries. Even at the times when the means of communications and travel
were primitive he traveled all over India to unite the whole country
socially, culturally and spiritually by establishing Math's. He entered into
spiritual debates with Mandan Mishra and the likes and reestablished the
glory of Advaita Vedanta.

When I say materialism and consumerism. I don,t mean level of economic
development or level of consumption of worldly goods. I refer it as an
attitude in life. We live our life on four levels. 1. Physical 2. Mental or
Emotional(Manas) 3. Intellectual (Buddhi) and 4. Soul ( the Atman).The whole
effort of all of us is to realise that I am not the physical body, Mind or
Intellect but  I am Braham, the Atman,  the divinity within my self. What we
find in the society today, more and more persons  and particularly the young
generation is  stopping short and living the life only on Physical, and
Emotional level. Intellect is used only to the extent it is necessary to make
living at Physical and emotional level possible. In other words more and more
persons are inclining on the Tamasic or Rajasic way of life rather than
Sattavic way of  life. Should we  remain unconcerned and wait for the Divine
inspiration to appear in all such person to awaken them to the  path of self
realisation. or should we as little more informed seekers of Divinity within
ourselves also  make efforts to inspire others on this path. I quoted from
the book of Nehru to make this point that Shankracharya  did not remain
passive to the ills of his age.

One of the response is Those who do not understand Sanskrit text let them say
That's all right. Do we need anything more than that to achieve Moksha? Rest
is all food for our intellect.  But I am not pointing to that group of young
children's who visit temples and ring the bell till such time the curiosity
awakens. I am pointing to that thousands and millions of young persons who
are turning away from spirituality and are not even aware or are interested
to travel on the path of self realisation.
Inspired by Shankracharya  we also need to take on the challenge of the
present ills of society.

> No the danger is in badly understood culture foreign or Indian.

I agree. But that precisely is the problem here in India. On the one hand the
youths here are neither being inspired  and explained in simple words our own
culture nor they are being exposed to best of other(western) culture. In the
name of western culture there exposure is limited to M TV culture. (M TV is a
24 hours music channel which entertains the Indian youths to Western Pop or
westernized Indian Pop)
You have yourself refereed to one such problem in the west where some of the
Hindu youths have turned away because of "Our Glorious heritage"lecture
torture invented by Hindu parents in the west. well this  needs to be
corrected. This precisely is the need of the time for all of us  to
understand the nature of problems,identify, discuss and find out solutions to
the same in addition to the scholarly discussion  of Advaita Vedanta.

>If we spend a little time in these
columns to do the'shravana, manana, and nididhyasana', it is also a form of
practice. We may not have the individual or collective strength to change
the rest of the world society, but just the little world we have to deal
with daily.

I am very happily enjoying all this with you. But I feel in addition to
endeavor for my own Moksha it is my Dharma to endeavor, help and motivate
others to travel on the same path.

>The small step to reform the world has to start with individuals, scholars
or otherwise

That precisely was my idea to initiate discussion on these aspects. That's
what I meant by "Practical Vedanta."  Let us contribute to such reforms in
our own humble way.


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