Vedanta is one of the world’s most ancient spiritual philosophies and one of its broadest, based on the Vedas, the sacred scriptures of India. It is the philosophical foundation of Hinduism; but while Hinduism includes aspects of Indian culture, Vedanta is universal in its application and is equally relevant to all countries, all cultures, and all religious backgrounds.
- The oneness of existence,
- The divinity of the soul, and
- The harmony of all religions.
A closer look at the word “Vedanta” is revealing: “Vedanta” is a combination of two words: “Veda” which means “knowledge” and “anta” which means “the end of” or “the goal of.” In this context the goal of knowledge isn’t intellectual—the limited knowledge we acquire by reading books. “Knowledge” here means the knowledge of God as well as the knowledge of our own divine nature. Vedanta, then, is the search for Self-knowledge as well as the search for God.
What do we mean when we say God? According to Vedanta, God is infinite existence, infinite consciousness, and infinite bliss. The term for this impersonal, transcendent reality is Brahman, the divine ground of being. Yet Vedanta also maintains that God can be personal as well, assuming human form in every age. Most importantly, God dwells within our own hearts as the divine Self or Atman. The Atman is never born nor will it ever die. Neither stained by our failings nor affected by the fluctuations of the body or mind, the Atman is not subject to our grief or despair or disease or ignorance. Pure, perfect, free from limitations, the Atman, Vedanta declares, is one with Brahman. The greatest temple of God lies within the human heart.
Vedanta asserts that the goal of life is to realize and to manifest our own divinity. This divinity is our real nature, and the realization of it is our birthright. We are moving towards this goal as we grow with knowledge and life experiences. It is inevitable that we will eventually, either in this or in future lives, discover that the greatest truth of our existence is our own divine nature.
Vedanta further affirms that all religions teach the same basic truths about God, the world, and our relationship to one another. Thousands of years ago the Rig Veda declared: “Truth is one, sages call it by various names.” The world’s religions offer varying approaches to God, each one true and valid, each religion offering the world a unique and irreplaceable path to God-realization. The conflicting messages we find among religions are due more to doctrine and dogma than to the reality of spiritual experience. While dissimilarities exist in the external observances of the world religions, the internals bear remarkable similarities.
David Brown on Vedanta, Part I – 2018
What is Hinduism?
- Truth is eternal. …
- Brahman is Truth and Reality. …
- The Vedas are the ultimate authority. …
- Everyone should strive to achieve dharma. …
- Individual souls are immortal. …
- The goal of the individual soul is moksha.
Click here to watch–>https://youtu.be/yUfSr1V17kk
Rev. Kathleen welcomes everyone to the class and discusses the Class manual. Guru Dileepji and Anand Patole lead everyone in Sanskrit chanting (bhajans or kirtan) of the Om Namah Shivaya and Hare Ram Hare Krishna mantras.
Anand Patole’s Personal Spiritual Journey
The Apostle’s Creed Series (film and paintings)
Discussion after Anand’s Film (11/11/17)
Guru Dileepji On Traditional Hinduism “in a Nutshell”
Shankarachary’s Famous Bhajan, the Nirvana Shatakam (“Shivo Hum, Shivo Hum”)
He says it contains all the wisdom of yoga summed up in these 6 verses.
To sing along, the Sanskrit words are on page 2 of Kathleen’s handout for this class.
Jon Mundy on Sermon Development
Anand’s Other paintings online… + Closing Prayer Circle
David Brown on Vedanta (Nondualism)
click here to watch–> https://youtu.be/rNc3GgdWPwc
Prem Sadasivananda on Hinduism & Yoga
Kirtan (chanting) with Prem Sadasivananda
Prem Sadasivananda on Hinduism, Part 1
Prem Sadasivananda on Hinduism, Part 2
Swami Chidananda, Part 1
Swami Chidananda of the Integral Yoga Institute (IYI) in NY gave a comprehensive talk on Hinduism including its place in his own life and how he met Swami Satchidananda (pictured below), IYI’s founder as well as a good friend of AFSI’s own founder, Rabbi Gelberman. He discussed both the details of Hinduism in general as well as how his involvement with the yogic path he follows has enhanced his life and those of many others.
Swami Chidananda, Part 2
Swami continues his talk on Hinduism and yoga in a way that is experiential as well as intellectual. Outlining the many forms within the yogic path itself, and taking questions from the audience. Using a bowl of water, he gives a colorful and graphic demonstration that is not to be missed! Towards the end he also leads the class in some basic pranayama (yogic breathing) and meditation exercises.