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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Vedanta therefore in ethics covers the ground of Yoga


power of bearing extremes of

heat, cold, etc., (c) employment of mind towards the attainment of right knowledge, (d) faith in the instructor and Upani@sads; (5) strong desire to attain salvation. A man possessing the above qualities should try to understand correctly the true purport of the Upani@sads (called _s'rava@na_), and by arguments in favour of the purport of the Upani@sads to strengthen his conviction as stated in the Upani@sads (called _manana_) and then by _nididhyasana_ (meditation) which includes all the Yoga processes of concentration, try to realize the truth as one. Vedanta therefore in ethics covers the ground of Yoga; but while for Yoga emancipation proceeds from understanding the difference between puru@sa and prak@rti, with Vedanta salvation comes by the dawn of right knowledge that Brahman alone is the true reality, his own self [Footnote ref 1]. Mima@msa asserts that the Vedas do not declare the knowledge of one Brahman to be the supreme goal, but holds that all persons should act in accordance with the Vedic injunctions for the attainment of good and the removal of evil. But Vedanta holds that though the purport of the earlier Vedas is as Mima@msa has it, yet this is meant only for ordinary people, whereas for the elect the goal is clearly as the Upani@sads indicate it, namely the attainment of the highest knowledge. The performance of Vedic duties is intended only for ordinary men, but yet it was believed by many (e.g. Vacaspati Mis'ra and his followers) that due performance of Vedic
duties helped a man to acquire a great keenness for the attainment of right knowledge; others believed (e.g. Prakas'atma and his followers) that it served to bring about suitable opportunities by securing good preceptors, etc. and to remove many obstacles from the way so that it became easier for a person to attain the desired right knowledge. In the acquirement of ordinary knowledge the ajnanas removed

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[Footnote 1: See _Vedantasara_ and _Advaitabrahmasiddhi.]

491

are only smaller states of ajnana, whereas when the Brahma-knowledge dawns the ajnana as a whole is removed. Brahma-knowledge at the stage of its first rise is itself also a state of knowledge, but such is its special strength that when this knowledge once dawns, even the state of knowledge which at first reflects it (and which being a state is itself ajnana modification) is destroyed by it. The state itself being destroyed, only the pure infinite and unlimited Brahman shines forth in its own true light. Thus it is said that just as fire riding on a piece of wood would burn the whole city and after that would burn the very same wood, so in the last state of mind the Brahma-knowledge would destroy all the illusory world-appearance and at last destroy even that final state [Footnote ref l].

The mukti stage


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