Ecstatic Yoga Workbook
EY Philosophy; Vedic/Vedanta
Vedic Philosophy introduction
We do not claim to be Veda Scholars, this is a overview course required by Yoga Alliance for all 200 registered yoga courses.
The word Veda means knowledge, yet not limited to the physical and temporal world, this knowledge includes the eternal nature of the soul.
Vedic literature describes God-Realization as a gradual process of deeper and deeper realizations and love of God. Vedic literature has been passed down through disciplic succession in ancient India of self-realized teachers into philosophical systems.
Vedic philosophy is vast, based on the Vedas, Shastras, Upanishads, Gita, and presently since 1966 the Hare Krishna movement. Vedic philosophy with its roots in Indian philosophy extends back well over 5,000 years. The Vedas were originally a vocal tradition and finally put into written form in the Sanskrit language over 5,000 years ago. Vedic texts are so expansive it is difficult for a person to read all the texts in one lifetime.
Vedic philosophy addresses many questions, covering concepts of God, Soul, humans, animals, reicarnation, purpose of life and the universe as a whole.
Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Vedic literature into material and spiritual knowledge which developed into many tantric texts and main texts including;
-108 Main Upanishads
- Great Mahabharat (Including the Bhagavad-Gita)
-18 Major Puranas (Including Bhagavat Puruna or Srimad-Bhagavatam)
-Vedic Samhita including 20,000 mantras (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva)
It gets confusing because there are so many texts and philosophies, schools and codes, however, I will do my best to make an understandable outline and more in-depth content on the Vedanta.
The three great bodies of Vedic literature
For the intellectual and priestly classes in ancient India there were four degrees of education in Vedic knowledge that corresponded to the four ashramas. The texts studied in these four degrees of education are called the srutri-sastra, meaning scripture that is to be heard by the Brahmanas.
-Brahmacari or Student ashrama
Included the memorization of the Vedic Sanhita
-Grhastha or Householder ashrama
Mastery of Brahmara portion of the Vedas, family & society
-Vanaprastha or Retired ashrama
Mastery of Aranyaka, complete renunciation
-Sannyasa or Renounced ashrama
Mastery of Upanishads, absolute Truth and liberation of birth and re-birth
Similar to the four vedas was the Smrti-sastra yet was available to non-Brahmanas to study. These came from Chandogya Upanissad 7.1.2 and included extensive historical narrations comprised by the Puranas and Itihasas; This Smrti-sastra means scripture that must be remembered.
This third great body of Vedic literature is "scripture of philosophical disputation."
It includes six philosophical views called Sad-Darshana, traditionally called six schools of thought. Each of the six views or different philosophical perspectives or darshanas are associated with a famous sage who is the author of the view, code or sutra that expresses the sage’s darsana. Vyasa’s Vedanta-sutra carefully examines and judges these six systems of Vedic philosophy as well as others and forms the third great body of Vedic literature
The Nyaya-Sastra six schools or thought.
1. Nyaya: The Philosophy of Logic and Reasoning
2. Vaisesika: Vedic Atomic Theory
3. Sankhya: Nontheistic Dualism, analysis of matter and spirit
4. Yoga: Self-Discipline for Self-Realization
5. Karma-mimamsa: Elevation Through the Performance of Duty
6. Vedanta: The Conclusion of the Vedic revelation, God realization
This philosophy lesson will be on the Vedanta philosophical system of the Nyaya-Sastra of the Vedas.
Vedanta philosophy has been said to be the pursuit of happiness through eternal truths. Vedanta is based on ancient texts dating back over 5,000 years ago, knowledge that is available to all seekers of truth regardless of religion, economic class, or community. Vedanta knowledge aims to promote spiritual and material well-being, honoring peace in action and prosperity for all.
Vedanta is also called Uttara-mimamsa; “The higher deliberation” and brahma-mimamsa; “The Absolute Truth” or “Eternal Path.”
Brahman is not a thing that can be described or quantified, it is non-dual. Brahman is the Absolute and all-inclusive, nothing exists outside of it.
Only God (Brahman) exists in Reality.
The Upanishads conceive Brahman as the “Ground of all existence” and the ultimate source of all joy or Ananda. One who meditates on the Self, goes within to deeper states of being will identify through realization Brahman and attain Supreme Bliss. Recognizing the Self as the extension of God or Brahman and reflection upon deeper Self as the Source of all joy. The Self being the dearest thing to a person because that is the connection home to the Divine oneness with all.
The term Brahman is derived from the root brh — ‘to grow, to burst forth.’ The derivation suggests gushing forth, bubbling over, ceaseless growth, expansiveness — brhattvam
For Madhva, brahman is the Supreme Being i