June 23, 2024

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Advaita Vedanta Philosophy – Path of Monism For Spiritual Consciousness and Awakening

Advaita Vedanta is one of the three main schools of Vedanta Philosophy. Vedanta philosophy is based on the Vedantas, the Upanishads of the Vedas. They are the oldest of the religious literature extant today and are more than 5000 years old.

There are three main schools of Vedanta philosophy:

Dvaita or dualism: In this school, the Absolute or Brahman and the world including our soul are considered two separate and distinct realities with no connection between the two, Brahman is the higher reality.

Vishista-dvaita or qualified monism: In this, the world is considered to emanate from the Absolute Brahman and the world is an effect of Brahman, like a web from a spider. Thus though the world is emanated from Brahman and is a part of it, it is a lower form of Brahman.

Advaita or Monism: this is the final school of Vedanta, and is considered the most intellectual school. In this the reality of the world is denied and the only existence is that of Brahman.

In Advaita Vedanta, Brahman is considered to be the root of both the objects of the world and the subject, our consciousness. The reality of both the subject and the object is denied and the only real existence is that of Brahman.

In considering the objects of the world, all phenomena of the world exist in time and space and are subject to the laws of causation. The ancient sages through logic arrived at the conclusion that there was no fixed time, since we could not define time itself absolutely. Space also could not be defined, and since objects and the phenomena of causation exist in time and space, all objects have only relative reality. In modern science also, we know from the law of relativity that time and space have no absolute reality, and because of this, causation also has no absolute relativity since to an observer traveling near the speed of light, cause and effect of any phenomena would be much different from the cause and effect seen by an observer at rest. The simultaneity of events would be different for any phenomena for different observers. Hence science has confirmed Advaita Vedanta in this respect, that objects and phenomena have only relative reality.

But Advaita says, things cannot have only relative reality through and through. Since there is existence of the world, there must be an absolute reality at the base to support this relative reality.

This absolute reality at the base of the existence of the world is Brahman.

In the same way, Advaita Vedanta says that our individual consciousness at the superficial level has only relative reality. Our individual consciousness is but a stream of thoughts and sensations one succeeding the other, and there is no reality at this level. But there must be an absolute reality at the base of this consciousness, otherwise we would not have had consciousness.

This Absolute reality at the base of our consciousness is Brahman.

Thus in Advaita Vedanta, both the objects and subject have only an ambiguous reality and no true existence, and it is only the Absolute Brahman as the basis of both which has a true existence.

The aim of spirituality is to experience this state of existence in Brahmanhood. By bringing to a halt the stream of thoughts-sensations of our consciousness, we can still our consciousness and then we will exist as Brahman itself, which was always and will always be our true identity. This is the final goal for the Advaitin.