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Thoughts of Vedanta

by Swami Sivananda

VEDANTA is that sublime philosophy which teaches that the individual soul is identical with the Supreme Soul and removes the illusion of the Jiva. Vedanta is the science of Atman that helps the aspirants to eradicate fear, sorrow, grief, delusion and to realise the Self. Vedanta is that magnanimous philosophy which raises the ignorant Jiva to the sublime heights of Brahmanhood. Vedanta is a panacea for all human ailments. Vedanta is a sovereign specific for the disease of birth and death. Mere theorising of Vedantic principles will not do. You should live in the spirit of Vedanta. You should become a practical Vedantin. You should realise this Atman which Vedanta treats of. Then only you will become a liberated sage.

Brahman or Atman or the Supreme Self is self-luminous. Brahman cannot be manifested by anything else. Brahman manifests everything. The doctrine of self-luminosity is one of the foundational tenets on which the entire edifice of Vedanta is constructed. Atman gives light to the sun, moon, stars, lightning, fire intellect and senses. by the light of the Atman all these shine but they cannot illumine the Atman.

The ultimate principle or Atman or Brahman which is formless, colourless, fearless, timeless, spaceless, limitless, attributeless, endless and beginningless shines eternally and everywhere behind the names and forms. Vedanta treats of this ultimate Truth or Supreme Principle.

This world of names and forms is constantly changing. Seas dry up and vast sandy deserts come into being in their place. Elevations become depressions and depressions become elevations. Sand becomes stone and stone becomes sand. Blocks of stones become lime and lime becomes dust. Forests become model towns and cities become deserted places. Grass becomes blood; blood becomes milk; milk again becomes blood; blood becomes flesh. A young man becomes an old man and a beautiful girl becomes an ugly woman. A fat man becomes thin and a thin girl becomes a fat woman. A zamindar becomes a beggar and a beggar becomes a zamindar. At the back of these ever-changing objects there is the changeless, eternal, immortal Brahman or the Supreme Self. He who realises this Brahman attains Immortality, Freedom and Eternal Bliss.

Naturally the mind runs towards objects of the world. The usual flow of the mental current is towards worldly objects. You will have to turn the mind inwards towards the Self through Vairagya and Abhyasa (dispassion and practice). In the beginning the mind will run towards the worldly objects again and again even if it is turned towards the Atman. Constant practice is necessary to make the mind rest in the Self for ever.

Tear into pieces the veil of ignorance. Catch the fickle deer 'the mind' with the snare of enquiry and Brahma Chintan. Mount on the elephant of Self-knowledge and roam about freely in the hilly tracts on the highest peak of Supreme Wisdom of the Self.

Shake off the bonds of Karma through discrimination, dispassion and non-attachment. Know the secret of true bliss through concentration and meditation. Root out the passion. Embrace Peace. Enjoy the glory of Self-Bliss. Delight in the Self within.

Abandon thoughts of this little body. Rise above the worldly thoughts. Live always in the All-blissful Self. Thou art the sun, fire, sky, stars, mountains, oceans and rivers. The whole world is your body. The whole wealth of the world is yours. The whole world is your Lila. Maya is your illusory power. Exercise your power of Sat-Sankalpa. She is ever ready to fulfil your wishes. Thou art immortal, beginningless and endless. Death, sickness, sorrow, sin, old age, cannot touch thee. Feel the majesty of thy real nature. Feel, feel that thou art the all-pervading, imperishable, diseaseless, fearless Atman. Rest in that stupendous ocean of peace. Be perfectly happy.

Learn to discriminate between the permanent and the impermanent. Behold the Self in all beings and in all objects. Names and forms are illusory. Therefore sublate them. Feel that there is nothing but the Self. Share what you have, physical, mental, moral, or spiritual, with all. Serve the Self in all. Feel when you serve others that you are serving your own Self. 'Love thy neighbour as thyself'. Melt all illusory differences. Remove all barriers that separate man from man. Mix with all. Embrace all. Destroy the sex-idea and body-idea by constantly thinking on the Self or the sexless and bodiless Atman. Fix the mind on the Self when you work. This is practical Vedanta. This is the essence of the teachings of the Upanishads and sages of yore. This is real, eternal life is the Atman. Put these things in practice in the daily battle of life. You will shine as a dynamic Yogi or a Jivanmukta. There is no doubt about this. There is no doubt about this.

OM is a symbol of Brahman. OM or Pranava is a sparkling ferry-boat for men who have fallen into the never-ending ocean of mundane life. Many have crossed this ocean of Samsara with the help of this ferry-boat. You can also do so if you will. Meditate constantly on OM with Bhava and Meaning and realise the Self.

That illumined sage whose mind is merged in his true nature of Sat-Chit-Ananda, who has conquered the enemy 'ignorance', who is destitute of 'I'-ness and 'mine'-ness, who has rooted out pride, selfishness, love, envy and hatred, rejoices in the ocean of boundless bliss.
A cat made up of sugar is a real cat for a child. Sugar does not appear for the child as it is swallowed up by the cat. The cat has concealed the sugar. For an adult it is just sugar only. The sugar has swallowed up the cat. Even so for a Jivanmukta or liberated sage, Brahman swallows all illusory names and forms. He sees only Brahman everywhere. All names and forms vanish. For a worldly man, the names and forms have swallowed up or concealed Brahman. He beholds the illusory forms only.

The Jivanmukta has his upper shoulder as his pillow, the sky as his covering, the earth as his bed. He embraces renunciation as his wife and sleeps fearlessly anywhere without any anxiety and enjoys the supreme bliss of the Self or the unalloyed felicity of the Atman.

O Ram! In essence thou art the Light of lights. Thou art the source for everything. Thou art the infinite power-house. Thou art the Beauty of beauties. It is thy effulgent light that lends life and lustre to the Himalayan snow peaks, sun, moon, stars, flowers and trees, the great scientists, poets, orators, politicians, scholars, philosophers and doctors. Thou art that power which moves the steam-engine, aeroplanes, steamers, railway engines, motor-cars, etc. Thou art the beauty at sunset, brilliance in the diamond, the sweet charming smile in young maiden, strength in athletes, endurance in ascetics and intelligence in geniuses. Thou art above, below, to the right, to the left, in front, behind and everywhere. Thy sweet effulgent, majestic, magnanimous presence shines. Feel this. Realise this. Rejoice in the Self. Move about with perfect joy. Get yourself saturated with deep abiding peace.

Thou art the peasant and the king. Thou art the rogue and the saint. Thou art the maiden and the youth. Thou art the child and the father. Thou art the seed and the fruit. Thou art the five elements and their combinations. Thou art the ocean and the rivers. Thou art ugliness and beauty. Thou art merit and demerit. The whole universe is within you. Feel this. Realise this through silent meditation.

Through thy light the sun shines, intellect functions and senses operate. Through thy power the fire burns. Through thy Shakti the wind blows, rivers flow towards the sea, magnet attracts the iron, flower blossoms and atoms move. Thou art electricity, magnetism and ultra-violet rays.

Feel your oneness with all. Feel your oneness with the sun, sky, wind, flowers, trees, buds, animals, stones, rivers and ocean. Realise the oneness of life, unity of consciousness. Behold the one homogeneous Self everywhere, in all beings, animals and plants.

Rise above the conventional distinctions of mundane life. Abandon the lower nature. Assume your true nature of Sat-Chit-Ananda. Meditate on the true principle of Brahman. Dispel the cloud of ignorance by the dawn of Jnana-Surya, the sun of knowledge. Extricate yourself from the three bodies and the five sheaths. Dwells in the abode of Supreme Peace. Revel in the ocean of boundless joy, O Ram!


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