Collection of Thoughts from Hindu Mystics
Swami Vivekananda on Vendanta Philosophy
The Vendanta philosophy really comprises of all the scriptures or Vedas of Hindus which are not necessarily hymns and rituals. The Vedas are divided into two parts. The Karma-Kanda (work) and Gyana (Jnana)-Kanda (Knowledge).
The famous hymns and rituals belong to Karma-Kanda whereas the Upanishads belong to Gyana (Jnana)-Kanda. The Upanishads, around 108 in number dated well before Buddhistic movement.
Karma-Kanda was a search in external nature for the truths of the Universe. It was an attempt to get the solution of the deep problems of life from the material world.
Gyana (Jnana)-Kanda: for all practical purposes for ages, Shruti meant the Upanishads, the basis for Gyana Kanda. All Hindu philosophers namely Vyasa, Patanjali, Gautama and even the father of all philosophies Kapila himself whenever wanted an authority for what they wrote and they referred to Shruti or Upanishads.
Vyasa was the first one that presented the doctrines of Vedanta or Vedanta philosophy. These Sutras (doctrines) of Vyasa have been explained variously by different commentators that resulted in three (3) systems of philosophies and sects. One is Dualistic or Dvaita, the second sect is qualified non-Dualistic or Vishista-Dvaita and the third non-dualistic or Advaita
Shankaracharya, Ramanuja and Madhava were commentators that brought back Vedanta philosophy subsequent to Buddhist movement that re-established Hinduism in India.
Shankara revived the non-dualistic form (Advaita). Ramanuja revived qualified non-dualistic form (Vishista-Advaita) and Madhava revived dualistic form (Dvaita).
According to Dvaita philosophy God is the creator of the Universe, and its preserver. God is one to be worshiped and the ruler is eternally separate from the nature (outside the nature and external) and eternally separate from the Human Soul. Dvaita or Dualism is very good as means of worship, very satisfying to the mind. This is the religion of the masses in India today (hymns and rituals)
Advaita believe that God, Nature and the Soul are one. But if man wants to be rational and religious at the same time, Advaita or non Dualistic form is the one that satisfy but it is difficult to practice by a common man.
According to Advaita philosophy, the same divine nature present in the lowest worm as well as in highest human being. The little personalized Self is the cause of all misery. The individualized self which makes me different from all other beings brings hatred, jealousy, misery, struggle and all other evils.
When the idea of self is get rid of, all the struggles will cease and all miseries vanish. The prison of misery has been changed into Sat (pronounced as sath means existence absolute), Chit (pronounced chith means knowledge absolute), Anand means (means Bliss absolute). Therefore Sat, Chit, Anand are the attainment of the goal of the Advaita philosophy.
In Advaitism, human thought attains its highest expression and even goes beyond the mystery which seems to be impenetrable. Advaitism is too abstract, too elevated to be the religion of the masses. Even in India, the birth place of Advaitism where it has been ruling supreme for the last 3000 years, it has not been able to permeate the masses. It is difficult for even the most thought out man and woman in any country to understand Advaitism.
In Advaita, Om, this is Brahman. Om is the greatest reality. He who knows the secret out of Om, whatever he desires that he gets, therefore first know the secret of the Om (self), and then you are the Om. The secret of Advaita is believe in yourself (one can see this philosophy is hard to understand and not for everybody and not for the masses as they prefer hymns and rituals.)
What does the Advaita teaches? It dethrones all the gods that ever existed, or even will exist in the universe, and place on the throne, the self of man "the Atman" greater than universe itself. No books, no scriptures, no science can even imagine the glory of the self that as a man, the most glorious God the ever was, the only god that ever existed, exists or ever will exist. I am to worship therefore none but myself. "I worship myself" says Advaitist.
These are the salient points of the three (3) steps which Indian religious thought has taken in regard to "God." It began with the personal, the extra-cosmic God. It went from the external to the internal cosmic body, God immanent in the universe, and ended in identifying the soul itself with the God, and making one soul, a unit of all these manifestations in the universe. This is the last word of the Vedas. It begins with Dualism, goes through a qualified Monism and end in a perfect Monism.
Now, as society exists at the present time, all these three stages (dualism, qualified monism and perfect monism) are necessary, the one does not deny the other, one is simply the fulfillment of the other. The Advaitist does not say the dualism is wrong; it is a right view but a lower level.
Most Upanishads were written by Kshyatriyas while the ritualistic portions of the Vedas were written by Brahmins. Most teachers throughout India over the ages were Kshyatriyas as they were always universal in teaching. Rama, Krishna and Buddha worshiped as incarnations of God were Kshyatriyas.
Vivekananda on Self Realization: Realization is the soul, the very essence of religion. You will get the realization; if you do then you will be truly religious. Until you have attained realization there is no difference between you and atheists. The atheists are sincere but the man who says that he believes religion and never attempts to realize it is not sincere.
A true Vendantist finds that he who, he thought, was standing outside, is he himself and is in reality within. He is the one who is free, but through limitation of the thought, he was bound.
Why realization is good for the world?
On attaining (self) realization, man will love the greatest enemy who knows that the very enemy is god himself, such a man (ex., Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and others) becomes a world mover for whom his little self is dead and God stands in its place. The whole universe will become transfigured to him. Pain and misery will vanish. The universe will be beautiful place. Such a man alone has the right to stand up and say how beautiful is world. He alone has the right to say that it all God.