The Vedanta Way to Peace
Vedanta is the wisdom of
the Vedic sages. For thousands of years it has inspired people to find
solutions to the problems of life and thus reach the highest
fulfillment. As a philosophy of living, Vedanta has been tested and
verified in the lives of countless seekers, saints, and prophets of
India. The Vedanta way is decisive and its practices are based upon
science and reason.
For centuries the
Vedanta philosophy was kept carefully guarded by saints and ascetics
living in forests and mountains, and never made public. They thought
that the teachings would be diluted and misunderstood by the masses, who
were prone to believe not in truth but in myths and miracles. In matters
of spirituality and religion, truth is often sacrificed to fiction and
make-believe. A rational and realistic approach is rare. Religious
texts are filled with eulogy, exaggeration, doubtful myths and loving
legends. The average person regards scriptures as infallible,
forgetting that the scriptures are in fact remembered words and
experiences written down by human beings.
Swami Vivekananda was
the first to bring the teachings of Vedanta from the forest to the
general public. He thought that because of the developments of science
the time had come to deliver the message of Vedanta to all. According to
the Swami, the teachings of Vedanta are worth nothing if they are not
problem-solving. They are useless unless they enrich our lives and lead
us to peace and happiness.
Vedanta reminds us that
the course of life is mysterious. It is plagued by ceaseless changes and
uncertainties. Pain, suffering, illness, old age and death are harsh
realities that cannot be ignored or avoided. Vedanta maintains that
problems and solutions go together; one cannot exist without the other.
If nature presents a problem, it also points toward a solution. In
suggesting solutions Vedanta does not deal with the occult or miraculous
and does not cater to fads, whims or pious imaginations. According to
Vedanta, our happiness depends upon peace of mind, peace of mind on
self-control, and self-control on awareness of our true Self.
The present book does not
compromise the orthodox views of Vedanta. It deals with such subjects as
life and its meaning, mastering the restless mind, the spiritual quest,
the practice of meditation, the controversy between faith and reason,
and facing the problems of life. Vedanta assures us that we are not
living in the final days of our destiny, that every problem has a
solution, and that the human soul is not a prisoner of karma or sin.
The merciless and inexorable laws of life can be countered and overcome.
The book presents both the facts and fictions of human life and assures
us that, regardless of background, culture, training, or religious
belief, all can follow the Vedanta way to resolve the problems of life
and reach the supreme goal.
Competent editors have gone through this
book, and I am grateful to them for their valuable contributions. It is
my fervent hope that this book will be of help to the readers in their
quest for peace, happiness, and spiritual fulfillment.
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