Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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See also Pramaan
(1) Viewing. Seeing with respect. It is normally used in context with seeing any Devtaa, Bhagavaan (God), or some respectable person. (2) Sight. (3) Vision. (4) Philosophy. Philosophical writings. Since Indian philosophy is based on "seeing" or "experiencing", it is called Darshan in which people see or experience "final truth" through this branch of knowledge.
Indian philosophy is divided in 6 systems - (1) Nyaaya, (2) Vaisheshik, 3) Saankhya, (4) Yog, (5) Meemaansaa, also called Poorv Meemaansaa, and (6) Vedaant, also called Uttar Meemaansaa. All of these perhaps were founded during 650-350 BC period.
The aim of Saankhya is to liberate the man's Self from bondage to the Body and the rest of the material world. The bondage is caused because of the man's ignorance about the reality of the Self. It lies in the power of the man to liberate himself by achieving a true realization of the nature of the Self. In Saankhya, the mind and ego are part of Matter and become conscious when the light of consciousness of the Self or Soul is reflected in them. This knowledge of Saankhya traveled to Greece where it influenced the philosophy expounded by Pythagoras.
The literal meaning of Yog is joining or union, but it is in use to denote many meanings - performance, device, manner, undertaking, endeavor and diligence. This theory was put forward by Patanjali (c 390-310 BC). According to him Yog stands for meditation which requires mental abstraction from sense objects. This philosophy accepts most of the metaphysics of Saankhya, yet it believes that Yog brings about the association and dissolution between Purush and Prakriti. Yog is a practical method of attaining liberation through self-realization in 8 steps -
1 - Self-control - abstention from cruelty; truthfulness of thought, word and deed; not
stealing, continence, and not accepting unnecessary gifts.
The term Yog is also used for a specific set of physical exercises combined with mental attitudes, such as -
Karm Yog - Union with
the Supreme Soul through mental and physical immersion in work approved by scriptures.
(5) Meemaansaa (Poorv Meemaansaa)
(6) Vedaant or Uttar Meemaansaa
Complicating the matters further, there have been three Aachaarya, famously known for three systems of metaphysics, are Aadi Shankaraachaarya, Shree Raamaanujaachaarya and Madhwaachaarya. Their Philosophical systems are known consecutively as A-Dwait, Vishisht A-Dwait and Dwait, explaining the relationship between man and God. They wrote their books claiming to be the translations and commentaries of Baadaraayan's Vedaant Sootra. While Baadaraayan seems to have written something different from the Upanishad, these three translators and commentators have also written their own views of philosophy. Shankaaraachaarya (c 806-838 AD) interpreted Baadaraayan to found his School of A-Dwait (non-Dualism), Raamaanuj (c 1057-1137 AD) founded the School of Vishisht A-Dwait (Qualified non-Dualism), and Madhwa (c 1236-1300) founded the School of Dwait (Dualism) philosophy.
Shankar's A-Dwaitvaad (non-Dualism)
Maayaa is in fact is illusion. Brahm in association with this illusion, produces the appearance of the Universe in the same way as a magician produces illusory things. Maayaa thus constitutes the material cause of the world. In all those individual forms of existence, the One Individual Brahm is present; but the non-enlightened Soul is unable to look through and hides from it its true nature. Instead identifying itself to be Brahm, it blindly identifies itself with its adjuncts, the senses, which are fictitious results of Maayaa. As a result it has to suffer or enjoy the fruits of actions in future incarnations. Since, according to him, only One Reality exists, his theory came to be known as "A-Dwaitvaad" (non-Dualism).
Shankar claims the immediate authority of Baadaraayan's Brahm Sootra, and the ultimate authority of Upanishad for this theory, but this is not true. His theory is neither supported by any genuine Upanishad, nor by Brahm Sootra. Brahm Sootra does not support that this world is unreal, nor does it proclaim the absolute identity of the Individual Soul with the Supreme Soul. Besides, Upanishad's meaning of Maayaa is different from Shankar's meaning of Maayaa. All this proves that A-Dwait theory is the brainchild of Shankar himself. In fact there are two things which do not support Shankar. First, Shankar himself, in unguarded moments has disregarded it. Translated in English, he writes -
"Though the difference be none, I am of Thee,
Second, Shankar includes "Mind" as a sense and thus it is an illusion. If our minds, including of Shankar, are themselves unreal, how can they proclaim any theory about the reality. Swaamee Vivekaanand, who claimed himself a follower of Shankar, in reality was a Vishisht A-Dwaitvaad in (Qualified non-Dualist). Whether one believes in his A-Dwaitism, but there is no doubt that he was one of the most brilliant Hindu scholars ever born. Hindu must be grateful to him for the quantity and quality of theological work he produced.
At one place Shankar says - "Shabd Jaalam Mahaaranyam Chitta Bhraman Kaaranam" - means don't be confused by mind boggling words in philosophy or other schools of study, as they lead people to nowhere but to bewildering paths as in forests. He further says - "Verbosity is like a forest, (Shabd Jaaalam Mahaaranyam), which leads to a perplexed mind (Chitta Bhraman Kaarakam). Hence there should be no verbal confusion, with linguistic subtleties or nuances, or hair splitting logic or a jugglery of words as they do not lead us to any truth. There should be economy in words and should be direct, simple and to the point. Euphemisms, high sounding complex word constructions will not be helpful to the aspirants of truth. On the other hand the complex word play lands people into a pathless forest. Hence one should be watchful with the use of one's word is the sane advice given here. There is a criticism against our theological concepts that the expressions are obscure, dubious and wary. Shankar gives here a warning against such abstruse expressions.
Raamaanuj's Vishisht A-Dwaitvaad (non-Dualism)
Madhwa's Dwaitvaad (Dualism)
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 10/01/12