Essentials of Hinduism – Vedanta is not the Advaita System only

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Vedanta is not the Advaita System only

Unfortunately there is the mistaken notion in modern India, that the word Vedanta has reference only to the Advaita system, but you must always remember that in modern India, the three Prasth&nas are considered equally important in the study of all the systems of religion. First of all there are the Revelations, the Srutis, by which I mean the Upanishads. Secondly, among our philosophies, the Sutras of Vy&sa have the greatest prominence, on account of their being the consummation of all the preceding systems of philosophy. These systems are not contradictory to one another, but one is based on another, and there is a gradual unfolding of the theme which culminates in the Sutras of Vyasa. Then, between the Upanishads and the Sutras, which are the systematising of the marvellous’truths of the Vedanta, comes in Sri Gita, the divine commentary on the
Vedanta. The Upaniahads, the Vyasa Sutras, and the Gita, therefore, have been taken up by every sect in India that wants to claim authority for orthodoxy, whether Dualist, or Visisht&dvaitist, or Advaitist; the authorities of each of these are the three Prasthans. We find that a Sankaracharya, or a Ramanuja, or a Madhv&chftrya, or a Vallabh&ch&rya, or a Chaitanya – any one who wanted to propound a new sect – had to take up these three systems and write only a new commentary on them. Therefore it would be wrong to confine the word Vedanta only to one system, which has arisen out of the Upanishads. All these are covered by the word Vedanta. The Visishtadvaitist has as much right to be called a Vedantist as the Advaitist; in fact I will go a little further and say that what we really mean by the word Hindu is really the same as Vedantist.

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