About the book
There are various ways to reach the summit of a mountain. Likewise, according to Vedic tradition, there are various paths a spiritual aspirant can travel to attain liberation. While the vedic tradition is not path-specific , it is certainly goal-specific – all paths have the objective of God-realization . The guru decides the best path for his disciples to follow depending on their capabilities and temperaments . These paths are not sealed, watertight compartments . each path flows into the other as they all finally flow to one , the Almighty , the Ultimate . for example , Karma Yoga coalesces into Bhakti Yoga as seamlessly as the letter into the former.
There are various paths to reach the summit of a mountain. likewise, according to Vedic tradition, there are various paths by which a spiritual aspirant can travel to attain the goal of liberation from the cycle of birth and death. While the Vedic tradition is not path-specific, It is certainly goal-specific.
The pathways to liberation taught by the ancient scriptures that I feel are most relevant for the modern seekers are the paths of renunciation (Nivrittri Marga ), selfless action (Kara Yoga), love and devotion (Bhakti Yoga), knowledge (Jnana Yoga ), spiritual discipline and meditation (Raja Yoga ), Self – surrender (prapatti marga ) and sound (nada Yoga). While different paths have been laid down to suit different temperaments of seekers , these paths are not sealed, watertight compartments . Each path flows into the others as finally they all flow to the One , the almighty , the Ultimate. For Example, karma Yoga coalesces into Bhakti Yoga as seamlessly as the latter into the former.
One might ask , when there is a plethora of books on the subject , what is the need for this one? When I started reading Vedic literature , I found it difficult to comprehend some of the complex concepts and doctrines. My quest to understand them took some time . I would like to share my understanding with those who may have encountered similar difficulties in their spiritual search . this book is a synthesis of my understanding of the pathways to liberation and the foundations on which they are based as described in the Vedas , Upanishads and allied scriptures such as the Brahma sutra and the Bhagavad gita.
The main text of the book is intended to give to a lay readership a systematic and comprehensive introduction to the multi-faceted features of spirituality embedded in the Vedic tradition. Appendices are provided to satisfy the curiosity of those readers who would like to have additional information on some of the topics . As the book is geared towards the lay reader , I have endeavoured to presents the subject matter in a simple way, despite the attendant risk of misrepresentation or inadequate treatment . I have exercised due diligence and I do hope that I have neither misrepresented facts nor presented them in just a cursory way Also. Each chapter of the book designed to be self-contained and independent. Therefore, repetition of some concepts and doctrines in unavoidable.
I am indebted to the a many authors whose valuable understanding of this subjects has made this book possible. With regard to quotes, I have largely used or based my translation on those of eminent scholars and spiritual teachers. This was a deliberate decision. If my translation were to differ from conventional translation , mine could be considered to be biased. However , my own judgement comes through in the translation I have chosen. Fr example , the conventional translation of anavrittih shabdat (Brahma sutra 4.4.22) is : there is no return for realised souls , according to the scriptures.” However this sutra is also translated as: “by sound one becomes liberated .” I have used this translation because I believe it has spiritual import.
The Book includes a glossary of definitions of terms used frequently in the text as well as notes on the ain sculpture s and author quoted in the book. A bibliography organized by scripture names for those who would like to find translation of particular scriptures. A subject index is also included.
For Sanskrit words, I have adopted a simplified system by using diacritics only for the transliteration of the long a , I and u. since spiritual knowledge is the privilege of all human beings - both men and women - the pronouns ‘he ,’ his and ‘him’ appearing in the book are used by way of experience, not with any gender bias. For ease of reading, parentheses rather than square brackets are used for explanatory information inserted in quotations.
I hope this book will be of some help to spiritual seekers who are trying to realize their quest t achieve the ultimate goal: liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
The Radha Somai Satsang Beas Society exist t support seekers of spiritual truth through regular Discourses held at as its centres in India and abroad and its publication on universal spiritual subjects . its activities seek to bear witness to the spirituality that the one common spiritual energy or divine power - we many call it Lord, God, father or any other name – that is the source from which the entire creation was projected and continues to be sustained. the Society Promotes the Understanding that personal experiences of this supreme Oneness bring liberation.
Pathways to liberations explores the search for eternal freedom in the context of the Vedic and Upanishadic traditions of India . It looks at some of the many ways that have evolved over the centuries in India to find liberation and peace of mind in the physical creation. It explores the rich and varied Journeys that people undertake to experience what they yarn for, all arising from the timeless truth expressed in the Vedas and Upanishads.
As the world gets ever smaller and people of different cultures and creeds find them selves living closer to one another, It is our great pleasure to presents this book as a welcome addition to the RSSB “Mysticism in world Religions “ Publication list. It is our sincere hope that it will contribute to the Understanding of the one spiritual truth link humanity and builds a universal fellowship of brothers , sister and friends.
In One of the Upanishads central to the Vedic tradition we read, “ Revered Sir, I have studied all the Vedas…. I have heard from spiritual teachers like you that a knower of self goes beyond sorrow. I am lost in sorrow . Please teach me how to get rid of sorrow and how to go beyond . “And the teacher answered, “Whatever you know it just words of finite phenomena . It is the Infinite that is the source of abiding joy because it is not subjects to change. therefore seek to know the Infinite.
This book Unfolds for us a perspective on the many paths of Hinduism - all born from the ancient Vedic and Upanishadic traditions of India – that lead to that universal place beyond all change , beyond death and suffering and all the university and differences or life on earth . As the author of the book comments , the vedic tradition is goal –specific , not path-specific.
The Indian Vedas and the Upanishads have been With us for millennia . In great detail and with beautiful subtlety , they , offer to us some of the oldest verbal representations of human understanding of the nature of life . They are at the base of most of the culture of the India Subcontinent . The