The Journey of Advaita (From the Rgveda to Sri Aurobindo)

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About the Book

The Journey of Advaita elucidates the richness, depth and profundity of Advaitic thought right from Vedas to Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo and further how it is being incorporated in modern science.

Advaita Philosophy is not a later development of thought as one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. Vedas are replete with suggestions about Unity. The earlier stage of naturalistic and anthropomorphic polytheism yielded to monistic belief. In the dictum, ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti we perceive an echo of Unity. Upanisadic seers picked up this Unity and tirelessly went in their search till they came to the highest conclusion, tat tvam asi.

This concept of Unity gets its full bloom in Sankara's Kevaladvaita: later on it gave inspiration to different rivulets of Vedanta schools. Sankara's unqualified impersonal Brahman could not satisfy those who sought loving communion with God. Consequently different schools of Bhakti- Vedanta came into existence, namely, Visistadvaita of Ramanuja, Dvaita of Madhva, Dvaitadvaita of Nimbarka and Suddhadvaita of Vallabha. For all of them the emphasis is on the liberation of individual soul only, which gave way to Sri Aurobindo's Integral Advaitism where the emphasis is not only on spiritualization of man but of the whole cosmos.

The journey continues further with modern physics. Consciousness is the building block of the Universe and the ground of all beings, which can't be found in plural.

About the Author

Dr Priti Sinha retired as the Head, Department of Philosophy, Vasanta College, Banaras Hindu University after twenty-eight years of service. An alumnus of the university, she holds a doctorate and postgraduate degrees, both in Philosophy as well as Religion and Philosophy. She has been recognized for her work in several national and international seminars. An accomplished musician, Dr Sinha has the distinction of choreographing dance dramas, human puppetry and designing costumes for stage plays, especially historical dramas.

Preface

The present work, The Journey of Advaita, intends to elucidate the profundity of Advaitic philosophy which is but the most exquisite philosophical tradition of India. Vedantists by their significant contribution have enriched the area of Indian philosophy with their understanding of the mystery of human life, the dimension of human existence and its destiny.

Advaita Vedanta is not a later development of thought as one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. Right from the Vedic period Indian philosophical thought has exhibited its Advaitic strand. The general belief is that there is polytheism and not monism in Veda as Vedic [$is worshipped different gods and goddesses in anticipation to get their prayer rewarded in the form of material benefits, but in the Vedic dictum, ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti, we can find a spiritual prevision of Advaita philosophy too. There is incessant flow of Advaitic thought right from the dawn of civilization. Yes, sometimes it is in disguised form.

There was echo of unity in some of the hymns of Vedas, Upanisads picked up this echo and sought to realize this unity amidst diversity by meditation and spiritual experiences; hence in Upanisads there is shifting of this centre from the outer to the inner. Since the world is an emanation and not creation of God there is no duality between the creator and the creation. The identity of Brahman with the universe resolves all duality. In Upanisads atman too is Brahman in the sense of identity and not in the sense of community. In the journey from Vedic philosophy to Upanisadic philosophy there is a distinct sign of transformation from God to self, from prayer to philosophy, from polytheism to monotheistic mysticism which worked as foundation of later Advaita. In Upanisadic philosophy we find a first sketch of Advaita philosophy, Sankara's Advaita is only a growth of the Advaitic strands found in Upanisads in a very logical and systematic way.

Sankara the most precious gem of Indian philosophical thought, illumined with his logical acumen the firmament of Advaita which lulled the erudite scholars for centuries to come. The galaxy of Advaitic authors like Suresvaracarya, Vacaspati Misra and Citsukhacarya contributed immensely to make the roots of Advaita strong but it could not serve as a solace for those who had a tender heart and not a strong rational mind. They looked for emotional appeasement where bhakti was more acceptable than jnana. Ramanuja's Visistadvaita, Madhva's Dvaita, Nimbarka's Dvaitadvaita and Suddhadvaita of Vallabhacarya sought to satisfy the aspirant religious soul which aspires loving communion with God. As a result Bhakti-Vedanta came into existence which served as a transitional link between Kevaladvaita of Sankara and Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo which is said to be "the Vedanta of tomorrow". Bhakti-Vedanta does not cancel the world as maya as it is creation of God. His creatorship is not incompatible with His Absoluteness. Sri Aurobindo goes even further; he presents an integral approach, "a dynamic truth vision". His Integral Advaita reconciles the becoming of the world with the being of God. As the manifestation of Brahman the world is divine in nature. Both being and becoming are real. In onward march of evolution, the lower is not to be rejected as Sankara thinks, but to be uplifted. Sri Aurobindo thinks for the salvation of the whole universe and not only of human being. What the ancient seers said in mystic way is being accepted by the modern scientists also. Modern physics has not refuted Advaita philosophy rather it has revitalized it. It is also taking Advaitic stand when it accepts that matter is a kind of non-material energy. "The fact of matter is that it is no longer a fact." Modern science believes that the Universe is a field of energy, any material cannot be the cause of the Universe and "the input of human consciousness cannot any longer be ignored". It is consciousness and not matter which is the building block of the Universe, the ground of all beings. All things - mass and energy - are no longer antithetical. Like Sankara they too accept that the spatio-temporal world can never be final. "There is something ineffable about the real", which is to be explored by intuition and not by reason. Albert Einstein says: "I can never like a work if it cannot be intuitively grasped." There is no ontological absolute reality in quantum particles. The rhythm of the world consists in the unity of unity and diversity. Quantum physics has allowed us to enter into the era where metaphysics and philosophy are no longer antithetical. It can be happily said: "The earliest formula of wisdom promises to be the last."

My book is an effort to elucidate the journey of Advaita philosophy right from the Vedas, Upanisads, Bhakti-Vedanta to that of Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo, and that it doesn't end here but its philosophy is being increasingly advocated and explored by modern science too.

This book will be incomplete without recording my gratitude to my mentor late Dr K.N. Mishra who finetuned my understanding of Advaita philosophy. I would also like to extend my gratitude to Dr Vashishtha Narain Tripathi (Former HOD, Kashi Vidyapeeth) for his relentless encouragement and help. My heartfelt appreciation and thanks to Dr Ashish Pandey for his constant support without which this book wouldn't have seen the light of day. In the last to my daughters Shriti, Shriya and Saumya, whose love and support ensured me enough time to indulge in my writing.

<br><strong>Item Code:</strong> NAO073<br><strong>Cover:</strong> Hardcover<br><strong>Edition:</strong> 2017<br><strong>Publisher:</strong> D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.<br><strong>ISBN:</strong> 9788124609347<br><strong>Language:</strong> English<br><strong>Size:</strong> 8.5 inch X 5.5 inxh<br><strong>Pages:</strong> 355<br><strong>Other Details:</strong> Weight of the Book: 620 gms