VEDANTA AND MODERN LIFE
By Sri Sri Satchidanandendra Saraswati Swamiji
1. VEDANTA, THE MEDICINE FOR CIVILISATION
CREDIBILITY OF VEDANTA
The Vedanta Darshana is a system of philosophy born out of the Upanishad. Other theorems are the mere scriptures that deal with essential nature; and, these scriptures are logically arranged scientific treaties. Such methodical scriptures are called as Philosophy in English. But, a few sages arranged theorems in accordance with the experience and these theorems are called as the Darshana ( seen, experienced ). Many sages have stated that their particular Darshana was in accordance with experience alone; and they have placed their philosophies before people. In the Vedanta, the sages of the Upanishads expressed their experience through the theorem. The Vedantins don’t tell that their Darshana should be believed because that is preached in the Upanishads. In this regard, Sri Suresvaraachaarya, the disciple of Sri Shankaraachaarya tells in his Vaartika: Na cha vedoktito vedah shraddheyaartha Iheshyate I Kin-tvaatmaanatva-hetoonaam veda-vaakhyeshvasambhavaat II ( Bri. Vaa.2.4.325 ). Dishonest statements don’t inform a subject, inform doubtfully, or inform wrongly. Unlike this, the statements of authority doubtlessly inform the unknown subject to the one so as to experience it. The Vedantins tell that the Upanishadic statement is the authoritative one so that he can experience it.
UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE, ITSELF, IS THE FOUNDATION TO THE VEDANTA.
In the material science, a few tell that a concept may be a theory, if it gives an un-changing and useful information in day-to-day dealings. The earth moves round the sun is a concept of astronomers. Ancients believed that the sun alone moved round the earth; but, the present explains all the events more satisfactorily; hence, the modern people call this as a theory. Similarly, a concept that people live on the mars- also should be considered. If this concept is proved to be right one, that becomes a theory. This is the opinion of the deliberator. But, the Vedanta-theory is not like that. This theory need not inform a principle that depends upon any worldly affairs; for, the Vedanta informs the Reality which is known neither through the evidence of the senses, nor through that of inference. The speciality of the Vedanta is that it informs the Reality which is in the experience of everyone.
Who composed the Upanishads? When was it composed? Such questions may be examined in the view of history. This is not very important thing for the determination of the Reality. For, the Vedanta has not told the subject that is either known by the direct- observation or by the logical discussion; or it has told the subject that should be believed by the ability of the preacher. It has the deliberation of the Reality which depends upon the universal-experience and which doesn’t have the rule of time and space. In the worldly affairs, the theories of mathematics are applicable in the domain of time and space. Similarly, the deliberation of the Reality, the Vedanta-theorem also deals the subject that is applicable to the Universal-Experience.
THE SUBJECT OF THE PRESENT DELIBERATION.
In this series of lectures, I am going to talk on a subject : Vedanta and Modern Life of Man. The Vedanta preaches only subjects that we experience. My principal purpose is to place before you that the Vedanta preaches useful subjects to the present life of human beings. How is the present life of humans? Does the Vedanta provide a remedy against the knotty problems of human beings of this modern civilization? We have to aim at the deliberation on this subject.
CIVILIZATION IS A DISEASE.
Deliberators of truth proclaim that the civilization which we boast is a sort of disease. You should not think that only the Vedantins of our country have told this and that is the mark of their ignorance. For, I am quoting the words of a western-writer. Edward Carpenter, a self-deliberator, has written a book by name : “ Civilization, Its Cause and Cure”. He writes that every country, in its infancy, suffers from the disease called civilization affecting humans. Children suffer from hooping coughs, chicken-fox, etc; and pediatricians study and treat such diseases. Similarly, when countries grow, in their child-hood, they contract the civilization-disease Those countries that find cause of this and cure themselves alone survive. But, those countries that did not take care of this disease have become victims of it. Carpenter, in order to show this opinion, has put his effort to provide facts and figures.
DIAGNOSE OF THE DISEASE.
According to the opinion of the author, a strong feeling of the idea of property, itself, is a cause for this civilization-disease; discriminators, seeing the symptoms of this disease, should take proper medication. We don’t find this disease or its worst symptoms in un-civilized people whom we ridicule so. But, a man has to suffer this disease, one or the other day. It is impossible to avoid this disease; the countries should improve themselves by the proper medication. Carpenter writes that Indians and Chinese were successful in curing this disease; and they stand as the best examples. But, it seems that this disease has relapsed again in these countries. Therefore, we, the Indians should necessarily examine its symptoms.
IS THE VEDANTA A CURE FOR CIVILIZATION? Find out in our next edition of Venugaanam.