Thursday, 20 March 2008

Introduction to Vedanta

Hari Om.

Thanks for visiting the blog. After the introductions here and here, it is now time to proceed with the next step – starting the course “Introduction to Vedānta”. We will start our course of Vedānta in the next few sessions. Our study will be based on the framework provided by a scriptural work called Tattvabodha.

Tattvabodha is a work in prose form, that has been attributed to Shankarāchārya. There is still some debate as to whether it is Ādi Shankarāchārya or another Āchārya in the Paramparā. But this detail need not worry us. What should be kept in mind is that Tattvabodha is a fundamental and important work in understanding higher texts of Vedānta like Bhagavad Gītā, Upanishads and Brahma Sūtra. Tattvabodha introduces us to important terms used in Vedāntik scriptures which every ardent student of Vedānta should be aware of. The following posts on the blog are taken from Swāmi Paramārthānanda’s classes in Madras.

However we will not be seeing the word for word translation of Tattvabodha, here. Tattvabodha in its original form, assumes that the student has already got a strong knowledge on the fundamentals and is aware of the basic technical terms used throughout the scriptures. But this may not always be the case. There are many of us who may be interested in the subject but do not know where to start from, what to focus on and to what depth we should study initially. Swāmi Paramārthānanda has addressed this issue very beautifully in this course of study.

Using Tattvabodha as a framework, Swāmiji first explains the basics by talking about our scriptures, Varna Āshrama Dharma, Yoga, principle of God etc. After dealing with these fundamentals, Swāmiji then takes up Tattvabodha addressing each topic in the proper sequence. Swāmiji walks us thorough the important concepts and technical words used, which will then form the basis for future study of Vedānta.

Hence, this course is more aptly called “Introduction to Vedānta”. This course is suited for anybody who has got a thirst to understand our Vedic scriptures and does not know where to start from.

Let us start this vital and basic study by offering our prayers to Goddess Sarasvati.

सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यम वरदे कामरूपिणि
विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतुमे सदा

Sarasvati Namastubhyam Varade Kāmarūpini
Vidyārambham Karishyāmi Siddhirbhavatu Me Sadā

O Goddess Saraswati, salutations to you, the giver of boons, the one who fulfills all desires. I begin my studies. May there always be accomplishments for me.

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