Wednesday, October 12, 2011


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Unit Hinduism Vedanta Hinduism

By Olga Kidisevic

1. What is maya, and how do Vedanta Hindus believe that it can be overcome?

Simply put, Maya basically means illusion and dillusion. It signifies the world as a cosmic illusion and it is also the power that creates the world. In our lives we are constantly faced with contradiction. We may sometime know what the right thing to do is, but end up doing the wrong thing. The world is not a perfect, happy place, but is one in which there is misery and sadness. All of us in our lives are at one point or other are faced with these situations or some like them. That is what is maya. The way to overcome this and acquire spiritual liberation is by eradicating ignorance. This is because ignorance is what causes us to see the illusionary multiplicity of the world as being real. We can also attain knowledge of the Self, only then can the illusions be eradicated and reality be clear. Lastly, according to Vedanta Hinduism, when we are experiencing maya we are not seeing the world properly and are disillusioned. Their solution is follow spiritual wisdom through yoga and only one reality will remain. God. Once one rids themselves of maya they acquire complete satisfaction with no desires and no impulses for rebirth.

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. In Vedanta thought, is Brahman the same thing as God?

In Vedanta thought, Brahman is the impersonal God and the universal soul. Brahman is the Absolute Truth. Brahman is the creator, the maintainer, and the destroyer. Vedanta also believes that the soul comes from and will merge with Brahman. Brahman can be considered the same thing as God, but then again might not be. The definition of God is (according to

1. “God

a. A being conceived as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe, the principal object of faith and worship in monotheistic religions.

b. The force, effect, or a manifestation or aspect of this being.

. A being of supernatural powers or attributes, believed in and worshiped by a people, especially a male deity thought to control some part of nature or reality.

. An image of a supernatural being; an idol.

4. One that is worshiped, idealized, or followed Money was their god.

5. A very handsome man.

6. A powerful ruler or despot.”

If we use the first definition for the comparison it says that God is “the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and ruler of the universe”. Bharman is all these things. Bharman is the true knowledge and cannot be felt or seen by the senses but can only be thought of through the mind, like God. Bharman created the universe and rules it.

. What is atman and how is it related to Brahman?

Atman is the Vendata Hindu term for the soul. Atman is beyond the mind and does not function through thought. The goal or point of having a soul is for it to join with the divine of the inner Self, once it does this it is free from reincarnation. In order for this to occur each soul has to grow for itself and must be free to gain the experiences that it needs. The Atman will never be affected by the fluctuations of the body or mind. It is not subject to our grief, sadness, disease or ignorance. The way that the Atman is related to Bharman is that the two joined into one. Bharman resides in each one of us in out Atman.

4. What is moksha and how is it related to karma?

Moksha is the liberation of ones soul from the body and its possessions. The soul takes on a more spiritual form and this state is known as Moksha. Karma is the sum of all the actions and decisions we make in one lifetime that will predict what form the soul will take in the next life. This is known as reincarnation. If one has good karma in this life, their soul will receive a good form in the next life, and vice versa. Karma is related to Moksha because it is only when the soul reaches moksha or liberation (through good karma) then it will discontinue to reincarnate in the next life and cycle will be broken.

5. What is the renunciation of worldly senses and pleasures and what religious purpose does it serve in Hindu thought?

Renunciation of worldly senses and pleasures is the process of eliminating anything in ones life that is not spiritual. This includes things such as wealth, greed, lust and the ego. The religious purpose that it serves in Hindu thought is to escape the ill-sides of karma and to attain ultimate happiness.

6. One of the most famous works in the Upanishads is the Bhagavad Gita. It wrestles with the question of how to avoid bad karma while living in the world. In short, what solution does it provide to this question?

The solution that it provides for this question is for one to do as they are supposed to, control their desires of the flesh (ie.lust), do actions without seeking a profit, do their own duties and never perform someone else’s. One should believe that the senses are good, the mind is better than the senses yet the sould is even better than the mind. Also, one should worship God and whatever path one takes, it will always lead to God.

The Gita also states that whatever one does, they should do it as an offering to God. It states that “an enlightened mind is suggested as one that is indifferent to pleasure and pain, gain and loss”

Also, “Be thou happy by this yajna [sacrifice] because its performance will bestow upon you everything desirable for living happily and achieving liberation.”

Another solution or piece of advice is that someone who lives their life purely for the satisfaction of their senses is a person who lives in vain. These are only some of the solutions given, however if one of the Hindu religion abides by these “rules” they can be sure to escape the dreaded bad karma.




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