Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2018

Advaita in Practical Life

What is Advaita-vaad in a very practical sense? It is the ability to know that which is common in all things. A gold-maker does not see bangles, or necklaces or ear-rings. He sees only gold. He will look at them and say 2-bhori, 1-bhori and 3-bhori on inspection. He has developed through training the ability find out the essence, which is gold in his field. Similarly a doctor is able to find out the root cause of a disease from symptoms. And so on. Better still are those people who can abstract out the essence from multiple domains of knowledge, and re-use and re-contextualize that knowledge in a different field. Extracting the essence is the path of Advaita-vaad. There is a difference between knowing something and becoming one with the knowledge. Advaita teaches us how to relate to knowledge, rather than simply knowing. This can be achieved through bhakti, karma and gyana margas simultaneously. Through repetition and sadhana, over time one develops the ability to visualize the ess

When did the Universe Begin? A Vedantic Response

When did the Universe begin? From where did it come? How did it come about? At some point, most humans ask this very fundamental question. This is when people hear about the so-called Big Bang Theory. They learn that the age of the universe is estimated to be 13.8 billion years. They learn that the universe started from a point known as singularity. They learn that time also has a beginning. But then questions like what happened "before" Big Bang are meaningless. Time "began" with Big Bang, hence anything prior is meaningless. Advaita Vedanta also addresses this issue in a very logical and intuitive way. And it also provides an elegant solution to this dilemma. Swami Parthasarathy (Swamiji) , who himself is master logician himself, explains that the question of when, where from and how are themselves meaningless. Hence any answer to a nonsensical question will be meaningless. Why does he say this? Time, space and causation are part of the universe. Their existen

Why is the bull so venerated in Hindu culture?

Indus seals have bulls. Nandi is the guardian deity of Kailasha. Shri Krishna refers to Arjuna as भरतर्षभ ( bharata-ṛiṣhabha), which means the bull like one belonging to Bharata clan. Why become bull-like? What is its significance? How is it relevant today? Today our learned Acharya, Shri (Dr) Subhashish Chakrabarti, gave a wonderful explanation during our Bhagavad Gita class, which I am presenting below to the best of my ability. A bull is a hard-working animal which works with a dogged determination. In return it gets as well as expects very little. From a bulls point of view, its philosophy is high input, low output. This is completely contrary to modern consumerist society/ engineering approach of low input and maximum output. While the latter may work successfully in the physical realm, when it comes to character development and spiritual realm, a lot of very hard work will seemingly produce very nominal output. But it is essential. And so it must be done. Karma must be done d