An ancient Sanskrit text on the nature of Reality
Vedic culture is based on the Vedas,
books of knowledge of great antiquity. The four Vedas are divided into three parts. The
, the earliest portion, are hymns to the power of nature which is seen as a kind, tolerant and merciful, yet mighty, severe, and unrelenting deity. The
, are detailed instructions needed to perform rituals and meditations that produce certain sought-after and limited results: wealth, progeny, a happy afterlife, health, etc. Such knowledge is valuable for those who believe that happiness comes from outside themselves. A few of us doubt that lasting happiness comes from the pursuit of desired objects and/or the performance of finite activities, religious or otherwise, in a time-bound world and, for whatever reasons, are convinced that happiness comes from within. The
or Upanishads, the third portion of each Veda, commonly known as Vedanta, agrees and delivers an “absolute”
knowledge that, under the right circumstances, reveals the limitless blissful Self and destroys the suffering arising from the belief in oneself as a limited being. Actions, subtle and gross, can only produce things not immediately available. For example, if I live in San Francisco and want to go to New York I need to catch a plane, or drive a car. But the Self, the limitless I, our true identity, is eternally present, the nearest of the near, so no action will help me reach it.