means „prayer‟ or „sacred word‟ a
nd the power that these contain
It was believed that our human lives were dependent on the correct ritual interaction with the gods and goddesses, or
(shining ones), to secure order and balance in an otherwise hazardous world.
Absolute reality in the
verses is regarded as a cyclical, changing, order which provides structure and rhythm to existence.The cosmic order,
is an important concept in all of Indian philosophy because it shapes a moralinteraction between humans and a type of divine justice which leads to the widespread acceptance of doing
one‟s duty to uphold and support existence itself.
The concepts of
arise from thismoral interaction with the cosmic order.
, a complex network of inter-related social and moralduties was originally based purely
s place in the caste system and the family, but has changed andexpanded through time as Indian philosophers grapple with the question of how it is best to live.Beginning around 800 B.C.E., a tradition of commentaries upon the hymns and rituals of theearlier
verses took a more philosophical turn. These increasingly philosophical commentaries areknown as the
are considered part of the
and are acknowledged to beinspired, but human in origin. The
were the closely guarded
“secret teachings” of the
tradition and were passed from a
to student disciples only after extensive proper training. Thetraining prescribed by the
(reflection) for obtaining intellectual conviction,and
(meditation) for gaining direct experience.
/meditation is a form of
meant to prepare the student for contemplating the ultimate truth - to enable him to grasp the unity of existenceas directly and compellingly as the multiplicity and diversity of the world is grasped
and for that
comprehension to become a permanent influence on the disciple‟s life.
This form of meditation
Beliefs That Changed the World: The History and Ideas of the Great Religions
(London: Quercus Publishing,2007), p. 102
Ibid., p. 100
John M. Koller,
ed. (Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2007), p. 12
M. Hiriyanna, The Essentials of Indian Philosophy (Bombay: George Allen & Unwin (India) Private Ltd, 1973), p. 26