If one asks, how Vedanta can be made practical in our day-to-day life, here is a book published by Advaita Ashrama, a publication centre of Ramakrishna Math, Belur Math, India, which provides the answer. It contains some of the most important lectures delivered by Swami Vivekananda in London regarding the application of Vedanta in our daily lives. Highly practical, this book helps the readers to bring about a deep transformation in their lives by spiritualizing their every moment and movement.
Author(s): Chinnabai Ramulu
Abstract: Swami Vivekananda was an Indian Philosopher of Modern Times. He introduced Indian Philosophy of Vedanta and Yoga in the Western world. He was a major force in the reformation of Hindu religion in India. He began his search for God by following scientific approach, in the process of his quest, he met mystic Ramakrishna Paramhamsa and became a great spiritualist of Neo-Vedanta. He laid philosophical foundations for Hindu cultural reformation and Indian society utilizing Advaita logic. His success lies in drawing social philosophy from the thoughts of Advaita Vedanta which paved the way for the social reforms in India. He represented Neo-Vedanta linked with transcendentalism new thought, theosophy. He introduced four yoga’s model, which made him practical Vedantin to realize the divine force within every human being. He successfully amalgamated Western materialism with Indian spiritualism. He encouraged the practice of Advaita Vedanta in people's daily life linked with society, he preached spiritual stage through humanistic stage, and in this process he denied the evil practices by Indian priest class, Prince Class and trade class and sensitively responded towards the poverty and wretched conditions of working class (the Shudras). He hated the practice of untouchability and laid solid foundation for nationalism. He explored Indian philosophy and drew ethical Systems on the basis of Advaita Vedanta, offering solution for the salvation of humankind. He recognized the energy of individual human as a form of divinity and built a tremendous positive psychology for humankind. He applied philosophy of Advaita Vedanta to build humanity and spirituality. It all reflected his practical Vedanta idealism. Thus Vivekananda acted as a great philosopher of Advaita Vedanta and social reformer in colonial India. This article gives the views of Swami Vivekananda on Vedanta.
Vivekananda delivered his 3rd lecture on practical Vedanta in London, 17th Nov, 1896. In this lecture, Vivekananda put importance on the requirement of scientific religion. True religion consists on scientific foundation, not on dogmas and blind faith. According to him the philosophy of Upanishads is scientific for a special reason that its teachings are formulated in accordance with two important laws of scientific thought. These two principles are- 1. Knowledge consists in referring the particular to general and general to universal. 2. Explanations of the facts of nature are to be got from within nature itself, not from extraneous agencies. In Vivekananda’s view Vedic thought has applied these two principles, so Vedic thought can be regarded as scientific. If we observe the worship of God in early Vedic period, we find that it starts with a large number of Devas as object of worship and adoration. They arrived at the conclusion of one God, of whom all others are expression only. In the study of nature also they applied the same principle. In the study of nature from several elements and forms of energy, they arrived at one stuff Akasa and regarded it as the source of all elements, and Prana as the matrix of all energies. These Akasa and Prana are finally unified into the all-embracing prakrti (Nature). Akasa and Prana are manifestation of Prakriti.