How is one to begin the study of Vedanta? What are the benefits of studying Vedanta? have been the intriguing questions one faces in life. The universe is limitless, unimaginably complex and variegated. "Whence it has come? Why it has come? What exactly is it's intrinsic nature?" are questions that spontaneously arise in the mind of the observer. They are not answerable by inference as known to Science. It is only the Vedas-Vedanta that can answer them.
The opening chapters in this book (Anubandha Chatustaya, Sadhana Chatustaya, Guru, and Pramanas) will reinforce the readers' ardent interest with basic constructs required for a disciplined study of Vedanta, The detailed discussions in the chapters will not "only provide the reader with good clarity about the procedure to study Vedanta but also clarify the ultimate benefit of studying Vedanta. Vedas say unequivocally, that the Brahman is the ultimate cause of the Universe and is the one without a second. It is absolutely indescribable.
The extensive discussions in the chapters on Jagat, Brahman, Jiva, Moksha and Sadhana Prakaranam, enumerates the quintessential parameters required to actually realize that Brahman is the ultimate cause of the universe. In each aeon called Kalpa, the universe is born out of Brahman, lives in Brahman and dissolves in Brahman. Therefore, Brahman is the intrinsic nature of the universe. The universe is changing-Asatya, but Brahman is unchanging-Satya. It goes even beyond and says that the observer of the universe is himself Brahman and one who realizes it attains total freedom from all bondage.
The detailed chapters on Maya and Avidya carefully clarifies that Maya [Prakrti] is Brahman's intrinsic power by which It assumes the form of the universe for the benefit of Jivas and thereby repudiates the hardened perception that Maya and Avidya are synonyms; also that the Universe is an Illusion-Mithya! A pragmatic clarification is given to the confusion about "Mithya Jagat" in the discussion.
Bhagavan Sankara has written the Prasthanatraya Bhasyas elucidating this thesis. The presentation of Bhagavan Sri Sankara's description of the universe as Mithya-Anirvacaniya-Asatya at three different levels of teaching invokes and at the same time provokes the prime attention of the reader. These adjectives are exclusively different. Thinking that they refer to the same idea, some people have stuck to the adjective Mithya and then tried to reconcile the other two with it using logic that is sometimes funny and sometimes exasperating. Nothing in the Bhasyas needs to be reconciled by devious logic. Bhasyas are already complete, immaculate and unambiguous. The authentic content in this book maintains thorough compliance to references from the Vedas and Bhagavan Sri Sankara's Prasthanatraya Bhasyas. This book exhibits the seamlessness of Sri Sankara's presentation, which .. helps the reader to plunge into Sadhana with conviction.
As a special mention, Jasjit Mansingh, an acclaimed author deserves credit for shaping this English edition aesthetically and with immense proof reading while also adding valuable corrections to the English vocabulary used in the book. Her selfless devotion and dedication in preparing the book for publishing is highly commendable.
Possessed with the responsibility to bring out this new edition of Vedanta Prabodha in its present form, Chi.Srihari has ardently striven to meet the expectations at various levels during proof reading, and editing, thus making the script error free for publishing.
My prayers to lord Narayana to bless one and all with good health, prosperity and peace.
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