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certain metaphysical and other questions have

bothered the human mind about this universe and the
Is the world only an appearance or a true reality?"
If it is a reality, is it an outcome of collation of gross atoms
or both gross and subtle atoms?
Why did I come to this world and did I have a choice
to refuse?
Has the law of Karma relating to good and bad
actions, thoughts and desires of the earlier births in
the past made us to come or some cosmic power
lured me to come
and then left me alone to face the turbulent waves of the
vast ocean of materialism?
What made Shakespeare through one of his main
characters Hamlet to say
," To be or not be, that is the question?"
Shakespeare again repeated in his "The Tempest
that the world is a dream.
Why did Buddha find this world as full of miseries
and sufferings?
What made guru Nanak- the founder of Sikh religion
largely based on Vedic Dharma to say,
" Nanak dukhiya sab sansar"
(In this world every one is suffering owing to wide spread
miseries, unhappiness and destitution.)
Why did Schopenheaur talk in whispers to plants,
flowers and shrubs and then bent his ears to get
reply to his metaphysical question from these plants?
His questions to plants related to
who he was? and other similar inquiries.
After all why this search to know "thy self",
not only by Schopenheaur but also earlier by Socrates and
still earlier by the ancient Vedic seers, sages and
For Sankracharya the ineffable and formless God is
the only and absolute Reality
Kapila Rsi of the Sankhya darshn: both God and
Nature are real.
Buddha found only Nature is real.
saints of ancient India
the divine Nature is the adequate and efficient cause of the
creation of this world along with its animate and inanimate
Bhagavad Gita:
it is only the Supreme Lord who has assigned the task of
creation of the Universe to Prakrti (the Nature) and She
performs this divine role under His supervision
In the field of physical sciences
the matter of Newton, Tyndall and other
scientists of classical mechanics was inert and
indestructible with atom as the smallest unit.
Now the scientists of particle physics have
found some unsuspected vitality in the
matter and its millions of atoms.
Jagdish Chander Bose :
Matter is no longer inert and experiences some
kind of "fatigue" normally faced by human
beings and animals.
There is no proof that he was influenced by
Vedic metaphysics which says that the
spirit of God pervades in all animate and
inanimate life/things.
Abdus Salam found symmetry between an
event and its mirror image and unification of
basic two forces of Nature and called these
mystical ideas of beauty and harmony based
on the laws of nature.
Newtons indestructible smallest atom has now
been split into more than one hundred sub
atomic particles
and each such particle is having unsuspected
vitality and some of these have been found moving
with tremendous speed continuously.
Does it mean that the physical sciences
particularly particle physics are moving
towards the Vedic truth that the phenomenal
world is an Illusion -Maya ?
Shuniya Vadins of ancient India:
the entire universe is built on Shuniya- vacuum or
void as the innermost part of a gross atom is
Shuniya and only the spirit of God dwells there.
Some of the modern scientists tell us that
an atom contains sub-atomic particles as well as waves,
wavicles, clouds and events reaching a subtle stage in the
innermost part
However, a confirmation of the illusory nature of the
world is yet to come from the scientists
in spite of the fact that ether the finest gross main element
(maha bhuta) still remains a mystical ghost to them
The innermost part of atom is still finer than ethers invisible
If Einstein found that energy can be converted into
mass and vice versa
does it mean that the ancient Shuniya Vadins were right
that the entire universe was created out of void or vacuum,
where the spirit of God dwells along with its tremendous
cosmic energy?
Doesnt the metaphysical part of the particle physics
give us a feeling that matter does not exist except as
an illusion?
Theory of relativity tells us that in a shadow one
dimension always disappears, particularly the 4 th
dimensional space Time Continuum.
Since our senses cannot visualise this fourth
dimension, we accept the three-dimensional shadow
of the universe as real.
The thick straight line with two dimensions gives a shadow of only one line
without thickness.
Similarly, a ball with three dimensions gives a shadow of only two
In human beings, we see only three dimensions, as his/her eternal and
immortal soul real self- the fourth dimension of time continuum, is not
visible to human eyes.
Thus, we see everywhere only shadows and our senses accept them as
Baruch Spinoza confirmed it much earlier when he found through his
philosophical and intuitional research that matter does not exist.
It is at best a shadow of some higher reality.
Besides Vedas, many other scriptures of major religions of the world and
some metaphysicists as well as philosophers have found the world as
phenomenon, Maya, Mithya or illusion.
My in Advaita Vedanta
There are two aspects of My
Avarana (negative aspect of concealment)
Viksepa (positive aspect of projection)
Characteristics of My
It is something material and unconscious as
opposed to Brahman
It is inherent power of Brahman. It is absolutely
dependent on and inseparable from Brahman
It is beginningless
It is something positive, thought not real. It has
two aspects (Avarana & Viksepa)
My in Advaita Vedanta
It is indescribable and indefinable for it is neither
real nor unreal nor both
It has a phenomenal and relative character. It is an
appearance only
It is of the nature of superimposition. It is an error
like that of a rope-snake
It is removable by Right Knowledge
Its locus as well as object is Brahman and yet
Brahman is really untouched by it
Vivekanandas Doctrine of My
My is a power of the creator
My is the principle of change
A sakti that makes creation possible
Advaita Vedanta My is the power that creates
According to Vivekananda My does not
necessarily mean being illusory
My is conceived just a a fact about the nature of the
It seeks to express the essential characters of the world
as it exists
Vivekanandas Doctrine of My
Doctrine of creation has to refer to the doctrine of
His conception of My is not exactly similar to
Like Sankara he believes My is a power of the
My is the principle of change which makes
creation possible
Advaita Vedanta: My is the power that creates
It is Divine sakti which has the capacity of deluding
man into believing that the world is real
Vivekananda does not accept this position

My does not necessarily mean being illusory

My is not a theory for the explanation of the world
My is a statement of facts as they exist
My is a convenient name for the fact of contradiction

Our whole life is contradiction

A mixture of being and non-being
Vedanta says that My is the power of God through
which the world - illusion is created
Vivekanandas Doctrine of My
For Vivekananda that Power in itself is neither
good nor bad
It is natural
My must have natural character
Waves, even as weaves are nothing but water
Yet they have a name and form
If the waves subsides nothing remains but the ocean
so long as the waves are rising and falling they have
a reality of their own
when the waves subsides, it is not the waves that
have become ocean
the ocean is never separate from the waves
The Concept of Man
Greek philosophers considered man a rational animal.
man as a political animal,
American philosopher Benjamin Franklin calls him homo-
faber, or tool-making animal.
Freud has reduced man into a sexual animal, with
far reaching psycho-social consequences which are
too evident in the contemporary society.
Marx believes that man is driven primarily by a
desire for economic gains: he is a homo-
The Hindu Concept of Man
'Eating, sleeping, fear and sex are common to
man as well as animals.
In human beings dharma is extra and special.
Without dharma men are no better than beasts.'
Shankaracharya: pravritti-lakshana and nivritti-
When one, observing the moral codes of conduct
applicable to one's station in life and society performs
actions for enjoyment (kama) and acquisition of wealth
(artha), one is said to be following pravritti dharma.
A time comes, when one gets disgusted with sense-enjoyments and
acquisition of wealth and aspires for final emancipation (moksha).
The one embraces what is called nivritti dharma, characterized by
renunciation of all worldly desires and selfish actions, and resorting
to spiritual practice to attain liberation.
This Hindu concept of liberation, is based upon:
another concept of an ever pure, ever free, ever perfect,
ever conscious spiritual entity in man called Atman (soul).
Swami Vivekananda:
this Atman is the Real Man as against the body-mind
complex which is only the apparent man.
Katha Upanishad:
Know the soul to be the master of the chariot
and the body the chariot.
Consider the intellect the charioteer, and the
mind the reins.
The senses, they say, are the horses, and their
roads are the sense objects.
The wise call Him the enjoyer when He is united
with the body, senses and mind.
Swami Vivekanandas View on Nature of Man

Katha Upanishad begins:

When a man dies there is dispute
One party declares that he has gone for ever
The other insists that he is still living, which is true?
Vivekananda answers this
One is to believe that nihilists
That all is nothing, that we know nothing, that we can never know
anything either about the future , that past or even the present.
The other seek for an explanation , to seek for real
In this body which is an aggregate of molecules of matter,
is there anything which is real
According to him the real in man is a sort of a
concentration of spiritual energy
Man is spiritual
The Nature of Man
Man has both: Physical nature & Spiritual nature
Man is always asked to awaken his spirituality
The physical nature of man includes
The bodily, the biological and psychological aspects of
mans nature
In physical capacities man is superior to other beings
His physical nature is better organized
His response to environmental factors are not just
instinctive or mechanical
He is not merely a body of reactions
Even his physical behivour generally follows a plan and
His responses even to physical stimuli exhibit a sense of
purpose and choice
The Nature of Man
The present of brain system in the body distinguishes
man from every other species
The Spiritual nature of Man
Uniqueness of physical nature is due to the presence
of spirituality in him.
His real nature consists in his capacity of going beyond his
physical nature
He describes the true nature of man as Soul Force or
Following Git he describes tman as:
It is the self, beyond all thought, one without birth and death,
The Nature of Man
Whom the sword cannot pierce or fire burn, whom
air cannot dry or water melt
The beginningless and endless, the unmovable,
The omniscient, the omnipresent Being
That it is neither the body nor the mind but beyond
them all
This aspect of man is similar to Divine Nature
He identifies the true nature of Atman with Brahman
Soul cannot be said to be an aspect or a part of One,
because in that case the One will become composite
having parts or aspects within itself
Soul cannot be conceived as an expression or manifestations
of the Absolute,
because even in that case they would become separate realities over
and above Brahman.
Therefore, their relation is identical and their difference is only
The soul is one all-comprehending existence, and it only
appears as manifold
For example different waves appear to be different but in reality they are
one, they are not different from Ocean
The sun may shine in its reflections on water kept in different pots, but
the different reflections are only apparent reflections of the sun
Therefore there is one Atman, one self, eternally pure, eternally
perfect unchangeable, unchanged
All the various changes in the universe are but appearance
If soul is identical with Brahman,
why do we have the experience of the plurality of the
Vivekananda answers:
That the apparent plurality of the selves and the apparent
experiences of birth and deaths are only apparent
In reality this question is a misleading question
The one Atman neither comes nor goes, it is neither
born, nor does it die, the question of its re-incarnation
does not arise
In the state of realization the Atman clearly becomes
aware of that the plurality of selves is an illusion
The finite aspects of man should not be treated as
completely false
So long as man ignorantly believes in the reality of the
plurality of the embodied state and in the plurality of
selves, this aspect has a reality for him
Therefore his upliftment would consist not in a complete
annihilation of this aspect, but in its being raised and
Thus the real nature of man is freedom.
Freedom is not conceived as a character or a
quality belonging to the soul
It constitute the very essence of the soul
Our actions produce karma in accordance with
which our future lives are determined
Man performs his action out of ignorance
Forgets his own true nature, fails to discriminate between
the real and unreal and performs his actions in the light
of his wrong and false notion
Such action creates samskaras or tendencies
which determines his future nature
How can he maintain at the same time the determining
character of a karma and Mans freedom?
If mans entire personality and actions are determined by
his karma, then man is determined
How can freedom constitute his real nature?
He says freedom does not mean absence of all
kinds of determining factors, in that case freedom
would be a state of chaos
Freedom does not mean no-determination
It means self-determination which suggest that the free
agent is determined not by anything else but by himself
If this is understood, freedom and karma no longer
remain incompatible with each other
Mans karma determines his nature
his own action creates tendencies that bear fruits
for the future
Karma does not contradicts mans freedom because final
escape rests ultimately again mans own actions
By his own good deeds man can win over his ignorance
and suffering
That also shows that man is basically free
Apparent incapability of karma and freedom is only
The soul always remains free is never in bondage
This apparent state of Karma bondage is really a
delusion created by ignorance
It is merely a Lila in which soul has become involved
When he would finally win over this delusion he would
be amused to find that he was never in bondage
Freedom represents the essence of the soul, and as
such, Soul is not really in bondage
The impression that it is in bondage is only apparent
This presents a difficulty because our usual awareness is
that soul is suffering individual, limited his capacity and
But he is convinced that there is no
contradiction between these two impressions:
Between our impression of the souls limited
capacities and conviction that the soul is, in reality
is never bondage
By calling soul is immortal, literally we mean that death is
not the end of the soul that the souls is survives after
Like ancient Indian thinkers he believes that the
soul survives death
And this survival assumes the form of Rebirth and finally
the realization of the immortality
Thus he thought rebirth is an aspect of immorality
And the ultimate realization of immorality would mea
getting out of this world and cycle of birth and death
There are two aspects of immorality, survival and
Immorality as such
Survival means merely that death is not the end of life
The soul performs actions in ignorance, certain tendencies
and which creates samskaras are created in accordance
with which the next birth is determined
What would be the ultimate nature of immorality?
The ultimate destiny must consist in freedom from birth and
True immortality can be attained only when the cycle is
finally stopped.
For him soul is immortal
That immorality represents his essence and constitute his
If soul is immortal then what is the sense in saying
that immortality is a prize to be won?
The soul is able to realize immorality because the
soul is immortal
Immorality is latent in him
Soul in ignorance is not aware of it
The latent element of Immorality has to be fully
That would be realization of immortality
its like finding the lost necklace on ones neck
Soul is immortal because it is simple
what is liable to destruction is something
Because destruction means breaking the whole into
Soul being simple is partless
Power and capacities latent in man
Mans potentialities appear to be infinite
The desire to win over death
Our desire for immorality itself is an evidence of
We always have a yearning to win over death
We always long for more life
there is an actual object of this desire for immortality
It involves a contradiction to think of the souls
Soul is the embodiment of forceful life
It actually leading a powerful life
Vivekananda says:
even to imagine my own annihilation I shall have to
stand by and look on as a witness