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Meaning of Vedanta[edit]

"The word Vedanta teaches that the believer's goal is to transcend the limitations of self-identity." This sentence in the introduction seems out of place and it doesn't make any sense. The word Vedanta itself does not 'teach' anything.

The meaning stated here is very incorrect.
Ved is to reveal the truth (using mimansha ie ved kriya). Anta means end.
So Ved-anta literally means the result (conclusion) of ved.
If ved krya was not flawed, then the :resultant conclusion must be the truth. - Divya Indu Chakraborty Gautama-- (talk) 23:09, 30 September 2010 (UTC)


The page says,"Advaita (ad- not, dwaita- two; meaning non-duality)"

Is it not supposed to read "Advaita (a- not, dwaita- two; meaning non-duality)"?

Correct. Changed Chancemill 12:38, Apr 12, 2004 (UTC)


references to other religions shouldn't be brought up in this article, people are putting POV into these articles, leave other religions out of it. This is about Vedanta

Schrodinger, etc.[edit]

That stuff about Vedanta and modern science is a bunch of orientalist hooey--it is irrelevant, and should be removed from the article completely.

Response to "Schrodinger, etc."[edit]

No it's not. A simple Google search turns up several links to confirm the fact that Schrodinger was a Vedantist. Here's one of them:

Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger (August 12, 1887 – January 4, 1961) was an Austrian physicist famous for his contributions to quantum mechanics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1933. He proposed the Schrödinger's cat thought experiment, and he had a life-long interest in Vedanta.

Another point. Confronted with the complexities of quantum physics("--how can something be a wave and a particle at the same time?How can it be in two places at the same time?",students of Physics must grapple with issues of reality, perception and illusion. To my mind, Vedanta is the most suitable philosophical platform that addresses this type of enquiry-- doubtless prompting the interest of eminent physicists on the subject.

(?08:40, 18 August 2006 (UTC)Canossa2006")

If scientists today were more conscious of the difference between appearance and reality, they might not have so many paradoxes. According to Schopenhauer, we can only know appearances, except in one case, when we know ourselves as blind urge, impulse, will. Schrödinger was aware of the difference between appearance and reality as a result of his studies of philosophy and Vedanta. He knew that the paradoxes of quantum mechanics result from an ignorance of the fact that science can only describe and predict appearances and never truly know any underlying, non–appearing reality.Lestrade (talk) 13:20, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Re-Response to Schrodinger, etc.[edit]

Just because Schrodinger believed he was a follower of Vedanta is not an indication that he was a Vedantin. Many other western thinkers (e.g. Schopenhauer, Deussen) have thought of themselves as Vedantins, but their teachings are far from those of pre-modern Vedantins.

The members of the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo believed that they were following the Buddha's teachings. They were the ones who were responsible for a nerve gas attack in a Tokyo subway station. Should we mention them in the entry on Buddhism?

Re: Undoubtedly? Genghis Khan himself was a buddhist, of all the people. Plain declaration is of course not enough - but that is not the only source of confirming his saying though... Claims of famous people, are included in MANY articles of wikipedia. Thus, we can let them stay. There were many people who came close to vedantic thinking mind you, so your claim is not perfectly right.

Like the new format[edit]

I like the new subsections that have been created in the article. The earlier version wasn't organized very well. It's good to see how well the page has evolved since I turned the "Cleanup" flag on a few weeks ago.

clean up[edit]

I did a little cleaning up of this article today, let me know if you think anything should be added/taken away --Gozar 9 July 2005 06:09 (UTC)

re: cleanup[edit]

Looks good. Made some additional minor reformats/corrections. Now that this page is relatively stable, anybody doing major work (especially removal of content) should probably call for a vote here before proceeding with the changes.

There is another article on "Upanishads". From What I understand, Vedanta and Upanishads are one and the same thing (atleast that is what the two articles convey). So why do we have two different articles on the same subject. Why can't we merge the two so that a search on both "Upanishad" and "Vedanta" is redirected to the same article. Any thoughts ? ...Syiem

hi, i'm not sure if you need admin-ship for this or not, but why dont we try proposing a merger with Upanisads and see what the other users think? Then again, the Upanisads are distinctly a collection of writings while Vedanta is a school of thought based on those writings, I am busy at the moment and cant look into it extensively so if you could check that out it would be helpful.--Gozar 14:46, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

No, the two articles should not be merged; the topics are seperate. Vedanta is the systematization of the teachings of the Upanishads hundreds of years after the Upanishads were written. They represent two different schools from two very different periods and cultures. Just as the Upanishads are a commentary on the Vedas, Shankara's thought — which is known as Vedanta — is a commentary on the Upanishads. --goethean 15:30, 4 August 2005 (UTC)

Thank you very much for the clarification Goethean. Though I believe that this distinction between the two terms should be clearly brought out in the articles, especially when the two terms are used almost interchangeably. I will try to do some research on this and try to fill in the gaps.

Thanks a lot ! Syiem 04:29, 5 August 2005 (UTC)

Although in its earliest usage, "Vedanta" simply meant Upanisad, in later usage it also came to mean the school of thought based primarily on the exegesis of the Upanisad (the Brahma Mimamsa, or Uttara Mimamsa school). So it would be very misleading to collapse the "Upanisad" and "Vedanta" thread. There are many influences from Samkhya and Yoga in the Upanisads that are systematically ignored by Samkhya.

Someone has confused the thinkers "Madhva" and "Madhava." The former is the founder of the Dvaita Vedanta school. The latter is a 14th c. Advaita Vedantin. I will fix this.

It appears to me that "Vedanta," which means "at the conclusion of the Vedas," is not the same as "Upanishad," which means "sitting at the feet (of the teacher)." The Upanishads are only one part of Vedanta. Other writings, besides the Upanishads, that are included in Vedanta (after the final parts of the Vedas) are Gitas, Sutras, commentaries, and poems.Lestrade (talk) 13:55, 2 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade

Vedanta and Yoga[edit]

Is there any source for the following statement:

"As per some, it is a form of Jnana Yoga (one of the four basic yoga practices in Hinduism; the others are: Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga), a form of yoga which involves an individual seeking "the path of intellectual analysis or the discrimination of truth and reality." As per others, Vedanta encompasses all the four yogas."

I object to this statement. If there are no citations for the aforementioned, I would rather remove it. Manas 09:06, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Please state your objection(s). --Vivek 18:20, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
If I understand correctly what I have read, Vedanta encompasses all the four yogas. Now, there might have been some people who felt it was a form of Jnana Yoga only. In that case, references are required. Manas 06:12, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Then the correct thing to do would be to add a {{Fact}} tag for now, instead of removing it. --Vivek 19:57, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Jnana Yoga is the path of knowledge and discrimination. Many Jnani's end up with a Vedantic philosophy but becoming a Vedantist just because one is a Jnani is not a foregone conclusion.

Acharya and Commentaries[edit]

Is there any source for the following:

"Also of note, historically, in order for a guru to be considered an acharya or great teacher of a philosophical school of Vedanta, he was required to write commentaries on three important texts in Vedanta, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and the Brahma Sutras."

There were so many so many people who were called Acharyas who didn't write the commentaries on these books. Manas 09:32, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Other Vedantic Schools[edit]

"The three schools they conceived are the most prevalent, however, proponents of other Vedantic schools continue to write and develop their ideas as well, although their works are not widely known outside of India."

What are the other Vedantic schools that are widely known in India but not outside? It will be better to provide more information here. Manas 09:32, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Transition from Vedic to Vedantic Religion[edit]

In my opinion, the information provided here is either incorrect or irrelevant to the section. This section needs a re-write by someone with understanding of history of that time. Manas 09:32, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

List of schools of thought[edit]

Shouldn't non-vaishnav schools of thought be listed too? Such as tantra, shakti vishishtadvaita, siva advaita, and others as such?

Modern times section[edit]

First, I must say that this section is not only pretty dubious, but very one-sided. The (incompletely cited) quotation from a biographer of Schrödinger needs to be investigated disinterestedly and dispassionately; I'll make a start on that. Schrödinger was in any case just one worker in the field, whereas the article makes it sound as though quantum theory was his creation. Capra's status is grossly overstated; he was a populariser whose book was riddled with philosophical and scientific errors and oversimplifications (there's a substantial literature from the early 1980s debunking him and others like him); he was also a Buddhist rather than a Vedantist... That Schrödinger and Capra are the only scientists mentioned is significant, of course.

Thirdly, why is "in modern times" interpreted to mean "in Western science and literature"?

Fourthly, the section (like much of the rest of the article) also need copy-editing and wikifying. I'll also make a start on that. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 23:17, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree that some of these claims are (a) overrated, (b) instrumentalized and (c) unclear whether they apply to Vedanta, Advaita-Vedanta in particular or Indian thought in general (incl. Buddhism). However, it is very interesting to mention such influences and clarify their importance collectively in this or related wikipedia articles. Therefore I have added more, namely Hesse and Hegel as examples from Germany. Gschadow 21:45, 1 January 2007 (UTC)


The list of people who were influenced by or who commentated on vedanta is open-ended and fairly pointless. Many people who write generally on myth and religion, such as Joseph Campbell, will write on Vedanta — should they all be listed here, thousands of them? The list, if necessary at all (and text is better than a bare list), should be restricted to those who were actually influenced by Vedanta. --Mel Etitis (Μελ Ετητης) 10:14, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

In response to Mel Etitis, How does is matter if Schrondiger was one of them or was all ten of them (people related to Quantum Mechanics)? Why you are trying to make too many half-baked arguments at once? Irrespective of who these people are (and you can correct that by removing "who" part and instead providing wiki-link for their pages), they were probably much more influenced by Vedanta than is stated here. I added Schopenhauer to the list, let me know if you have any problems and I will reply duly. Those people like Schopenhauer, Tesla, Schrödinger, or Mark-Twain said much better things about Vedanta then are being stated here. People can try to find on their own who they are, I am more interested in putting some of the stuff about what they said about Vedanta/Upnishads.
Dear Gschadow, Read my above comments for "Mel Etitis", and as i asked him "remove the over-rating of individuals, and add simply the link to their respective pages in wiki-pedia", but the influence on such people is always under-rated and not over rated. Let me know if you want to suggest that the influence itself is over-rated in these few lines in this article. I will back them up with valid references. The idea of attributing everything to Budhdhism which borrowed all philosophy and meditation etc from Hinduism is British legacy (You will find it hard to see anything attributed to Hinduism in Encylopedia, even if somebody wrote extensively about Hinduism, you won't find the term Hindu or even its distant neighbour mentioned in the short biography). The most important and main Upnishads, that form the basis of Vedanta philosophy, predates Budhdhism by a few hundred years. And even after Budhdhism, the whole Vedanta philosophy was part of Hindu religion and was kept alive by custodian of Hindu or Vedic religion. Except for Hinduism, I have not seen any religion or sect being hated more for its good things than for its bad ones. For Hindus the religion is Sanatan Dharma or Vedic religion and the outsiders first use "Hindu" for that religion and then ask what Hindu means? It is like two way escape from accpeting the religious beliefs of such a large section or an attempt to create confusion as if the term is hard to define. We don't need to define Hinduism, this i stated elsewhere in wiki-pedia. We just need to understand that Vedas, Upnishads, Vedanta, Yoga (Meditation) all these things belong to the same belief system and that is called Sanatan Dharma or Vedic Dharma. Arabs and then British started calling that religion Hindu religion. It is very difficult to have two people aggreeing on all aspects of religious beliefs, so when we define Christianity, we don't say that different forms of Christianity are different religions or Christianity is not a religion. Similarly, it is idiotic to say that Hinduism is not a religion (It is just an attempt to cheat on people and in that case nothing is religion). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Skant (talkcontribs) 03:17, 22 March 2007 (UTC).
Also, now i would like to be more offending, it is stupid to suggest that list of people who were influenced by Vedanta is pointless or meaningless, here is the reason: Vedanta is philosophy, and if you read about different philosophies or philosophers, you will find both who influenced that philosopher/philosophy as well as who all were influenced by it. Vedanta may be some very trivial and crap philosophy for you, but you should check the credentials of the people that are being listed and what they said about it, to confirm your opinion. We anyway have enough reasons to list people who got influenced by this philosophy.
Having added to this list myself, I agree with Mel Etitis that it is problematic. I think only those people should be included who (a) are eminent scholars in their own right (not just recognized for their work on eastern mysticism), (b) have published or where specific original communications (letters, diary entries etc.) exist to substantiate the influence. Hegel, Hesse, and Schopenhauer would qualify because they meet both (a) and (b). I doubt that Capra would qualify, he doesn't meet the criterion (a). I doubt that Einstein and Schrödinger qualify because criterion (b) is not met. Should we edit based on these criteria? Gschadow 15:38, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
O.K. I am beginning to edit this. Initially I will add fact-tags to raise flags for the issues. Secondly I am deleting some unrelated talk. For example, the work of Vivekananda and Yogananda do not establish that Tesla was actually influenced. Also, I delete the passage of Walter Moore that only says that Schrödinger's "new view [is] consistent with the Vedantic concept [...]" but it does not provide evidence that Schrödinger actually wrote about being influenced or inspired by Vedanta philosophy. I am also removing the statement that western reception "often run the risk of oversimplifying and ignoring important differences [...]" even though I agree to this, but yet it is WP:NOR. I think if the Schroediger and Tesla issues are not sourced by reliable sources, that whole paragraph will have to go because of WP:NOR. For a moment I had it down like this:
The western reception of eastern philosophy in the context of Physics is exemplified by Walter Moore (Biography on Erwin Schrödinger) and Fritjof Capra (The Tao of Physics). These authors claim that Advaita Vedanta has influenced eminent modern Physicists in the conception of their respective theories. For instance, Nikola Tesla is said to have been influenced by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda. Erwin Schrödinger is claimed to have been inspired by Vedanta in his discovery of quantum theory.[citation needed]
but since Wikipedia articles should not report hearsay, I ended up removing the whole paragraph because even if Capra and Moore claim that this influence exists, it they are not a sufficient warrant for repeating it of Wikipedia. Instead original neutral references should be found (e.g., whatever sources Moore or Capra might cite could work.) Gschadow 20:55, 9 July 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure about what wikipdeia rules are, they may be anything and wiki-pedia's ultimate fate will depend upon how it makes information better and not just "well proved". If we go to the extremes of using wiki-pedia rules to force bias instead of using them to improve information it won't remain much informative at all. Only science and mathematics can be recorded in wikipedia in that case. How can you talk about history without giving claims and counter claims? If you end up removing paragraphs and ideas each time you have problems in ascertahing what is truth and what is not (instead of giving both well known claims and counter claims), you will end up removing most of the hitorical articles (which one of them doesn't have something which is not certain). Now to this Erwin Schrödinger related case specifically, I am copying from wiki-quote, tell me what is the minimum status of person who qualifies as a good enough reference? Also, tell me what is the degree and type of influence that you will count. How do you measure tha Erwin Schrödinger was influenced by something? Does it need to be some printed article or does it need to be a statement in his own writings or does it need to be something on stanmped paper? skant12.7.175.2 22:34, 15 September 2007 (UTC) copied from wiki-quote "In itself, the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more... the recognition ATMAN = BRAHMAN (the personal self equals the omnipresent, all-comprehending eternal self) was in Indian thought considered, far from being blasphemous, to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world. The striving of all the scholars of Vedanta was after having learnt to pronounce with their lips, really assimilate in their minds this grandest of all thoughts." 22:38, 15 September 2007 (UTC)skant

Dualism vs. Non-dualism[edit]

I've just begun study of vedanta, and it seems like non-dualism is mentioned a lot, but I didn't see it mentioned here. As someone looking for information on vedanta, I'm suggesting that someone familiar with vedanta add something about "non-dualism". 18:22, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

It means that everything is basically one and the same. You, your dog, an ant, lightning, water, a tiger, etc., are all essentially, fundamentally the same, discounting apparent differences. Compare this with the philosophy of Schopenhauer, who taught that everything in the world is basically the same as what we call Will (blind urge or impulse).Lestrade (talk) 13:09, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


Vedanta does not mean "the end of all knowledge." It means "that which comes at the end of the Vedic hymns." In other words, "end" here does not mean "purpose" or "goal." "End" means "conclusion." Lestrade (talk) 02:45, 1 October 2008 (UTC)Lestrade


Where to put it best? Some idea? A Vedantist's View of Mary by Swami Yogeshananda

Austerlitz -- (talk) 19:04, 23 December 2008 (UTC)


Why is there no text describing the Etymological root of the sanskrit word Vedanta?? (talk) 15:19, 15 September 2009 (UTC)Doug

Vedanta = end (conclusion) of the Vedic hymns.Lestrade (talk) 15:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade


The beginning of the article is erroneous. It is claimed that "Vedanta is based on two simple propositions: Human nature is divine…." This is untrue. Vedanta simply asserts that the individual is at one with Brahman, not any divinity or God. Everything depends on the meaning of Brahman, which is the overall whole or totality of experienced things, not a god or God.Lestrade (talk) 15:01, 11 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

As usual, Vedanta is interpreted through the Hebrew concept of Theism. This error occurs because of the inability of Westerners to understand Brahman as anything other than their God. Unfortunately, Vedanta then appears as merely another monotheistic religion like Judaism and its two branches, Christianity and Islam. In reality, however, it is very different and its doctrine does not include the concept of God.Lestrade (talk) 18:12, 27 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade
Of course it does. See Ishvara. The relationship between Ishvara, Atman, and Brahman is disputed among the schools in Vedanta. Mitsube (talk) 18:32, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Those who have been imbued with the Hebrew concept of an anthropomorphic God have understood Ishvara as being similar to their God. Many religions have imagined their gods as being analogous to very powerful humans. Vedanta's Brahman may be unlike this concept but cannot be understood as such by those who can only think in terms of their own concept of an omnipotent father. Spinoza was similarly misunderstood by those who associate the word "God" with a super–humanoid individual. Vedanta is mostly concerned with the equivalence of the particular self and the general world. This is Atman and Brahman. No God is needed. This equivalence is incomprehensible to people who were taught the Hebrew–Christian–Islamic doctrines from childhood. They can only think of Vedanta as a kind of monotheism with Ishvara as the exotic God.Lestrade (talk) 19:16, 28 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

That is what most Hindus believe. And even Advaita Vedanta incorporates this belief, though the impersonal essence of the cosmos idea is more important there. Did you even look at the Ishvara article? The word means "Lord". Mitsube (talk) 19:34, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

I am tempted to believe you when you say that most Hindus believe in an anthropomorphic God. It seems that most humans need to believe in such an entity. For example, Japanese Buddhists have their religion's essential Four Noble Truths, but most prefer to turn their attention to the humanoid Shinto gods. Persons, not abstract concepts, appeal to people. Shankara said that "Brahman is the universe and all things that exist within it." Like Spinoza and his absolutely infinite Being, Shankara's words do not resonate with the general audience who want their Brahman to be a divine Ishvara Lord and a good father. The list of various schools of Vedanta in the article reflects the fact that Vedanta can have very different meanings for different people. Vedanta's Brahman can be the universal one and the all or it can be a God who is similar to the Hebrew–Christian–Islamic father deity. Like other religions, the Vedantic schools are so different from each other that they are almost separate religions and share a very tenuous common thread that runs through their individual fabrics. Due to its confusing and misleading ambiguity, it might be better to place the word "God" within quotation marks wherever it appears in the article.Lestrade (talk) 22:50, 30 April 2010 (UTC)Lestrade

Comparison to Western Philosophies[edit]

I agree with others who have expressed concern with the purpose of such a section.

The underlying motivation seems to be either (a) a desire to show that Western philosophy achieved similar heights, or (b) to show that the systems of thought are parallel, or (c) to add to the perceived value of the ideas by showing that prominent westerners thought highly of these ideas.

Or perhaps all three. However, in my view none of these motivations justify the inclusion of the section.

If there was a consistent stream of comparison points between Vedanta and Western thought, perhaps there might be some value in pointing to an article that developed that. But to identify only one individual (Spinoza's) who developed a comparable set of ideas is not convincing. Western academics are forever doing this, apparently missing the obvious challenge: that it is highly suspect to apply Western formulations of ideas--based as they are on a very particular approach to knowledge--to a sphere of knowledge that is demonstrably based on wholly different assumptions. Two people may, due to circumstances, cross the same bridge at the same time, but if they are headed in opposite directions it is hardly appropriate to compare their motives and thought patterns. There has to be a far more substantial demonstration of the consistency of ideas.

As for needing prominent western thinkers (a scientist?) to add a stamp of approval...for heaven's sake! And Schopenhauer (and Emerson etc) were perhaps influenced by these ideas but that's worth a sentence not a whole section. -- (talk) 21:26, 23 October 2013 (UTC)