The path

jñāna-yoga

Jñāna literally means “knowledge, wisdom, understanding, or cognition,” and refers to existential knowledge. The Greeks called this revealing power epiginosko (ἐπιγινώσκω). The word yoga means “union.” Thus, jñāna-yoga is a path that aims to realize the essential...

Karma Yoga

In karma-yoga–or the art of selfless action–we learn to act in harmony with dharma, or the role we have been assigned in life, without expecting any results. The fact that every human being, regardless of age, sex, race, or nation, is doomed to act, makes this path...

Raja-yoga

Rāja-yoga is the path that studies and analyzes the mind. The Yoga-sūtras of Patañjali begin by defining yoga in the following manner: yogaś citta-vṛtti-nirodhaḥ “Yoga is the cessation of mental activity.” (Yoga-sūtras 1.2) This yogic path teaches us to transcend the...

Bhakti-yoga

Bhakti yoga is the yoga of love. Devotees aspire to a love different from the love in romance novels: it is not sentimental love that begins with sweet promises and ends in bitter disappointments, nor is it emotional love that arises from physiological processes and...

Kundalini-yoga

Kundalini-yoga is a yogic path that stimulates the conscious awakening of kuṇḍalinī-śakti, or “coiled energy.” This energy is the transcendental consciousness; it is the creative power of God, and therefore, the creative potential in the human being. Kundalini yoga...

Tantra-yoga

Tantra-yoga is a yogic methodology that combines a variety of techniques, such as mūdras, mantras, prāṇāyama, and dīkṣā in order to realize the very essence of the universe through delving into our own body. The practice of most of these techniques is aimed at...

Religion

Prabhuji's Hinduism invites us to open our eyes and contemplate all human beings as members of one family. It calls us to clear our vision in order to recognize the same truth in the essence of all religion. It suggests us to free ourselves from superstitions in order...

Guru Dakshina

Guru-dakṣiṇā is a very ancient fundamental tradition of the Sanātana-dharma religion. It is the disciple’s attempt to retribute the guru in some way for the time and energy he or she invests in the teaching process. The dakṣiṇā expresses the disciple’s deep...

Hinduism

Hinduism, whose original name is Sanātana-dharma, “the eternal dharma” or “the eternal religion,” is the oldest living religion in the world. It constitutes a fusion and synthesis of various revelations both Vaidika and Tāntrika. It is not the result or product of the...

Guru-seva – service to the Guru

Service, or “seva,” to the guru is one of the core principles of Hinduism. Prabhuji Mission, being a traditional Hindu church, practices the millennia-old tradition of guru-seva, or “service to the master.” Throughout the Śrutis, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas, the disciple’s...

Vedanta

Vedanta is one of humanity’s oldest paths of liberation. It is a pluralistic and universal path, suitable for every human being without any discrimination. Vedanta cannot be categorized as a philosophy, school of thought, or belief system as it goes beyond our definitions. It is a systematic and structured means of knowledge that guides us toward the direct realization of our authentic nature.

The Vedas are the oldest known sacred scriptures. They are transmitted generation after generation as they were revealed to the Vedic sages of antiquity. The initial portion of the Vedas refers to karma and karma-phala, or activities and their results. However, all results are temporary and perishable. Therefore, good deeds with good results may lead us to paradise, but such paradise will inevitably be perishable. The Vedanta is presented in the Upanishads, which correspond to the final portion of the Vedas. The term vedānta is a combination of two words: veda meaning “knowledge or wisdom” and anta, or “conclusion.” Therefore, the word vedānta means “the conclusion or essence of the Vedas.”

From the Vedantic perspective, God is absolute infinitude, consciousness, and bliss. Although consciousness as an impersonal reality is referred to as Brahman, it also accepts a personal God assuming a form in different eras. God resides in our heart as Ātman or the Self, which is eternal and transcendental to all human limitation or conditioning. For Vedanta, the Ātman is one with Brahman and human beings can realize Brahman as their authentic nature. The reality of the individual, the universe, and God is a single non-dual, non-objective, timeless, and pure consciousness. Consciousness is eternal and imperishable and constitutes the essence of what we are, not what we think we are.

According to Vedanta, the essence of these same truths is found in each and every different religion. The Rig Veda Saṁhitā (1.164.46) states emphatically, “They call it Indra, Mitra, Vāruṇa, Agni, and the celestial noble-winged Garutman. To that which is One, the wise give many names. They call it Agni, Yama, Mātariśvan.” That is to say that for the Rig Veda, despite being one, the truth is given various names. Conflicts between theological interpretations are more related to their dogmas and traditions than to the direct experience of their prophets or founders. Differences between religious organizations exist only externally. However, in their essence they are practically one. Each religion constitutes a different and unique path to the same ultimate reality.

The main Vedantic traditions are:

  • Advaita: non-dualism.
  • Bhedābheda: difference and non-difference.
  • Śuddhādvaita: pure nondualism.
  • Tattvavāda (dvaita): dualism.
  • Viśiṣṭādvaita: the qualified nondualism.

Today, new Vedantic styles have developed including Neo-vedanta and the development of Swaminarayan Saṁpradāya. Although each and every tradition of Vedanta differs in ontological, soteriological, and epistemological aspects, they share the basics and essentials. Vedanta, also called Uttara Mīmāṁsā, presents the revelations contained in the Upanishadic literature. All the different Vedantic traditions share a canon of revealed texts called prasthāna-trayī or “the three sources”:

  • Upanishads.
  • Brahma-sūtras.
  • Bhagavad Gita.

Most schools of Vedanta are related to Vaishnava theology and place special emphasis on bhakti, or “devotion.” For its part, Advaita Vedanta emphasizes knowledge, or jñāna. Within this context, we are referring not just to intellectual knowledge but to self-knowledge. It refers to transcendental knowledge of God because the nature of what we really are is divine.