Indian Vedic-Hindu Philosophy & Doctrine
The original Vedas are the oldest sacred writings of the
Hindus and are composed of spiritually focused poetry written in
Sanskit between 2000-1000 B.C. The spirtually inspired poets who
wrote these early Vedas often imply a one-ness with the
The Atman which is Brahman relationships
More recent Vedas are known as the Upanishads - a name implying
sitting at the feet of a teacher - and are the Hindu sacred texts
next in antiquity dating from circa 600 B.C. The Upanishads
uphold views that maintain that people are capable of a profound
It may be that Hinduism should more properly referred to as
Vedanta, and that Indian philosophy should be more properly
referred to as Vedic philosophy because of these roots in the
A certain difficulty for people brought up in monotheistic
faith based cultures, in relation to Hinduism and Vedic-Hindu doctrine, lies in the view
that Vedic philosophy speaks of Mystical Union as being with "The
Atman which is Brahman".
The relationships between Atman ~ being the "Self" ~ and Brahman ~ being the "World Soul" ~ are central to the religiously inspired world view of most Hindus:-
The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from
death and from grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires
nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but
what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out,
that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched
out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all
All this is Brahman. Let a man meditate on that (visible
world) as beginning, ending, and breathing in it (the
...He is my self within the heart, smaller than a corn of rice,
smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a mustard seed,
smaller than a canary seed or the kernel of a canary seed. He is
also myself within the heart, greater than the earth, greater
than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these
Khândogya-Upanishad 3.14 1, 3
A Shankara quotation relating to metaphysics
and The Atman which is Brahman
"The entire universe is truly the Self. There exists nothing at all other than the Self. The enlightened person
sees everything in the world as his own Self, just as one views earthenware jars and pots as nothing but clay".
Whilst Indian metaphysics ( aka Vedic metaphysics / Hindu metaphysics ), doctrine and philosophy hold that Brahman "is" the
"World-Soul" such relationships are placed within broader perspectives by Vedic Philosophy further holding that this
World Soul should itself
be regarded as being the Three-in-One God known as the Trimurti.
Brahma-the Creator, Vishnu-the Preserver, and Shiva-the
Destroyer, are all perceived as being aspects or manifestations
of the One-ness which is Brahman.
Notwithstanding the view that Mystical Union is with the Atman
which is Brahman several very remarkable spiritual teachers and
guides who have appeared from time to time across the ages are
considered, by the Vedic-Hindu tradition, to have been
incarnations of the Lord Vishnu!!!
This may effectively provide something of a bridge towards
traditionally monotheistic cultures which view Mystical Union as
being purely spiritual rather than with existence in ALL its
A celebrated American Man of Letters named Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."
"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are
human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned
with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able
to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint
of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)
Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History more fully:-
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum
proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every
province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain,
and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of
the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every
object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man
is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and
fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him,
and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish
foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg
presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.
In an essay entitled "The Over-Soul" Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...The soul looketh steadily forwards, creating a world before her, leaving worlds behind her. She has no dates, nor rites, nor
persons, nor specialties, nor men. The soul knows only the soul; the web of events is the flowing robe in which she is
That which is nearest is least observed. The Atman is the nearest
of the near, therefore a careless and unsteady mind gets no clue
to the Atman. But one who is alert, calm, self-restrained, and
discriminating, ignores the external world and, diving more and
more into the inner world, realizes the glory of the Atman and becomes great.
Stand upon the Atman, then only can we truly
love the world. Take a very, very high stand;
knowing our universal nature, we must look
with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world.
This is the secret of spiritual life: to think that I am the Atman and not the body, and that the whole of
this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but as a series of
paintings - scenes on a canvas - of which I am the witness.
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