• What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness
  • The yogi's interest is inner peace and self-realization and social harmony
  • Perfection means being in tune with reality
What's really needed is to recognize the need for spiritual as well as material happiness

Who am I

Success in life begins with knowing, "Who am I? What is the purpose of my life?" Knowledge of the self exists; but sincere seekers are rare. More rare are the great teachers of such wisdom. Since time immemorial, wise men have described our wonderful nature: spiritual, primeval, ever-existing, undying, unchangeable, imperishable. This selection of the writings of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa (Chris Butler) shares that timeless wisdom — inspiring, challenging , practical.

Explorations in Vedantic Truth

by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura


Derivative Meaning: -- The intellectualism of the sacred India is associated with the importance of Vedanta Philosophy which has been a much talked of Subject among the erudite advocates of transcendence. The derivation of the word is traced to the highest pinnacle of spiritual knowledge embodied in the Holy Scriptures known as the Vedas. The ontological views of the Vedas build up the mansion of the unalloyed spirit purely based on transcendence beyond phenomena.

Later on the theme of Vedanta has been cryptically presented in the form of Aphorisms ascribed to have been written by the greatest sage of India - Krishna Dwaipayana Vedavyasa, utilizing all sorts of rationalistic cosmological metaphysic. Some aphorisms speaking for the Vedanta system may be considered as reconciliative roots of the conflicting hymns of the Vedas which deal with the esoteric questions of Pure Knowledge apart from the material structures and their association in accommodable space, signifying a subtlety.

In his book Small Is Beautiful, noted British economist E. F. Schumacher wrote:

Insights of wisdom help enable us to see the hollowness and fundamental unsatisfactoriness of a life devoted primarily to the pursuit of material ends, to the neglect of the spiritual. Such a life necessarily sets man against man and nation against nation, because man’s needs are infinite and infinitude can be achieved only in the spiritual realm, never in the material.*

It is a fact that no matter how much sense gratification a person gets, he will never be satisfied. Material food, material things, material sense gratification cannot satisfy the atma (spirit soul). Just as the body needs material food, so the spirit soul needs spiritual food. To try to satisfy one’s spiritual craving with material things leads to endless consumption, greed, envy, violence, and war. Western people have as much sense gratification as one could ever want, yet they are not satisfied. Why? Because they are spiritually empty.
Science of Identity Foundation

The Vedas are the emblematic representations in the shape of hymns dealing with higher knowledge in connection with the present predicament of our intellectual speculation. So Vedanta would inculcate the highest esoteric advancement of the rationalistic view for furnishing the means of tracing a cosmic Fountainhead Who can satisfy all our quests for the Being, non-Being and beings. The Vedas, in other words, are the first information reports of human knowledge which go by the name of Scriptures being unveiling agents of hidden knowledge; and Vedanta is concerned with furnishing the true materials where the exoteric phases of different conceptions find a termination.

Different Meanings: -- A certain writer of the so-called monistic school in tracing its fundamental merits went on to establish Vedanta Philosophy as applicable to a subject based on the Scriptures known as Upanishads. The Upanishads are considered as esoteric instructions of the Vedas which form the subject-matter of the treatise dealing with the cosmology of the phenomena, their sustenance and dissolution as well as an attempt at having a peep into the transcendence. A keen observation will tell us that the Aphorisms of Vedanta are meant to meet the apparently conflicting inculcations of the hymns together with a cogent rationalistic view to dispel all erroneous determinations of different scholastic explorations.

The fact that the body can be full or satisfied while you still feel empty is evidence that the body is not you.

Science of Identity Foundation - Siddhaswarupananda

Eligibility and Designation of Readers: -- Every endeavour in this matter should be successfully carried out by experts and whenever they are found lacking in capacity, the result will be harmful; so we should learn how to grapple with the theme properly. If we are hasty on-lookers of Vedanta, it may lead us to some incorrect determination. We may utilize that very finding for earthly purposes. We may turn ourselves hunters of curiosity and leave it just after our search is completed; but we may receive the true benefit only if we patiently approach it to have the true conception of what is truly desirable for us. The first two readers will surely miss their aim to utilize properly their time and effort in order to become successful. The aim of studying Vedanta is to scale up the tallowy smooth gnomon of phenomena; but if the slippery position does not allow us to reach the summit of the post, then such an attempt will tend to remind us of the observation of the king of the Highlanders towards the unsuccessful spider. Before we are admitted as students of Vedanta, our attention should not be directed to view perishable limited objects, all of which are usually meant to be lorded over by our senses.

If we are inclined to accept the delineations of Vedanta in the same line with Nature’s limited productions, we are liable to be too confused to make any progress.

A person who understands that (1) one day the body will cease existing, and that (2) he himself will not cease existing, naturally becomes less interested in material gain and material pursuits (which he knows will be taken away one day) and becomes more interested in making spiritual advancement—advancement in wisdom, love, and compassion.

Science of Identity Foundation - Siddhaswarupananda

If the Transcendence is brought in the same category with the sensible world, no positive knowledge could possibly be imparted to us through the Sounds, which have got transcendental values. Ordinary philosophies could not be easily managed by our sensuous exertions. But when we have no support of transcendent Sounds, we are likely to view the reading of Vedanta in the same light with ordinary philosophy and put it as a convict in the dock to answer the charges for which it is not responsible. I am going to tell you now a few words on the Vedanta. My telling craves a reciprocity of your listening to my sound through the aural reception. Sound is the main substratum of the Vedanta which deals with a subject unapproachable by our present crippled imperfect senses. The ear cannot work as a receptacle unless we are willing to admit a sound and this admittance depends on our taste and previous experience. This prior experience invites affairs within the phenomenal range, but the Vedantic sounds, have a different aim. So a more studied reciprocal situation alone will crown our efforts with success, in matters pertaining to Vedanta.

Many of our friends pose themselves as knowers because they have a true taste for knowledge. To acquire such knowledge they utilize their senses for creating their conception of objects and their components. Such knowers claim a subjective position to consider the synthetic as well as analytic values of their determination. The objects before them are known as phenomena which serve to engage their attention while scrutinizing the causes and the laws of all phenomena by their empiric and intuitive reasonings. This is in other words philosophizing the object by mental speculation.

When the knowledge of a being is restricted to phenomena, it passes by the name of natural philosophy, but the psychological dealing with sentiments discloses a branch of knowledge known as mental philosophy.

(On the other hand,) for a person who cultivates wisdom or true knowledge, the results are inner peace, satisfaction, patience, respect for others, freedom from duplicity, compassion, joyfulness, remembrance of his spiritual identity, freedom from the fear of death, freedom from anxiety and depression, and so on.

Siddhaswarupananda | Science of Identity Foundation

All the philosophical speculations in connection with our sensuous perception are no bar to our wrangling over them. The outward representations in all cases, if reasoned, need not exactly identify themselves with the true objective stand; as for instance, our impression of a star is much more augmented when we are conversant with the coaching of an adept in astronomy or when scientific methods predominate over our erroneous convictions. The deceptive outward manifestations are not necessarily to be accepted when such delusions are detected by some deeper activity. The seeming reasons often carry us in a wrong direction and we are not favoured with the Truth; and seeming truths though found to be efficacious in particular circumstances show a susceptibility to transformation. So the ontology of unchangeable formation should not be neglected for alternative changing features.

The methods of thinking of different people of different countries are not the same. So we cannot expect identical results in philosophy. Happiness and virtue have been selected as the essence of philosophic speculation by both the Hellenic and Hebraic Schools; whereas in China they were meant for the preservation of a loyal society and local constitutional Government. The mystic philosophy of mediaeval Europe in its different varieties has invited apathetic reflection in the judgment of many thoughtful persons. The animistic conception of Persia as well as the impersonal idea have brought out criticisms from Indian philosophers. The savage conception of philosophy as well has also been discounted by means of critical and ethical arguments.

For a long time Indian Philosophy had been mentioned in six different phases bearing dissimilar methods of exposition but in the course of the unrolling evolutionary process we have had a few dozen philosophic views coming to us for our speculative considerations. Mind has been noticed as the functional agent of agreeing or disagreeing with a standard position within the scope of its finitudinal range. It is termed conscience or Buddhi when it is fixed. The egotistic function of mind in respect of mundane objects is called Ahankaar or the subjective tendency of lording it over a partial phenomenal aspect. The Jiva or soul is different from phenomenal denomination, but the fettered condition of an individual soul has association with the material world.

The five old schools of philosophy of India do not vouchsafe to bear identical attitudes with the Vedanta philosophy. Some supersensuous methods are revealed in comparative studies, though in the beginning such warnings need not be offered to the students of the Vedanta. The science of the Vedanta philosophy has also dealt with the aspects of the constant changes of form resulting from inevitable development and also elucidated the position of permanent unalterable elements in ever-altering forms.

The Vedanta deals with a theme beyond the finite views of phenomena. The subject dealt with in that particular philosophy is not confined to any part of the material space, any definite span of time or any object of sensuous perception made up of any substance of this Universe. The activities of a being are measured in time, the playground of a being either linear, superficial or cubical is accommodated in space and the limited subjectivity or fleshly entity is confined to phenomena. The Vedantic scheme is quite different from such limited structural monuments though some people attempted to bring Vedanta within the prison bars of their senses.

Though Vedanta expresses itself in ordinary language quite dove-tailed into the views of our ordinary intelligence, it gradually heaves us up to the super-sensuous regions where the senses cannot work by their present implements or cannot help us with the words of our ordinary commerce with friends. The transcendental topics are imparted slowly through the linguistic and rationalistic attainments by differentiating the plane of transcendence from the undesirable transformable plane of enjoyments. As it help us on this progressive journey of understanding we should not stick to a stagnant view in order to gratify our senses just because the rationality and harmonious language of the Vedanta seem to fit our whims. So the method of studying this particular philosophy involves a process of eliminating all chances of confusing the transcendence with our present plane of thought.