The path of selfless service

The roots of Vedanta are in the Vedas, the sacred script of ancient India. Though the teachings are thousands of years old, they are relevant across all cultures and in all times. In this talk, Pravrajika Vrajaprana discusses the four major teachings of Vedanta: The Oneness of all existence, the divinity of the soul, the manifestation of that divinity being the goal of all life, and the truth of all religions.

Questions & Answers

Q: Is Vedanta the same as Hinduism?

Vedanta is the predominant philosophy of Hinduism. Hinduism includes all the social and religious customs of anyone living in the subcontinent of India who is not a Muslim, Christian, Jew, Jain, Sikh, Zoroastrian, or Buddhist. There are many sects in Hinduism. It is a complex collection of many religious traditions. Vedanta is the underlying philosophy.

Q: Christ said, “No one shall enter the kingdom of heaven except through me.” Aren’t you worried that you’re taking the wrong path?

No. Krishna and Buddha said similar things. Also, Ramakrishna had a spiritual experience of merging with Christ. He felt his oneness with Christ, Rama, and Krishna. How can we explain this?

There are three possible explanations:

  • These great teachers at times felt totally identified with the one Reality. It is in this sense that they used the word “me”.

  • They were talking to a local group of people who were not going to hear about other incarnations of God.

  • Their teachings were altered by others coming later who wanted power and control over people.


Q: What is the law of karma?

The law of karma is similar to the Biblical idea that “as you sow, so shall you reap.” In physics, the analogous law is “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The law of karma simply puts the responsibility for our lives on us. If either seemingly bad luck or good fortune comes our way, we must deserve it somehow because of our past actions. These past actions may have been in a past life. Otherwise, when we observe life’s various situations, God would seem to be an arbitrary and partial God.

Q: Is it necessary to adopt Indian dress and Hindu food restrictions to be a Vedantist?

A: No. Habits of dressing and eating are cultural things, not spiritual things. The Vedanta philosophy is universal, it can be adapted to any culture and time.

guided meditation

You have reviewed the session materials for this class. To continue this course review, complete all the sessions.

Session 1: Vedanta 101 - Explaining the Meaning and Essence of Vedanta

Session 2: Karma Yoga - The Path of Selfless Service

Session 3: Jnana Yoga - The Path of Inquiry

Session 4: Raj Yoga - The Path of Meditation

Session 5: Bhakti Yoga - The Path of Love and Devotion

Session 6: Pilgirmage as a Yoga - Inner Transformation through Sacred Travel

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