WHAT VEDANTA MEANS TO ME by John-Ed. Yale

WHAT VEDANTA MEANS TO ME

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This symposium of articles written by thirteen distinct individuals- non- Hindus -- from different walks of life and various social and religious backgrounds, is designed to illustrate simply, but fully how Vedanta has entered and affected the lives of people who had searched in vain for a purpose in life, a meaningful deity, and a realization of self, compatible with their essentially rational thought patterns. Combining to give an all-round picture of the breadth and universality of Vedanta, they give the definition as expounded in Vedantic literature, in the three-fold statement that ""man's nature is divine, that it is the aim of man's life here on earth to unfold the divine nature within him, and that this basic truth is universal -- that is, that every religion that has inspired mankind has been trying to state these facts."" Its essential concept being that God is immanent and transcendent, this spiritual religion maintains that the groundwork of all being is God. Based on what might be termed a practical mysticism, Vedanta's significant reality is the result not only of its all-embracing nature (for it is liberal in every sense of the word) but also of the fact that it is strengthened by the oral tradition behind it and the disciples who live here and now. Rational and free of sentiment, its span, as one essayist points out, is commensurate with its grasp. Presenting a logical cosmology which is unpretentious and relates to scientific progress, it is optimistic and constructive rather than pessimistic and limiting; for its emphasis is against sin-obsessed puritanical theology whose grovelling repentance leads so easily to masochism. Rather, it encourages man to see and cultivate the God-like characteristics inherent in him. Dispelling the misconception of two worlds-spiritual and material -- it fuses the two in man, and establishes a balance regarding the physical body and the temporal world, for it maintains that the body and the world alone constitute ""the egg in which the soul may hatch"". This is a book of sustained interest to the general reader unacquainted with Vedanta, as to those who still find a philosophical-religious void in their lives.

Pub Date: Jan. 20th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday