The unifying concept of Vedic religion.

 The unifying concept underlying these basic beliefs is the law of spiritual progress underlying the creation. But, of course, we see only the intermediate stages of this process. As the Bhagavadgita says, "Un-manifest is the origin of beings, manifest in their mid-most stage, and un-manifest again their end." We do not know how the Hiranya Garbha divided itself into subject and object and started the process of creation, and how the sundered spirit will be finally restored to its original wholeness in the Absolute. The beginning and the end of the cosmic process are beyond time, which bridges two eternities.

Thus the law of spiritual progression is given as an unerring standard for us. It decrees the following values as of utmost importance:

  • Spiritual Values: truth, beauty, love, and righteousness.
  • Intellectual Values: clarity, cogency, subtlety, and skill.
  • Biological Values: health, strength, and vitality.
  • Material Values: riches, possessions, and pleasures.

This, then, is the key to understanding Hinduism. For example, consider the Hindu view of History. Although it does not attach any importance to chronology, the sages had a correct view of historical progress and decline. Persons and wars were seen to be of less importance when compared with roles (played by the persons) and the lessons (of the war). The greatness of civilization was judged not by the empires they possessed, nor by the wealth they accumulated, nor by their technological progress, but by the righteousness and the justice that they cultivated. So, in all the stories of Ithihãsãs and Purãnãs, the philosophy and the moral is stressed more than the chronology or the great powers of the kings.
Lesson - 7a: Message of the Upanishads

Aa no bhadraah kratayo yantu vishvatah: |------- Rig Veda
" May noble thoughts come to us from every direction."

shravanaayaapi bahubhiryo na labhyah:
shravanto.api bahavoyaam.h: na vidyuh: |
aashcharyo vaktaa kushalosya labdhaah:
aashcharyo gyaataa kushalaanu shishhthah: || ------ Kathaa Upanishad.

" He [the Truth] who cannot even be heard of by many, whom many,
even after hearing, do not know, wondrous is he [the person]
who can teach [The Truth] and skillful is he [the person] who finds The Truth
and wondrous is he [the person] who knows, even when instructed otherwise."

These two verses convey the essence of the spirit of the Upanishads. The goal of the Upanishads is beautifully expressed in a verse from Taittiriiya Upanishads as the "Soul of Truth, the delight of life and the bliss of mind, the fullness of peace and eternity." Although the Upanishads are closely correlated to Hinduism, to characterize them as being exclusively Hindu Philosophy is not fair either to Hinduism as a Dharma or to the rich variety of metaphysical and epistemological speculations that the word Philosophy implies.

""the Upanishads, says Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, "represent a great chapter in the history of the human spirit and have dominated Indian philosophy, religion, and life for three thousand years. Every subsequent religious movement in India has had to show itself to be in accordance with their philosophical statements."

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