What is Vedanta?

Vedanta is a tradition of knowledge, where questions and views of thought on contemporary science are examined. It requires the individual to be objective but does not require you to believe whole-heartedly as blind faith.

When you commit to what Vedanta has to offer, you open yourself up to the ability to discover self-truth – the truth of the universe and all forms of life. You become free of fear, sorrow, and other limitations. In many ways, this sounds much like yoga and all that it does for those who practice this art. In many ways, the two are similar but there are some differences that put them apart. Let’s take a closer look at their relationship with one another.

Vedanta Teachings

Vedanta teaches us that we, as humans, will always strive for something more; yet despite this, we are individuals with limits. As the view is meant to be objective, there is no belief of being able to reach for the stars – nor should you push past what you believe your limits to be.

Vedanta uses knowledge derived from the Upanishads, a collection of ancient Sanskrit texts that contain concepts and ideas of Hinduism; and the Bhagavad Gita, a 700 verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit, as a foundation for its belief system.

Yoga Teachings

Yoga follows the path of the 8 limbs, which leads us from our moral compass to the final stage of enlightenment. Each limb allows us to improve at each stage and follow it as a step by step guide. We are taught that there is an end goal to following this path and that nirvana (when there is no division between us and that which surrounds us) is the ultimate goal at which we wish to arrive.

Similarities and Differences

While Vedanta has the purpose of self-truth and yoga inspires self-love and understanding, ultimately, having to learn about yourself is the decisive goal. Both require that you have personal growth within and are ready to receive the knowledge that comes from following either path.

In Vedanta, there is only one result, which is the truth of everything. Your thoughts will continue to be even once you understand the universal truth. With Yoga, when and if we reach the final goal, we will cease to have any more thoughts – we will just be.

Those that follow the path of Vedanta believe that the essential role of this practice is that knowledge leads to freedom. Yoga requires physical disciplines, those that include asanas, meditation, and pranayama exercises. Through this practice, we are taught that we can uncover a mind that is quiet and contemplative, where the truth will be revealed to us.

It is interesting to note that while both Yoga and Vedanta derive from similar Sanskrit texts, their ultimate interpretations are different. Vedanta is often referred to as the yoga of objectivity. It stands apart from yoga in the respect that we have our limitations, but the ability to accept these limitations and understand them will bring us closer to the knowledge and self-awareness we seek.

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