Highlights of Vedanta Philosophy
Vedanta means "end of the Vedas". The Upanishads, the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras are the pillars of the Vedanta. Total Upanishads are 108, out of which principal Upanishads are 11. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma i.e. the cumulative effects of a person’s actions. In the Brahma Sutras is the essence of the philosophical and spiritual ideas of the Upanishads. Shrimad Bhagavad Gita is the dialogues between Sri Krishna and Arjuna held in 3102 BC during war among Kauravas and Pandavas in Krukshetra, Haryana. It is cream of Vedas and Upanishads, in most simple Sanskrit language.
Vedanta is live. Many sub-traditions, ranging from dualism to non-dualism developed based on different but logical interpretations over period of time. These sub-traditions include Advaita Darshan, established by Adi Shankara, Vishishtadvaita Darshan established by Ramanujacharya, Dvaita Darshan established by Madhvacharya, Bhedabheda (or Dvaitadvaita) Darshan established by Nimbarkacharya, Shuddhadvaita Darshan established by Vallabhacharya, Achintyabhedabheda Darshan established by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Akshar-Purushottam Darshan established by Shastriji Maharaj.
Vedanta establishes three fundamental categories viz. the ultimate reality or Brahman or Isvara, the individual soul or self or Atman and the Prakiriti or Jagat or matter. If we compare the three fundamental categories with the Electric Powerhouse, Brahman is powerhouse; Atman is Power supply and Prakriti is electric appliances. Without electric current, no appliance will work. The major highlights of the Vedanta are mentioned as under:
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita has harmonized the Vedic rituals and spiritual wisdom of Upanishad. Shri Krishna in chapter 3 has explained that virtually any action can be transformed into yajna if it is done in the spirit of sacrifice, or offering to God. By seeing all elements of the act of offering (including the offeror himself) as nothing but Brahman (Supreme God), he attains Brahman. Even the old Vedic rituals can be performed without an eye on the results, but with a desire for the social and cosmic good.
Reference: Vedanta & Vivekananda by Swami Swahananda