What is Vedanta


A universal teaching from an ancient tradition
It is the philosophic basis of all Yogas


The word ‘Vedanta’ comes from the Sanskrit root word ‘vid’ – to know.

veda = knowledge
anta = end

Vedanta then, means the knowledge that frees us from all limitation. It teaches that our real nature is Divine. Every living being is of the nature of God, or Brahman — the Absolute Reality or Universal Being.The spring of joy is within us — it is our very nature.

The study of Vedanta is a journey toward reaching this deep understanding of ones’ own True nature.


Essentially we are just Pure Consciousness or Awareness. There is only one ‘Intelligent Energy’ which appears as the world of names and forms. I am pure energy, my source is Consciousness. When I feel disconnected from it, or lose touch with it, I become spiritually ignorant or unaware.Then I project my ideas on my own mind and on others – this is the Ego. This limited self identity covers the real Me. Identifying with the Ego I cling to appearances and stray away from the Truth. The purpose of Vedanta is to remove this Ignorance so that we can claim our eternally free blissful nature.


It a universal teaching, meant for everybody.Shubhraji’s audience is diverse and her talks are easily understood even by people who have no prior exposure to Hindu culture or Vedanta.


The teachings are profound, yet simple; logical, yet warming the heart with love; completely personal, yet universal, and above all, very relevant in today’s world.Sometimes we get caught up in the drama of our life and take events and situations to be so real that we get wound up in them and lose our peace of mind.

The teaching of Vedanta shows us the distinction between that which is eternal and that which is transient or of an illusory nature and how we can shift our focus to the higher perspective.


The abiding knowledge of Vedanta rests in the vision of the One Reality, a vision that transcends race, creed, class, gender, and nationality.The direct method of Self Enquiry and meditation are the hallmarks of this system.

The paths (of Knowledge, Service and Devotion also referred to as yogas) are stated clearly and there is no dogmatic assertion but Truth that is confirmable by our own experience


Beyond god and evil or right and wrong, we find central idea of this teaching is the non – dual Philosophy of Advaita. Advaita is a monistic system of thought. Though Hindu philosophy includes a myriad of deities — they are considered different aspects of the one energy -Brahman.Advaita literally means non-duality, or One Reality without a second. This One Reality is identical with our own Self in essence. Advaita refers to the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman).

Vedanta affirms that we can know our True Self by:

  • the words of the scripture which are the valid means of knowledge (pramanas),
  • the words of a true preceptor and
  • direct personal experience.

Though the philosophy was in practice for a long time, its main exponent Adi Sankara (780-820 A.D.), revitalized the pivotal ideas and gave it a fresh impetus.


The root philosophy of Vedanta is found in the spiritual books called Vedas: They are the most ancient religious texts that exist today. They were revelations to masters in the Himalayas who were in completly merged in union with Brahman or the Universal Being. The Vedas are considered the authoritative spiritual texts of Hinduism or Santana Dharma (Eternal Law) as it is called. The 4 Vedic texts are: Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda.


There are three main texts studied by Vedanta students. They are called ‘Prasthana traya’ in Sanskrit. Originally passed down orally, these were only written and compiled about 1500 B.C.E.

  • The Upanishads (over 200) revelations, in form of mantras to various seers
    These contain the quintessence of Indian philosophy. They are in a conversational style between a Realized Master and a mature receptive student in the serenity of the Himalayan valley. The texts are sacred revelations and form the core of subjective inner contemplation for a spiritual seeker.
  • The Bhagavad Gita a poem of 700 verses written by Ved Vyas
    The Bhagavad-Gita is a scripture set against the background of the battlefield. Before the battle begins Lord Krishna, the incarnate God- the Perfect Master- drives Prince Arjuna’s chariot between the two armies, to review the enemy – who are none other than his own cousins. Arjuna is a fearless and competent warrior. War was inevitable because his cousin refused to give back the kingdom to Arjuna and his brothers after their thirteen years of exile. The Gita is about good and evil. It is a study of the human personality. It deals with how we should live in this world and how we can transcend our confusions of the mind to reach complete freedom and peace. It is not just a story, but it is directly applicable to our life.
  • Brahma Sutras written by Badarayana or Ved Vyas.
    These are aphorisms – which reveal the fundamentals of Vedantic philosophy. Sri Ved Vyasa wrote them around 1500 – 2000 B.C. A commentary by Sri Adi Sankara on the Brahma Sutras provides great insight and depth into each verse. The Brahma Sutras are an extremely advanced text only taught to very senior students of Vedanta.



The first part of each Veda is concerned with actions and worldly gain, while the latter portion, called the Upanishads, is concerned with Self-Knowledge.
Once we gain Knowledge of our Higher Self, there are no more self centered desires and we become open to experience the fulfillment of Life. This fulfillment is the goal of life.



Though there are sub schools within the Vedanta system, Advaita is the main sub-school of the Vedanta. Other major sub-schools of Vedanta are: Vishishta Advaita (Qualified Dualism) and Dvaita (Dualism).

  • Brahman is the Absolute Self, the highest being. It is identical with the deepest part of our being – Atman and at the same time it is the essence of the world.
  • Brahman is the basis of this phenomenal world. From that perspective He is called Isvara (Brahman with qualities) or God.
  • This Brahman in itself though, is non-empirical and without qualities. Any changes in the empirical world do not affect this Absolute Reality.
  • Because we are that ever free Reality, it is only due to our Ignorance that we are bound and we suffer. The purpose of Vedanta is to remove this Ignorance so that we can realize our eternally free blissful nature.
  • This can be done by direct realization of the Truth. By practice of ethical values, devotion and knowledge we attain moksha or liberation and merge with the One Absolute Reality or Brahman.



The traditional approach follows a verse-by-verse method of instruction passed down from generation to generation in the ancientgurukula or ashrams (spiritual centers).

In some of her talks Shubhraji teaches the Sanskrit verses from original texts, and then makes them relevant to daily life. In other talks, she applies the concepts of Vedanta and presents her ideas in a simple way depending on the type of audience.

“A deep, wise, and wonderful exploration of the Vedanta path for relationships both with yourself and with others. Shubhraji provides everything you need to create healthy, fulfilling relationships…”

— Arielle Ford. Author of Wabi Sabi Love and The Soulmate Secret
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