There are three main schools of thoughts in Vedanta
· Dualistic or Dvaita
· Qualified Monism or vishistha Advaita
· Advaita Vedanta or Absolute monism
All these perceptions are true. All expound the relationship between the individual Jiva (soul), this world or nature (Jagat) and the Ruler of the universe or God (Spirit or Brahman).
Dualism, mainly propounded by Madhvacharya (1199-1278) maintains that the individual soul and the Spirit (supreme soul) are different and there cannot be unity between the two. Spirit is the Ruler of this universe and is creator, sustainer, and the destroyer. Mostly, the path of dualism is path of Bhakti Yoga.
Qualified monism of Ramanujacharya (1040-1137) differs from dualistic thought on the ground that whatever we see or perceive is, in fact, God and nothing else. The universe includes the nature and us. Thus Soul, Jagat and Spirit are one. Just as an individual being has a body and a soul, so also God has universe as the body and He is the soul of all souls. We are on of the cell of the universe.
Advaita Vedanta: Advaita literally means “not two”. This is the highest concept as realized by Adi Shankaracharya (788-820). Advaita Vedanta maintains that the Highest Reality or Existence or Truth cannot be two, but must be one. It has to be all pervading, only One, and Infinite.
Many scholars have talked about this philosophy
· That the soul exists is the main gist of Upanishads. According to Sri Shankaracharya one can sum up the entire message of Vedanta in three crisp aphorisms. Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya (there is only one truth and that is Brahman or the spirit) “Jivo Brahmaiva naparah” means that every jiva - the apparent limited and finite entity is actually the infinite and limitless Brahman, and nothing else. Every Jiva is basically God himself with his limited identity.
· One of the two Hindu principles that symbolize the outcome of freedom of thought was conceptualized four thousand years back by some unnamed rishis in Rig-Veda as, “The Universal Reality is the same, but different people can call it by different names” (Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti). The other one is “This world is one family” (Vasudaiva Kutumbakam)
Om Poornamadah Poornamidam
The whole is whole; if you take away the whole away from the whole the whole still remain. (That is infinite, This is infinite. From the infinite, the infinite has come out. Having taken the infinite out of the infinite, the infinite alone remains. In Vedanta ‘That” represents super consciousness, the God or the Brahman and “THIS” the visible universe).
· One may ask that if the Whole is divided into parts, how can the individual part be taken as the Whole. Advaita Vedanta maintains that there is only one Reality as Absolute Consciousness. Out of ignorance we perceive this One Reality as multifarious. This cosmic ignorance is called Maya.
· There are 3 stages of spiritual life. Dwaita (dualism); Vishishtadwaita (Qualified Non dualism) and Adwaita (Non-dualism). Man passes through all of these. In the first stage, God and man are separate, and then man realizes he is God but still 2 exist. For if he says, I am God (that means there are 2, he and God). Only in the advanced stage of realization does man say, There is no ‘I’ and only God. Here he claims God and I are one and all traces of ego (self identity) are lost.