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In the Hindu philosophical tradition Vedanta means the

essence of the Vedas, as described in the Upanishads, the Brahma-Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. It
includes three main systems of Indian philosophical thought, namely, dualism, as taught by
Madhavacharya, qualified non-dualism, as taught by Ramanujacharya, and absolute non-dualism,
whose chief proponents are Gaudapada and Sankaracharya. The philosophy of non-dualism,
embodying the conclusions of Vedanta, seems to have influenced to a greater or lesser degree all the
philosophies and religions of India. It is the unique contribution of the Hindus to the philosophical
thinking of the world."

The three basic texts of Vedanta are the Upanishads, the
Bhagavad Gita and the BrahmaSutras. Together they are
referred to as the Prasthan-traya or the triple canon of the
The author of the Brahma-Sutras is Badarayan whom Indian tradition identifies with Vyasa. In the
Brahma-Sutras, Badarayana- Vyasa strings together the leading concepts of Vedanta in an orderly
manner. The Sutra is an exquisite garland made out of the Upanishadic blossoms. It is divided into
four chapters known as Adhyayas. Each chapter consists of four parts called Padas. Each part has a
number of sections called Adhikaranas and each section has one or more aphorisms or Sutras.
According to Sri Sankaracharya, the number of sections is 192. The total number of aphorisms
(Sutras) is 555.
In the first chapter which is on Harmony (Samanvaya), Badarayana teaches that the Vedantic texts,
taken as a whole, have as their purport Brahman, the non-dual Reality. Badarayana shows that the
Vedantic texts harmoniously teach Brahman as the plenary Reality, the world-ground which is of the
nature of Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, which is the supreme object of meditation, and which is the
final goal to be realised.
In the second chapter which is titled Non-conflict (Avirodha), Badarayana discusses the objections
that may be raised against the metaphysics of Vedanta. According to Vedanta, Brahman is the
substratum, the sole and the whole cause of the universe. Some theistic schools do not subscribe to
this view. They hold that God is only the efficient cause who fashions the world out of extraneous
matter which is co-eternal with God. Badarayana shows that this view is not sound because God would
then become limited and finite. The world (universe) appears from Brahman, stays in it, and gets
resolved into it. This does not involve any effort on the part of Brahman. The example of milk turning
into curd is useful for realising that there is no need for an external agency for the world to appear.
The truth is that the world is not separate from Brahman; it has no independent existence. The effect
is non-different from the cause. In other words, the effect is appearance, the cause alone is real. An

analogy would be to compare the non-evolution and evolution of the world to the folded and spread
out states , respectively, of a piece of cloth. What is the status of the individual soul? Is it the product
of Brahman?
In the third chapter of the Brahma-Sutras, Badarayana discusses the means to release-sadhana. If the
soul had performed the appropriate meditations, it goes along the path of the gods (Devayana) and
reaches Brama-Loka.
The last chapter of the Brahma-Sutras is on The Fruit (Phala). Prarabdha is the karma which has
begun to fructify and is responsible for the present body. The truth is that for the Jivan-Mukta
(liberated ) there is no body at all. The knower of Brahman realises the Absolute, non-different from
Brahman. When one has gained release, there is no more involvements in the samsara; no more
return to the cycle of birth and death