The Ramakrishna Vedanta Society of the Philippines
Those who hold religious beliefs but still feel a void in their hearts accept Vedanta as a religious philosophy that will bring them to the peace and joy of inner life by helping them to better understand and practice their own religion. Vedanta, as preached by Ramakrishna and Vivekananda is gradually being recognized as a broad, modern, scientific and universal religion and philosophy, perfectly suited to the needs of any citizen of the modern world.
The word Vedanta is actually a combination of two words: "Veda", or divine knowledge, and "anta", the end of, or the goal of.Vedanta defines God in its transcendental reality as Brahman, infinite existence, infinite consciousness and infinite bliss. Yet Vedanta also accept the personal aspect of God, as worshipped by mankind in all countries and at all times.
Vedanta asserts that our real nature is divine, Atman, that the purpose of human life is to realize or manifest it and that truth is universal. Vedanta accepts all religions of the world and reveres the great prophets, teachers and sons of God, because it recognizes the same divine inspiration in all.
The unity of all existence is one of the essential pillars of Vedanta. Divinity pervades everything in the universe. There is no place where we, infinite in nature, do not exist. Human suffering derives from the feeling of separation from this great cosmic unity and from our identification with our ego, or lower self, our likes and dislikes, our attraction and repulsion, our desires, fears, hatred, anger, lust, greed, etc., instead of with the Atman, our true and divine nature.
According to Vedanta, maya, or ignorance, is the apparent veil that covers our true nature. It is inscrutable, but it ceases to exist once our spiritual knowledge dawns. It is a conditioned and relative reality, which is subject to time, space and the law of cause and effect. Maya can be compared to the green scum that covers the clear water of a pond and prevent us from seeing it.
The scum is pushed away by the purifying action of our unselfishness, truthfulness, constant religious practices, and perseverance thus we can access clear water, i.e. the Atman that, rid of the ego, regains the freedom that was all the time its own.