Advaita Vedānta: The Science of Reality
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This chapter presents an in-depth survey of Advaita Vedānta as an essential framework to unfold the profound message of the Gı̄tā. To facilitate the comprehension of the text, it will review the key tenets of Vedānta, the earliest and the most refined science of Self-knowledge. This chapter also presents the Vedic ontology and epistemology to explain what is real and how we know what is real. If the first job of a leader is to define reality, as Max Depree once remarked, then understanding what is real can furnish important clues to defining the context and reality of leadership. The Gı̄tā unfolds the vision of the Vedas, the world’s foremost and perhaps oldest wisdom texts. Advaita Vedānta represents the culmination of Vedic wisdom, both historically and philosophically.
By way of a holistic approach to life and leadership, the chapter unfolds the vision of Oneness as propounded by Advaita Vedānta, the non-dual philosophy enunciated in the Bhagavad Gı̄tā, the Upaniṣads, and Brahma Sutra—the three principal source wisdom texts (prasthāna-traya) of Vedānta. It shows that Self-knowledge, as the knowledge of our true nature, is a self-evident, self-established fact. Due to Self-ignorance, we are unaware of this vital fact. The goal of Vedānta is to help us dis-cover Self-knowledge and fulfillment, right here and now, as our essential nature. Vedānta boldly declares: “There is only One Reality. The world is an expression of it. That art thou! Know the Limitless Awareness, Brahman, as your inmost Self, Ātman, and be free!” This is the promise of Vedānta.