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Indian Vedic-Hindu Philosophy
The Atman which is Brahman

Indian Vedic-Hindu Philosophy & Doctrine
The Atman which is Brahman relationships

The original Vedas are the oldest sacred writings of the Hindus and are composed of spiritually focused poetry written in Sanskit between 2000-1000 B.C. The spirtually inspired poets who wrote these early Vedas often imply a one-ness with the Divine.

More recent Vedas are known as the Upanishads - a name implying sitting at the feet of a teacher - and are the Hindu sacred texts next in antiquity dating from circa 600 B.C. The Upanishads uphold views that maintain that people are capable of a profound interior spirituality.

It may be that Hinduism should more properly referred to as Vedanta, and that Indian philosophy should be more properly referred to as Vedic philosophy because of these roots in the Vedas.

A certain difficulty for people brought up in monotheistic faith based cultures, in relation to Hinduism and Vedic-Hindu doctrine, lies in the view that Vedic philosophy speaks of Mystical Union as being with "The Atman which is Brahman".

The relationships between Atman ~ being the "Self" ~ and Brahman ~ being the "World Soul" ~ are central to the religiously inspired world view of most Hindus:-
The Self which is free from sin, free from old age, from death and from grief, from hunger and thirst, which desires nothing but what it ought to desire, and imagines nothing but what it ought to imagine, that it is which we must search out, that it is which we must try to understand. He who has searched out that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.

Khândogya-Upanishad 8.7.1



All this is Brahman. Let a man meditate on that (visible world) as beginning, ending, and breathing in it (the Brahman)...
...He is my self within the heart, smaller than a corn of rice, smaller than a corn of barley, smaller than a mustard seed, smaller than a canary seed or the kernel of a canary seed. He is also myself within the heart, greater than the earth, greater than the sky, greater than heaven, greater than all these worlds.

Khândogya-Upanishad 3.14 1, 3

A Shankara quotation relating to metaphysics
and The Atman which is Brahman

"The entire universe is truly the Self. There exists nothing at all other than the Self. The enlightened person sees everything in the world as his own Self, just as one views earthenware jars and pots as nothing but clay".



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Whilst Indian metaphysics ( aka Vedic metaphysics / Hindu metaphysics ), doctrine and philosophy hold that Brahman "is" the "World-Soul" such relationships are placed within broader perspectives by Vedic Philosophy further holding that this World Soul should itself be regarded as being the Three-in-One God known as the Trimurti.
Brahma-the Creator, Vishnu-the Preserver, and Shiva-the Destroyer, are all perceived as being aspects or manifestations of the One-ness which is Brahman.

Notwithstanding the view that Mystical Union is with the Atman which is Brahman several very remarkable spiritual teachers and guides who have appeared from time to time across the ages are considered, by the Vedic-Hindu tradition, to have been incarnations of the Lord Vishnu!!!

This may effectively provide something of a bridge towards traditionally monotheistic cultures which view Mystical Union as being purely spiritual rather than with existence in ALL its manifestations.

A celebrated American Man of Letters named Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots,
whose flower and fruitage is the world..."


"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Immanuel Kant
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View (1784)

Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History more fully:-
In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain, and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him, and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg presuppose air. He cannot live without a world.

In an essay entitled "The Over-Soul" Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that:-
"...The soul looketh steadily forwards, creating a world before her, leaving worlds behind her. She has no dates, nor rites, nor persons, nor specialties, nor men. The soul knows only the soul; the web of events is the flowing robe in which she is clothed. ..."



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That which is nearest is least observed. The Atman is the nearest of the near, therefore a careless and unsteady mind gets no clue to the Atman. But one who is alert, calm, self-restrained, and discriminating, ignores the external world and, diving more and more into the inner world, realizes the glory of the Atman and becomes great.

Vivekananda

Stand upon the Atman, then only can we truly love the world. Take a very, very high stand; knowing our universal nature, we must look with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world.

Vivekananda

This is the secret of spiritual life: to think that I am the Atman and not the body, and that the whole of this universe with all its relations, with all its good and all its evil, is but as a series of paintings - scenes on a canvas - of which I am the witness.

Vivekananda

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Is Human Being more truly Metaphysical than Physical?


Darwin and Metaphysics

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson


RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882) was, in his time, the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States. He remains widely influential to this day through his essays, lectures, poems, and philosophical writings.

In the later eighteen-twenties Ralph Waldo Emerson read, and was very significantly influenced by, a work by a French philosopher named Victor Cousin.

A key section of Cousin's work reads as follows:
"What is the business of history? What is the stuff of which it is made? Who is the personage of history? Man : evidently man and human nature. There are many different elements in history. What are they? Evidently again, the elements of human nature. History is therefore the development of humanity, and of humanity only; for nothing else but humanity develops itself, for nothing else than humanity is free. …
… Moreover, when we have all the elements, I mean all the essential elements, their mutual relations do, as it were, discover themselves. We draw from the nature of these different elements, if not all their possible relations, at least their general and fundamental relations."
Introduction to the History of Philosophy (1829)

Even before he had first read Cousin, (in 1829), Emerson had expressed views in his private Journals which suggest that he accepted that Human Nature, and Human Beings, tend to display three identifiable aspects and orientations:
Imagine hope to be removed from the human breast & see how Society will sink, how the strong bands of order & improvement will be relaxed & what a deathlike stillness would take the place of the restless energies that now move the world. The scholar will extinguish his midnight lamp, the merchant will furl his white sails & bid them seek the deep no more. The anxious patriot who stood out for his country to the last & devised in the last beleagured citadel, profound schemes for its deliverance and aggrandizement, will sheathe his sword and blot his fame. Remove hope, & the world becomes a blank and rottenness. (Journal entry made between October and December, 1823)

In all districts of all lands, in all the classes of communities thousands of minds are intently occupied, the merchant in his compting house, the mechanist over his plans, the statesman at his map, his treaty, & his tariff, the scholar in the skilful history & eloquence of antiquity, each stung to the quick with the desire of exalting himself to a hasty & yet unfound height above the level of his peers. Each is absorbed in the prospect of good accruing to himself but each is no less contributing to the utmost of his ability to fix & adorn human civilization. (Journal entry of December, 1824)

Our neighbours are occupied with employments of infinite diversity. Some are intent on commercial speculations; some engage warmly in political contention; some are found all day long at their books … (This dates from January - February, 1828)

The quotes from Emerson are reminiscent of a line from another "leading voice of intellectual culture" - William Shakespeare.
There's neither honesty, manhood, nor good fellowship in thee.
William Shakespeare: Henry IV (Pt 1), Act I, Scene II