aka Vedanta Saara, Vedant Sar
Essence of Vedanta
by Sadananda

"Vedantasara is one of the best known epitomes (Prakarana Granthas) of the philosophy of the Upanishads, as taught by Shankaracharya, whose followers are said to number the largest in India. Of this treatise there have been published many good editions and careful translations into English, besides other languages...

This treatise adopts the orthodox method which has always appealed to the largest number. After explaining the kind of moral and mental discipline needed for the pursuit of the highest Truth, the work starts with the Shruti (Vedic) statement that the individual soul and Brahman are identical, as taught by the formula, ‘Thou art That.’ Our not being aware of this Truth is due to an innate ‘Nescience’ or ignorance, the nature of which is also explained.

In the exposition of the doctrine of Avidya (ignorance) its universal and individual aspects are dealt with. The world being its effect, an enquiry into the origin and nature of the world is made, wherein the question of the distinction between body and soul is dealt with at some length. Here the theories of other schools, such as Materialism, Atomism, Realism and Idealism as of the Buddhists, are criticised. The next point considered is the method of interpretation of the Vedic propositions such as ‘Thou art That’ and ‘I am Brahman’, which is indispensable for a correct understanding of the Shruti or scriptural revelations. But the most important feature of Vedanta consists in putting the knowledge of the Truth to the test in one’s own life. For this purpose Yogic practices are inculcated. Then comes a description of Jivan-mukti, that is, the life of the enlightened man on earth which is characterised by absolute selflessness and the highest morality."

- Swami Nikhilananda

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