Vedic Beliefs of Action

Vedic Beliefs of Action
Vedic Beliefs
The common beliefs underlying all schools of thought in the Vedic religion are beliefs concerning:

1. The evolution of the physical world
2. The law of karma and rebirth
3. The four-fold goal of human life

The Prashnopanishad expounds on the Vedic concept of the evolution of the physical world. Expressed concisely, Energy (Prãna) and Matter (Rayi) are at the two ends of the cosmic scale. The Energy is dormant in pure Matter and vice versa. The transformation of energy into matter occurs in stages: Energy to Reason to Consciousness to Life to Matter. The transformation of Matter into Energy traces this path backward. The Universe itself is a result of the interaction of Energy and Matter. In fact, Prashnopanishhad goes so far as to declare that the difference between Energy and Matter is only perceptional, not real. In other words, Energy and Matter are fundamentally the same [? E=MC2 ].
The doctrine of Karma emphasizes that God is not a judge who sits in remote heaven meting out punishments and rewards, but an indwelling being (the Self) who will work in us through the moral law here and now. While Karma Yoga is the highest form of application of this law, according to which one must perform his duties with a sense of detachment and perform such acts as an offering to the Divine with a sense of pure Duty or Dharma. Cessation of action is what many have understood this to be. In reality, however, it is trying to attain perfection in whatever we do by concentrating on what is to be done rather than the anticipated results. Attachment to results leads to greed, jealousy and ultimately grief.

The four-fold goal of human life is the Purushhaarthas -
  1. Dharma (Righteousness), 
  2. Artha (Worldly Prosperity), 
  3. Kãma (Enjoyment)
  4. Moksha (Liberation). 
These are the four types of human aspirations that will be the driving force of life and its purpose. In the pursuit of the first three one can be helped by others, but in the pursuit of moksha, one is essentially alone. That is why the wedding vow reads: Dharme cha, Arthe cha, Kaame cha, Nãticharãmi: meaning " I shall abide by you in dharma, artha, and kãma." Dharma, the righteous way of living according to Divine law codes without causing hurt to others, is the most important.

While often Artha or material prosperity and Kãma, the worldly pleasures, which outwardly looks sinful and to be avoided, has a place in human life in that as a force for a happy life, it is to be followed within the rules of Dharma. One is allowed to enjoy certain Artha and Kãma also. If it is against the Dharma, natural, ordinary or specific Dharma as the case may be, it leads to greed, attachment, pain, suffering, disappointment, and grief. In this way, the action leads to loss of happiness and one will not attain the liberation. Liberation is the ultimate aim of every Hindu [Nirvãna for Buddhists], which means eternal bliss with an escape from the cycle of birth, suffering, death, and rebirth.

By: Bala N. Aiyer, M.D.

Forms of God in Prayers ⮜ Previous                 Next ⮞ Unifying Concepts of Vedic Dharma

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