Notes from a lecture by TKV Desikachar – ‘Is Veda a Religion?’

The Brahma Sūtra is the source of Hinduism or Hindu Philosophy or Vedānta.

It acknowledges the Veda as the source of its teachings,
hence the term Vedānta, within which there are three main streams:

1. People who believe in One
(Advaita or school of non-dualism advocated by Śaṅkara)

2. People who believe in One with certain characteristics
(Viśiṣṭādvaita or school of qualified non-dualism advocated by Rāmānuja)

3. People who believe in Two and they cannot be reconnected
(Dvaita or school of dualism advocated by Madhva)

So Vedānta is one product of the Veda but their are five more
(Ṣat DarśanaSix Views or Ways of Seeing):

1. Yoga is also coming from the Veda.

2. Another school fully involved in outlining rituals. (Mīmāṃsā)
e.g. (Mīmāṃsā Sūtra) a huge volume three times the size of the Brahma Sūtra.

3. Then other schools don’t even talk about God.
Only two principles that of changing matter and consciousness.
In each one of us there is something that experiences. (Sāṃkhya)

4. There is one more school, the school of logic. (Nyāya)

5. One more school discusses how the world evolved. (Vaiśeṣika)

So out of the six only two that honour God. the other four do not.

Only Yoga acknowledges the idea of a higher force as a teacher.
So out of the six only one is considered Hinduism. (Vedānta)
So whichever school I am a student of I will acknowledge the Veda.
So among six only two completely honour God. (Vedānta and Mīmāṃsā)

My belief in Yoga is not dependent on a belief in God.
Whereas in Vedānta it is.

Religion is to link and re-link.
Yoga – to link to myself
– Hinduism – to link to God.

So Religion is only one aspect of the great tree called the Veda.

Veda is the root for the Ṣat DarśanaSix Views or Ways of Seeing

Two of which involve God as in Vedānta and Mīmāṃsā
Two of which involve Soul as in Sāṃkhya and Yoga
Two of which involve World as Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika

– TKV Desikachar ‘Is Veda a Religion?’ November 8th 2001

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