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Vedanta

Also covering Hinduism

Vedānta (English pronunciation: /vɪˈdɑːntə/, Hindustani pronunciation: [ʋeːd̪aːn̪t̪], Devanagari: वेदान्त, Vedānta)

Vedānta is a branch of philosophical thought which sprouted from the same root as Zoroastrianism and possibly Bon. The teachings of Zoroaster went west and contain the underlying principals of Judaism, Christianity and Islam while the teachings of Vedānta went east as the system of thought which today are the substrate of Hinduism. Bon is a pre Buddhist Tibetan practice which aims to cultivate the heartmind.

Vedānta is also a word used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for that part of the Veda texts known also as the Upanishads. The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns." It is also speculated that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas."

Some say that by the 8th century CE, the word also came to be used to describe a group of philosophical traditions concerned with the self-realisation by which one understands the ultimate nature of reality (Brahman). Vedanta can also be used as a noun to describe one who has mastered all four of the original Vedas. Vedānta is also called Uttarā Mīmāṃsā, or the 'latter enquiry' or 'higher enquiry', and is often paired with Purva Mīmāṃsā, the 'former enquiry'. Pūrva Mimamsa, usually simply called Mimamsa, deals with explanations of the fire-sacrifices of the Vedic mantras (in the Samhita portion of the Vedas) and Brahmanas, while Vedanta explicates the esoteric teachings of the Āraṇyakas (the "forest scriptures"), and the Upanishads, composed from ca. the 9th century BCE, until modern times.

Philosophically, Vedānta encapsulates Eastern thought and the ideal that 'the only constant is change', whereas in Western philosophy, the belief that 'there is constancy and that change can be controlled from a fixed point' which seems so obviously incorrect.

Vedanta may have given rise to Ayurveda, the popular and effective system of healing used by over a billion people today. Some say Vedanta also gave rise to yoga while others say yoga gave rise to Vedanta, no one knows and as this philosophy came from an oral tradition before writing was invented, we will unlikely ever know this answer. What we do know is that while Vedanta contains a history and an ending, the importance is to achieve self realisation or enlightenment.

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