Analogy Examples Of The Hindu Spiritual Teaching

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Advaita Vedanta Analogy
Pointers to truth encapsulate profound teachings in them. The bare truth is sugar coated for easy digestibility, to carry the truth home.

Advaita Vedanta or non duality states that there is a non dual oneness which is the essence of all that is created, animate and inanimate. An interesting fact is that this non dual oneness while forming the essence of the entire creation, is transcendental as well. It is beyond the body, mind complex.

Here are a few analogy examples of the Hindu spiritual teaching of the Advaita Vedanta that can help one grasp this truth easily.

The pot and the space within

The pot acts as the body, an aspect of creation. An empty pot has space within. Even when it is stuffed with things, they are done only in the empty space within. Hence the space exists immaterial of the presence of things or their absence.

Further more the space within the pot is same as the space outside of it. Hence one's essence is same with the essence of the world at large. When one recognises oneself to be the being or the consciousness, the forms do not matter any more as he sees everything as consciousness. There is no more plurality but only oneness.

The water and the wave

This is one of the popular analogy examples that serve to portray the Hindu spiritual teaching. It again points to the truth of oneness beyond multifarious forms. Though there are numerous waves in the ocean, big and small, rough and gentle, they are all made up of the same material which, is water. Further more the waves cannot exist apart from water. So is it with us as well. We cannot exist without the feeling of our being. In deep sleep, which is invariably a blissful state for all, we exist though we are forgetful of our name and form, which is why we wake up and reflect that we had a wonderful sleep. So is it with self consciousness. Once we understand our true nature to be the being, the spirit, we understand ourselves to be an immortal being.

Gold and ornaments

This analogy example again emphasises on the same essence in different forms. While gold is used to make different ornaments as chains, earrings, bangles, rings etc, they are all still gold. Vedanta points out that so is it with humans as well. Though we all don differences in size, shape and colour, we are all made of the same essence the atman or the spirit (the being) without which, we cannot exist. The ornaments do not exist apart from gold.

The snake and the rope

This is one of the most common of the traditional analogy examples of the Hindu spiritual teaching. We mistake a rope for a snake in the darkness and develop fear. Once we realise that the fear is unfounded owing to the mistaken consideration of a rope for a snake, the fear vanishes.

So is it with people. Once the mistaken identity of ourselves to be the body, mind complex is removed, all the worries and cares of the world evaporates. One just basks in the bliss of Self realisation abiding in self consciousness.

Reference : 'Ramana Darshanam' by Sadhu Natanananda

Read more about: advaita, hinduism
Story first published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011, 13:13 [IST]
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