Describe the main characteristics of Vedic philosophy.
Vedic philosophy is one of the most important among all ancient Indian philosophies that derives its teachings from the Vedic literature.
It lays emphasis on the following major philosophies:
(i) Religious notion of Vedic philosophy:
It puts great reverence to natural forces like Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Yama. We find many hymns and ceremonies dedicated to them. They viewed a unitary God as the creator, preserver and destroyer, only called by different names by man. Although, the presence of multi-gods and goddesses are described in the Vedas, who are representations of either natural forces or feelings like Shraddha, Krodha etc. Ritualistic ceremonies like yajna were conducted and idol worship was not practised.
(ii) Atman (Soul):
The Vedic philosophy is deeply rooted in the principle of unity among all men. It indicates that the soul of all-pervasive Brahma in the world and man’s soul are one and the same. This emphasises on the ultimate objective of feeling Sachidananda, or Permanent bliss and happiness due to the realisation of this Ekatma. Vedic philosophy thus encourages the promotion of a message of tolerance, to all of mankind.
(iii) Four Purushathas:
The Vedic Religion mentions following certain basic principles that would lead to ultimate development both spiritually and physically. This was underlined through four distinct Purusharthas.
They are as follows:
a. Dharma: referring to the fulfilment of duties and practising good conduct
b. Artha: referring to money, which brings material wealth in life
c. Kama: referring to physical pleasures
d. Moksha: referring to the practice of liberation, that is seen as the ultimate aim of life
Rebirth of the soul is taken depending upon man’s karma (deeds), which can make his life fulfilled. The concept of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is also illustrated where a man can free himself from the chains of narrowness by considering the whole world as his family.
(v) To spend money wisely:
Upanishads mention that man should not spend lavishly as it hinders him from performing his duties by being a cause of greed and illusion.
These principles thus illustrate how Vedic religion inspires integrity, good conduct and co-operation amongst men.
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