from the Sanskrit words Veda (wisdom) and Anta
(end) and signifies Supreme Wisdom. It is applied to the spiritual
revelations of the great sages of ancient India as recorded
in the final part of the Vedic scriptures known as the Upanishads.
Dealing with the fundamental principles and the practice of
spirituality, rather than with dogmas, rituals, or personalities.
Vedanta is the philosophical basis of most
Indian traditions, regardless of sect or creed. Vedanta strives
to be free from sectarianism and exclusiveness with an infinite
scope for tolerance. Vedanta does not believe in converting
from one form of faith to another, but it seeks to help each
one to follow his or her own religious faith with whole-heartedness.
Modern Vedanta teaches that all religions are paths leading
to the same goal. "By whatsoever path men and women seek
Me, even so do I reach them." Bhagavad Gita.
The comprehensive system of spiritual practice
which it offers is known as Yoga. The term is from the same
Sanskrit root as the English word "yoke" and means
union between the soul and God. Yoga is typically divided
into four main paths to suit the varying temperaments of human
beings. These paths are karma yoga (selfless work), bhakti
yoga (devotion), jnana yoga (philosophic discrimination) and
raja yoga (concentration and meditation). Through them, one
may attain the highest realization.