THE VEDANTA WAY TO PEACE AND HAPPINESS

Swami Adiswarananda, Author, Adiswarananda, Author . SkyLight Paths $29.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59473-034-4

This latest offering by Swami Adiswarananda, the current leader of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center of New York, is a competent but didactic exposition of the Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism as practiced in India and the West. The compendium contains teachings handed down from the popular Raj-era reformer Swami Vivekananda, Sri Ramakrishna's successor, through several generations of leaders. As an introduction to Vedanta, this volume incorporates key precepts and sources, citing scripture (the Vedas, Upanishads and epics) and excerpting commentary from predecessors. This makes for a thorough but unwieldy exposition of already dense themes central to non-dualism: the problems of good and evil, determinism and free will; and concepts such as maya (ignorance and illusion), shruti (testimony of the scriptures) and gunas (modifications of matter). The glossary should help readers follow philosophical and technical terms. Novices may appreciate the book's pragmatic approach in discussing meditation, although some American readers will be put off by the insistence on a traditional guru. Because Vedanta shares much of its basic vocabulary with yoga and Buddhism, this book may appeal to practitioners of those philosophies as well as to Vedantists. Although Adiswarananda has a great deal to say about the nature and relevance of Brahma , the all-pervasive divinity, his turgid prose ensures that this section's appeal will remain confined to aspiring Vedantists. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/14/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
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