Sacred Texts  Hinduism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

Brahma Knowledge, by L. D. Barnett, [1911], at

p. 9


The following pages sketch in outline—and therefore inadequately—the most important elements in the series of ideas which, under the general name of Vedānta, have been in one form or another the basis of all Indian thought worthy of the name. No attempt is made here either to justify or to refute them. Their philosophic weakness is obvious; no less patent is the intensity of the longing for an intellectual resting-place, a "Rock of Ages," which has driven millions of the most thoughtful Hindus to drown their soul's disquiet in the utterly blank abstraction of "Brahma."

In the main the Vedānta agrees with the teaching of Parmenides and the early Eleatics of his school, and has many points of contact with Plato's idealism. But whereas the Greek philosophers were only professors, the Vedānta has always had a deep practical significance. Like the early Christian Church, it preached as highest consummation the renunciation of the world and

p. 10

of self, passing in some of its phases into a religious self-surrender fully equal in completeness, if not superior, to that of European monasticism; and even as a purely intellectual force it has had an incalculable influence upon the minds and characters of millions of Hindus in nearly every station of civilised life. To discuss this issue is beyond the province of our book; it must suffice to point to it.

Next: Vedanta, The Vedas' End