In what ways might Vedantic Hinduism’s vision of Brahman and Non-duality help some of the world’s problems today (e.g., crime, conflicts and war, economic issues, environmental problems)?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Vedas are the recorded revelations of the earliest thinkers who were at one in mind and soul with the essence of the cosmos and the essential truths of the cosmos. Their thoughts and teachings on these essential truths were recorded by the sage Vyasa hundreds of years later in book form known now as the four Vedas.

The Brahmana are the exposition sections in each of the four Vedas. Each of the four Vedas is comprised of four parts: hymns (Samhita), prose exposition (Brahmana), appendices, and the concluding theological discussions (Upanishads, or vedanta). The Brahmana are followed by the vedanta, which provide theological discussion of the Vedantic idea of Brahman (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Brahman is the name of the essential cosmological force and origin of the Vedantic truths. This essential origin and truth, this Brahman, is described as "impersonal, transcendent reality. . . the divine ground of being" (Vedanta Society). Brahman is said to have a formless, impersonal existence of purity and perfection as well as a personal existence, taking a human form as and when needed, such as in the persons of Sri Krishna (3220 B.C.) and Jesus.

Vedantic non-dualism asserts an impersonal, formless nature for Brahman. Non-dualism further asserts that the essence of the individual human soul is identical to the essence of Brahman—"The universe of beings and things is merely an appearance of Brahman in time and space. The individual soul and Brahman are absolutely non-different"—and that destructive tendencies ("bondage") stem from human ignorance of this truth while peaceful, harmonious tendencies ("liberation") stem from unfettered communion with Brahman (Johnson and McGee).

An extensive application by humankind of these precepts to today's problems may result in significant changes in action, perception and outcomes since, according to the Vedantic idea of Brahman non-duality, the problems today originate in our ignorance of the true nature of our souls. Brahmanic oneness in humankind may result in some of the following changes:

Economic: greed would be liberated from human actions resulting in the cessation of economic oppression and deprivation; those in want and need would want and need in oppression and deprivation no longer.

Environmental: ecological degradation would cease since the degradation of ecosystems, in forms such as deforestation, ocean pollution, and encroaching carbon footprints, is motivated by greed and ignorance.

War and Crime: peaceful and harmonious feelings would prevail so that impulses toward the building up of relationships and toward implementing solutions of fairness would dominate.