Scriptures contain spiritual wisdom that can remove ignorance. But their import is hidden and needs to be explained and interpreted. It is believed that the Lord Himself incarnated as Vyasa, Dattatreya, and other preceptors to enlighten humanity in different ages. That is why it is said that the path to realisation becomes accessible to those desirous to tread it if they implicitly accept the teachings of their preceptor, pointed out Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a lecture.
The Prasthana Traya comprises three primary source texts — the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras — which form the basis of Vedanta philosophy.
Vedanta’s aim is to make clear the goal of life, which is realising the Supreme Brahman and there are many paths to attain this. For instance, the Advaita, Visishtadvaita and Dvaita systems of philosophy, to name just three important ones, adopt different stances to focus on the truth of the Supreme Brahman.
Again there are the paths of Karma, Jnana and Bhakti that lead to the goal. In reality, these are inter-related. In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord lays great emphasis on Bhakti Yoga and shows how Bhakti can lead to salvation. He explains that when Karma is done in a selfless attitude, its binding effects do not get attached to the individual.
Many think that earning money is the main purpose of life and fail to realise that money is only a means to live and not an end in itself.
The Isavasya Upanishad states that “This entire universe is pervaded by Lord Hari, for the reason that it is dependent upon primordial nature, which in its turn is also pervaded by Him. He alone is thus independent. For this reason, enjoy whatever is given to you by Him, and do not seek wealth from any other source.”
We thus understand that this universe is the possession of the Lord and that all of us have been permitted to live in it for a life-span of say 100 years. During this time it is advised that one should do one’s allotted Karma and such action will not bind the individual. The knowledge of the Lord’s supreme nature and the choice of a simple life with no desire for worldly gains become the first step in the path.