Indian tradition accepts that the Ultimate Reality is one though there are many interpretations of this Reality. The highest goal of human existence is liberation from the cycle of Samsara. This is possible with the realisation of the Eternal Truth in one’s consciousness. The knowledge contained in the Vedas pertains to this noble pursuit, pointed out Velukkudi Sri Krishnan in a lecture. The Vedas adopt a stance that reflects a spirit of tolerance. They take into account individual differences that arise due to various causes resulting in different stages of realisation. “Speak the truth, follow dharma” is a command addressed to each individual directly, making each one accept the responsibility for his thought, word and deed.
Based on the Vedas there are many systems of philosophy that explore the truth they expound. The essence of their findings can be summed up thus: The entire universe belongs to the Supreme Brahman. All beings come from Him and finally migrate towards Him. All achievement belongs to God. All of us are His instruments. This human body is given by Him to help us attain salvation. But when caught in this world, we begin to believe that the body is for enjoyment of worldly objects. The awareness of its specific purpose is lost in the maze of worldly attractions. Sacred literature awakens in us the desire to seek our moorings.
The Smritis, the Itihasas and the Puranas reinforce the Vedic wisdom to reach out to every individual since the Vedic texts are difficult to unravel by a majority of us. The personal relationship of every individual with God is emphasised. Depending on the individual’s spiritual leanings and qualifications, it is shown that God is within reach to those who sincerely seek Him through the paths of karma, jnana and bhakti. These are inter-related though they appear as different in their approach.
The most accessible path is Bhakti especially in Kali Yuga. The Bhagavata Purana stresses this citing the incarnation as Narasimha to exemplify the Bhakti of Prahalada providing the inspiration to seek Him through this path. Bhakti marga assures His readiness to spring to our aid — was He not waiting in each and every atom to pounce on Hiranyakasipu to establish Prahlada’s absolute faith?