III. Epoch of Vedanta – 2000 to 3000 years ago – Paths of Yoga: Jnana Yoga, Karma Yoga

Yoga is union with God in the form of a personal experience symbolized in OM
• Vedanta means the culmination or end of the Vedas.
• In Vedic culture connection with God was mainly through priests

• In Vedanta one establishes such an intimate connection with God that one discovers that there is no separation between me and God.

Reflection, meditation, mantra
• This union is encoded in the great paradigm of Vedanta: Atmam equals Brahmam, which means that the individual soul is identical with Brahmam, the soul of all creation OM

The importance of guru and sacred texts / the importance of deep studies

• The teachings of Vedanta are called Upanishads which means to sit close to the Guru who transmits the knowledge of Brahmam, that is, it is to sit as close as possible to your real Self, which is Brahmam.
• The Upanishads are written as dialogues between Guru and disciple, father and son or wife and husband.
• Guru means leader or authority, because his message could be felt directly and powerfully. Guru also means darkness and light, because the Guru is the one who guides from darkness to light.
• Vedanta knowledge is encoded in great sayings called Mahavakyas, which include:
Tat Tvam Asi – You are that; Aham Brahmasmi – I am Brahmam; Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman – all creation is Brahmam.
• This knowledge of the union of the individual soul with all creation with a focus on the study of sacred texts is called Jnana Yoga, the Yoga of knowledge.

The importance of self-study – living fully in the world without attachment and expectation of the result of actions to purify the personality.

• Vedanta culture emphasizes renunciation and departure from the world to live in retreat in the forest with other disciples in an ashram with inspiration and direct communication from a Guru.
• The concept of renunciation becomes the Bhagavad Gita for an understanding that living in the world is necessary to bring out the likes and dislikes that are obstacles to freedom.
• Krishna teaches Arjuna how to live in the world, working to purify the mind, without attachment to fruits or results to finally recognize our real Self.
• Using everyday experiences to purify the personality is called Karma Yoga.

By Joseph LePage