Monism & Sanskrit: How two become one

This is article #6 – part of deep trip series on Sanskrit.

Before you proceed, please read the previous articles in the series.

Click here for Article #1Click here for Article #2 Click here for article #3… Click here for article #4… Click here for article #5…

“We are eagles of ‘one’ nest. The nest is in our soul.” – Led Zeppelin

‘Advaita Vedanta’ meaning ‘Absolute Monism’ or ‘Absolute Non-duality’ to be more precise, rose as a philosophical branch in Sanskrit literature in the 8th century. This school of thought closely relates to ‘Pantheism’. Pantheism is a belief that the Universe in itself is the true divinity.

The concepts of Monism & Dualism primarily aim at resolving the mind-body problem in philosophy. Dualism as a school of thought could be traced back to Plato & ancient Yoga school of Hindu philosophy but was made more popular by Rene Descartes in the 17th century. Dualist theory maintains that the mind & the body are separate whereas monistic theory maintains that there is no ontological difference between the mind & the body. Monism as a school of thought could be traced back to the Greek philosopher Parmenides in the 5th century BC & Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy but was made more popular by Giordano Bruno in the 16th century & more so by Baruch Spinoza in the 17th century.

Monism VS Dualism (1)
Dualism VS Monism (1)

Through this article, we shall explore Monism through the Advaita Vedanta school of thought by exploring Sanskrit literature & digging out words that could be related to promoting ‘oneness’.

Let us explore the doctrine which says “All is One” and all distinctions are ultimately illusory.

abheda-bhakti: When the devotee becomes ‘one’ with the object of devotion

adhyatma-vidhya: Where Science becomes ‘one’ with the soul

advaita: Non-duality, comes close to monism. A school of thought & Vedantist sect found by Shankara. The person following advaita is said to become one with the surrounding.

There is no 'I' (2)
There is no ‘I’ (2)

ananya: When the meditator & the object of meditation becomes ‘one’

Observer and observed become one (3)
Observer and observed become one (3)

bhagavan: He who become ‘one’ with creation & dissolution; appearance & disappearance of beings and wisdom & ignorance (as described in Vishnu Puran)

jñãnam: Knowledge that is ‘one’ and not split into the subject & the object

kaivalya: The final emancipation of absolute ‘oneness’

prana: Life energy that can be directed just by thought and becomes ‘one’ with the atmosphere as it permeates

samadhi: When your consciousness becomes ‘one’ with the cosmic consciousness

tantras: Books dealing with the worship of the female deities and specifying certain practices to attain liberation through sensuality, particularly through the heightened ‘union’ of male and female energies.

vith: The pathway towards the world of non-duality or ‘oneness’

yoga: This is the Sanskrit word meaning ‘union’ and refers to various practices designed to attain a state of perfect ‘union’ between the self and the infinite.

yogi: A person whose self becomes ‘one’ with the infinite

“Pantheists are Monists. They believe that there is only one being, and that all other forms of reality are either modes (or appearances) of it or identical with it.” – H.P.Owen (1971)

“Atman is Brahman & Brahman is Atman” is a core belief of Monism which could be closely translated as “Soul is the Universe & Universe is a soul.”

There is room for confusion & disagreement. However, exploring both schools of thoughts with an open mind just for the purpose of studying the eternal argument on ‘philosophy of mind’ is not going to hurt. Generally, we have a dualistic point of view dominating all around us, for a change let’s delve into the ‘oneness’.

“Silly monkeys… Where there’s one you’re bound to divide it. Right in two.” – Tool


Featured Image Source

Dualism VS Monism: “Dualism-vs-Monism” by Dustin Dewynne – Own work. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons –

About Hardeep Pathak

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