What Is Vedanta?
Vedanta is a religion that is apparently both foreign and ancient: it took birth in India several thousand years ago. In essence it is neither foreign nor ancient, for its central concern is experiential truth. And essential truths are neither dated nor culturally limited.
The principle of gravity may be discovered in a particular country during a particular age. But that principle remains unlimited by the circumstances of its discovery. (In simpler words, gravitation is not English). The ancient sages of India sought to understand the world in terms of fundamental principles. Their discoveries form the foundation of the Vedanta philosophy, and their seeking spirit continues in this ancient tradition.
Vedanta is the philosophy underlying the vast richness and complexity of Hinduism. And it is Vedanta as a foundational religious philosophy, based on experiential principles, that we emphasize in the Vedanta Societies.
Four main principles are taught in Vedanta:
This universe is a manifestation of an infinite spiritual Reality (God, in theistic systems).
The true nature of every being is divine.
The purpose of human life is to realize this spiritual Reality within and without.
All major religions of the world are valid paths leading to this ultimate Reality.
Being a branch of the Ramakrishna Order, we teach Vedanta as illuminated by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami
–from "Vedanta: A Religion, A Philosophy, A Way of Life," adapted