Second, and at least as fundamental, there is a key metaphysical problem that returns again and again in both Western and Indian philosophy: the problem of the One and the Many. The early Greek philosopher Parmenides attempted to demonstrate how truth is ultimately one thing, and most of the Greeks after him accepted his argument. But then they faced the problem: what is the relationship between the ultimate One (whether thought of as truth, being, or goodness) and the clearly manifold reality that surrounds us? Wilber notes that much of Western philosophy has been a reaction to this problem, and identifies ascent as a movement toward the One and descent as a movement toward the Many. The problem has clearly been at the heart of Vedānta philosophy in India as well, although curiously Wilber identifies the problem only with the West. (I suspect this is because he believes mystical experience resolves the problem entirely and the Vedāntins derived their philosophy from mystical experiences – but not only do we have little evidence to believe that is the case, such an approach ignores just how much the problem was debated among Vedāntins. It was as much an argument between Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja as it was between Plato and Aristotle, quite possibly more so.

Amod Lele


Similarities between Vedanta and Western philosophical traditions have been discussed by many authorities. Due to the colonisation of Asia by the western world, since the late 18th century an exchange of ideas has been taking place between the western world and Asia, which also influenced western religiosity. In 1785 appeared the first western translation of a Sanskrit-text. It marked the growing interest in the Indian culture and languages. The first translation of Upanishads appeared in in two parts in 1801 and 1802, which influenced Arthur Schopenhauer, who called them “the consolation of my life”. Schopenhauer drew explicit parallels between his philosophy, as set out in ‘The World as Will and Representation’, and that of the Vedanta philosophy ascribed to Vasya in the work of Sir William Jones. Early translations also appeared in other European languages.

In the 20th century comparisons between Advaita and western philosophy and science took a high flight. Brian David Josephson, Welsh physicist, and Nobel Prize laureate says:

The Vedanta and the Sankhya hold the key to the laws of the mind and thought process which are co-related to the Quantum Field, i.e. the operation and distribution of particles at atomic and molecular levels.

Wikipedia | Vedanta


From the viewpoint of the earth, the sun comes and goes, whereas it is, in fact, always present. Likewise, from the viewpoint of the body and mind, our essential nature of pure Awareness comes and goes, but, in its own experience of itself, it is ever-present.

Rupert Spira

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