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The Quest for God and the GoodWorld Philosophy as a Living Experience$
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Diana Lobel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153157

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153157.001.0001

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You Are the Absolute

You Are the Absolute

Philosophies of India

(p.87) 5 You Are the Absolute
The Quest for God and the Good

Diana Lobel

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the teachings of the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gītā concerning God and the good. For both the Upanishads and the Gītā, the goal to be pursued in life is liberation from samsāra, the cycle of birth and death. In the early Upanishads, liberation is attained through knowledge of the identity of one's inner self, the ātman, with the cosmic principle, brahman. In the later Upanishads, there develops a devotional theism to a personal God. Liberation is then redefined to mean abiding with the object of our devotion. The Upanishads maintain that the Absolute has qualities not only of being and goodness, but of awareness and joy. On the other hand, the Gītā points out that to discover the Absolute by knowledge alone requires intense concentration. The Good for Hinduism is moksa, freedom or liberation.

Keywords:   good, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gītā, God, samsāra, ātman, brahman, liberation, Absolute, moksa

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