VEDANTA is a school of philosophy or psy chology founded on scattered texts of the Vedas, and thence termed the Anta' or end or sub stance. The voice of Hindu antiquity ascribes the origin of the Vedantic system to the sage Badarayana, otherwise named Veda-Vyasa. The inanner of his birth is thus described in one of the works attributed to him,— ' Of birth and death, A multiplicity of souls is to be inferred.' The germs of this philosophy, and even its principal doctrines, are, however, contained in the Brahmanas of the Vedas ; then it is seen in a more complete form in the Sutras of Vyasa ; and lastly, this philosophy is recorded in the great commentaries which eminent scholars have written upon the original authorities.
The Vedanta, Sankhya, Vaiseshika, Nyaya, and Yoga philosophers all appeal to the Upanishads in support of their tenets. The philosophy of Vya.sa considers all existing, beings and things to be au evolution of the deity.
Sankaracharya was the most distinguished expounder of Vyasa's theory, which he held with soine modifimtions. As it inculcates the exist,ence of one sole essence, it is often called the Adwaita or non-dual system. Ramanuja was one of its ablest antagonists. It would be difficult to find two sets of opinions more absolutely irreconcilable than Vedic hymns and Vedantic philosophy. The Sutra (aphorisms) or Brahma Sutm, the chief authorities of the pantheistic Vedanta school, though much later than the rest, are still mne monics, as also is the Vaiseshika or Atomic school of Kanada.
The Vedanta system is the second great division of the Mimansa school of Hindu philosophy. It is chiefly engaged in the investigation of Brehm or the supreme spirit, and the relation in which the unive se, aud especially the human soul, stands to it ; and, in contradistinction from the Purva Mimansa or the investigation (Miinalisa) of the former (Fiirva) part of the Vedas, vit. the San hita, and especially the Brahtnanas, which contain the Dharma or religious law, it is called the Uttara-Mimansa, or the investigation of the latter (littera) part of the Vedas, viz. Aranyaka and Upanishad, which treat of (the neuter) Wallin or the supreme spirit (not to be confounded with [the masculine] Brahma or the god of the mytho logical Trimurti). Sometimes the mune given to it is Sarira-ka-Mimansa, or the investigation of the soul. In its method, the Vedanta differs froro the Nyaya by endeavouring to explain the universe BS a sue.cessive development from one ultimate source or principle ; whereas the Nyaya, in both its divisions, treats of the object of human knowledge, of which the universe is comporied, under different topics, unconcerned about tbeir mutual relation of effect and cause ; and from the Sankhya it is dietinct, inasmuch as that system based oil the assumption of a duality of prin ciples, whence tho universe derives ite origin.