Vedānta (वेदान्त)

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“The ways and the means for ultimate realization are stated in the Bhagavad-Gītā, and the doors of this knowledge are open for everyone. No one is barred out.”
— Śrīla Prabhupāda

Veda means knowledge and anta means the goal or final destination. The subject of Vedānta is Brahman or spirit. There are two viewpoints on the nature of Brahman — Advaita Vedānta (impersonal realization) and Bhāgavat Vedānta (Godhead as the Supreme Being with transcendental senses).

Similarities
Advaita and Bhāgavat Vedānta agree on the following points:

  • There is no happiness in materialistic life.
  • All yamas and niyamas
  • Non-proprietorship
  • Discipline and moderation, self-control
  • The importance of cultivating the sattva guṇa as the platform of sanity
  • Selfless or non-egotistical service devoid of desire for profit, adoration and distinction
  • Reverence for sacred scriptures, particularly the Vedas

Main Texts
The Bhāgavat Purāṇa, also known as the Srimad-Bhāgavatam, is the postgraduate study after the introductory subjects of the Bhagavad-Gītā.  It is a commentary on the Vedānta-sūtra written by their author, Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsadeva. The subject dwells on the activities and teachings of the various avatārs (appearances within the material world) of Lord Viṣṇu. These narrations awaken philosophical insight and impart realization of the ultimate yogic achievement — the face to face encounter with the Supreme Self, the source of all emanations. 

It is worth noting that Srimad-Bhāgavatam  is intended for all levels of human society and not restricted to initiates or the clergy.

Vedānta-sūtra, like the Yoga-sūtra, are terse aphorisms that are intended to be elaborated by the spiritual master, one with a broad background in Vedānta philosophy and Purāṇic histories. The text is meant for study by celibate renunciates, those considered to be finished with material life and its entanglements.

Other names: Brahma-sūtra, Śārīraka-bhāṣya, Vyāsa-sūtra, Vedānta-darśana, Uttara-mīmāṁsā, Bādarāyaṇa-sūtra.
Commentaries by: Śaṅkara (788-820), Bhāskara, Rāmānuja, Nimbārka, Vallabha, Madhvā, Baladeva. 

This is an excerpt from my book Basic Bhagavad Gita.