The only way to overcome the maladies of life is to establish contact with the Ultimate Reality, and the only way to make contact with It is through meditation. Meditation leads to direct perception of the Ultimate.
Vedanta maintains that direct perception of the Ultimate Reality is the soul of spiritual quest. This perception is more than unquestioning faith, intellectual understanding, or emotional thrill.
Unquestioning faith lacks the support of either reason or experience, and so cannot silence doubt.
Intellectual understanding based solely on reason cannot withstand the stresses of unpredictable circumstances.
Emotion supplies the spiritual seeker with feeling or passion but can make him wander into dark alleys or up dead ends.
To protect the seeker from possible self-deception, Vedanta lays down three criteria of Truth:
- Testimony of scripture that serves as a working hypothesis;
- Positive reasoning that seeks to separate the truly essential from the nonessential; and
- Personal experience.
All three must point to the same conclusion in order to establish the validity of the seeker’s realization of Truth.
… to be continued.
SWAMI ADISWARANANDA, in Meditation and Its Practices, Introduction, xi-xv (emphases, if any, are mine. – nytanaya)