International Journal of Existential Positive Psychology

The Conceptualization of Meaninglessness in Advaita Vedanta

Kirthana Ganesh, M.Sc.

Department of Psychology, Christ University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Mareena Susan Wesley, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology, Christ University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Abstract

This paper sought to look the existential anxiety of meaninglessness through the lens of different concepts under the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Indian thought, outlined by Sankara. Concepts explored included Brahman, Maya, Karma, etc., and attempts were made to locate the etiology of meaninglessness from these areas. It was suggested that meaninglessness could occur as a consequence of forcing duality onto a being that is essentially non-dual. Further, being pushed into the realm of accepting Maya could also create a sense of meaninglessness, as Creation itself is simply a lila with no ultimate purpose. Karma, as a source of bondage that could induce futility in some because of its misinterpretations, is also addressed. The latter section of the paper evaluated the need for an emphasis for focus on culturally sensitive understanding of existential anxiety and its potential benefits.

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