What is Practical Philosophy?

Practical Philosophy, here, is the translation of the Sanskrit word “Darshana”.  It is not for mere academic discussion. It is for living. Every moment of our life depends on the kind of model we have about the world and about ourselves. By getting clarity in the model, we can lead a better life.


Every creature seeks happiness. We have a concept that it is objects, people and situations that create happiness and sorrow. If it is true, then the same object, person or situation should give the same amount of happiness to everyone at every time. But this is far from the truth. Moreover, at anytime, if we decide to be happy irrespective of anything, no object, person or situation can make us unhappy. This shows that happiness is an attitude. It is by choice that we are happy or unhappy. No one can remove this freedom from us. We are inherently free emotionally. We just need to break the delusion and habit of depending on objects, people and situations for our happiness and make a resolution to be happy. This delusion can be broken by knowing our true nature. The habit can be broken by living up to this conviction.

Who am I?

When I say ‘I’, I mean the subject. Anything that is objectifiable is not ‘I’. I can objectify everything in the world. I can objectify the body and mind too. That which remains ever the subject is ‘I’.

When the eyes see a flower, the eye is the subject, the flower is the object, form and color of the flower are properties. When the mind ‘sees’ the eye, the mind is the subject, the eye is the object, myopia of the eye, etc are properties. When the intellect ‘sees’ the mind, the intellect is the subject, the mind is the object, understanding and confusion are properties. Properties always belong to the object and never to the subject.

So, ‘I’ have no properties. All change is in properties only. So I am changeless. As I am changeless, I am free from action and results. Changeless implies changeless in time and space. So I am eternal and omnipresent. So I am infinite and sole existence. There is no second entity. So everything that exists is just ‘I’ only.

There is no individuality. There is just one infinite conscious existence, which is ‘I’. It is a delusion to identify with a particular body and mind.


When I identify myself with the body and/or mind, that infinite conscious existence is objectified as God. The goal is to realize my true nature as That.

From the point of view of the finite body and mind, God is seen as the sentient being, to whom belongs the sum total of all physical and mental existence. Everything comes from God, everything exists in God and everything dissolves back into God. There is no existence of anything apart from God.

God is seen as the Law of Causation by which all actions fructify into results in a just manner. God is the essence of all physical, mental and spiritual laws by which everything works.

God is seen as the sentient being, who is the solace for tired minds and the source of inspiration of all virtue. As God is everything, God can be accessed as formless or in any form and by any name. God is the ultimate target of love, knowledge and veneration by every individual.

Thus the concept of God helps me to face ups and downs of life with poise. It also helps me to realize the oneness of all existence. Thus it gives an easy and practical approach to the problems of “Happiness” and “Who am I?” from the point of view of relative individual existence.

Does God exist? God is existence. God alone exists.

Wise Living

With this knowledge of my true nature, I need to stop identifying with the body-mind complex and start identifying myself as the real ‘I’. To enable this, the sensory inputs and thought patterns need to be regulated. The truth needs to be ruminated again and again to be fully convinced about and assimilated fully. Freedom and happiness can be enjoyed “here and now” by living up to this knowledge and conviction.

Practical Philosophy

Applying all these concepts to practical everyday life is the theme of this website. The obstacles to realizing this knowledge and freedom, and the various ways to overcome the obstacles are often discussed.

Welcome !!!

16 Responses to What is Practical Philosophy?

  1. K.Nalla Tambi says:


  2. rohith says:

    Dear Gomuji,

    I have the following question in my mind, does the concept of hell and heaven exist, according to Gita we all rotate through the cycle of birth of death by taking different forms of life. In that case I cannot fit anything like Hell here, then what about YamaDharmaRaja who punishes people for their bad sins etc., is this true.

    Thanks and Regards,

    • gokulmuthu says:

      Dear Rohithji,

      One fundamental thing that you should understand is the concept of “reality”. Science is based on “materialism”, which says that matter (and energy, radiation, etc) is the fundamental entity in the universe. Mind and Consciousness are considered as products of matter.

      We consider Consciousness as the fundamental entity. Mind a product of that. The world is a product of the mind. The world exists in the mind of the isvara, which the minds of all the living beings put together.

      Different types of heaven and hell as mentioned in the Vedas and puranas are different states of mind, just like this world. It is the minds of the living beings that creates the worlds. If a person has a strong desire to enjoy various imagined pleasures in an imagined heaven, he will be subjected to that experience, just like a dream. This world is also like that only. It is only because of our desires to enjoy various things in this world, that we are subjected to this experience. However, whether it is this world or heaven or hell, whichever place, it is temporary and your stay is also temporary. Once the part of your karma that is allotted to that experience is over, you will have to move on. It is just like a dream. It has to come to an end.

      Yama Dharma Raja is just a face given to the law of causation. He enforces the law of karma – appropriate experience for every action. All the deities in Hinduism are concepts, which are given a personality to understand, remember and relate easily by the common man. Concepts will tend to remain at an intellectual level. When they are made into personalities, they will be related to at an emotional level, which actually drives our everyday actions. So it is a more effective psychological technique.

      The only way out of this cycle of pleasure and pain is to realize your true identity as not the body or mind that undergoes all these experiences, but as the pure Consciousness, in which all these experiences occur. That is called moksha. You do not attain anything new. You only get the proper understanding of reality. You realize that you have been always free. You realize that you were never in the world (or heaven or hell or wherever). The world is in you.

      This does not mean that the world, the heavens and hells are unreal or illusions. As long as you are dreaming, the dream is real to you. Similarly, when you consider these from the relative plane, all these have to be considered as real.

      I hope that answers your questions.

      With regards,

  3. R Laird says:

    From looking at the top page this does not look like practical philosophy. My idea of practical does not deal with spirituality or God directly. There is too much variability and room for argument. Besides– what is the practical use? Why not leave that to religion so that they will have something to keep them busy arguing about it? A practical philosophy would, I think, show how to communicate, how to study, how to work better, how to organize, how to keep the body healthy and more useful, how to stay in the analytical band of thought and not go effect of the non-analytical band. Above all, it should show how to get onto and stay with a Commitment to Continuous Improvement– lifetime after lifetime. If such a practical philosophy is carried out, spirituality will improve. The reverse– improving spirituality without improving these practical skills does not seem to work well from what I have seen. In fact, it can be dangerous to the health of a country, or even a civilization.

    • gokulmuthu says:

      Dear Laird,

      The best course of activity for a person depends on his level of development. What you say is right that for most people – all round health and an externally productive life is the best thing to start with. However, that cannot be generalized for everyone.

      If you read the various articles in this website, you can find that religion is the means to absolute happiness inside and absolute morality outside. For example, you can read the article Why religion. It is a gradual process to reach the end. The general topics in this page is typically for a person who is already leading a moral and socially productive life and is looking for something more to go further.

  4. S.S.Ananthakrishnan says:

    It is indeed very refreshing to see the various a rticles in your site here, though I have not yet gone through all of them. I wish you all the best, in your continuing activity in this regard. Thank you!


  5. Rajasekhar says:

    Gomu, nice to reconnect with your thoughts here. My best wishes to you and your volunteers.

  6. Vinay says:

    Dear Gomu,
    I was very glad to come across this website. I liked the intention of sharing practical Vedanta knowledge. I am a very engineer by profession but more inclined towards understanding spirituality in logical way. I was learning about it from a research scholar who gave me this understanding of God as just energy. It appealed to me greatly. I introspected the concept and wrote a blog on that. Thought of sharing it here.
    Please let me know if there is any way to contribute.


  7. santi dash says:

    Religion and Dharma are fundamentally different. It appears that the authors writing about Dharmic knowledge system without mentioning it. I hope that it is due to ignorance. Has the author read the book “Being Different” by Rajiv Malhotra? This book will be a good starting point for the author to understand the dharmic knowledge system.

    • gokulmuthu says:

      Dear Santi-ji,

      We have read and are familiar with Rajiv Malhotra’s excellent work. We were part of the team that arranged Rajivji’s talks in Bangalore. We are starting a study circle to read and discuss Rajivji’s works.

      What you have mentioned is right. Any discussion of Hinduism is about Dharma and not “religion” in the classical narrow meaning of the word. In fact, in this website, what we mean is not even general Dharma. It is “Advaita Vedanta Darshana”.

      We are followers of Advaita Vedanta in the light of Sri Sankara, Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda.

      You are welcome to join us in exploring, developing and disseminating this knowledge.

      With regards,

  8. Aman says:

    Your reply to Rohith’s question

    (I have the following question in my mind, does the concept of hell and heaven exist, according to Gita we all rotate through the cycle of birth of death by taking different forms of life. In that case I cannot fit anything like Hell here, then what about YamaDharmaRaja who punishes people for their bad sins etc., is this true.)

    was exceptionally excellent. I have this dillema, if it can be solved. Is there a “Destiny”? or is there a”Free Will”. Please, if i could be sent an answer for the same i shall be very thankful.

    Thanks and Regards

    • gokulmuthu says:

      Dear Aman,

      The concept of free-will is applicable only when reality of individuality is assumed. So, what we can say is this: As long as a person accepts his own individuality, free-will has to be accepted. When a person realizes that his own individuality is only a notion and is unreal, there will be no concept of free-will.

      What you call destiny is just the fructification of the past action, which was done using free-will. So free-will and destiny have cause and effect relationship.

      With regards,

  9. Leona says:

    Hi Gokulmuthu,
    I have read your book the Tenets of Hinduism, and enjoyed it’s simplicity and how practical it was. I have it as a book electronically and can’t send or have it printed as it is not in a printable setting.
    How can I go about getting a copy that I can have printed as I would love to share it with my family and friends.

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