The purpose of this paper is to analyze the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Vivekananda in order to visualize if his vision of a universal spirituality was tenable in his time, and if this idea still has relevance today. Vivekananda’s interpretation of reality and his understanding of maya can, I argue provide insight into the nature of the religious experience, and logically do result in his conclusion of the inherent unity of all religions. Using the notion of maya, and the false dichotomy of the phenomenal world and the real I wish to analyze whether or not a similar model can be used to understand the plurality of religions and spiritual experiences which exist in the world. Specifically with this model in mind, I will look at the use of religious symbols to convey ideas and meanings which have some ability to effectively communicate some sort of spiritual ideas or experiences.
Indian Philosophy, Ciphers, Symbols, Reality, Unity
2019 Special Focus—Universal Religious Symbols: Mutual Influences and Specific Relationships