Hinduism - What Is Vedanta School Of Hindu Philosophy?


The sixth and most recent of traditional Hindu philosophy's six schools.

Vedanta literally translates to "the end of the Vedas," reflecting their belief that they were unveiling the final meaning of these ancient books.

The Upanishads, which were also the final layer of Vedic books, and therefore their "end" in a different sense, were given special attention by Vedanta proponents.

Several prominent schools with significantly differing philosophical perspectives have used these works as authoritative sources.

The Advaita Vedanta school, founded by the philosopher Shankaracharya and his disciples, is the most well-known and influential of them.

The Advaita school adheres to the philosophical viewpoint of monism, or the belief in a single impersonal Ultimate Reality known as Brahman.

Despite the appearance of distinction and diversity, Advaita proponents believe that reality is "nondual" (advaita), that is, all things are nothing but the formless, unqualified Brahman.

This assumption of variety, according to Advaitins, is a basic misunderstanding of the ultimate essence of things, as well as a sign of avidya.

Although frequently translated as "ignorance," avidya is more accurately defined as a lack of genuine understanding that traps humans in karmic bonds, reincarnation (samsara), and suffering.

Unlike the Advaita school, which views the Ultimate Reality in abstract, impersonal terms, the other Vedanta schools are theistic, in that they regard the Ultimate Reality as a personal God, namely Vishnu.

The two other major schools are the Vishishthadvaita vedanta (“qualified nondualism”) pro pounded by Ramanuja and the Dvaita Vedanta (“dualist”) propounded by Madhva.

The major differences between these two schools stem from assumptions about connections between God, human souls, and the world.

Ramanuja tends to see these in a continuum, with the world and human souls sharing in the divine nature, whereas Madhva stresses the great gulf between God and all other things.

Another minor school is the dvaitadvaita vedanta (“dualism and nondualism”) of Nimbarka, which strives to find some middle ground between Advaita Vedanta’s monism, and Dvaita Vedanta’s dualism.

Nimbarka stressed that the world and souls were dependent on God, in whom they exist, and with whom they had a subtle connection.

Even from their names, it is obvious that there are significant differences between these positions.

~Kiran Atma

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