Bhedabheda

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Bhedābheda Vedānta is a subschool of Vedānta, which teaches that the individual self (jīvātman) is both different and not different from the ultimate reality known as Brahman.

Contents

Etymology

Bhedābheda (Devanagari: भेदाभेद) is a Sanskrit word meaning "difference and non-difference". [1]

Devanagari Writing script for many Indian and Nepalese languages

Devanagari, also called Nagari, is a left-to-right abugida (alphasyllabary), based on the ancient Brāhmī script, used in the Indian subcontinent. It was developed in ancient India from the 1st to the 4th century CE, and was in regular use by the 7th century CE. The Devanagari script, composed of 47 primary characters including 14 vowels and 33 consonants, is one of the most adopted writing systems in the world, being used for over 120 languages. The ancient Nagari script for Sanskrit had two additional consonantal characters.

Philosophy

The characteristic position of all the different Bhedābheda Vedānta schools is that the individual self (jīvātman) is both different and not different from the ultimate reality known as Brahman. Each thinker within the Bhedābheda Vedānta tradition has their own particular understanding of the precise meanings of the philosophical terms "difference" and "non-difference". Bhedābheda Vedāntic ideas can traced to some of the very oldest Vedāntic texts, including quite possibly Bādarāyaṇa’s Brahma Sūtra (c. 4th century CE). [1]

Bhedābheda predates the positions of two other major schools of Vedānta. The Advaita (Non-dual) Vedānta that claims that the individual self is completely identical to Brahman, and the Dvaita (Dualist) Vedānta (13th century) that teaches complete difference between the individual self and Brahman. [1]

Influence

Bhedābheda ideas had an enormous influence on the devotional (bhakti) schools of India’s medieval period. Among medieval Bhedābheda thinkers are:

Bhakti literally means "attachment, participation, fondness for, homage, faith, love, devotion, worship, purity". In Hinduism, it refers to devotion to, and love for, a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. In ancient texts such as the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, the term simply means participation, devotion and love for any endeavor, while in the Bhagavad Gita, it connotes one of the possible paths of spirituality and towards moksha, as in bhakti marga.

Bhāskara was an Indian philosopher and proponent of the Bhedabheda school of Vedanta philosophy.

Gaudiya Vaishnavism

Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a Vaishnava religious movement inspired by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534) in India. "Gauḍīya" refers to the Gauḍa region with Vaishnavism meaning "the worship of Vishnu or Krishna". Its theological basis is primarily that of the Bhagavad Gītā and Bhāgavata Purāṇa as interpreted by early disciples of Chaitanya such as Sanātana Gosvāmin, Rūpa Gosvāmin, Jīva Gosvāmin, Gopala Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmin, and others.

West Bengal State in Eastern India

West Bengal is an Indian state, located in eastern region of the country on the Bay of Bengal. With over 91 million inhabitants, it is India's fourth-most populous state. It has an area of 88,752 km2 (34,267 sq mi). A part of the ethno-linguistic Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, it borders Bangladesh in the east, and Nepal and Bhutan in the north. It also borders the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Sikkim, and Assam. The state capital is Kolkata (Calcutta), the seventh-largest city in India, and center of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country. As for geography, West Bengal includes the Darjeeling Himalayan hill region, the Ganges delta, the Rarh region, and the coastal Sundarbans. The main ethnic group are the Bengalis, with Bengali Hindus forming the demographic majority.

Other major names are Rāmānuja’s teacher Yādavaprakāśa, [1] and Vijñānabhikṣu (16th century). [1]

Related Research Articles

Vedanta or Uttara Mīmāṃsā is one of the six (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy. Vedanta literally means "end of the Vedas", reflecting ideas that emerged from the speculations and philosophies contained in the Upanishads. It does not stand for one comprehensive or unifying doctrine. Rather it is an umbrella term for many sub-traditions, ranging from dualism to non-dualism, all of which developed on the basis of a common textual connection called the Prasthanatrayi. The Prasthanatrayi is a collective term for the Principal Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

Advaita Vedanta Nondualism, Monism, a school of Vedanta Hindu Philosophy

Advaita Vedanta, originally known as Puruṣavādha, is a school of Hindu philosophy, and believed to be one of the classic paths to spiritual realization as per Hindu tradition. The term Advaita refers to its idea that the true self, Atman, is the same as the highest metaphysical Reality (Brahmam). The followers of this school are known as Advaita Vedantins, or just Advaitins or Mayavaadis, and they seek spiritual liberation through acquiring vidyā, meaning knowledge, of one's true identity as Atman, and the identity of Atman and Brahman.

Hindu philosophy refers to a group of darśanas that emerged in ancient India. These include six systems (ṣaḍdarśana) – Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta. These are also called the Astika (orthodox) philosophical traditions and are those that accept the Vedas as an authoritative, important source of knowledge. Ancient and medieval India was also the source of philosophies that share philosophical concepts but rejected the Vedas, and these have been called nāstika Indian philosophies. Nāstika Indian philosophies include Buddhism, Jainism, Cārvāka, Ājīvika, and others.

Nondualism

In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means "not two" or "one undivided without a second". Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is "transcended", and awareness is described as "centerless" and "without dichotomies". Although this state of consciousness may seem to appear spontaneous, it usually follows prolonged preparation through ascetic or meditative/contemplative practice, which may include ethical injunctions. While the term "nondualism" is derived from Advaita Vedanta, descriptions of nondual consciousness can be found within Hinduism, Buddhism, and western Christian and neo-Platonic traditions.

Dvaita Vedanta Duality, one of many schools of Vedanta

Dvaita Vedanta is a sub-school in the Vedanta tradition of Hindu philosophy. Alternatively known as Bhedavāda, Tattvavāda and Bimbapratibimbavāda, Dvaita Vedanta sub-school was founded by the 13th-century scholar Madhvacharya. The Dvaita Vedanta school believes that God and the individual souls (jīvātman) exist as independent realities, and these are distinct. The Dvaita school contrasts with the other two major sub-schools of Vedanta, the Advaita Vedanta of Adi Shankara which posits nondualism – that ultimate reality (Brahman) and human soul are identical and all reality is interconnected oneness, and Vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja which posits qualified nondualism – that ultimate reality (Brahman) and human soul are different but with the potential to be identical.

Madhvacharya Hindu philosopher who founded Dvaita Vedanta school

Madhvacharya, sometimes anglicised as Madhva Acharya, and also known as Pūrna Prajña and Ānanda Tīrtha, was a Hindu philosopher and the chief proponent of the Dvaita (dualism) school of Vedanta. Madhva called his philosophy Tatvavāda meaning "arguments from a realist viewpoint".

The Brahma sūtras is a Sanskrit text, attributed to Badarayana, estimated to have been completed in its surviving form some time between 450 BCE and 200 CE. The text systematizes and summarizes the philosophical and spiritual ideas in the Upanishads. It is one of the foundational texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy.

Ishvara is a concept in Hinduism, with a wide range of meanings that depend on the era and the school of Hinduism. In ancient texts of Indian philosophy, depending on the context, Ishvara can mean supreme soul, ruler, lord, king, queen or husband. In medieval era Hindu texts, depending on the school of Hinduism, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god, or special Self.

Karma is a concept of Hinduism which explains causality through a system where beneficial effects are derived from past beneficial actions and harmful effects from past harmful actions, creating a system of actions and reactions throughout a soul's (Atman's) reincarnated lives forming a cycle of rebirth. The causality is said to be applicable not only to the material world but also to our thoughts, words, actions and actions that others do under our instructions.

Paramatman or Paramātmā is the Absolute Atman, or supreme Self, in various philosophies such as the Vedanta and Yoga schools in Hindu theology, as well as other Indian religions like Sikhism. The Paramatman is the "Primordial Self" or the "Self Beyond" who is spiritually practically identical with the Absolute, identical with the Brahman. Selflessness is the attribute of Paramatman, where all personality/individuality vanishes.

Tat Tvam Asi

Tat Tvam Asi, a Sanskrit phrase, translated variously as "Thou art that," is one of the Mahāvākyas in Vedantic Sanatana Dharma. It originally occurs in the Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7, in the dialogue between Uddalaka and his son Śvetaketu; it appears at the end of a section, and is repeated at the end of the subsequent sections as a refrain. The meaning of this saying is that the Self - in its original, pure, primordial state - is wholly or partially identifiable or identical with the Ultimate Reality that is the ground and origin of all phenomena.

Satchitananda or Sacchidānanda representing "existence, consciousness, and bliss" or "truth, consciousness, bliss", is an epithet and description for the subjective experience of the ultimate, unchanging reality in Hinduism called Brahman.

A Jivan Mukta or Mukta is someone who, in the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism, has gained and assimilated infinite and divine knowledge and power and gained complete self-knowledge and self-realisation and attained Kaivalya or Moksha, thus is liberated with an inner sense of freedom while living and not yet died. The state is the aim of moksha in Advaita Vedanta, Yoga and other schools of Hinduism, and it is referred to as Jivanmukti.

Brahmavidya (derived from the Sanskrit words brahma and vidyā) is that branch of scriptural knowledge derived primarily through a study of the divine. Brahmvidya is the knowledge and spiritual knowledge of divine faith/God/existence. Put together, it means knowledge of the mantra/absolute. Brahmavidya is considered to be the highest ideal of classical. Brahmvidya does not pertain to hinduism, many other faiths practice and learn brahmvidya through different means, the Sikhs practice and learn brahmvidya through their Guru, the eternal Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Each faith teaches about the divine through different studies, yet the brahmvidya is one and the same - Truth itself.

The concept of God in Hinduism varies in its diverse traditions. Hinduism spans a wide range of beliefs such as henotheism, monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, pandeism, monism, atheism and nontheism.

Nimbarka Sampradaya

The Nimbarka Sampradaya, also known as the Hamsa Sampradāya, Kumāra Sampradāya, Catuḥ Sana Sampradāya and Sanakādi Sampradāya, is one of the four Vaiṣṇava Sampradāyas. It was founded by Nimbarka, and teaches the Vaishnava theology of Dvaitadvaita (dvaita-advaita) or "dualistic non-dualism." Dvaitadvaita states that humans are both different and non-different from Isvara, God or Supreme Being, and is also known as Bhedābheda (bheda-abheda) philosophy.

Neo-Vedanta

Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century. Some scholars argue that these modern interpretations incorporate western ideas into traditional Indian religions, especially Advaita Vedanta, which is asserted as central or fundamental to Hindu culture.

Vivartavada is the Vedantic theory of causation; it is the method of asserting this doctrine.

Cause and effect in Advaita Vedanta

Cause and effect are an important topic in all schools of Vedanta. These concepts are discussed in ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism, and other Indian religions, using synonymous terms. Cause is referred to as kāraṇa (कारण), nidana (निदान), hetu (हेतु) or mulam (मूलम्), while effect is referred to as kārya (कार्य), phala (फल), parinam (परिणाम) or Shungam (शुङ्ग). Vedanta sub-schools have proposed and debated different causality theories.

<i>Sarasvati-rahasya Upanishad</i> A goddess-related Hindu text

The Sarasvati-rahasya Upanishad, meaning “the Secret Knowledge of the Wisdom Goddess”, is a late medieval era Sanskrit text and one of the minor Upanishads of Hinduism. The text is classified as one of the eight Shakta Upanishads and embedded in the Krishna Yajurveda.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Bhedabheda Vedanta". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2015-02-04.
  2. Malkovsky, The Role of Divine Grace in the Soteriology of Śaṃkarācārya, Leiden: Brill, p. 118,
  3. Sivananda 1993, p. 247-253.

Sources

Further reading