Advaita Vedanta

We hope you will contribute to a NASA-wide discussion and debate on the various aspects of our philosophy. In an effort to kick start our dialogue, we have provided a very minimal definition of two key components of the philosophical heritage of Sankethis: Advaita Vedanta and Vedanta itself. If you find that you do not agree with even these minimal definitions, we invite you to provide use the reasons so that we may add it here to the community’s commentary.

Advaita Vedanta

Advaita literally means “not-two” or non-duality.

Advaita is the school of Vedanta according to which there is only one reality – the Brahman – and all multiplicity merely illusion (maya)

Advaita is the name of the oldest living school of Vedanta.

Advaita bases itself upon the Upanishads, the Brahma-Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

Advaita asserts that the real, essential identity of the Jiva (the individual Self) is identical to Brahman itself. This assertion follows from Upanishadic statements (Mahavakyas) such as “tat tvam asi” and “aham brahmasmi”.

The main tenets of Advaita are detailed in commentaries written by Shankaracharya, the famous philosopher who lived in the 7th – 8th centuries A.D.


Vedanta means “end of the Vedas” – a very literal reference to the final scriptures in the Vedic literature – in particular the Upanishads.

Vedanta is one of the six darshanas (i.e. viewpoints) in the Hindu orthodoxy. The other 5 viewpoints include Nyaya (Logic), Vaisheshika (Teaching of Individual Characteristics), Karma Mimansa (the school concerned with the ritual aspect of the Vedas), Sankhya, and the yoga system of Patanjali.

Vedanta is typically identified as Hindu philosophy and contains the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.

There is no ceremony by which one “joins” Vedanta.

Adherents of Vedanta tend to share certain convictions

  • Belief in reincarnation and the Law of Karma
  • Meditation
  • The Atman — the innately divine nature of man
  • Maya


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