Thursday, January 20, 2022

four advaita systems essential features

From The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy


by Chandradhar Sharma

We thus find that there are four main systems of advaitavádá in Indian philosophy, namely, the Mádhyamika, Vijñánaváda, Advaita Vedanta and Kashmira Shaivism.

The essential features shared in common by these four advaita systems are:

1. Advaitavada is always spiritual non-dualism or absolutism.

2. The Absolute is at once transcendent to and immanent in the manifested world.

3. As transcendent, the Absolute is indeterminate. It is beyond senses, thought and language. It is pure consciousness and bliss.

4. As immanent, the Absolute is the reality of the manifested world of individual subjects and objects. It is infinite, all-pervasive and all-inclusive.

5. The Absolute cannot be known as an ‘object’ by relational thought. But as the foundation of all empirical knowledge and experience, it shines forth as the eternal non-dual Self, self-proved and self-shining. It can be realised in nonrelational immediate spiritual experience.

6. Absolutism makes a distinction between reality and appearance.

7. The Absolute appears as or projects this world through its own power which is beginningless, transcendental and inseparable from it.

8. Avidya or transcendental Illusion generates the notions of externality, difference, limitation and finitude. It can be removed only by the immediate realisation of the Absolute.

9. The Absolute is not proved by positive arguments. The advaitins negate the illusion of duality and the Absolute shines as the ground-reality.

10. Moksa or Nirvana is absolute freedom which is complete identity with the Absolute. It is the realisation of one’s own true nature through supra-relational knowledge or immediate experience.

11. Intense spiritual discipline is prescribed as a help towards this realisation.

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