Vishishtadvaita

Definition - What does Vishishtadvaita mean?

Vishishtadvaita is one of the main branches of Vedanta, which itself is one of the six classic schools of Hindu philosophy. It is a Sanskrit term that is commonly translated as “qualified non-dualism” or, more precisely, “non-dualism with differentiation.”

Ramanuja (circa 11th to 12th century) is widely credited with spreading the philosophy of Vishishtadvaita. He believed that knowledge (jnana) and devotion (bhakti) were of equal importance. He also identified a personal God with the Absolute Reality, or Brahman, as mentioned in the Upanishads and the Vedanta Sutras.

Yogapedia explains Vishishtadvaita

According to Vishishtadvaita philosophy, Brahman is eternal, but also includes elements of plurality. The soul, or the Self, and the material world both exist only through Brahman. Unlike some Hindu philosophies, Vishishtadvaita doesn't see the world as simply illusion, which would make it separate from Brahman. The material world is a part of Brahman's nature.

Moksha, or spiritual liberation, is seen as the joy of contemplating Brahman (rather than release from the life-death-rebirth cycle), and that joy is the result of devotion, praise, worship and contemplating the divine perfection.

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