vedānta वेदान्त

Definition: m. Name of the second and most important part of the mīmāṃsā- or third of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy (called vedānta- either as teaching the ultimate scope of the veda- or simply as explained in the upaniṣad-s which come at the end of the veda-;this system, although belonging to the mīmāṃsā- [q.v.] and sometimes called uttara-mīmāṃsā-,"examination of the later portion or jñāna-kāṇḍa-[q.v.] of the veda-", is really the one sole orthodox exponent of the pantheistic creed of the Hindus of the present day - a creed which underlies all the polytheism and multiform mythology of the people;its chief doctrine [as expounded by śaṃkara-] is that of advaita- id est that nothing really exists but the One Self or Soul of the Universe called brahman- [neut.] or paramātman-, and that the jīvātman- or individual human soul and indeed all the phenomena of nature are really identical with the paramātman-, and that their existence is only the result of ajñāna- [otherwise called avidyā-] or an assumed ignorance on the part of that one universal Soul which is described as both Creator and Creation;Actor and Act;Existence, Knowledge and Joy, and as devoid of the three qualities [see guṇa-];the liberation of the human soul, its deliverance from transmigrations, and re-union with the paramātman-, with which it is really identified, is only to be effected by a removal of that ignorance through a proper understanding of the vedānta-;this system is also called brahma-mīmāṃsā- and śārīrakamīmāṃsā-,"inquiring into Spirit or embodied Spirit";the founder of the school is said to have been vyāsa-, also called bādarāyaṇa-, and its most eminent teacher was śaṃkarācārya-) etc.

Dictionary: Monier-Williams
Literary Sources: Up., MBh.
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