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Bhedābheda is more a tradition than a sub-school of Vedānta, which teaches that the individual self (jīvātman) is both different and not different from the ultimate reality known as Brahman.[1]


Bhedābheda (Devanagari: भेदाभेद) is a Sanskrit word meaning "difference and non-difference".[2]


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 be traced to some of the very oldest Vedāntic texts, including quite possibly Bādarāyaṇa's Brahma Sūtra (c. 4th century CE).[2]

Bhedābheda is distinguished from 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.[2]

There are multiple ways that the difference and non-difference is interpreted in Bhedābheda traditions. Bhaskara and Nimbarka mark two ends the spectrum in this tradition. Bhaskara believes that the non-difference aspect is more real because he believes that Brahman is in its natural state without difference. Nimbarka believes that Brahman's essential nature includes equally real states of difference and non-difference.[3]


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

Other major names are Rāmānuja's teacher Yādavaprakāśa,[2] and Vijñānabhikṣu (16th century).[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bhedabheda Vedanta | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Bhedabheda Vedanta". Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Archived from the original on 18 February 2015. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Bhedabheda Vedanta | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy". Retrieved 27 August 2023.
  4. ^ Malkovsky, The Role of Divine Grace in the Soteriology of Śaṃkarācārya, Leiden: Brill, p. 118,
  5. ^ Sivananda 1993, p. 247-253.


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