Advaita Vedānta

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Advaita Vedānta. One of the three major philosophical/theological systems in Hindu Vedānta, whose leading protagonist was Śaṅkara. Brahman is the Absolute and underlying ground of all appearance: for those with (trained) eyes to see, Brahman can be perceived as the real and the unchanging lying within or behind the manifold appearances which the senses encounter. There cannot, therefore, be any truth in the human propensity to differentiate objects, or parts of objects, as though they have the reality of their superficial appearance. There is only Brahman, which is necessarily undifferentiated. It follows that there cannot even be a difference, or duality, between the human subject, or self, and Brahman, for Brahman must be that very self (since Brahman is the reality underlying all appearance). The goal of human life and wisdom must, therefore, be the realization that the self (ātman) is Brahman—hence the famous formula (mahāvākya), tat tvam asi, thou art that. See also AJĀTIVĀDA; ŚRĪ HARṢA.