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Bādarāyaṇa

Bādarāyaṇa (‘descendant of Badara’). The ancient Indian sage, living around the 1st cent. BCE (though some suggest much later, e.g. 3rd/4th cent. CE), who propounded the basic teachings of Vedānta which are expressed in the Brahmasūtra and later developed by Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, and their successors. Although Śaṅkara attributed the authorship of the Brahmasūtra to Bādarāyaṇa, others have attributed the work to the legendary compiler of the Mahābhārata epic, Vedavyāsa. It is unlikely that Bādarāyaṇa and Vedavyāsa are two names for the same person, but the later tendency to identify these two may be seen as a way of reconciling divergent views. The teachings, as given in the Brahmasūtra passages mentioning Bādarāyaṇa by name, can be summarized as follows: (i) the aim of human life is liberation (mokṣa); (ii) liberation is effected by the direct knowledge of Brahman; and (iii) direct knowledge of Brahman is independent of, and not subordinate to, ritual acts.

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