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Viśiṣṭādvaita-vedānta. The teaching and school, in Hinduism, of qualified non-duality, in contrast to Advaita. The name is derived from viśiṣṭa (‘distinct’, ‘particular to’) and advaita (‘not-dual’). Although introduced by the Vaiṣṇava writer, Yamunācārya, the school is usually associated with Rāmānuja. The world, selves, and God are all real, but the world and self depend on God, since God creates the cosmos out of his subtle body by transforming it into a gross one—though he does not prevent faults or blemishes occurring. Selves depend in such a way that they are sustained in continuing, independent existence, even after liberation (mokṣa). But they remain part of the whole body of Brahman as attributes, Brahman being ‘all that is’. Since the highest mode of being is personal (i.e. higher than inanimate, or non-relational being), Brahman is personal, i.e. containing the relational within his being ‘all that is’.

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