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Meaning literally the "end" of the Vedas. The term originally applied to the Upanishads, the philosophical commentaries that come at the end of the Vedas, but later extended to include all philosophical systems based on the Vedas. The "triple foundation" of the Vedānta is the Upanishads, the Brahma-sūtras of Bādarāyana, written early in the Christian Era and consisting of short aphorisms summarizing the doctrine of the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gītā. The three principal systems of the Vedānta are the nondualism (advaita) of Śankara (8th century), the qualified nondualism (vishitadvaita ) of Rāmānuja (11th12th century), and the dualism (dvaita ) of Madhva (13th century). Though based on revelation (ruti), they are strictly philosophical in their method and form one of the greatest metaphysical traditions in history.

See Also: indian philosophy; hinduism; and their bibliographies.

[b. griffiths]

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