Four Basic Principles of Advaita Vedanta

  • By Swami Bhajanananda
  • September 2017

Advaita Vedanta is the dominant and most well-known school of Indian philosophy. In Indian culture darśana is the word which corresponds to the Western idea of ‘philosophy’. Darśana literally means vision or insight. There are six darśanas, each of which provides a particular view of, or insight into, Reality. From the standpoint of the principle of harmony taught by Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, the six darśanas may be regarded as forming a six-tiered pyramid, the tiers providing higher and higher views of Reality, with Vedanta as the topmost tier. Vedanta itself consists of several schools. These schools of Vedanta may also be visualized as forming a pyramid with Advaita occupying its pinnacle. 

Vedanta, however, is not a mere view of Reality; it is also a way of life—not ordinary life, but spiritual life. Its aim is to enable human beings to solve the existential problems of life, transcend human limitations, go beyond suffering, and attain supreme fulfilment and peace. Although there are six darśanas, Vedanta alone has remained the philosophy of the Hindu religious tradition from very ancient times to the present day. Of the different schools of Vedanta, Advaita has for its domain the mainsteam Hinduism, whereas the others

schools of Vedanta are associated with the different sects of Hinduism.


This article was first published in the August 2017 issue of the Prabuddha Bharata, monthly journal of The Ramakrishna Order started by Swami Vivekananda in 1896. This article is courtesy and copyright Prabuddha Bharata I have been reading the Prabuddha Bharata for years and found it enlightening. Cost is Rs 180/ for one year, Rs 475/ for three years, Rs 2100/ for twenty years. To subscribe online


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About Author:  The author is Assistant Secretary, Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission.


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1. Shad Darshana – Six systems of Hindu philosophy 

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