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(C) 1995 by Richard S. Brown All rights reserved.

You're a Hindu! What Kind:

Advaita-vaad OR Dvaita-vaad


Hinduism is divided, advaitavaad and dvaitavaad (monism OR dualism), and every sadhu follows one or the other, but not both. And many Hindus listen to both kinds of sadhus (monists & dualists), and actually don't know the difference, because they don't really understand either. So here they are:

Advaita Vedanta (Impersonalism or Nastik)

Advaita refers to the identity of the Self (Atman) and the Whole (Brahman). And it is definitely not "monotheism" (theism). Advaita is not about any worship of any kind of deity, not even a singular all-powerful supreme being/Ishwara/God. It is about realizing the self i.e. Atman as the Brahman itself which is apparently manifested eternally and simultaneously into animate or inanimate. This realization is limited and/or inhibited by lack of knowledge and discrimination i.e. Jnana and this verily is the foundation of non-duality (Advaita). It is, by definition, atheistic.

Dvaita Vedanta (Personalism or Astik)

In contrast with advaita (non-dualist), dvaita (dualist) maintains that there is an eternal distinction between the individual self and the absolute. Dvaita espoused a Vaishnava theology that understands Brahman to be endowed with attributes and a personal God, Vishnu. By Brahman, he referred to Vishnu, as per his statement "brahmashabdashcha vishhnaveva" that Brahman can only refer to Vishnu. Vaishnavism states that Vishnu is not just any other deity, but is rather the singular, all-important and supreme one. Vishnu is always the primary object of worship, and all others are regarded as subordinate to Him. It is, by definition, theistic.