You all must have heard of Vedanta. Have you wondered if it is related to the Vedas or how so? Did you know there are different Vedantic schools of thought? Vedanta derives its root from Veda + anta, which means the ‘the end of the Vedas.’ So to speak, as you must have understood, it is the concluding portion of the Vedas. It refers to the end goal of humanity indicated by the Vedas: Brahman.
Scriptures quote ‘Vede siddhyati siddhānta iti vedānta.’ It refers to the philosophical conclusions at, by, and in the Vedas. Are you curious as to what a different Vedanta school of thought includes? Let us enlighten you.
Vedanta School of Thought
Do you know why we have different Vedanta school of thought in Hindu philosophy? The Hindu seers (rishis) weren’t satisfied until they discussed and answered every question. The question should lead to its logical conclusion. And it in turn led to different schools of thought. There are six Vedanta schools of thought that have developed over some time. All claim to be part of Upanishads. They are:-
First Vedanta School of Thought – Advaita of Adi Sankaracharya
The first Vedantic school of thought is Advaita. The Advaita taught by Adi Sankaarcharya is a rigorous and absolute one. According to him, everything that exists is Brahma. He believes Brahman to be homogenous; at the same time, all difference and plurality are illusory. Sankaracharya’s Brahman is impersonal, Nirguna, Nirakara, Nirvisesha, immutable, eternal, and Karta. It is above all needs and desires.
Visistadvaita (Visista-advaita) of Ramanujacharya
The second Vedantic school of thought is Visistadvaita. It is a monistic philosophy that refers to God’s oneness with Visesha or attributes. They believe that God alone exists. And everything else is his manifestation, which is real and permanent, in Brahma’s control.
Third Vedanta School of Thought – Dvaita of Madhvacarya
The next Vedanta school of thought is Dvaita. Madhvacarya believed that Man is the servant of God. The individual does not wish to merge. Nor do they wish to become identical with the Brahma. But wishes to remain a spark. Compared to the first two schools of thought, dvaita is dualistic in nature.
Suddhadvaita (Suddha-Advaita) of Vallabhacarya
The fourth Vedantic school of thought is Suddhadvaita. Vallabhacarya proposed that the Universe has appeared before and Brahman itself constituted an infinite period. They do not deny God as a whole and the individual as the part. But they believe that the individual soul is Brahman with one attribute Ananda.
Dvaitadvaita (Dvaita-Advaita) of Nimbarkacarya
This Vedanta school of thought believes that although Brahman is the Supreme Reality, the world and the Jivas are the only partial manifestation of His power. Nimbarkacarya thought that the soul and the world are different from God as they had other qualities, yet there were also dependent on Him.
Acintyabhedabheda (Acintya-bheda-abheda) of Jiva Gosvamin
This Vedanta school of thought talks about the theory of simultaneous oneness. And the difference between the individual soul and the Supersoul or the Brahma.
All philosophies differ in different ways. And they define the relationship between the world and Brahman. Depending on this definition of a relationship, all philosophies have their own goals and uses. And it is suited for different temperaments.