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Vikshepa In Hindu Philosophy – A Projection


Vikshepa is known as a projection in Hindu philosophy. It refers to that aspect of an illusion where the non-real is superimposed on the real. The Advaitins argue that it is avidya which is responsible for avarana (concealment) of the real, and vikshepa (projection) of what is illusory appearing as real.

Maya in Advaita Vedanta signifies the illusion of the multiplicity of the empirical universe, when the Brahman is the only Reality.

Maya in Rig Veda means supernatural power and in Shvetashvatara Upanishad it signifies cosmic illusion.

Adi Shankaracharya has accepted maya, avidya, adhyasa, and vivarta as synonymous terms and makes a distinction between two aspects of maya – avarana and vikshepa.

The avarana, veil, being negative, conceals the real nature of the Brahman, while vikshepa, being positive, projects the world of multiplicity over the Brahman. It conceals the real and projects the unreal. When the Brahman is perceived through the veil of maya, it appears as God, man and this world (Ishwara, jiva and prapancha).

Avidya considered as individual nescience, is illustrated by the rope-snake analogy and, as cosmic nescience, the Brahman is projected as the empirical world of names and forms. The Brahman appears as the worlds, even as the rope appears as the snake.

Maya is the finalizing process belonging to the Brahman and has the two properties of avarana or hiding the truth and vikshepa or misrepresenting it (Tajjayatve sati, tajjanayajanako vyaparah). We do not perceive the Absolute, but we apprehend something else in its place. So avarana is the earlier stage of vikshepa in terms of a tempral series, though they are inseparably blended in the cosmic force (maya) of the Brahman.

SourceEncyclopedia of Hinduism Volume XI page 352 - IHRF



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