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Post Shankara Advaitins And Their Teachings

The basic doctrine of Advaita is that atman or Brahman is the only reality and this is found in the Vedas and also all Hindu scriptures. The teaching of Advaita was popularized by Adi Shankaracharya. There are pre-Shankara advaitins and post-Shankara advaitins. Here is a look at post Shankara advaitins and their important teachings.

The post-Shankara Advaitins can be categorized among the following schools – Vivarana, Abhasa, Bhamati and Ekajivavada.

Padmapada and Prakashatman founded the Vivarana School which favors Pratibimbavada, according to which Brahman itself is the locus as well as the object of avidya.

Abhasavada is another variety of Pratibimbavada founded by Sureshvara. Sureshwara too agrees with Padmapada that Brahman is the locus as well as the object of avidya but the reflection of Brahman in avidya is abhasa (unreal).

The Bhamati School founded by Vacaspati favors Avacchedavada according to which the locus of avidya is jiva but the object of avidya is Brahman. He follows Mandana and maintains that avidya depend on jivas themselves depend on avidya and this cycle is beginning-less like seed and its sprout.

Ekajivavada – This is the fourth model according to which there is only one jiva; other jivas are simply imagined. The greatest advocate of this model is Prakashananda who is supposed to be a radical Advaitin.