Advaita and KevalAdvaita

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 26 15:03:48 CST 1998

Vivek Anand Ganesan wrote:

>   I gathered the following from the posting of Shree Ram Chandran :
>a) Kevaladvaita is another name for the philosophy of advaita as
>expounded by Adi Shankara.
>> The philosophy of kevaladvaita is exclusive monism and the followers
>are called Mayavadis.
>> Mayavadi sannyasis accept that the commentary by Sri Sankacarya
>known as Sarirakabhasya gives the real meaning of Vedanta-sutra.
>  So, if kevalAdvaita is indeed the school of Sri Shankaracharya then,
>what is the exact meaning of the word "Kevaladvaita"?
>b) What I meant by "VishhuddhAdvaita" is in fact Shuddha-Advaita of
>Sri Vallabha.
>>  I haven't come across the term, "VishhuddhAdvaita." It is possible
>> it is misspelled then it is Vishistadvaita.
>  I remember reading "VishhuddhAdvaita" as the school of Sri
>Vallabhacharya in an introductory book of Indian Philosophy.  I
>apologize if I have caused any confusion.
>  The reason I referred to this school is to know if
>Shankara referred to his philosophy as "Kevaladvaita" or is it a
>post-shankaran nomenclature introduced to distinguish shankaran
>philosophy from other kinds of "advaita" vedanta?

  Welcome to the list.

   As far as I know, the word "kevala-advaita" is used by some
 northern schools of vaishnavism to refer to Shankara's advaita
 as distinguished from their own form of advaita, for example,
 Shuddha-advaita, dvaita-advaita, etc. I am not sure if the
 term "kevala-advaita" is taken as a proper way of describing
 Shankara's advaita by his followers. The only correct term for
 Shankara's school is also the most popular one - advaita (without
 any prefix) or advaita vedaanta. Actually, one could argue that
 since only advaita is explained in vedaanta, the terms advaita
 and vedaanta are synonyms. That is why even now the term "vedantin"
 is, by default, taken to mean a follower of Shankara's advaita
 Since most of the vaishnava schools do not agree with Shankara's
 advaita on a number of points, their terming of the latter's system
 as "kevala-advaita" may not be taken as a compliment. That is why I
 think the term advaita is appropriate, not kevala-advaita.

 The terms "maayaavaada", "maayaavaadii" etc, are for sure taken as
 derogatory when applied to Shankara's followers.  Shankara's
 philosophy is concerned with Brahman and should be called
 "brahma-vaada." But in explaining Brahman, an explanation of
 "maayaa" becomes inevitable. The Vaishnava schools have blown this
 out of proportion by saying that advaitins are only concerned with
 maayaa, and have termed them maayaavaadii's and the philosophy


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