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Vedanta (devanāgarī: वेदान्त vedānta) is a Sanskrit term originally used in Hindu philosophy as a synonym for the texts known as the Upanishads, found in the last part of the Vedas. The meaning comes from Veda-anta = "Veda-end" meaning "the appendix to the Vedic hymns", although it is also speculated that it means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas".

By the 8th century, the word came to be used to describe a group of philosophical traditions concerned with the realization of the ultimate nature of reality (Brahman). There are several schools of Vedanta (also known as Uttara-Mīmāṃsā), the most popular being the Advaita Vedānta.

Advaita Vedanta

The Sanskrit term advaita literally means not-two. It refers to the idea that the true Self, Atman, is the same as the highest Reality, Brahman. It gives "a unifying interpretation of the whole body of Upanishads", providing scriptural authority for the postulation of the nonduality of Atman and Brahman. Followers seek liberation/release by acquiring vidyā (knowledge) of the identity of Atman and Brahman. It emphasizes Jivanmukta, the idea that moksha (freedom, liberation) is achievable in this life.

See also The Crest-Jewel of Wisdom (book)

Vishishtadvaita Vedanta

Vishishtadvaita (Sanskrit: विशिष्टाद्वैत viśiṣṭādvaita), is a sub-school of the Vedanta (literally "Advaita with uniqueness; qualifications"). First expounded by Sri Sampradaya, with Ramanuja as its most prominent proponent, its philosophy can be described as qualified monism in which Brahman alone exists, but is characterized by multiplicity. This school of Vedanta philosophy believes in all diversity subsuming to an underlying unity.

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