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Upadhi (devanāgarī: उपाधि upādhi) is a Sanskrit word used in Hinduism. It consists of upa and dha. Upa means "in the sense of" an dha means "to place". Hence upādhi means "that which places its own attributes to something that is nearby".[1] Thus the upādhi is a vehicle of expression for a true reality, both limiting and defining its expression. H. P. Blavatsky wrote it as follows:

Upâdhi (Sk.). Basis; the vehicle, carrier or bearer of something less material than itself: as the human body is the upâdhi of its spirit, ether the upâdhi of light, etc., etc.; a mould; a defining or limiting substance.[2]

Further reading


  1. Definitions of Some Vedāntic Terms by Swami Viditatmananda Saraswati.
  2. Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 353.