Advaita Vedanta (; Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त, IAST: Advaita Vedānta, originally known as Puruṣavāda and as Māyāvāda) is a Hindu sādhanā, a path of textual exegesis and spiritual discipline and experience

The tradition uses concepts such as Brahman, Ātman, Māyā, Avidyā, meditation and others that are found in major Indian religious traditions, but interprets them in its own way for its theories of moksha (liberation from suffering and rebirth)

In Advaita (literally “non-secondness”, usually rendered as “nondualism”, and often equated with monism) moksha is attained through disidentification from the body-mind complex and the notion of ‘doership’, and acquiring vidyā (knowledge) of one’s true identity as Atman-Brahman, self-luminous (svayam prakāśa) awareness or Witness-consciousness

Upanishadic statements such as tat tvam asi, “that you are,” destroy the ignorance (avidyā) regarding one’s true identity by revealing that (jiv)Ātman is non-different from immortal Brahman, the nature of which is sat (true Reality), cit (pure Awareness or Consciousness), and ananda (bliss)

In this view, jivatman or individual self is a mere reflection or limitation of singular Ātman in a multitude of apparent individual bodies

Shankara emphasizes that, since Brahman is ever-present, Brahman-knowledge is immediate and requires no ‘action’, that is, striving and effort; yet, the Advaita tradition also prescribes elaborate preparatory practice, including yogic samadhi and contemplation on the mahavakyas, posing a paradox which is also recognized in other spiritual disciplines and traditions

Advaita Vedānta is the oldest extant tradition of Vedānta, a tradition of interpretation of the Prasthanatrayi, that is, the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gitā, and one of the six orthodox (āstika) schools of Hindu philosophy (darśanam)

Advaita Vedānta influenced, and was influenced, by various traditions and texts of Indian philosophy, and also adopted philosophical concepts from Buddhism

While Shankara did not embrace Yoga, his contemporaries may have been influenced by it, and the Advaita Vedānta tradition in medieval times explicitly incorporated elements from the yogic tradition and texts like the Yoga Vasistha and the Bhagavata Purana, culminating in Swami Vivekananda’s full embrace and propagation of Yogic samadhi as an Advaita means of knowledge and liberation

The most prominent exponent of the Advaita Vedānta is the 8th century Vedic scholar and teacher (acharya) Adi Shankara, though this prominence of Shankara started to take shape only centuries later in the 14th century, when Sringeri matha started to receive patronage from the kings of the Vijayanagara Empire, competing with Srivaisnava Visistadvaita groups for royal patronage and converts

The works of the influential Advaitin Vidyaranya (Madhava, 14th cent

), jagadguru of Sringeri matha from ca

1374–1380 to 1386, presented Advaita teachings as the summit of the Indian darśanam, while the subsequent Shankara Digvijayam genre deified him as a ruler-renunciate who conquered the four quarters

It was further established in the 19th and 20th century, gaining worldwide fame, in a “confluence of interests” of Western Christian missionaries, the British Raj, and Indian nationalists

Due to the influence of Vidyaranya’s Sarvadarśanasaṅgraha, the importance of Advaita Vedānta was “enormously exaggerated” by Western scholarship, and Advaita Vedānta came to be regarded as the paradigmatic example of Hindu spirituality, despite the numerical dominance of theistic Bhakti-oriented religiosity

In response, critical scholarship has identified a number of key concepts in which contemporary Advaita Vedānta deviates from Shankara, revealing a discrepancy between the nominal adherence to Shankara and the actual faithfullness to his views

In modern times, Advaita views appear in various Neo-Vedānta movements