Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(2,892 words)

From early on, we see an approach to the human condition in ancient India that can be called gnoseological, in the sense that there is a conviction amongst central figures from the Upaniṣads onwards that hitherto unavailable insight has to be sought if we are to develop a proper response to our current life and experience of the world. The Upaniṣads repeatedly show their belief that, ordinarily, people are lacking in the requisite insight, that they are ignorant. This ignorance is not to be removed by ordinary forms of learning. The Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad (4.4.10) acidly remarks th…

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Ram-Prasad, Chakravarthi, “Avidyā”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 21 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2018

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