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Advaita Vedanta is the oldest extant sub-school of Vedanta – an orthodox school of Hindu philosophy and religious practice. Advaita darśana is one of the classic Indian paths to spiritual realization. It postulates that the true Self – individual soul, Atman , shorn of avidya – is the same as the highest reality, Brahman. The phenomenal world is described as an illusory appearance that is other than the real as well as the unreal . Advaitins, the followers of Advaita darśana, seek Jivanmukti – a liberation, release, or freedom that is achieved in this lifetime – by the realization that Atman and Brahman are identical.

Advaita Vedanta (IAST, Advaita Vedānta; Sanskrit: अद्वैत वेदान्त; literally, not-two) is the oldest extant sub-school of Vedanta – an orthodox (āstika) school of Hindu philosophy and religious practice. Advaita darśana (philosophies, world views, teachings) is one of the classic Indian paths to spiritual realization. It postulates that the true Self – individual soul, Atman (Ātman), shorn of avidya – is the same as the highest reality, Brahman. The phenomenal world is described as an illusory appearance that is other than the real as well as the unreal (sadasadvilakṣaṇa). Advaitins, the followers of Advaita darśana, seek Jivanmukti – a liberation, release, or freedom that is achieved in this lifetime – by the realization (vidyā) that Atman and Brahman are identical.

The principal, though not the first, exponent of the Advaita Vedanta interpretation was Adi Shankara (8th century CE). Shankara systematized and significantly developed the works of preceding philosophers into a cohesive philosophy. Like all schools of Vedanta, Advaita derives its philosophy from a unifying interpretation of the Prasthanatrayi, literally the three sources (the main Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita). In its philosophical formulation, Advaita interprets these texts in a non-dualistic manner for its theories of moksha.

Advaita Vedanta developed in a multi-faceted religious and philosophical landscape, in interaction with the other traditions of India such as Jainism and Buddhism. Advaita influenced and was influenced by various traditions and texts of Hindu philosophies such as Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, the Puranas, the Agamas, other sub-schools of Vedanta, as well as social movements such as the Bhakti movement.

Advaita Vedanta is one of the most studied and most influential schools of classical Indian thought. While many scholars describe it as a form of monism, others describe the Advaita philosophy as non-dualistic. Advaita Vedanta texts espouse a spectrum of views from idealism, including illusionism, to realist or nearly realist positions expressed in the early works of Shankara.

In a process set in motion by Hindu responses to Muslim rule during the medieval period, and further developed and made mainstream by the so-called neo-Vedantins and Hindu nationalists during the colonial period, Advaita Vedanta has in modern times acquired a broad acceptance in Indian culture and beyond as the paradigmatic example of Hindu spirituality.