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Bhedābheda Vedānta is a subschool of Vedānta, which teaches that the individual self (jīvātman) is both different and not different from the ultimate reality known as Brahman.
The characteristic position of all the different Bhedābheda Vedānta schools is that the individual self (jīvātman) is both different and not different from the ultimate reality known as Brahman. Bhedābheda reconciles the positions of two other major schools of Vedānta. The Advaita (Non-dual) Vedānta that claims that the individual self is completely identical to Brahman, and the Dvaita (Dualist) Vedānta that teaches complete difference between the individual self and Brahman. Bādarāyaṇa’s Brahma Sūtra (c. 4th century CE) may also have been written from a Bhedābheda Vedāntic viewpoint.
Each thinker within the Bhedābheda Vedānta tradition has their own particular understanding of the precise meanings of the philosophical terms "difference" and "non-difference". Bhedābheda Vedāntic ideas can traced to some of the very oldest Vedāntic texts, including quite possibly Bādarāyaṇa’s Brahma Sūtra (c. 4th century CE).
Bhedābheda ideas had an enormous influence on the devotional (bhakti) schools of India’s medieval period. Among medieval Bhedābheda thinkers are:
- Ramanuja (11th century), who pioneered the Sri Vaishnava school of Vishishtadvaita Vedanta
- Nimbārka (7th century), who founded the Svābhābika Dvaitādvaita school.
- Vallabha (1479-1531), who founded Shuddhadvaita and the Puṣṭimārga devotional sect now centered in Nathdwara, Rajasthan
- Caitanya (1485-1533), the founder of Gaudiya Vaishnavism based in the eastern Indian State of West Bengal , and the theological founder of Achintya Bheda Abhedavedanta
- Sivananda, Swami (1993), All About Hinduism, The Divine Life Society
- Nicholson, Andrew J. (2010), Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History, Columbia University Press
- Complete English Translation of Sri Subodhini jee, published in Collected Works of Sri Vallabhcharya series, Sri Satguru Publications