(Sanskrit: "identity and difference"), an important branch of Vedanta, an orthodox system of Hindu philosophy. Its principal author was Bhaskara, probably a younger contemporary of the great thinker Sankara of the Advaita (Nondualist) school. The mainstay of Bhaskara's philosophy was the conviction that acts and knowledge are not mutually exclusive but, rather, mutually reinforcing. In contrast, Sankara held that ultimately only total resignation and withdrawal from acts are necessary to attain release. Against this view, Bhaskara upheld the doctrine of the "cumulative effect of acts and knowledge" (jnana-karma-samuccaya) and declared that a person should only withdraw after an active life in which he fulfilled his obligations. On the important issue of the relationship between brahma (the absolute) and the world, Bhaskara taught that the two are identical; if, he said, brahma is the substantial cause of the world, then the world itself is real. Difference occurs when certain limiting conditions (upadhis) are imposed on brahma.
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