On Advaita Vedanta: The one who transcends death knows the world and the self

Acharya Prashant
6 min readApr 24, 2022

The following excerpt is from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

अन्धं तमः प्रविशन्ति येऽविद्यामुपासते ।
ततो भूय इव ते तमो य उ विद्यायां रताः ॥

andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti ye’vidyāmupāsate
tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ

They enter into a blinding darkness who worship avidyā; into still greater darkness, as it were, do they enter who delight in vidyā.

~ Ishavasya Upanishad, Verse 9

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अन्यदेवाहुर्विद्ययाऽन्यदाहुरविद्यया ।
इति शुश्रुम धीराणां ये नस्तद्विचचक्षिरे ॥

anyadevāhurvidyayā’nyadāhuravidyayā
iti śuśruma dhīrāṇāṁ ye nastadvicacakṣire

Different indeed, they say, is the result attained by vidyā; and different indeed, they say, is the result attained by avidyā. Thus we have heard from the wise who had explained it to us.

~ Ishavasya Upanishad, Verse 10

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विद्याञ्चाविद्याञ्च यस्तद्वेदोभयं सह ।
अविद्यया मृत्युं तीर्त्वा विद्ययाऽमृतमश्नुते ॥

vidyāñcāvidyāñca yastadvedobhayaṁ saha
avidyayā mṛtyuṁ tīrtvā vidyayā’mṛtamaśnute

He who knows vidyā and avidyā together transcends mortality through avidyā and reaches immortality through vidyā.

~ Ishavasya Upanishad, Verse 11

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Questioner (Q): In these verses, sages are saying that one should know both vidyā and avidyā together and that worshiping one without the other will…

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