A-AS Level (CIE) Hinduism: Specimen Questions with Answers 34 - 34 of 41

Question 34

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What is Vidya & Avidya?

Explanation

  • According to Hinduism, Vidya means right knowledge or higher knowledge and Avidya is ignorance or lower knowledge. Seeker of god is the one who loves Vidya and all other relative knowledge is Avidya. However, normally it recommends that- we all must go beyond these vidya and avidya.

  • As per the Brihadaranyopanishad- “andham tama pravisanti ye vidyam upasate, tato bhuya iva te tama ya u vidyayam rata”. It simply means that- those who worship ignorance in great darkness will take the delight in knowledge.

  • Avidya means Ignorance. It does not mean that ‘lack of knowledge’. It is called Ajnana and Maya. If anyone thinks that this world or worldly pleasures are permanent, that is called Avidya.

  • However, apart from all these, a spiritual aspirant must go beyond both these Vidya and Avidya or knowledge and ignorance. Because, Brahma (supreme soul) is unattached to all these dualities. It remains unaffected as per the changes of everything in this world (samsara). The knowledge on Brahma (supreme soul) is called Brahma vidya. That is why at the end of all chapters (adyayas) of Bhagavat Gita (spiritual conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna) ends with the same verse- “Brahma vidyayam yoga sastre. “

  • Moreover, the Vidya (knowledge) on Atman (soul) is called Atma vidya. So one must try their best to know all about one’s own soul to know about the Brahma. Because, knowingly or knowingly the ultimate goal of all is nothing but the Brahma prapti (attainment of supreme soul).

  • Ishavasyopanishad clearly states that- “vidyam cha avidyam cha yastvadebhyo sa, avidyaya mrityum tirtva amritam amasnute”. It means- he knows both Vidya and Avidya together overcomes death through Avidya and experiences immortality by means of Vidya.

  • As per lord Krishna in Bhagavat gita, soul is eternal that is free from mind (mana), emotion (vikara), buddhi (intelligence) and ego (ahamkara). After one got attached or start to feel the unity with the eternal soul, all these Vidya (knowledge) will be of no use in real manner.

Vidya and Avidya

Vidya and Avidya

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