Achintya Bheda Abheda

Achintya-Bheda-Abheda ("IAST|acintya bhedābheda" in IAST) is a school of Vedanta representing the philosophy of "inconceivable one-ness and difference", in relation to the power creation and creator, (Krishna), svayam bhagavan.cite book
author = Kaviraja, K.G.
year =
title = Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Bengali text, translation, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
isbn =
[ "Madhya" 20.108-109] "It is the living entity's constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Krishna because he is the marginal energy of Krishna and a manifestation simultaneously one with and different from the Lord, like a molecular particle of sunshine or fire."] [IAST|Kṛṣṇa Upaniṣad 1.25: "IAST| bhinnam. nā bhinnamābhirbhinno na vai vibhuḥ"] and also between God and his energiescite book
author = Prabhupada, A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami
year = 1972
title = Bhagavad-gita as it is
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust Los Angeles, Calif
isbn =
[ 7.8] ] within the Gaudiya Vaishnava religious tradition. In Sanskrit "achintya" means 'inconceivable', "bheda" translates as 'difference', and "abheda" translates as 'one-ness'. It is believed that this philosophy was taught by the movement's theological founder Chaitanya MahaprabhuCite web|url=|title=Additional information|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=April 16||language=English "Lord Chaitanya taught that as spirit souls we are part of God and thus we are one with Him in quality, and yet at the same time we are also different from Him in quantity. This is called acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva, inconceivable, simultaneous oneness and difference."] (1486 - 1534) and differentiates the Gaudiya tradition from the other Vaishnava Sampradayas. It can be best understood as integral monism, as a position between polar opposites of absolute monism of Advaita, and the dualist monism of Dvaita.

Quotation|Caitanya's philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva completed the progression to devotional theism. Rāmānuja had agreed with IAST|Śaṅkara that the Absolute is one only, but he had disagreed by affirming individual variety within that oneness. Madhva had underscored the eternal duality of the Supreme and the Jīva: he had maintained that this duality endures even after liberation. Caitanya, in turn, specified that the Supreme and the jīvas are "inconceivably, simultaneously one and different" (acintya-bheda-abheda). He strongly opposed IAST|Śaṅkara's philosophy for its defiance of Vyāsadeva's siddhānta.|Satsvarupa dasa Goswami|Readings in Vedit Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself| Chapter 5Citation
first = dasa Goswami
last = Satsvarupa
author-link = Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
title =Readings in Vedit Literature: The Tradition Speaks for Itself
publisher = | date = 1976| pages = 240 pages | isbn = 0912776889

Historical perspective

Historically, within Hinduism there are two conflicting philosophies regarding the relationship between living beings (Jiva or Atma) and God (Ishvara, Brahman or Bhagavan). Advaita schools assert the monistic view that "the individual soul and God are one and the same"Cite web|url= |title=Additional information|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=April 16|publisher=Tatfoundation|language=English "This interpretation of the Upanishads, that the individual soul and God are one and the same, is what distinguishes advaita from other forms of Vedanta." ] , whereas Dvaita schools give the dualistic argument that "the individual soul and God are eternally separate"Cite web|url=|title=Additional information|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=April 16||language=English "Dvaita,... asserts that the difference between the individual soul or Jiva, and the Creator, or Ishvara, is eternal and real" ] . The philosophy of Achintya-bheda-abheda includes elements of both viewpoints. The living soul is intrinsically linked with the Supreme Lord, and yet at the same time is not the same as God - the exact nature of this relationship being inconceivable to the human mind.


The theological tenet of "achintya-bheda-abheda tattva" reconciles the mystery that God is simultaneously "one with and different from His creation". In this sense Vaishnava theology is not pantheistic as in no way does it deny the separate existence of God (Vishnu) in His own personal form. However, at the same time, creation (or what is termed in Vaishnava theology as the 'cosmic manifestation') is never separated from God. He always exercises supreme control over his creation. Sometimes directly, but most of the time indirectly through his different potencies or energies (Prakrti).

"One who knows God knows that the impersonal conception and personal conception are simultaneously present in everything and that there is no contradiction. Therefore Lord Caitanya established His sublime doctrine: acintya bheda-and-abheda-tattva -- simultaneous oneness and difference." (A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)The analogy often used as an explanation in this context in the relationship between the Sun and the Sunshine.cite book
author = Prabhupada, A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami
year = 1988
title = Srimad Bhagavatam
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
isbn =
[ Bhag. 4.31.16] "One may be in the sunshine, but he is not on the sun itself."] For example both the sun and sunshine are part of the same reality, but there is a great difference between having a beam of sunshine in your room, and being in close proximity to the sun itself. Qualitatively both, the Sun and the Sunshine are the same, but in terms of quantity they are very different. This analogy is applied to the living beings and God - the Jiva being of a similar quality to the Supreme being, but not sharing the qualities to an infinite extent, as would the Personality of Godhead himselfcite book
author = Kaviraja, K.G.
year =
title = Sri Caitanya-caritamrita. Bengali text, translation, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
publisher = Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
isbn =
[ "Madhya" 6.163] "Qualitatively the living entity and the Supreme Lord are one, but in quantity they are different" ] . Thus there is a difference between the souls and the Supreme Lord.

Difference in concept to Advaita Vedanta

Its is clearly distinguished from the concept of "anivacaniya" (inexpressible) of Advaita Vedanta. There is a clear difference between the two concepts as the two ideas arise for different reasons. Advaita concept is related to the ontological status of the world, where as both Svayam bhagavan and his shaktis (in Lord himself and his powers) are fully real, and they are different from each other, but at the same time they are the same. But that does not negate the reality of both. Mayavadi concept is a direct opposite and a contradicting concept to an early Krishna-theism. cite book
editor = S. Devadas Pillai
title=Indian Sociology Through Ghurye: A Dictionary
publisher=South Asia Books
location=Columbia, Mo


While it applied to relations between Purusha (the Lord) and Prakriti (be it material, marginal, or spiritual powers), in the theology of the concept there are areas of exceptions. Jiva Goswami also accepts that any object and its energy are non-different, such as fire and power of burning. While some maintain that its only a secondary extension of the principle that it is primarily applied to Svayam bhagavan and His energies. It does not, however, apply to differences between Avatars of Svayam bhagavan and Lord Himself, so the difference between Vishnu and His origin, is not covered by the concept of "acintya bhedabheda", i.e. it cannot be applied in cases where different levels of Purusha are compared.cite book
author = Gupta, Ravi M.
coauthors =
year = 2007
title = Caitanya Vaisnava Vedanta of Jiva Gosvami's Catursutri tika
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 0415405483
pp. 47-52 ]


The phrase is used as the chorus line in Kula Shaker's 1998 hit song Tattva. "Achintya-bheda-abheda-tattva".Cite web|url= |title=Tattva lyrics|accessyear=2008|accessmonthday=April 16||author=Kula shaker|work=Song, Album 'k'|language=English "acintya bheda bheda tattva ... like the sun and the shine" ]

ee also

* Shuddhadvaita
* Vishishtadvaita
* Dvaitadvaita
* Hare Krishna
* Svayam Bhagavan
* Paramatma
* Turiya
* International Society for Krishna Consciousness


External links

* [ God Is Both Personal and Impersonal] (
* [ Caitanya Caritamrita M.6.163] (
* [ Hinduism & Vaishnavism] (

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