According to Advaita Vedanta, there are three levels of reality:

  1. Pāramārthika (परमार्थिक)
  2. Vyāvahārika (व्यवहारिक)
  3. Prāthibhāsika (प्रतिभासिक)

The wikipedia article on Advaita Vedanta says that:

Shankara uses sublation as the criterion to postulate an ontological hierarchy of three levels

Also in a recent chat I found that it is told by Adi Shankaracharya. These three levels of reality are very helpful to understand the absolute truth. (Visit this and this).

So, I want to know if it is described by Adi Shankaracharya, and if it's so, in which text.

More accurately, Which scripture are they defined in?

  • 5
    Sankara says there is only one Reality - all else is delusion. Why does everyone keep on referring to the Wikipedia articles on Hinduism that are written for the most part by Western Christian academics?? Simply because it is easy access on the internet? Read your scriptures for yourself!! Find your guru! Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 7:19
  • @SwamiVishwananda I am totally agree with you and very good point "Read your scriptures for yourself". Well, shankaracharya didn't tell three levels right?
    – Pandya
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 9:04
  • @SwamiVishwananda need suggestion
    – Pandya
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 10:02
  • @Pandya See page no. 84 of this book 'Vedanta Paribhasa' ... It is described there... estudantedavedanta.net/…
    – Tezz
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 10:28
  • 2
    quote scripture, don't quote wikipedia. Wikipedia is not a valid referable source for Hindu scripture. If you have a valid reference from Sankara use it. If not, find it and use it as the basis for your question. Brahman is One - homogeneous, unchangeable, infinite, self-existent, and eternal - not homogeneous except for 3 levels, not unchangeable except for 3 levels. One. Commented Jun 11, 2016 at 9:26

1 Answer 1


Parmarthika Sathya is implicitly mentioned in Mandukya Upanishad verse 7:

नान्तःप्रज्ञं न बहिःप्रज्ञं नोभयतःप्रज्ञं न प्रज्ञानघनं न प्रज्ञं नाप्रज्ञम् |

अदृश्यमव्यवहार्यमग्राह्यमलक्षणमचिन्त्यमव्यपदेश्यमेकात्मप्रत्ययसारं प्रपञ्चोपशमं शान्तं शिवमद्वैतं चतुर्थं मन्यन्ते स आत्मा स विज्ञेयः || 7 ||


Turīya is not that which is conscious of the internal (subjective) world, nor that which is conscious of the external (objective) world, nor that which is conscious of both, nor that which is a mass all sentiency, nor that which is simple consciousness, nor that which is insentient. (It is) unseen (by any sense organ), not related to anything, incomprehensible (by the mind), un-infer-able, unthinkable, indescribable, essentially of the nature of Consciousness constituting the Self alone, negation of all phenomena, the Peaceful, all Bliss and the Non-dual. This is what is known as the fourth (Turīya). This is the Ātman and it has to be realized.

The first word which is written in bold letters is Avyavaharyam, which means opposite of Vyavaharika reality, i.e., that which is not conventional reality. This verse is saying Turiya is something which can never come into conventional reality and thus it is Avyavaharika. The second bold word is Advaitam which implies Turiya is Non-dual.

  • Do you mean Avyavharam = Paramarthikam?
    – Pandya
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 15:44
  • @Pandya Yes. That's it. The combination of two words adṛshyam + avyavaharyam = अदृश्यमव्यवहार्यम Commented May 23, 2019 at 15:46
  • 1
    The letter a is prefixed in the beginning of the word in Sanskrit to denote opposite of something. Commented May 23, 2019 at 15:52

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