Shree Satchdanandendra Saraswati Swamiji claims that Moola Avidya is an add on concept which was later inserted into Advaita by Bhamati and Panchapadika Vivarana school.

He says it is not found in the main Prasthana Traya Bhashya. He and many others don't consider Prakarana Granthas as authentic works of Shree Adi Shankaracharya.

What exactly is Moola Avidya? Is it present or implied in the original works of Shree Adi Shankaracharya?

  • Who is blindly downvoting??
    – user28152
    Commented Aug 5, 2022 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


Mulavidya is cosmic ignorance.

Mulavidya (universal or primeval ignorance or nescience)

Some of the schools of Advaita Vedanta categorise avidya or nescience into two types: mula-avidya (universal or primeval nescience) and tula-avidya (individual nescience).

The former is the material cause of the world.

The latter is the avidya that covers consciousness circumscribed by particular objects, like the body.

Whether mulavidya is located in Brahman or in the Jiva has been a moot point. The Vivarana school of Pancapadika holds the former view whereas the Bhamati school sticks to the latter.

A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism by Swami Harshananda

I suspect the concepts of mulavidya and tulavidya were introduced after Adi Sankaracharya. I don't know if they are implied in Adi Sankaracharya's work.

A question has been asked in the comments: how is it attached to Jiva? By her karma?

Unfortunately the question (in the comment) of how tula-avidya or maya is stuck to the Jiva can't be answered. This is because the instrument for answering the question, the mind, is itself a product of maya and thus can't know the cause of maya or avidya.

From the relative standpoint the true nature of Brahman seems to be obscured by an inscrutable power, which lies within Itself and brings into existence the panorama of the phenomenal universe. Thus is produced the illusion of ego and non-ego and their mutual relationship. The infinite Brahman appears as the individual soul endowed with ego, mind, senses, and a physical body. As the mind itself is a product of maya, one cannot, through reasoning, know the cause of maya.

Introduction to Self-Knowledge (Atmabodha) by Swami Nikhilananda

  • My doubt: how is it attached to Jiva? By her karma?
    – hanugm
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 5:48
  • @hanugm I guess, yes, through one's Karma in Karana Shareera.
    – user28152
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 19:09
  • 2
    @hanugm, your question can't be answered since the human mind is a product of maya. Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 5:34

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