According to the Advaita Vedānta philosophy our real nature is the ātman or the Self which is pure consciousness. Our ignorance of our real nature—technically called ‘avidyā’ or ‘ajñāna’—has led to our wrong identification with the body-mind complex resulting in saṁsāra or transmigratory existence. Hence, to attain mokṣa or liberation, we have to get rid of this avidyā or ajñāna through vidyā or jñāna (knowledge).
In this connection, philosophers of the Advaita school have widely discussed the nature of this avidyā or ajñāna and have come to the conclusion that it is ‘bhāvarūpa’ or positive and not ‘abhāva-rūpa’ or negative since it is felt or experienced. For instance, when we say, ‘I do not know anything,’ ‘I am an ignorant person’ we actually feel or experience that ignorance. However, its reality has not been given the status of ‘sat’ (‘that which exists’) since it can be destroyed by knowledge.
See also AJÑĀNA.