bhedābheda-vāda

(‘the doctrine of difference and non-difference’)

One of the important concepts discussed by the ṣaḍdarśanas or the six sys-tems of Indian Philosophy is that of bheda (difference) and abheda (non-difference). Once a basic doctrine is evolved, it can then be applied to the relationship between the jīva (individual soul) and Paramātman or Brahman (the Supreme Soul).

Some of the schools of Vedānta like those of Bhāskara (A.D. 900) and Nimbārka (12th century A.D.) propounded this doct-rine of bhedābheda (bhedābheda-vāda) between the jīva and Brahman. There is both difference and identity between them, identity as pure consciousness and difference in powers and functions. Such bhedā-bheda is not inconceivable as can be seen in the relationship between guṇa (quality) and guṇin (the substance possessing the quality) or between jāti (a genus or class) and vyakti (an individual belonging to that class).

See also ACINTYA-BHEDĀBHEDA SCHOOL.