The Absolute or the Brahman alone is real and the individual self is the Absolute.
Brahman is undifferentiated Pure Consciousness, devoid of parts, attributes, form,
changes or limitations whatsoever. It is self-luminous and all-pervading and one only,
without a second. The Atmam (Self) is ever-free, pure consciousness. The empirical
world is non-real, an appearance born out of Maya (illusion) or avidya (ignorance). The
be-all and end-all of Advaita is the absolute non-difference of Atman and Brahman.
The term ―Vedanta‖ literally means ―end of Vedas‖ (the sacred books of
knowledge of Hinduism). It refers, within Indian philosophical tradition, to the teachings
of the Upanisads, the Brahma-sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita. Advaita Vedanta is the
non-dualistic system of Vedanta expounded primarily by an 8th century Indian
philosopher called Sankara (Deutsch, 1973, p. 3). Advaita means not two, One only
without a second (Ekamevaadvitiyam). The basic truth of Advaita is the Self which is of
the nature of pure consciousness. This truth is self-existent and cannot be denied, for
to deny consciousness is to actually prove its existence! The experiential realization of
this truth is the goal of Advaita.
Advaita Vedanta postulates one single reality, Brahman, as the ultimate truth of
the world. It then equates this reality with the sole reality of our individual self, called
Atman. Advaita says that One alone exists, and the rest is all superimposition on that
One, due to ignorance. Through a systematic inquiry into the nature of our self and the
world around us, Advaita arrives at the position that the self which is of the nature of
pure consciousness is constant and therefore real, while the phenomena constituting
the world is constantly changing and therefore unreal. It finally concludes that, in
essence, our essential nature (and the nature of the universe) is ‗Existence-KnowledgeBliss