- Bhedabheda is a term used in some Vedantic phi-losophies to describe the relation between the individual self and the divinity. Bheda means “dif-ference,” abheda means “nondifference”; together the term refers to things that are different and not different at the same time. This school views the individual self as nondifferent (abheda) from the divinity, while recognizing that in certain respects the divinity is different from the individual self (for example, regarding its supremacy over the universe).This point of view was expounded by BHASKARA and by the CHAITANYA school, whose approach is referred to as achintya bhedabheda. NIMBARKA’s school refers to itself formally as Dvaitadvaita, “duality and non-duality,” a different expression of the same concept, although it too is sometimes called bhedabheda.Further reading: Madan Mohan Agrawal, Essence of Vaisnavism: Philosophy of Bhedabheda (Delhi: Ajanta, 1992); Dasgupta, Surendranath. A History of Indian Philosophy, 5 vols. (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975); Swami Tapasyananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta (Lives and Philosophies of Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Madhva, Val-labha and Chaitanya.) (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1990).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.