By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Bhavarupa, BhAvarupa, Bhaavarupa
Bhāvarupa literally means ‘of the form of existence,’ ‘positive’.
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 is technically called as ‘avidyā’ or ‘ajñāna’. It has led to our wrong identification with the body-mind complex resulting in samsāra 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. They have come to the conclusion that it is ‘bhāvarupa’ i.e. positive and not ‘abhāva- rupa’ 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.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore