By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Nirupadhika, NirupAdhika, Nirupaadhika
Nirupādhika literally means ‘without upādhis or limiting adjuncts’.
An Upādhi, normally translated as a ‘limiting adjunct’, is an object that makes another object appear to be different from what it actually is, though neither of them really affects each other. For instance, when a red hibiscus flower is kept near a transparent crystal, this crystal appears red, though in reality, it is not. So, the hibiscus flower is an upādhi for the crystal.
Similarly the ātman inside the body appears to be bound by the limitations or characteristics of the body-mind complex which is its upādhi. Even Brahman appears to be responsible for the creation, sustenance and destruction of this world, though He is not.
In reality, in both these cases, neither the ātman nor Brahman is affected by the upādhis of the body-mind complex or the world appearance. Hence they are called ‘nirupādhika,’ ‘without the upādhis’ or ‘unaffected by the upādhis’.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore