By Swami Harshananda
Ekajivavāda literally means ‘the view that there is only one soul’.
Origin of Advaita Philosophy
Śaṅkara (A. D. 788-820) gave only the main outlines of Advaita philosophy in his writings. But still there were many queries regarding:
- The nature of the jiva
- Nature and locus of avidyā and māyā
- The need to accept a greater degree of reality for the world to facilitate the practice of Vedāntic sādhanās
Later writers dealt with these aspects and developed various schools of Advaita. These schools became famous as ‘Post-Śaṅkara Advaita’.
Origin of Ekajivavāda
One such school is the ‘ekajivavāda’ of Prakāśānanda (A. D. 15th/16th century) which was propounded in his famous work Vedānta siddhānta muktāvalī. As per the theory, there is only one jiva (eka = one) bound by one avidyā (nescience). Hence when his avidyā is destroyed, he is liberated.
There is no other bondage to be liberated. The entire world and all the other jīvas are figments of his imagination brought about by his avidyā. This jīva is sometimes identified with Hiraṇyagarbha, the world soul. This school did not become popular. Only one writer of the later period, Jñānottama Bhaṭṭārka has supported this concept in his Vidyāśrī, a sub-commentary on the Brahmasutras.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore