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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Upadhi, UpAdhi, Upaadhi

Upādhi literally means ‘limiting adjunct’.

Any adventitious object which apparently influences something else to appear differently from what it really is, is called as ‘upādhi’. For instance, a red flower near a colorless crystal makes it appear as red. The red flower is called an ‘upādhi’ for the crystal. Similarly the body-mind complex is an upādhi for the ātman.[1] It makes it appear as the jīva[2] and the world is an upādhi for Brahman, the Absolute, who has nothing to do with creation.


  1. Ātman means the individual soul.
  2. Jīva means the limited transmigrating self.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore