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Frequently employed in the sense of gnosis or ‘realization’ (i.e. of ultimate reality, or one's true nature), as opposed to conventional or discursive knowledge. Such ‘knowledge’ is considered free of the karmic consequences of action (karma); it is therefore thought to be concomitant with the renunciation of instrumental and passion-induced activity in general, regardless of whether it has been undertaken for ritual or worldly purposes. It is the quest for this liberating knowledge, identified as realization of the relationship between brahman (neut.) and ātman, which informs much of the teaching of the Upaniṣads, and which subsequently becomes the characteristic means to liberation (mokṣa) advocated by the Vedāntic tradition.

Subjects: Religion.

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