From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Mulavidya, MulAvidya, Mulaavidya

Mulāvidya literally means ‘universal or primeval ignorance or nescience’.

Some of the schools of Advaita Vedānta categorize avidyā or nescience into two types:

  1. Mula-avidyā - universal or primeval nescience. It is the material cause of the world.
  2. Tula-avidyā - individual nescience. It is the avidyā that covers consciousness circumscribed by particular objects, like the body.

Whether mulāvidyā is located in Brahman or in the jīva has been a moot point. The Vivaraṇa school of Pañcapādikā holds the former view whereas the Bhāmatī school sticks to the latter.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore