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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Bhrama-samskaras, Bhrama-samskAras, Bhrama-samskaaras

Bhrama-samskāras literally means ‘error impressions’.

Vācaspati Miśra (9th century A.D.) of the Bhāmati fame, a prominent teacher of Advaita Vedānta in the post-Śaṅkara period, refers to two kinds of avidyā or nescience :

  1. The first is the psychological avidyā in the form of ‘bhrama-samskāras’ or error impressions
  2. The second is the primal, positive avidyā, which produces the beginning-less series of delusions and samskāras or impressions.

The latter, he calls ‘mulāvidyā’ or the ‘kāraṇāvidyā’ (primal nescience), which produces the former which is ‘tulāvidyā’ or ‘kāryāvidyā’ (derivative nescience). Bhramasarnskāras can be removed by the cognition of the true or real objects whereas the mulāvidyā can be destroyed only by the realization of Brahman.


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