By Swami Harshananda
Adhyātmavidyā literally means ‘science pertaining to the Self within’.
The sages have always advocated mokṣa (liberation from transmigration) as the parama-puruṣārtha (the highest goal to be achieved by man) and have recommended adhyātmavidyā as the means of achieving it. Adhyātmavidyā is the science that leads one to the realization of the Self within.
It is the knowledge and wisdom taught in the Upaniṣads, the Bhagavadgitā and other works which follow them. A study of these books under enlightened teacher's guidance will lead to a clear understanding of the ātman or the Self. Meditation on this understanding will ultimately lead to realization. Parā-vidyā and brahmavidyā are the other words often used as synonyms for this. It is the highest knowledge and the only one worth seeking in life. Hence in the Bhagavadgitā, Lord Kṛṣṇa goes to the extent of identifying himself with it.
- Bhagavadgitā vide 10.31
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore