From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

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