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Sanskrit for “knowledge” or “wisdom,” from the root vid, “know,” “understand,” “have a correct notion of.” Since it is cognate with the German word “wissen” from which the English word “wisdom” is derived, that would seem the more appropriate translation. A related word is veda, which is sometimes translated “science,” but implies sacred science, not science in the Western sense of physics, chemistry, biology, etc. Attaining this more profound knowledge or wisdom is the prerequisite in most Indian philosophical systems for attaining release (moksa) from the cycle of rebirth. Since only one’s own personal knowledge can accomplish this, the idea of vicarious atonement for salvation is absent from Indian philosophy. Teachers are important, but they cannot do our work for us — a basic principle of theosophy as well.



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