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Sanskrit for “discrimination,” from the prefix vi- (which indicates division, distinction, or separation) plus the root vic, (“separate,” “sift,” “discern”). Together they suggest “analytic discernment” or “careful investigation.” The term viveka is usually used for discrimination between the real and the unreal, the true and the false, the important and the unimportant. It is given by Sankara in his Vivekacudamani (Crest Jewel of Discrimination) as the first quality needed by the aspirant in Jñana Yoga, the yoga of knowledge, for release from the cycle of samsara or rebirth.


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