Advaita and Dvaita
Vedanta has two main schools, giving emphasis to Advaita, or monism, and Dvaita, or difference. As in the case of the six Darshanas, it is important to understand that the purpose of Vedic knowledge is to present different angles and perspectives of Reality so that we become capable of contemplating it from many sides, thereby gaining a sort of “multidimensional vision”.
Thus enlightened by the direct perception of the greater picture, we can understand better each and
every position and perspective offered by each school. If on the other hand, we choose a sectarian approach to the understanding of knowledge, our vision remains limited and incomplete and tied to the material conditionings and duality.
The problem with the mainstream academic presentation, as opposed to the Vedic version, is that the
westernized academic concept is not interested in reconciling the various aspects of Reality into a unified vision and a common platform. In mainstream academics, the branches of knowledge become separated and opposed, as if the purpose of the study was to disprove all reality. Philosophy becomes different and opposed to spirituality, metaphysics becomes different and opposed to physics, and religion becomes different and opposed to science. The human being is torn to pieces. Medicine treats organs separately. The body is treated separately from the mind. Individuals are considered and treated impersonally and separated from their families and communities.
On the other hand, the philosophy of Jagatguru Adi Shankaracharya and Madhavacharya helped the Vedic vision categorizes the fields of knowledge without separating them, as everything and everyone is an integral part of the Supreme Whole, with the purpose of celebrating Reality in all its wonderful aspects. There are practically innumerable branches of the main two schools (Advaita and Dvaita), called Sampradayas, generally categorized as Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta, and Smarta.