अविद्या, avidyā

ignorance, a false understanding of the nature of reality

Perception of the non-existent (i.e. material world), and non-perception of the truly existing (i.e. all-embracing Divine consciousness), inability to distinguish between eternal and genuine reality from the temporary and unreal.

In sankhya, avidya (or ajnana — ignorance) appears as the cause of suffering, suppressed by the "differentiating knowledge" (viveka-jnana). In yoga, avidya is one of the five kleshas of consciousness that obstruct from proper concentration and liberation. According to nyaya, avidya (or mithya-jnana — false knowledge) leads to the identification of the Self with the body and mental functions; after its termination, any desires and actions disappear, i.e. the individual withdraws from the power of karma. In the teachings of Buddhism (especially in Sarvastivada), avidya appears as one of the causative "links" (nidana) of the samsara of human existence.