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world soul,Lat. anima mundi, in philosophy, term denoting a universal spirit or soul that functions as an organizing principle. While many early Greek philosophers saw the world as of one principle, Plato was the first to state that this concept held the same relation to the world as the human soul did to the body. Friedrich Wilhelm Josef von Schelling used the term as a unifying principle, coordinating the organic and the inorganic in life. World soul is prominent in Asian philosophy. Hinduism is a religion whose theoretical basis is a world soul, called Brahman (see UpanishadsUpanishads
, speculative and mystical scriptures of Hinduism, regarded as the wellspring of Hindu religious and speculative thought. The Upanishads, which form the last section of the literature of the Veda, were composed beginning c.900 B.C.
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, one of the six classical systems of Indian philosophy. The term "Vedanta" has the literal meaning "the end of the Veda" and refers both to the teaching of the Upanishads, which constitute the last section of the Veda, and to the knowledge of its ultimate meaning.
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