As already said, there are two kinds of reality – one, of the phenomenal world and the other, usually said as a higher one of the Atman or Brahman. The former reality in comparison with the latter one is said to be of a lower order in the sense that the worldly attainments are only ephemeral in nature. Therefore to understand both these realities two kinds of knowledge are necessary.

The Mundakopanishad says:
Tasmai sa uvacha ha – dve vidye veditavye eti hasma
yad brahmavido vadanti, para chaivapara cha

“……..there are two kinds of knowledge worthy to be known, namely, the higher (para) and the lower (apara).”

The lines which follow the above quotation explains that the lower knowledge consists of the Vedas, phonetics, grammar, astronomy etc. and the higher knowledge is that by which the Imperishable is known.

The Sanskrit words Vidya is a shortened forms of Para Vidya. The root vid means to know. Para Vidya is knowledge of the Absolute or spiritual knowledge.