View Full Version : Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta विशिष्टाद्वैत- Series of Study

05 March 2013, 05:34 AM
Acarya Ramanuja himself credits Nathamuni(CE1000) to be the originator of Visihstadvaitha, although none of his works remain extant.

Ramanuja’s main source of inspiration came from the works of Yamunacarya, also known as Alvandar, grandson and disciple of Nathauni.

Works of Yamunacarya

Agama prabandham (Authenticity of scriptures)

Maha-purusha Nirnayam (Deciding the Paramount Person)

Githartha Samgraha (The essentials of Gita)

Siddi Thrayam (Threefold attainments)

Sri-Sthuthi (A hymn on sri, the consort of Vishnu)

Vishnu Sthuthi (A hymn on Vishnu)

Works of Acarya Ramanuja

The sri-Bhashaya is Acarya’s famous commentary on the Brahma- sutras.

Bhagavad Gita commentary

Vedartha Sangraha : Instead of writing a commentary on the Upanishads, Acarya collated their essentials into his Vedartha Sangraha(essence of scriptural teachings) as a presentation supporting the Vishishtadva Philosophy.

Vedanta Sara (essence of vedanta)

Vedanta Deepam (The lamp of Vedanta)

Nitya-Grantham (The eternal Treatise)

Great Seers in the lineage

Sudarsana Suri, one of Ramanuja’s prominent disciples, wrote explanatory comments for the Sri- Bhashya and the Vedartha Sangraha of his Guru.

VenkattaNatha, popularly known as Vedanta Desika, lived around the middle of the 14th century was the most outstanding exponents of Vishishtadvaitha after the successful tenure of Ramanuja. He improved upon and codified the Vishishtadvaitha philosophy to the dismay of many a critic. This erudite scholar ably refuted the arguments that had been forwarded by the Advaitha Vedanta School and its followers. He then revised and cleansed the Vishishtadvaitha of all superficial additions that had accumulated over the centuries, correcting all its logical inconsistencies.

Works of VenkattaNatha

Tattva Tika Taytparya Chandrika(Moonlight of the essential meaning)

Nyaya siddha Njanam(Unfolding the attainment of reason)

Tattva Mukata Kalpam(Clusture of pearls of Basic Principles)

Sarva Siddhi( Attainment of Entire Values)- Gita Commentary

Shata Dhooshani( One hundred defects) This was written to identify and expose the weak points and inconsistencies of the Advaitha Philosophy

Srinivasa Acaryar
Entire philosophy of Vishishtadvaitha was condensed into a book called Yatindra Matha Deepika by Srinivasacharya. This handy little treatise is helpful for gaining a general understanding of the whole philosophy of Acarya Ramanuja.

Scriptural Base

Vishishtadvaitha in essence is a blend of prehistoric Bhagavatha Cult with the non-dualist phiolosophy of the Upanishads.

This blending bridged the Divya Prabandhas or the divine discourses of the ALVARS, which were of non-vedic origin, with the Vedic wisdom teaching of the Upanishads.

Vishishtadvaitha schools accepts both these set of scriptures to be equally valid in authority.

06 March 2013, 03:42 AM
praNAm Brahman

Thanks for this informative post/thread.
A couple of points about the Alwars and VA:
Scriptural Base
Vishishtadvaitha in essence is a blend of prehistoric Bhagavatha Cult with the non-dualist phiolosophy of the Upanishads.
This blending bridged the Divya Prabandhas or the divine discourses of the ALVARS, which were of non-vedic origin, with the Vedic wisdom teaching of the Upanishads.
Vishishtadvaitha schools accepts both these set of scriptures to be equally valid in authority.
The Alwars were in direct communion with BhagavAn Shri VishNu, NArAyaNa. They did not need siddhanta to write poems. Nor did they need karma-kAnDa of the vedas.
However, their parA bhakti was totally consistent with the purANas - the 5th Veda, and wove paurANic accounts into their poetry.
It had to be, since BhagvAn VishNu Himself was with them, and purAN are knowledge about BhagvAn VishNu and provide accounts of His glories thru' various kalpa.

It was live bhakti - the bhAv arising from communion in the heart as well as with the Archa vigraha of the Divya Deshams such as RanganAth. We know that RanganAth was Shri RAm's ArAdhya archa vigraha (worshippable Deity form of VishNu).

So, we cannot say that the Alwar's devotion and devotional activities were non-vedic and needed assimilation into Vedanta. They were mahA bhAgvats, who could not afford to waste a single second to write any Bramha Sutra bhasya - but eventually RAmAnuja, Adi Shesha, came along to do the divine work for public acceptance.

Following excerpt from http://www.templenet.com/Tamilnadu/vishnu.htm

Divya Desams: The verses of the Alwars, speak of the glory of Vishnu, of instances from the puranams. of the devotion of the Alwars and of the glory of the temples (and locales) enshrining Vishnu (which they had visited). The entire decad of verses commencing with Amalanaadipiraan praises Ranganathar at Srirangam (http://www.templenet.com/Tamilnadu/df001.html). Some of these verses only refer to (or address) temples in which Vishnu is enshrined ...


Vishishtadvaitha in essence is a blend of prehistoric Bhagavatha Cult with the non-dualist phiolosophy of the Upanishads.

The statement that teachings of the upanishads (vedAnta) are exclusively non-dual is also relative, because that is the keval viewpoint of Adi ShankarAchArya's Advaita philsophy only, which gives a lot more weightage to a few statements of abheda shruti and less weightage to the numerous ones on bheda shruti.

None of the VaishNav AchArya viewed the shruti as exclusively abheda. They see the bheda and abheda shruti in equal light. More important than this, is their aceptance of Brahman's Personhood, eternality and transcendence all at once - rather that the two-fold "Saguna Brahman - Nirguna Brahman" of Adi Shankara.
Hence vishishiTha-avaita, achintya-bheda-abheda, dvaitadvaita, shuddha-advaita
Which are only pointing to the interconnectedness of all jIva and Brahman.
They see this consistent with the upanishads (ref: Shri bhAshya, Govind bhAshya) - look at Isha, Kena, also mAnDukya for that matter.

So, although i was reluctant to interrupt this thread, my point is that the VaishNav philosophies are not the way they are due to blending of the BhAgvat cult with vedanta. Ved-VedAnta-Itihas-PurAN is just the way it is
because BhagavAn is just the way He is :)
(Nothing was invented, lest readers get such a msg - although i know you are not saying that.)

One is the Supreme Person - BhagavAn
The other is His literary incarnation (Ved-VedAnta-ItihAs-PurAN)

The bhakta is the person bhAgvat
The book is the literary bhAgvat
as both serve BhagvAn.


om namo bhagavate vAsudevAya ~

06 March 2013, 05:29 AM
Divya prabandhas are lyrical by nature. Saintly AlvArs uttered them in their higher states of divine ecstasy. The word AlvAr connotes one who is immersed in Supreme.

Yet another group of saints graced then Tamilakam(present day Tamil Nadu-a state in India Republic); they are known as AzhakiyAr (literaly ‘the beautiful'). These latter ones provide a common ground between the ecstatic devotion of the AlvAars and the non-dual vision found in the Upanishads. While the AlvArs would attain final absorption through fervent devotion, AzhakiyAr did so through a blend of intellectual understanding and ardent devotion. In other words, their burning devotion was sustained by a philosophical insight.

NAthamuni’s name is mentioned first among the AzhakiyAr lineage. It was he who rescued the Divya Prabandhas from decaying into dust and total obscurity, who also revised the entire text into a suitable chanting form akin to the Vedic Mantras.

NAthamuni taught these secret teachings to his disciple PundarIkAksha, who in turn taught RAmamishra, and RAmamishra then taught YamunAcArya, the grandson of NAthamuni.

Fervently Devoted Ramanuja

Initially, Ramanuja was a disciple of YAdava PrakAsha, a reputed scholar of Advaitha Vedanta. Ramanuja got married at the age of 16 and left his native village sri-Perumpadur(near Chennai) and settled down in Kanchipuram, were his guru YAdava PrakAsha lived.

Ramanuja’s spirituality wold not allow for anything that degraded God’s supreme glory and divinity. His zeal can be seen in the following important episode of his life.

YAdava PrakAsha, Ramanuja’s own guru, was reading and explaining a passage from the chandogya Upanishad.
It reads: The Purusha seen within the Sun as possessing golden features from head to foot.

It continues as follows: tasya yatha kapyasam pundarIkam evam akshinI(1-6-7)

YAdava PrakAsha explained its meaning, totally in line with that of Sankara School,

“the two eyes of that Person are similar to a lotus flower which is as red as the seat of a monkey”.

So consecrated Ramanuja became restless, worried and even shed tears, as he did have the forbearance to hear the beauty of God almighty being likened to the seat of a monkey.

YAdava PrakAsha understood his protest and asked him to propose an alternative meaning.

Ramanuja presented another etymological meaning to the word Kapi, usually translated as monkey. Ramanuja reconstructed the whole meaning thus.
Kam is water in Sanskrit, and one who drinks kam is kapi(kam pibati iti kapi: ),
Sun always absorbs water. The verbal root ‘as’ means “blossoming like a flower”.

And re-read the Upanishad mantra meaning as “the two eyes of the Person are as beautiful as the lotus that blossoms at the touch of the early morning sun”

YAdava PrakAsha disapproved the interpretation saying the meaning is indirect rather than literal.

Further Conflicts between Guru and Disciple

Yet another incident would mark the culminating point of an impending schism. The climax happened when YAdava PrakAsha was teaching from the Taitteriya Upanishad by explicating the meaning implied in the in the words(ii-1) Satyam Jnanam Anantha Brahma. The teacher, reiterating sankara’s interpretation, explained that, realness-awareness- infiniteness, denoted the content of Brahman and not its specific qualities.

Ramanuja objected to this meaning and contended that the supreme Lord -Bhagavan should be understood to possess realness, awareness, and infiniteness for his divine qualities, and that God was not to be understood as the Reality, the Knowledge and the infinite.

The incident sowed the seed for a spilt between the teacher and student.

Their differences surfaced yet again when discussing the meaning of the dictum ‘sarvam Kalvidam Brahma” (all this is Brahman indeed) 3: 14:1 of the Chandogya Upanishad.

YAdava PrakAsha, an avowed follower of Sankara School, interpreted that the ultimate cause of the creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world is the unqualified and unconditional Brahman- The Absolute, and tha word has no reality apart from that of the reality of Brahman.

Ramanuja disagreed and contended that Brahman or Vishnu is the Supreme God, and that the entire world, including mind(Cit) and matter(Acit), is the body of Vishnu, with which He is qualified...

Ramanuja wrote a full thesis expounding the implications of the above dictum from his own standpoint.

YAdava PrakAsha had no alternative but to discontinue lessons with his Brilliant disciple.

06 March 2013, 07:26 AM
There is another not-so-well-known story about Yadavaprakasa - it is said that the king of that place where Yadavaprakasa lived had a daughter who was 'possessed' of evil spirit(s). No matter how much was tried, she remained incurable. So the king sent for Yadavaprakasa who is said to have gone to the palace with his then disciple Srimad Ramanuja. On seeing Yadavaprakasa, the possessed girl is said to have retorted that "he was just a mere Chameleon in one of Sri Rama's kshetras in his previous life and that by eating the leftover (uchita) of great devotees of Rama, did he earn this present life as a scholar" whereas when the girl saw Srimad Ramanuja next, the Yaksha who possessed her is said to have told the greatness of Srimad Ramanuja and left immediately, leaving the girl unharmed. This is said to be the main reason why Yadavaprakasa is said to have developed utmost jealousy and hatred of Ramanuja.

07 March 2013, 06:26 AM
Initiated into Vaishanvism

During these days of conflict with his Guru, YamnAcArya would visit Kanchipuruam and come to know of Ramanuja. He recognized in this young Ramanuja a promising visionary, saliently shining among the students of YAdava PrakAsha. He also heard of the existing disagreement between both of them. In YamnAcArya there developed a burning desire to groom young Ramanuja into his successor, though Ramanuja himself wholly unaware of this.

Ramanuja would spend his days at the Vishnu temple in HasthasilA by doing service, and engaging in scholarly discussions upon the scriptures. After having learned of YamnAcArya from his uncle MahApUrna, both set out for sriRangam to see him in person. But before arriving, YamnAcArya had breathed his last. Upon their arrival, Ramanuja’s critical eyes noted that three fingers of his corpse pointed unusually straight and he immediately conjectured that they must indicate the three unfulfilled desires of YamnAcArya’s life.

They were:

To propagate the idea of intense devotion and self-surrender (Prapatti) as a legitimate means to attain God, as taught by the AlvArs.

To write a commentary on the Brahmasutras from the standpoint of Vaishnavism.

To write books promoting the Vaishnava Cult.

Ramanuja decides to fulfil these desires of this Great Seer.

Ramanuja then returned to Kanchipuram where he continue to study under KAnchIpUrna, who was a modest man only wished to serve God, belonged to a lower caste, did not desire to fill the role of Guru for Ramnuja. Instead he sent him to SriRangam, to meet Mahapurna, who formally initiated Rmanuja into Vaishnavism.

Guru role Begins

At the age of 32, he went to Varadaraja Temple, sending his wife back to her parents and ordained himself a Samnyasin in the presence of Lord Varadaraja (Maha Vishnu) and Kancipurna, his former teacher.

Kanchipurna spontaneously dubbed him “Yati RAja”-King of ascetics, an epithet he would become well known by.

Soon his former teacher YAdava PrakAsha became his disciple. He also defeated yajnamUrti, a scholar of Advitha Vedanta, on scriptural disputes, converting also into his disciple. Jnana saram and Premaeya Saram are two important books of YajnamUrti in Tamil Language.

It was during this period that famous disciples would congregate around Charismatic Ramanuja. Filling the ranks were such great scholars as Bhakta-Grama-purna, Maruta-Grama-Purna, Anantarya, Varadacarya and Yajnesha.

Gadya- Trayi was his first book. After writing the commentary on the Brhma Sutras, named Sri- Bashya, Ramnuja travelled across Indian sub-continent, visiting holy places and defeated many a debating opponents. During this time he founded various centres for religious studies and temples at different places across the continent. The Sri Ranganatha temple itself came under his complete authority after he converted its chief administrator to Vaishnavism.

By this time Ramanuja had become a leader, a powerful influential personality and moreover a Saint in Sandhana Dharma.

Acarya Ramanuja purportedly lived to age of 120years.

09 March 2013, 05:59 AM
Acarya as a Pioneer Philosopher

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṃ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām |
dharmasaṃsthāpanārthāya saṃbhavāmi yuge yuge || (4.08)

Again and Again in the path of the profound, there appear brilliant souls of deep understanding and infinite mercy who are looked upon by the world, rightly and gratefully, as the saviours of mankind.

Ramanuja was no exception to it, happiness seen to be his essential nature. Filled with immaculate bliss and boundless compassion for humanity’s suffering, Acarya moved from temple premises to the fringes of civilization, preaching a philosophy of religion that reconciles the opposition between religion and philosophy, which could even transcend all abiding conflicts between monism and pluralism.

The populace felt moved to the service of Lord by his words of wisdom and mere presence as nothing had ever moved them hitherto. All who came to associate with him felt a pervasive peace in his presence, and felt themselves freed from tedious hair-splitters and their logic chopping.

Extra-terrestrial stories brought by the invasive alien priests and the prophets had even made the Lord God bored is another chapter which we would not linger long.

09 March 2013, 06:05 AM
Place of Ramanuja in the story of India >>> (http://ia700200.us.archive.org/5/items/MN40086ucmf_5/MN40086ucmf_5.pdf)

By Sundararama Aiyar, K

Note to the Reader.

My main aim in this lecture is not to give an account of Sri Ramanujacharya's religion and philosophy but the very limited one of indicating his place in the story of India. My view is that in the leading crisis and revolutions of Indian history, the Vedic religion and tradition as interpreted by Sri Ramanuja have helped to preserve social unity or to restore it after a period of social unrest or disintegration. This will become clear when the whole of the lecture has been studied. References to Ramanuja are made wherever necessary for elucidating the purpose in view.


12 March 2013, 06:58 AM
Why Philosophy

Realization of Oneness might not require no teaching or learning, which one finds as an experience within; but transmission of this ostensible secret to one of indigent in wisdom, makes it a complete science with a methodology of its own.

What does this life mean?

Who am I?

Whence this world of varieties?

These are questions one interviews oneself with.

Answers to such essential questions get revealed to certain exceptional individuals. Such visions, with greater profundity and undeniable certitude, when systematized, is known as Darsana-Vision.

The problems that well up in the minds of inquisitive seekers may be many. The nature of problems depends mainly on the life-interest of the seeker and the point of view one chooses. When all such possible problems find resolution in the wake of such a transparent vision of Reality, it is considered a comprehensive school of thought or Darsana Sampradaya.

The historical assessment of Visishtaidvaita was made with a teleological goal in mind. Further postings are more cerebral and would involve intelligence rather than mere emotions or instinct. Now we have discourses of certain teachers who have had greater adherence towards the philosophy of Visishtaidvaita and had opportunities to sit at the feet of a dispeller of darkness, the Guru. These expositions are unlike in nature quality and degree in which it is expounded, but it cannot be treated wrong nor it be necessarily valid completely.

To a very great extent, we let every seekers themselves to make a selection from a number of alternatives that follow in the further course.

13 March 2013, 07:27 AM
Metaphysics and Mysticism

Visishtadvaita is both philosophy and religion; and as a philosophy of religion it would serve the purposes of Vedanta as a whole, and would be acceptable to the systems of Vedanta in general. Indeed Vedanta would appear incomplete without Visishtadvaita, for it provides a meeting ground for a variety of approaches. Visishtadvaita took shape, not as a result of any compromise or concession, but in response to a real need for synthesis in the views and perspectives on Vedanta. It may well be described as a harmonization of metaphysical fundamentals, such as the one and the many, the transcendental and the empirical, the Absolute and the relative.

Visishtadvaita is essentially integral in aim and method, and any assessment of its worth must necessarily take into account the measures of its success in integrating principles and concepts, that avowedly owe their origin to the Upanishads, the Brahmasuthra and the BhgavadGita. Visishtadvaidic synthesis springs from a self-authenticating vision and is, therefore, mystical in meaning. It is more than metaphysical synthesis, for it is at its source directly experienced and not merely comprehended and formulated with reason and conviction. The finality of its declaration does not lie with metaphysics but in mystical intuition. Metaphysics prepares the ground for mysticism, and it also provides confirmation through reason for the original deliverances of mysticism. The entire edifice of Vedanta stands on mystical foundations, for Upanishadic utterances are revelations of authentic intuitions of sages and seers. While the core of Vedanta consists of occult intimations of ultimate Reality, its articulate expression is in consequence often elliptical, lacking syntactical completeness and calling for interpretive or commentarial elaborations. It is in the dimension of these commentaries and interpretations that metaphysical controversies, arguments and counter-arguments come into play. Metaphysics cannot be a substitute for direct, mystical experience, though it may be necessary for conveying the intuited truths to other minds with conviction.

In order to fully comprehend and appreciate these complex texts we recommend ‘slow reading’.

13 March 2013, 07:35 AM
Transcending the Sarira-Sariri Duality

THE metaphysics of Visishtadvaita is in a special sense rooted in its mysticism. Atma- jnana, which is the purport of Vedanta in general, acquires a distinctive significance in Visishtadvaita with its emphasis on the Paramatman as the One Self of all souls, that belong to the Supreme in an intimate, irrevocable relation and form part of its Sarira. The Sarira-Sariri relation is unique to Visishtadvaita, and its potentialities for the fulfillment of that superior role of harmonization, which belongs to Visishtadvaita as a feature of its excellence, are almost infinite.

IT is in such a concept that Tattva and Purushartha are blended into a sublime, spiritual fragrance, without relegating Hita to subordinate relevance or elevating it to an exclusive status. The realization that one’s status is essentially that of the sarira, and that every other fellow-being is an equal participant in the privilege of Devine Sarirahood, not only provides a perennial source of inspiration for dedicated action, but secures a depending sense of freedom from all bondage, as one looses oneself and gets absorbed in the delights of dedication and devotion. Life reveals a new meaning to the awakened soul, when awakening is to a profound sense of a divine Sarirahood. In the all-absorbing awareness that, although one is essentially a soul distinct and different from one’s own body constituted by a specific psycho-physical complex, the individual soul is itself a part of the Sarira of the Supreme Over-soul, it experiences a fresh awakening in an inner dimension, where the burden of bearing a body is totally cast off and the bliss of a “divine belonging” is substituted. The Parmatman is the true Self of all souls, to whom belongs all that there is.

THAT the highest Purushartha is attainable only with the full realization that Jivatman-Soul is an inseparable, integral part of the Sariri of the Parmatman, who is the Soul of all souls, is an essential feature of the teachings of the Visishtadvaita. Such a realization signifies an enduring state of Jnana as illumined self-awareness; and in such a state, the awakened soul lives in constant awareness of its status as Sarira or part of the Sarira of the Supreme. That is how the Tattva of Visishtadvaita blends with the Purushartha, and it does not call for the annulment or the denial of the reality of the individual soul or of the field of its empirical functions.

In order to fully comprehend and appreciate these complex texts we recommend ‘slow reading’.

17 March 2013, 08:42 AM
Harmony of Thought

THE mystic vision of the Visishtadvaitin is the vision of the Ultimate and the Supreme as at once revealing in itself the Tattva and the Purushartha. It is also the vision of the Tattva as the “Tattva-Traya” as Cit, Acit and Isvara-“the one only without a second” as substantially “the there-in-one”. This was the revelation vouchsafed to the great Alvars, the God-intoxicated mystic saints of South India, no less than to the illustrious Acaryas-Nathmuni, Yamuna and Ramanuja. What was given to the Alavars in the deepest moment of their inward illumination as the quintessence of Truth came also to the Acaryas in a finished form as patterns of systematic exposition. Hence the Great sage Nathamuni not only collected the hymns of Alvars, the ecstatic outpourings of illumined hearts, and set them to music, giving their intrinsic beauty an appropriate articulate expression, but also applied himself to a systematic study of the inter-relations of logic and mysticism in the specific context of Visishtadvaita. The inspiration that Nathamuni initially provided was in a significant sense transmitted by Yamuna to Ramanuja.

THE true Visishtadvadin ,-wedded to the principle of synthesis, intent on integration and harmonisation, -is a “Ubhaya Vedantin” in an original sense, which symbolised the unity of “the Vedanta of the Heart” and “the Vedanta of the Head.” “The supreme is the Self, the soul of thy soul, to whom all that thou art - body, mind and life –belong as body to the soul. Awaken into the awareness of this wisdom by conscious dedication in complete surrender.” That would in a way sum up the Ubhya Vedanta of Visishtadvaita, as it conveys the essence of the teachings of the Acaryas, while echoing at the same time the substance of its truth as felt and experienced in the unfathomed depth of the heart of the Alvars.

In order to fully comprehend and appreciate these complex texts we recommend ‘slow reading’.

18 March 2013, 02:16 AM
Valid means of Certitude

THE spirit of synthesis and harmonisation, so characteristic of Visishtadvaita, is seen well reflected even in its treatment of the Pramanas. The Pramanas are described as the instruments of knowledge. Visishtadvaita as propounded by sri. Ramanuja, recognises three such Pramanas, viz. Pratyaksha or sense perception, Anumana or inference and Sabda or scriptural testimony. There is a gradation in the order in the fore-going order of the presentation of the Pramanas. We move from the lower to higher and then to the highest, in the order as given. The higher Pramana is more comprehensive than the lower, but neither duplicates the other. The one reinforces and supplements the other. There can be no mutual conflict or contradiction. What cannot be established by Pratyaksha or Anumana has to be authenticated by Sabda. And it would be wrong to take Sabda as ever contradicting Pratyaksha or Anumana. This is the spirit of synthesis, which Visishtadvaita brings to bear on the structure and scheme of the Pramanas. In common with other schools of Vedanta, Visishtadvaita accords a special, superior status to Sabda as Pramana. The recognition of Sabda as Pramana is itself a distinctive feature of Vedantic thought. While other systems of world philosophy - particularly those of the west -may be satisfied with sense-perception and logical reasoning as sufficient sources and instruments of valid knowledge, it is Vedanta that recognizes a third instrument in Scriptural Testimony and regards it as higher than all others.

There are philosophies in the world - both oriental and occidental - that acknowledge the importance of intuition, but Vedanta belongs to the unique distinction of assigning a superior importance to scriptures that embody spiritual intuitions of sages and seers. This is because Vedanta is not mere play of the intellect but contains the quintessence of profoundly consummate spiritual experience, which has not merely a capacity to carry conviction but a power to inspire and transform man at the deepest levels and in subtlest dimensions. Here lies the significance of Vedanta as at once both philosophy and religion.

In order to fully comprehend and appreciate these complex texts we recommend ‘slow reading’.

20 March 2013, 05:07 AM
The Three-fold Testimony

THE “tripod” of scriptural testimony that supports Vedanta is constituted by the Upanishads, Brahma Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita. The Brahma Sutra is a highly condensed presentation of the Upanishadic declarations and the arguments woven around and out of them. The Upanishads are esteemed as Sruti Vakyas par excellence. But on the superficial view, they seem sometimes to be inconsistent with themselves and call for a kind of harmonisation through interpretations and elucidations. The classification of such Vakyas as Bheda Srutis and Abheda Srutis is itself an admission of their mutual incompatibility. Visishtadvaita plays a significant role in reconciling the apparent contradiction between the two sets of Srutis with the aid of a third category named Ghtaka Sruti. The Ghataka Srutis that are invoked for the tasks of reconciliation and harmonisation also fulfil a deeper purpose in that they give a definite and positive lead in the shaping of the fundamental concepts of Visishtadvaita, which holds that both Bheda and Abheda Srutis are equally authentic and the key to their harmonisation lies in profounder synthesis provided by the Ghataka Srutis. It is the need for such synthesis that led to the revealing suggestion of the Sarira-Sariri relation.

The consequences of the revelation are far-reaching in the realm of mysticism, no less than that of metaphysics, and deserves to be worked out fully and systematically by scholars engaged in the field.

We are most deeply Indebted to Sri. K. Sheshadri for the informations in these posts(from 9 to 13)

In order to fully comprehend and appreciate these complex texts we recommend ‘slow reading’

26 March 2013, 06:21 AM

Works on Visishtadvaita, the theistic system of Vedantic philosophy propagated by Ramanuja, are comparatively few. Though the tenets of this school are in close accordance with tradition and are entitled to universal popularity, they are not widely understood as they as they deserve to be.

The main reason for this is that this system combines the two Vedantas, Sanskrit and Tamil, and any one expounding it should be well versed in both. The Sanskrit Vedas reveal the truth as much as they hide; they are both explicit and implicit. It is to the immortal credit of Saint Nammaalvaar, the greatest of Tamil mystics, that, divinely endowed as he was with deep devotion and insight, he was the chosen soul, reveal in lucid terms, the heart of the Vedas. To anyone who has not studied the works of the Aalvar, particularly his Thiruvoimozhi, the vedic texts will always remain a field of apparent conflict and their reconciliation and consistent exposition, a task of subtle wisdom.

Thiruvaimozhi (http://archive.org/details/Thiruvaimozhi_english_commentry) for your kind perusal

27 March 2013, 05:13 AM
Applied Esoteric unwrapped

To show that the “Tamil Vedas”- as the 'Prabandhas' of the Aalvars are called- clarify what is only implied in their Sanskrit original by citing texts from both in support, calls for separate and lengthy treatment. For the purpose of a preface, suffice it to give two or three illustrations.

ON all the fundamental topics of philosophy (Tatva, Hita and Purushartha) the Truth, the Means and the Goal, what is suggested or implicitly stated in the Sanskrit texts is made explicit and clear in the Tamil verses. Referring to the Jiva, the individual soul, the view of the Vedas is given In the Vedanta Sutra II-3-19 which states: “A knower only”, meaning that, that is the distinguishing feature of the soul, that is neither mere knowledge nor it is Jada(non-intelligent).An equally innate character of the soul, namely its subservience to Him(daasya) is but faintly indicated in the Sanskrit texts of the verses, while it is made clear beyond doubt by Nammaalvaar, and in Ramanuja’s school, this characteristic of Jiva is given more prominence than knower-ship.

Secondly, reference may be made to the Vedanta Sutra III-3-56. On the question whether all the Brahma Vidays taught in the Upanishads are one or they are different, the Sutra gives the conclusion: “They are different, for the words and the rest(describing them) are different.” For holding one Vidya different from another, among the tests to be applied are the words actually used in the text. The terms used in the Upanishad are “veda”, “upaasitha” etc. The Taittiriya, text however uses the word “yunjitha” with reference to the Vidya known as “nyaasa”, thus distinguishing this Vidya as different from others. In holding that this Vidya is included within the scope of this Sutra, Ramanuja and his followers rely on the authority of Nammaalvaar, the foremost exponent of “Nyasa Vidya” or means of surrender.

Finally the concluding Sutra IV-4-22, in which, basing on saastras, the text only asserts: “There is no return, there is no return, it is so stated in the Sabda(Vedas)”. The mere statement of the Vedas, according to Ramanuja, cannot bind the Supreme Being, a Svatantra. And so, turning to the saying of Nammaalvaar and quoting in support of the text of the Gita, Ramanuja asserts that it is His will not to send a devotee back to this world. For, to do so, will nullify all the efforts taken by Him in search of a Jnaani. Truly, one does not forsake what one has secured after a long quest. Thus it will be seen that but for the light and leading provided by Nammaalvaar, Ramanuja and his predecessors could not have explained the mystic texts of the Sanskrit Vedas in the way they have actually done.

The earliest exponents of Visishtadvaita have, therefore, freely called to their aid the works of the Aalvars in Tamil, particularly Nammaalvaar, the chief of them, in comprehending the Vedic texts which presented difficulty in exposition. Following the line of these predecessors, Ramanuja not only write his Bhashya , a commentary on the Vedanta sutras of Vyasa, but also studied, before expounding them, the works of Nammaalvaar, under an aacarya of accredited authority. Hence, it is that Ramanuja by right, and his followers down to the present day, by courtesy, are called “Veda-Maarga-Pratishtaapakas” and “Ubhaya Vedanta Pravartakaas” (the founder of the Vedic path and the propagators of both Vedas, Sanskrit and Tamil).

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