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Thread: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

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    Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    This is a thread to compare Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita. I had been thinking of starting just one, to gauge its acceptance. Any jalpa and this can be closed immediately.

    Here are a few reasons why I felt this was needed:

    1) Many people consider VA and Dvaita as same, thanks to neo-vAdin-s who write stuff like 'Advaita is the mother and VA, Dvaita her children'. The fact is, Dvaita is as different from VA as these two are from Advaita.

    2) There are many misconceptions that dualistic systems are simple and childish, whereas identity systems like Advaita are complex. This may provide an example of how complex VA and Dvaita actually are.

    Now, here are a few ground rules:

    1) This is NOT a debating thread. Although my posts may show an obvious bias to VA, I am not intending this to be a 'refutation' of dvaita. The reason for this bias is because I have naturally read many VA polemic works against Dvaita and if I were to communicate them here, it would look like I am refuting them. It is not fair to attempt a refutation when no dvaitin is here to answer.

    2) Both these traditions are, to put it in the language of some, 'virulently' vaishnava. Yes, we are 'fanatic' about nArAyaNa parathvam/hari sarvOttamA with 'abrahamic tendencies'. So, this thread will relegate other devas to a lesser level. Those who feel repulsed by vaishnavas, can stay away and must not post arguments on Vishnu vs Other Devas. Those non-vaishnavas who just have an academic interest, are free to post.

    With that, I will post some material here. Actually, this was written for a private yahoo group, but I felt interested people can learn something here.

    The information here is abridged and is in no way comprehensive. As far as accuracy is concerned, I would say almost. I am not aware of major mistakes, though I may have overlooked finer details.

    INTRODUCTION

    SrI mAdhvA's system of vedAntA and srI rAmANujA's system have shared a healthy relationship for many centuries. SrI vedAnta desikan remarks in srimad rahasya traya sAram - "this mAdhva matam is very close to ours except for some flaws". The debate between Akshobhya Tirtha and Vidyaranya with Vedanta Desikan as the judge is also well known.

    Furthermore, it was srI vijayEndra tirthA who helped the sri vaishnavas of Kumbhakonam and restored the hEma pushakarIni to SrI sArangapAni temple. Great bhaktas like AnnamAchAryA and Purandara dAsar belonging to VA and Dvaita have met, according to traditional sources.

    However, from the period of Jaya Tirtha onwards, there have been fierce debates between these two darshanas. Vishishtadvaita was criticised by Jaya Tirtha, vyAsa tirtha and vijayEndra tirtha in works such as Chandrika, nyAyamruta and paratattva prakAsika. In return, acharyas like parakAla yati, sholingur mahAchAryA and srinivAsAchArya wrote rejoinders. This debate has been going on even till 1980.

    This write-up simply analyses both traditions and their views on various points, with an admitted bias towards VA (since I am a VA).
    Last edited by Sri Vaishnava; 23 April 2013 at 09:40 AM.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

  2. #2
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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    PANCHA BHEDA VS TATTVA TRAYA

    As is well known, Madhvacharya posits the 5 fold differences commonly known as ‘pancha bheda’, whereas Ramanujacharya accepts the 3 fold nature of reality.

    Vishishtadvaitins do not recognise two of the 5 differences in Madhva philosophy – 1) each jivA is different from the other, 2) one piece of matter is different from another piece of matter. All jivas are identical in nature and all matter is identical, being composed of sattva, rajas and tamas.

    DIFFERENCES IN ESTABLISHING NARAYANA PARATHVAM/HARI SARVOTTAMA

    While both Madhva and Ramanuja prove that Vishnu is the Parabrahman of the Veda, the means by which they both arrive at the same conclusion is quite different.

    Sri rAmAnuja uses chAga pashu nyAyA and sAmAnAdhikaraNyam as well as the Panini sutra 8-4-3 to arrive at nArAyaNa parathvam. This simply involves determining the common nouns such as Sath, Athma, Brahman as being indicated as the cause of the universe and using the nyAyA that all general terms occurring in the same context must denote the proper noun that also occurs in the same context. Since nArAyaNa is the proper noun, all these terms denote him. He is distinguished from the other devas by the mahOpanishad and others that state these devas were absent during pralaya. NarayaNa is equated with Vishnu by the Vishnu Gayatri. The sarIrAtma bhAvA also finds use in this method.

    Madhvacharya does not use this method, but bases his position on the saMhitA such as yO dEvAnAM nAmadhA Eka Eva. All names are names of Vishnu. When we say ‘the army is victorious’, what we mean is that ‘the king, to whom the army belongs, is victorious’. Similarly, the praise of various devas is actually a praise of Vishnu. Furthermore, as per MadhvAchArya’s Bimba-Pratibimba vAdA, all thedevas are reflections of Vishnu, and hence, their gunas are also Vishnu’s reflections – hence, Hari SarvOttamA is established.

    Madhva uses the aMbhrAni suktA and other pramAnA to show the limitations of other devas – a marked difference from Ramanuja who prefers the Upanishath to SaMhitA. Whereas according to Ramanuja, it is quite possible to interpret Vishnu as a common noun, and give alternative meanings for SaMhitA. While all the mantras of the karma khanDa is aimed at nArAyaNa only, these meanings can only be understood properly through the jnAna khAnDa. And the name nArAyaNa is superior to Vishnu.

    Note, even mAdhvA uses the name nArAyaNa and quotes the Upanishads. One should not think either acharya abandoned the karma or jnAna khAnDa completely. Only, they favoured one over the other to arrive at the same conclusion. Both achAryAs accept that Bhagavan is sarva shabda vAchyan who is denoted by all names.

    JNANA KHANDA VS KARMA KHANDA, BHEDA VS ABHEDA

    SrI mAdhvA does not accept classification of Shruti into Karma Khanda and Jnana Khanda since all shAstras have uniformity of purport. Similarly, he does not admit the classiciation of bheda (difference) and abheda (identity) shrutis as he feels that all vAkyas including Aham Brahmasmi and Tat Tvam Asi convey Bheda only. It is self-contradictory to term Shruti as preaching both Abheda and Bheda, ie, identity and difference.

    SrI rAmAnuja accepts the karma/jnana khanda classification, but also acknowledges the unity of purport. The purpose of the classification is simply that the karma khAndA describe the means (Rituals) to attain Brahman, whereas the jnAna khAndA describes the nature of that Brahman and the import of the karma khAndA. Both are required like the head and body of a person. Vishishtadvaita also divides shruti into three portions – Bheda (Difference), Abheda (One-ness/Non-Dual) and Gataka (Bridging/Connecting).

    Note, unlike Shankaracharya who interprets ‘Abheda’ as Identity, Ramanujacharya interprets ‘Abheda’ as ‘Non-Dual’, ie, there is oneness, but not identity.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    NATURE OF JIVATMA

    According to SrI rAmAnuja, the jivatma is jnAnAnanda mayA. All jivAs have identical svarUpa. Since the jivAtmA is the sarIram of Brahman, it follows that the nature of jnAnA is seshatva jnAnA and ananda is due to the purity of its intrinsic nature. The jivAtmA, being a sentient entity also has what is called as dharma bhUta jnAnA. This dharma bhUta jnAnA is an inseparable attribute of all sentient entities, that also have jnAnA as dharma (svarUpA).

    As an analogy consider the fire, which has heat as its svarUpa and prabha (radiance) as its attribute. The radiance of the fire illumines external objects. Similarly, the jivAtmA has dharma bhUta jnAnA by which external things are revealed to the jivA. Since it has a sense of ‘I’, it is known as pratyagAtmA.
    This dharma bhUta jnAnA is the reason why we can make statements like, ‘I know this’. Just as a number of branches flow out of the main body of water in the form of different streams, the dharma bhUta jnAnA, which is an inseparable attribute of the jivAtmA, spreads and illumines external objects.

    This dharma bhUta jnAnA is also the reason for differences between jivAs. Just as when we build a dam, the flow of water may be obstructed, or just as we hold a paper in front of fire to block its light from spreading, the dharma bhUta jnAnA may contract or expand depending on the anAdi karmas. This results in difference between perceptions, tastes, likes, dislikes and inclinations of jivAs.

    Thus, in samsArA, the dharma bhUta jnAnA is contracted. In moxa, where there is no karma, the dharma bhUta jnAnA is expanded to infinity. Just as a finite object such as fire can illumine a whole room by virtue of its radiance, a finite object like the jivA can expand its dharma bhUta jnAnA infinitely in moksha. Infinite jnAnA means, one can perceive the infinite auspicious attributes of Brahman. Since infinity is inexhaustible, the inexhaustible jnAnA, perceiving the inexhaustible attributes of Brahman, attains infinite ananda in moxa.

    Both in samsArA and moxa, the svarUpa of jivA is unchanged. It is only the dharma bhUta jnAnA that changes. By virtue of dharma bhUta jnAnA, the jivA resides in the heart of the body, but can control the whole body. In fact, swami manavala mahAmuni remarks in tattva traya bhAshya that there are innumerable (infinite) jivAs in one body itself, with the jivA in the heart cavity having the greatest expansion of dharma bhUta jnAnA and hence, controlling the body, with other jivAs having lesser reach depending on karma. The term ‘I’ denotes the prime jivA in the heart cavity, that is us.

    The shAstras liken the jivA attaining moxa to a gem being cleansed of dirt and regaining its luster. This example is apt. The dirt symbolises karma. The gem did not suffer a change in svarUpa, but its luster was hidden, ie, contracted by the dirt. So, the luster is the dharma bhUta jnAnA. Once this dirt, ie, karma is removed, the gem regains its original state, ie, the dharma bhUta jnAnA (luster) is expanded.

    With this dharma bhUta jnAnA expanded to a sufficient level, the chetana can control several bodies at once. This is how the devas appear at different places simultaneously, how they are able to control their vigrahAs in temples meant for them (unlike Bhagavan, who descends in svarUpa everywhere) and how Saubhari Muni assumed many bodies at once.

    SrI mAdhvA recognises trividha bheda – sattvika, rajasika and tamasika jivAs. There is no concept of dharma bhUta jnAnA. Only sattvika jivAs are destined for moksha. Since the jivAs are different by svarUpA, the evils of the world cannot be blamed on Hari.

    Furthermore, srI mAdhvA posits a gradation of jivAs based on his Bimba Pratibimba vAdA. All jivAs are reflections of srI hari and hence, have limited levels of his attributes. Going deeper into this, he says that the first reflection of Hari is Lakshmi. Then, next is vAyu, who is a reflection of Lakshmi. Then Brahma, who is a reflection of vAyu and Rudra, who is a reflection of Brahma. So, as you can see, the progession is downwards. The farther you are from Hari, ie, the lower the reflection, the more limited you are in your intrinsic capability. Thus, the jivAs do not experience equal levels of ananda and are not identical in nature.

    In moxa, the jivas meditate on their own intrinsic bliss, which is graded.
    The tAmasika jivas are responsible for all the evils of the world. As the nature of tamas is their very svarUpa, Bhagavan cannot be blamed for their actions.
    This is the svarUpa of jivAtmA as per both traditions, and as one can see, it is drastically different.

    NATURE OF BRAHMAN

    Brahman, who is nArAyaNa, is savisEsha according to both acharyas. But again, there is a difference in the way this is accepted.

    According to mAdhvA, Bhagavan nArAyaNa has a host of auspicious attributes and a divya mangala vigraha. He is supremely independent and is the Bimba, with all jivAs as his pratibimbas. He is the efficient cause of the Universe, but since he is distinct from it, he is not the material cause. He is the giver of bliss. He is the consort of Lakshmi. His auspicious form is non-different from him owing to Visesa (explained later). There is no difference between his svarUpa and his auspicious qualities. MAdhvA accepts that Vishnu and his body, as well as his gunas, are all identical and that they undergo no change. If upAdAna kAranatvam is admitted, one has to posit a change in Brahman and this is not permissible as per the Upanishads.

    According to rAmAnuja, Bhagavan nArAyaNa has a host of auspicious attributes. He is the consort of Lakshmi. The universe and jivAs are his body. His svarUpa is jnAnAnda mayA. He is associated with auspicious attributes that are grouped into two categories – svarUpa nirUpaka dharmas such as satyatvam, jnAnatvam, anantatvam, anandatvam, amalatvam and nirUpita svarUpa visesanas which include all his other attributes.

    To understand this classification, here is an example. How do we identify an elephant? If we say it is a big, dark animal, it is not sufficient. There are many big, dark animals. What we need is a distinguishing attribute. So, we say, it has a trunk and big ears. Hence, the trunk and big ears are analogous to svarUpa nirUpaka dharmas. The other attributes are nirUpita svarUpita visesanas which are known after knowing the prior category.

    There are 32 Brahma Vidyas in the Upanishads. Each vidyA enjoins meditation on a particular guna such as jagath kAranatvam, madhutvam etc. But the Brahma Sutra makes it clear that although the guna to be meditated is different for each vidyA, all vidyAs require in common that the svarUpa nirUpaka dharmas need to be meditated along with the guna specified by the vidyA.

    Brahman, according to Vishishtadvaita, is a sentient entity and hence, like the jivA, he has dharma bhUta jnAnA, which is inseparably associated with him. For Brahman, both svarUpa and svabhAvA are infinite in nature and he is devoid of karma. Hence, the nirUpita svarUpa visesa gunams such as kArunyam, vAtsalyam, sousIlyam, etc are transformations of his dharma bhUta jnAnA. As an example, Brahman decides, ‘I will create the Universe’. Thus, the change in thought, is a change in the dharma bhUta jnAnA and which is responsible for universal causality. Therefore, Brahman is the material cause of the Universe in this system. But the transformation of dharma bhUta jnAnA does not affect Brahma svarUpa and hence, he is still ‘avikArA’, thereby not contradicting the Upanishads.

    Brahman is different from his body. The divine body is made of suddha sattvam, a non-material substance that has a jnAnAnda mayA svarUpa. But since it lacks dharma bhUta jnAnA, it is insentient. This divine body is yet another transformation of Brahman’s dharma bhUta jnAnA to appear in such a form. Brahman is also different from his attributes, which are inseparably associated with him.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

  4. #4
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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Pranams,

    I have read works from both schools, though I have read more tattvavada works than vishishtadvaita.

    I have a question- How does VA say that Brahman is the material cause while holding that prakriti is a separate ontological real, though dependent on Brahman?
    namastE astu bhagavan vishveshvarAya mahAdevAya tryaMbakAya|
    tripurAntakAya trikAgnikAlAya kAlAgnirudrAya nIlakaNThAya mRtyuJNjayAya sarveshvarAya sadAshivAya shrIman mAhAdevAya ||

    Om shrImAtrE namah

    sarvam shrI umA-mahEshwara parabrahmArpaNamastu


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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    APRTAK SIDDHA VS VISESA

    The difference between substance and attribute is explained by the two acharyas in different ways. SrI mAdhvA opines that if we say that a substance is different from its attribute, we have posit a difference between this difference and the substance, and so on, leading to infinite regress. To resolve this, he brings in the concept of visesa, which is the quality of positing difference where there isn’t any. We often say, ‘this is his svarUpa’. Here, we say, ‘his svarUpa’, when in reality, there is no difference between him and svarUpa, ie, he is the svarUpa.

    So, according to dvaita, there is no difference between Hari and his body, his attributes, etc as per the theory of visesa.

    SrI rAmAnuja states that there is a difference between substance and attribute. The difference does not lead to infinite regress, because when we say ‘substance’ and ‘attribute’, it is the very nature of the entities to exist inseparably, and hence, are different from each other. Thus, the very nature of these entities is ‘aprtak siddha’, which is inseparability, that itself accounts for the difference. The difference between Brahman and his body is mentioned in the astrabhUshana adhyAyA of Vishnu PurAnA.

    DRAVYA AND GUNA

    The mAdhvA system of dravya and guna is simplistic and does not posit a difference between the two due to Visesa. Furthermore, they do not accept kAla and nitya vibhUti as dravyas. The Vishishtdvaita system of considering jnAnA as both substance and attribute is criticised, as one entity cannot both be dravya and adravya. If a difference is admitted between dravya and guna, then one has to determine where this guna is located. Such problems are resolved by Visesa.

    Vishishtadvaita has a unique system of Dravya and Adravya. We do not define the two as ‘substance’ and ‘attribute’. Dravya is that which is the substratum of change, whereas adravya is that which cannot undergo change. So, kAlA, ie, time, is a dravya as it the substratum of change, ie, time changes constantly. Nitya Vibhuti is made of Suddha Sattvam and it can undergo changes into various objects of enjoyment for the liberated jivA, so it is a dravya.

    Furthermore, all adravyas are gunas, but dravyas can be both gunas and gunis. Ie, one dravya can be the inseparable attribute for another dravya. As an example, consider the ocean and the wave. The ocean is the substratum for the wave, and hence, is a dravya. But the wave, is also a substratum for change, ie, parameters such as wave height, velocity and intensity may change. So, the wave, which is an inseparable attribute of the ocean, is also a dravya. The wave height, etc is an adravya.Thus, dravya and adravya cannot be defined as ‘substance’ and ‘attribute’. Rather, the former is the substratum of change, whereas the latter is the change itself.

    Vishishtadvaita accepts jnAnA as both substance and attribute. As mentioned before, svarUpa jnAnA is a substance, as it is the nature of chEtana. But dharma bhUta jnAnA is the attribute of all chEtanas. Since jnAnA reveals external objects, it is a substance. But since jnAnA is insentient in nature, it can exist as an attribute. But jnAnA is also dravya, ie, it is the substratum of change as the dharma bhUta jnAnA can contract and expand.

    KHYATI VADA

    The khyAti vAdA, or the theory of error, is posited by all schools to explain the nature of error. The Advaita school follows anirvachanIya khyAti vAdA, which is rejected by both Vishishtadvaitins and Dvaitins. The Vishishtadvaitins follow akhyAti samvalita yathArtha khyAti, whereas the Dvaitins follow abhinava anyathA khyAti vAdA.

    Let us take an example. Suppose a person mistakes a shell as silver. He realises later on that it is silver. What is the source of the error?
    The dvaita school explains that the silver that was seen by the person is unreal and is based on a prior memory of having seen silver. Thus, an unreal thing is really perceived. The illusion is dispersed when he realises it is a shell. Therefore, perception of an unreal thing is real (as opposed to advaita which says it is neither real nor unreal) and this is also called asat-anyathA khyAti vAdA.

    The Vishishtadvaita school determines that all perception is real and that the object of perception is also real. SrI rAmAnuja states that based on the panchikAranatvam of the Upanishads, a little bit of each element is present in every element in the universe. So, what was perceived was the little silver element in shell, namely, the luster of shell, which is to a small extent, similar to silver. The error lies not in the apprehension of an unreal entity, but non-apprehension of the shell elements and apprehension of a miniscule silver element.

    SrI vedAnta desikan makes it clearer in tattva mukta kalApa. When we say silver was perceived in the shell, it does not mean silver is in the shell. What was perceived was an ‘aspect’ that was common to both silver and shell. This aspect is the luster of the shell, which shines to such an extent that it can be confused with silvery luster. This is because the elemental make up of shell has a miniscule commonality with the elemental make up of silver, and thus, the luster of shell is a lesser degree version of the luster of silver.

    The error lies in perceiving a real object, namely, the luster of shell and mistaking it to be the luster of silver, which is similar. The error is dispelled when the properties of shell that are unique to shell is perceived. Thus, all perception is real and whatever is perceived is real. This is known as akhyAti samvalita yathArtha khyAti or sat khyAti.

    Similarly, another example is that of a person who sees two moons due to double vision. Dvaita avers that one moon was unreal and hence, the double vision was a real perception of an unreal object.

    SrI rAmAnujA explains it differently in sri bhAshyam. Here, we cannot use the panchikAranatvam of the Upanishads. However, it is maintained that the object of perception is real. For a person having normal vision, there are two sets of rays issuing from the eye. One set of rays will visualise the moon, and the other set of rays visualise the location of the moon to convey the image. In a person with double vision, one set of rays visualise the moon, but the other set of rays are split, so that one ray of the second set visualises the correct location of the moon, and the other ray of the second set visualises the location adjacent to the correct location (down, up, left or right). So, the result of this is, one eye sees the moon in its correct location, whereas in the defective eye, the image of the same moon is superimposed in a location adjacent to the correct location. So, the double vision involves seeing the real moon in its real position and a real image of the same moon in a real position adjacent to the correct position. Error is dispelled when the person is cured and says he did not see two moons, but rather, two images of the same moon.

    This khyAti vAdA is the subject of heavy debate between dvaita and vishishtadvaita. Jaya Tirtha criticises the usage of panchikAranatvam using the soma-putika example. Sri rAmAnuja quotes the shastra saying that Putika can be used when Soma is not available in sacrifices. He writes that since Putika contains some elements of soma, it is used and hence, this is an example of all perception being of the real. Jaya Tirtha argues that if Putika contains the same element of Soma, there is no meaning in distinguishing them. If Soma is present as a small aspect of Putika, then how can a small aspect be exaggerated over Putika elements?

    Vishishtadvaitins reply that the ‘soma elements’ in Putika is the taste, smell etc which may be similar to Soma. This is seen in ordinary situations. As such, it is not Soma itself that is present in Putika, but only the taste or smell of Soma, which is an aspect of Soma and hence, one can say ‘Soma element’ is in Putika. Thus, perception is of the real. As the Upanishads also state that even the objects in dreams are real (Br Up) and hence, sath khyAti is upheld since there is no possibility of cognising unreal things.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    ANANDA TARATAMYA

    Dvaitins accept a gradation of bliss in moksha for jivAs due to intrinsic limitations, as they experience the intrinsic nature of their own bliss. Vishishtadvaitins explain that the jivA experiences infinite ananda in moxa by cognising the infinite attributes of Brahman through infinitely expanded dharma bhUta jnAnA. This has already been explained.

    SARIRATMA BHAVA AND BIMBA PRATIBIMBA VADA

    Dvaitins interpret Yasya AtmA SarIram as a metaphor, ie, Vishnu controls the jivAs just as the AtmA controls the body. But they do not accept the literal implication of Brahman having jivAs and jagath as his body since that would mean his body is imperfect. The Bimba-Pratibimba is preferred as it explains dependency of jivAs without the need to postulate them being the sarIrA of Brahman.

    Vishishtadvaitins accept that the jivAs and jagath are the body of Brahman. A body can affect the AtmA negatively only if the AtmA is under the influence of karma. Since Brahman is devoid of karma, he is not affected by impurities. Furthermore, when the AtmA is in a Brahmin body, it says, ‘I am a Brahmin’.

    Here, the Brahmin-hood is a trait of the body, but due to inseparability of AtmA and body, it is applied to AtmA. Similarly, when we say jivAs and jagath are ‘attributes’ of Brahman, it does not mean they are like his other attributes of jnAnA, etc which are inseparable by his nature. They are attributes by association. And since nArAyaNa is apahatapApmA (devoid of karma) as per subAlOpanishad, he has associated with this body out of his own will and not due to constraint. SarIratvam also implies Seshatvam.

    MEANS TO ATTAIN BRAHMAN

    Bhakti yoga is similar in rAmAnuja and mAdhva vedAntA. But mAdhvA does not accept saranAgati as a separate mArga. He also interprets Akshara in the Gita as ‘lakshmi upAsaNa’ whereas rAmAnuja interprets it as ‘jivAtmOpAsaNa’. This is a big topic that cannot be explained here.

    WORSHIP OF OTHER DEVAS AND NITYA SURIS


    mAdhvAs worship all devas in their temples as part of their tAratamya. However, followers of rAmAnuja do not for two reasons: 1) The temples are consecrated with agamAs opposed to the vedA and rejected by brahma sutra, 2) The devas in general are bhakti yOgIs and only achAryAs in prapanna paramparA are worshipped.

    Dvaita does not accept the concept of nitya surIs, citing mahAbhAratA where instances of ignorance on the part of Garuda are seen. However, Vishishtadvatins do. For the sake of brevity, I will skip this.

    CONCEPT OF AVATARA

    Dvaita considers ParashurAmA and vyAsA as pUrnAvatArAs. Vishishtadvaita considers them to be avEsa avatarA. Of these, there are two types. One is shaktyAvEsa, where bhagavAn provides some of his powers to a jivA temporarily and svarUpAvEsa, where bhagavAn descends into a jivA directly and acts through the jivA. Examples – kArtavIryArjuna is an AvEsa avatArA whereas vyAsA is a svarUpAvEsa as evidenced by Vishnu SahasranAmA ‘vyAsAya Vishnu rUpAyA…’

    AVATARHOOD OF MADHVA AND VAYU

    As an aside, the various references given by dvaitins pertaining to the greatness of mukhya prANa are interpreted in terms of sarIrAtma bhAvam by Vishishtadvaitins.

    MAdhvA has called himself an avatar of vAyu. Vishishtadvaitins mostly don't have a problem with this. As per our tradition, devas are not perfect jnAnis, although they may become sarvaj~na through yoga. Hence, accepting mAdhvA as vAyu out of respect as a vaidika (as opposed to worshipping him as a guru) is in line with srI rAmAnuja darshanam, which gives similar respect to srI Adi Shankara.

    We have no reason to doubt him since his doctrine advocates supremacy of Vishnu. But of course, some scholars like Appayya Dikshita took offense to this, as can be seen in vijayEndra tirthA's rejoinder, 'appayya kapOla chapEtikA'.


    This should be enough for now.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omkara View Post
    Pranams,

    I have read works from both schools, though I have read more tattvavada works than vishishtadvaita.

    I have a question- How does VA say that Brahman is the material cause while holding that prakriti is a separate ontological real, though dependent on Brahman?

    By virtue of the dharma bhUta jnAnA of Brahman, that undergoes a transformation, ie, a change of sankalpa to create. Brahma svarUpa is not affected in the process and remains changeless.

    mAdhvA tradition does not consider change of thought as a change of state at all, whereas rAmAnuja does consider it a change of state.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

  8. #8

    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Pranams,

    Excellent series of postings. There is a tendency among the neophyte Hindu community to see all non-Advaitic traditions as "Dvaita" which really fails to do these traditions justice.

    I have just one question though:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sri Vaishnava View Post
    PANCHA BHEDA VS TATTVA TRAYA

    As is well known, Madhvacharya posits the 5 fold differences commonly known as ‘pancha bheda’, whereas Ramanujacharya accepts the 3 fold nature of reality.

    Vishishtadvaitins do not recognise two of the 5 differences in Madhva philosophy – 1) each jivA is different from the other, 2) one piece of matter is different from another piece of matter. All jivas are identical in nature and all matter is identical, being composed of sattva, rajas and tamas.
    When Sri Madhva says that the jIvas are all different in his postulation of the 5-fold differences, is he not merely referring in this case to the fact that they are distinct individuals? I know that Madhva believes in a gradation of jivas, but I thought he was merely referring to their individuality in this case, which one would think would be acceptable to all non-Advaitic schools.
    Philosoraptor

    "Wise men speak because they have something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something." - Plato

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by philosoraptor View Post
    Pranams,

    Excellent series of postings.
    Thank you. It is by no means comprehensive. I could write pages and pages about dharma bhUta jnAnA and aksharOpAsaNa, which are the key differences between Dvaita and VA.

    When Sri Madhva says that the jIvas are all different in his postulation of the 5-fold differences, is he not merely referring in this case to the fact that they are distinct individuals? I know that Madhva believes in a gradation of jivas, but I thought he was merely referring to their individuality in this case, which one would think would be acceptable to all non-Advaitic schools.
    No. Vishishtadvaita also accepts the jivAs as distinct individuals.

    mAdhva vedAntA sees three types of jivAs - sattvika, rajasika and tAmasika. Out of these, the 1st category are bound for moksha, the second are bound for samsArA and the third are bound for naraka lOkAs known as 'andha tAmAs'. This position is based on their reading of the isavAsya up. and gita.

    In addition to this, they believe that each jivA has its own gender and classification that will persist in mOksha. For instance, in moksha, there will be many jivAs categorised as chaturmukha brahmas and rudras each enjoying theior intrinsic bliss. There will be male jivAs and female jivAs.

    SrI mAdhvA says in his gita bhAshya that throughout the ithihAsA and purAna texts, we have no instance of a woman becoming a man in her next birth. Whereas, we have instances of men being born as woman. Even in the case of ambA, she was born as a eunuch (Shikandi) and hence, was not a full fledged man. He then goes on to say that this is proof that there is an intrinsic gender difference in jivAs that prevents some from being born as men!

    The pramAnA they give for bhedA with respect to guna is the gita slOka where bhagavAn tells Arjuna to shed sattva, rajas and tamasa gunas and regain his true nature of sattvam. This, they interpret as Arjuna being of an intrinsic sattvic nature, and the other sattva, rajas, tamasa gunas being acquired due to karma.

    Vishishtadvaitins interpret this verse as bhagavAn telling arjuna to discard the mishra sattva, ie, sattva mixed with rajas and tamas, and to attain the true nature compatible for a jivAtmA, which is pure sattva devoid of rajas and tamas. Such a state is attained by a perfectionist of bhakti yoga or prapatti, where tamas and rajas is *almost* (not quite) nil. In moksha, only pure sattva exists, without rajas and tamas.

    One other point regarding the jiva svarUpa. It is interesting to see how the difference in philosophy impacts the explanation of the imperishability of jivA. When bhagavAn says the jivAs cannot be destroyed, the three acharyas justify it in 3 different ways:

    1) Shankaracharya says only AtmA exists and hence, it cannot be destroyed by any secondary entity. Neither is it subject to decay.

    2) Ramanujacharya says that the jivAtmA is so minute (anu) that there exists no weapon that can destroy it. As an example, if we have a particle of sand, we cannot use a hammer to break that particle into two. The minuteness of the particle protects it from being broken by the hammer. Whereas, a pot can be broken with a hammer. SrI vedAnta desikan, quoting srI kUresar in tAtparya chandrikA, adds that the only one who can destroy the jivA, if he wishes, is BhagavAn himself. But he has taken a sankalpa that he will never do such a thing!

    3) Madhvacharya says that all jivAs are reflections of Hari and hence, reflect his attributes to a lesser extent. So, the imperishability of jivAs is a reflection of Hari's imperishability.

    This is quite a beautiful way of looking at one point justified in 3 different ways. The Gita bhAshya of the 3 acharyas must be studied together by every follower of vedAntA.
    [CENTER][COLOR="Black"][COLOR="Red"][COLOR="DarkRed"]No holiness rules over my freedom
    No commands from above I obey
    I seek the ruin, I shake the worlds
    Behold! I am blackest ov the black

    Ov khaos I am, the disobediant one
    Depraved son who hath dwelt in nothingness
    Upon the ninth I fell, from grace up above
    To taste this life ov sin, to give birth to the "I"[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]

    [B]~ "Blackest Ov the Black" - Behemoth.[/B]

    [url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P-JdwtK1DY[/url] [/CENTER]

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sri Vaishnava View Post
    By virtue of the dharma bhUta jnAnA of Brahman, that undergoes a transformation, ie, a change of sankalpa to create. Brahma svarUpa is not affected in the process and remains changeless.

    mAdhvA tradition does not consider change of thought as a change of state at all, whereas rAmAnuja does consider it a change of state.
    It may also be pertinent at this stage to specify that there are two conceptions of eternal "changelessness" within Hindu philosophies.

    One is kutastha nityatha. Something is kutastha nityatha if it remains unchanged forever. Example would be a piece of rock.

    The other, more interesting conception is pravaharupa nityatha. Something is pravaharupa nityatha, if though incessantly changing, it does not alter its pattern. An example would be a flowing river. So, when it is held that Brahman incessantly engages in srishthi (manifestation), sthithi (maintenance) and pralaya (dissolution), Brahman is held to be unchanging in the sense of pravaharupa nityatha.

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