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Thread: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

  1. #11
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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    It is not possible to talk about Vishishtadvaita or Sri Bhashya without discussing the divya prabandham of the azhwars. The divya prabandha, which brings out the truth of the upanishads clearly, was the lamp used by srI rAmAnuja in the forest of the vedA.

    Although the divya prabandha is not used as pramAnA in debates for obvious reasons, the arguments of sri vaishnavas stem directly from them, with sanskrit shAstras used as proof. Just for an example, to show how the divya prabandha is used by sri vaishnavas, I will illustrate one such instance.

    I explained that in Vishishtadvaita, all perception is of the real. Nothing unreal can ever be perceived. This doctrine is justified by the Upanishads, but srI rAmAnuja writes in the Sri Bhashyam, "This (khyAti vAdA) has always been the view of ancient vedAntins".

    Here, it is abundantly clear that the 'ancient vedAntins' he is alluding to are the azhwars. For in the ThiruvAimOzhi, Nammazhwar says,

    uLan enil uLan; avan uruvam iv vuruvukaL
    uLan alan enil, avan aruvam iv varuvukaL
    uLan ena ilan ena ivai kuNam udaimaiyin
    uLan iru takaiyodu ozivu ilan parantE

    Meaning:
    He exists (for theists); He does not exist also implies He exists; - He has got such attributes and nature which can be described as existent as well as non-existent; He takes the forms as well as NO Forms; With such sthoola sareeram and sookshuma sareeram, He exists and is spread everywhere.

    Nammazhwar here has firmly established the reality of perceived objects. The brief explanation is this - If someone says Brahman exists, he does. If someone says, Brahman does not exist, then it does not mean Brahman is non-existent. Since the atheist has said 'THAT (Brahman) does not exist', obviously 'that' refers to some form of perception, ie, that conception of brahman cannot be seen here. So, the non-cognition of that perception is actually real and what the atheist is seeing is real.

    So, what it means is that, if Brahman is said to not exist, then he does not exist in the way that the atheist thinks he does. However, he does exist in some other way. As an example, someone may say, 'Rama does not exist'. He may be thinking of Rama as the one with the bow, the son of dasaratha. But the reality is that Rama, in that particular form, indeed does not exist now, at the present time. So, the cognition of the atheist, 'I do not see Rama' is real. Now, Rama does exist as sarvAntaryAmin and existed in the past in that particular rUpam as imagined by the atheist.

    This is similar to how we say, 'The objects in the dream do not exist'. Yes, this is true, but they did have a temporary existence in the dream. So, perception is not negated. The BrihadAranyaka claims that the objects in the dream are real, which this ground for sath khyAti vAdA.

    Thus, all perception is of the real. The perception of the atheist is also correct in the immediate sense that 'that does not exist in that way'.

    This logic is used by srI rAmAnuja to justify sath khyAti vAdA that whatever is seen, is real, even when it seems contrary. It must be explained properly.
    [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. #12

    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sri Vaishnava View Post
    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.
    Pranams,

    Can you please elaborate on the Sri Vaishnava concept of dharma bhUta jnAnA and how it differs from the equivalent concept in Dvaita? I've seen this term used in A.S. Raghavan's book on Vishishtadvaita, but it was not translated and in my opinion could have been better explained for dim-witted mUdhas like myself.

    Also, I would be very interested in a discussion on Madhva's concept of visesha and how it is similar or different from rAmAnuja's views on sAmAnAdhikaraNya with respect to brahman and matter, and his views on the interrelationship of brahman with His transcendental attributes. Is it fair to say that for rAmAnuja, like madhva, it is in brahman's nature to have transcendental attributes? Or is there a further distinction between the way rAmAnuja explains the relationship and how madhva explains it (between brahman and His attributes)?
    Philosoraptor

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

  3. #13
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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Dvaita has no equivalent concept to dharma bhUta jnAnA, but let me explain as briefly as possible.

    First, Dvaita. Madhvacharya posits Visesa to explain the difference between a substance and an attribute. In a nutshell, Visesa means that it is possible to speak of a difference when there actually is not any, ie, for instance if you say, 'a person's svarUpa', actually svarUpa is that person, but it is mentioned separately from the person. This Visesa explains that Hari and his attributes are identical, ie, Vishnu is not different from his jnana, bala vIrya, etc. Neither is his rUpam different from him. The 'neha nAnAsti kincana' sruti essentially conveys that Brahman is a homogenous entity and has no parts. To state that there is a difference between Brahman and its attributes would go against this sruti. Furthermore, if we state a difference, we have to postulate a difference between this difference and the substance/attribute, thus leading to infinite regress. So, according to Madhva, the VA theory of difference between substance and attribute is wrong.

    Now, Vishishtadvaita. We say that there is a difference between Brahman and his attributes, Brahman and his form, etc. Brahman has a jnAnAnda-maya svarUpa and his attributes are simply different transformations of his dharma bhUta jnAnA. This will be explained later. In any case, the difference does not lead to infinite regress, because it is the very nature of a substance and attribute to exist inseparably and hence, be different. The terms 'substance' and 'attribute' imply an inseparable relationship (aprthak siddha) between the two, and this inseparability accounts for the difference itself. As it is the very nature of substance and attribute to exist inseparably (and hence, differently) So, there is no need to postulate a difference between this difference and the substance and hence, no infinite regress. Also, Brahman is different from its form, the latter being insentient suddha sattva material, whereas Brahman is a sentient entity.

    The neha nAnAsti kincana is interpreted by VA in terms of sarvAntaryAmitvam, ie, the antaryAmin is the same everywhere, whether it is a deva, tree, ant, or jagath, and differences must not be construed. We do not interpret it as signifying the identity of Brahman and its attributes. Furthermore, if we say that Brahman and its attributes are identical, there is no way to know, ie, meditate on Brahman. For it is known from practical experience that no-one can cognise the svarUpa of an entity directly. Only by its attributes, it is cognised. This is the basis of the Brahma Vidyas in the Upanishads. If the attributes itself are the svarUpa, then the object can never be differentiated from other objects which may have the same or similar attributes. So, we would have objects with same attributes (say a blue pot and a blue sofa) being characterised as identical in svarUpa, which is impractical.

    (contd)
    [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. #14
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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    To summarize the above, VA says it is the nature of Brahman to possess auspicious attributes. Dvaita says it is the nature of Brahman to be identical with auspicious attributes.

    Coming to dharma bhUta jnAnA. It is recognised in VA that the primary difference between a sentient entity (known as chith, sath in shastra) and an insentient entity (also known as achith, asat) is that the sentient entity has the feeling of 'I' (pratyak) and has dharma bhUta jnAnA as its inseparable attribute.

    In other words, in the phrase, 'I know this', VA recognises three entities, the knower (svarUpa jnAnA), the attribute of 'knowing' (Dharma bhUta jnAnA) and the object of knowledge (this). Dvaita and Advaita recognise only two, ie the knower and the object of knowledge, with advaita of course, this being relegated to only vyAvahArika sath as well.

    To understand dharma bhUta jnAnA, let me give an example. We have a fire. A fire has light as its inseparable attribute. While the fire remains localised, the light can spread to areas that the fire cannot reach. The spread of this light may be limited by placing a paper in front of the fire. This paper does not harm the svarUpa of fire, but only limits its radiance from spreading.

    Similarly the jivA, a sentient entity, knows itself by its svarUpa jnAnA. But in order to know external things such as 'I saw this car', 'I know Brahman', etc, it possesses this dharma bhUta jnAnA as an inseparable attribute. This DBJ is like the light and the jiva is the fire. Just as the fire is localised, the jivA is anu, located in the heart lotus. Just as the light can spread from the fire, the jivA's DBJ spreads, enabling the jivA to control the body from a localised position and also faciliating the obtainment of knowledge about external things.

    Another example is like how the brain controls the body by nerves that reach everywhere. Or, how a river may have streams issuing out of it and into it. In essence, it is the very nature of a sentient entity, by virtue of its 'I-ness', to be inseparably associated with DBJ.

    Even Brahman is a sentient entity and possesses DBJ. But for Brahman, both svarUpa and DBJ are infinite and all-pervading. So, the function of DBJ for Brahman is the transformation into different kalyAna gunams which we refer to as mercy, knowledge, beauty, etc. Because Brahman knows by its DBJ. For instance, Brahman, by its DBJ, sees a chetana struggling in samsArA. And immediately, its DBJ undergoes a transformation into the gunam known as kArunyam. And so on.

    Since the DBJ is an inseparable attribute, it is different from svarUpa jnAnA. Since the DBJ arises as an inseparable attribute only because of the jnAna svarUpa of 'I-ness', ie, sentiency, the argument that Brahman needs an extraneous source to cognise is not valid. It is the very nature of sentient entities to possess this DBJ.

    In the case of the jivA, this DBJ is infinite in moksha. But in the case of samsArIs, just as the paper blocks the light of the fire, the karma contracts the DBJ. Such contractions are the reason why the jivAs, who are all identical in svarUpa, have different likes and dislikes, and hence, different degrees of knowledge. The anandavalli of Taittiriya Up. is explained in this way.

    The performance of bhakti yoga, prapatti results in the destruction of karmas contracting this DBJ. As a result, DBJ expands. When the DBJ expands it means that the jivA gets more control and more knowledge.

    For instance, we have examples of devas appearing in two places in two bodies at once, and Saubhari Muni assumed 50 bodies at once. How is this possible for a finite entity like the jivA? It is because their DBJ has expanded. So the jivA can remain in one body, but through its expanded DBJ (acquired by virtue of tapas), it can control several bodies. This also explains how these devas are present in their own vigrahas in temples.

    Unlike BhagavAn vAsudevA who appears in many places at once by both svarUpa and svabhAva (DBJ), the jivA is localised in one place, but its DBJ allows it to control other bodies in other places.

    Another outcome is that there may be infinite number of jivas with differently expanded DBJs in a single body. This is analogous to how mordern science has discovered that cells can grow independently of the body if isolated. The jivA with the greatest expansion of DBJ is located in the heart and controls the entire body, whereas the other jivAs are limited to controlling select areas (such as cells) of the body. This is explained in conventional language by Swami Manavala Mahamuni in his Tattva Traya Bhashya.

    In moksha, this DBJ expands infinitely due to no karma. The infinite jnana allows the jiva to 'know' everything and hence, it is omniscient. This omniscience allows perception of the infinite attributes of Sriman Narayana. Since 'infinity' is inexhaustible, the perception of these infinite attributes with infinite jnana never ends, and hence, we get infinite ananda.

    The pramanas for DBJ are many, but from my mind, I can point out one example as explained by Sri Vedanta Desikan in his tAtparya chandrika:

    tesam evanukampartham aham ajnana-jam tamah
    nasayamy atma-bhava-sthojnana-dipena bhasvata

    Meaning: Desiring to shower my anugraha, I dwell in the hearts of them (bhakti yOgIs) and destroy ignorance with the glowing lamp of knowledge.


    Note the expression, 'jnAna dIpenA' and 'bhasvata'. The knowledge is compared to a lamp that glows. Bhagavan is saying that he makes the DBJ blossom, ie, expand and thus allow the bhakti yOgIs to cognise more and more of his auspicious attributes. This is a clear pramana for DBJ.

    Knowledge can be both an attribute and a substance. Since it exists inseparably from the jivA, it is an attribute. Since it is the svarUpa of the jivA and the substratum of change (which is the definition of a substance), it is a substance (Dravya). All Adravyas are attributes, but not all attributes are Adravya as per VA.

    Chandogya Up. mentions the existence of a city containing a pippal tree, a hall and a manTapa in sri vaikunta (parama padam). Since there is no prakrti in moksha, how is this possible? The answer is that these things exist in vaikunta, but are made of 'suddha sattvam', a non-material substance (drvaya) that can undergo changes into several forms such as trees, buildings, etc. This suddha sattvam is also jnAnAnanda mayA. But unlike sentient entities like the jivA and Brahman, which are also jnAnAnanda maya svarUpa, this suddha sattvam lacks 'I-ness' and DBJ, and hence, is insentient.

    The body of Bhagavan is made of this suddha sattvam only. This body is a special transformation of his DBJ to appear in such a form for chetanas. In the AstrabhUshana adhyAyA of Vishnu Purana, the body of Vishnu is stated to be made of tattvas, and describes these tattvas. This is the pramana that shows the divine body is made of knowledge, ie, suddha sattvam, but lacks I-ness and DBJ, hence being insentient.
    [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.

    Thank you for the detailed write up. I have read your posts many times. I had some questions though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sri Vaishnava View Post
    Another outcome is that there may be infinite number of jivas with differently expanded DBJs in a single body. This is analogous to how mordern science has discovered that cells can grow independently of the body if isolated. The jivA with the greatest expansion of DBJ is located in the heart and controls the entire body, whereas the other jivAs are limited to controlling select areas (such as cells) of the body. This is explained in conventional language by Swami Manavala Mahamuni in his Tattva Traya Bhashya.
    I have never come across this concept before. Do the other jivAs in the same body have their own bodies and so does He mean something like germs inside the body?

    Also In Dvaita system, since the jivA has a gender does it have a form also? Is this form also its innate quality in which case there could be a specific size for each soul?

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by jignyAsu View Post
    Thank you for the detailed write up. I have read your posts many times. I had some questions though.



    I have never come across this concept before. Do the other jivAs in the same body have their own bodies and so does He mean something like germs inside the body?
    The jivAtmA is referred as anu by shAstras. Anu does not mean atomic, since atom is also divisible. It means that the jivA is the tiniest and most indivisible thing to exist. But sriman nArAyaNa exists even within this minute jivA as the antaryAmin, so what to speak of his powers!

    There are an infinite number of jivAs within a single finite space. That being so, the number of jivAs in a single human body itself is infinite. These jivAs are in various stages of karma, and as explained above, based on the karma, the DBJ is expanded or contracted appropriately.

    So the jiva with the 'best' karma has the greatest expanded DBJ, and hence, is located in the heart cavity, and can control the whole body. So, the body is the property of this jivA and serves its purposes. The other infinite number of jivAs have less expanded DBJ and accordingly, their sphere of activity is restricted to say, a cell or an organ.

    That is why from a mordern perspective, we can surmise that cells and organs still grow in culture even when isolated from a human being. Heck, one cell may even have infinite number of jivAs within itself. The possibilities are staggering!

    But, the jivA in the heart cavity is the one that is denoted by 'I', ie, we are in our heart cavities, having the greatest DBJ and hence, in control of our body.

    Also In Dvaita system, since the jivA has a gender does it have a form also? Is this form also its innate quality in which case there could be a specific size for each soul?
    I believe so. My memory is hazy, but I believe Sri Madhva states that each jivA gets its own form based on its intrinsic capabilities in moxa. But no, all jivAs are anu as per the shAstrA, so Dvaitins do not specify a different size for each jivA. The idea that jivAs have differing sizes is a Jaina concept, where they believe that a jivA in a cat is as big as a cat, and one in a human is as big as a human!
    [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
    So the jiva with the 'best' karma has the greatest expanded DBJ, and hence, is located in the heart cavity, and can control the whole body. So, the body is the property of this jivA and serves its purposes. The other infinite number of jivAs have less expanded DBJ and accordingly, their sphere of activity is restricted to say, a cell or an organ.
    Thanks for the detailed reply. This brings about so much detachment....and a realization of how rare is human birth.

    In VA, I have also heard (not sure) that non living things also can have souls and if so, that could be possible the same way as above.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sri Vaishnava View Post
    I believe so. My memory is hazy, but I believe Sri Madhva states that each jivA gets its own form based on its intrinsic capabilities in moxa. But no, all jivAs are anu as per the shAstrA, so Dvaitins do not specify a different size for each jivA.
    Ok. I think that Gaudiyas also have the idea that each of us have an eternal "spiritual form" which gets active in moxa. They are most probably getting it from here. For VA, I understand that we gain a spiritual form in Vaikunta or can choose to remain without a form.

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    Re: Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita - a comparison.

    Quote Originally Posted by jignyAsu View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply. This brings about so much detachment....and a realization of how rare is human birth.
    Very rare. The panchAgni vidyA of the chAndogya stresses the importance of attaining a 'manushya' birth (by the term 'manushya' even devas are included as per the Brahma Sutras).

    In VA, I have also heard (not sure) that non living things also can have souls and if so, that could be possible the same way as above.
    Upanishads specify three types of gatIs for a jivA - Moksha through devayana, rebirth through dhUmAdi mArga after going to svarga or naraka, or if the sins accrued are high, then being born as an insect or a germ or a plant straightaway.

    But if a jivAtmA commits so much sin and acquires so much pApa karma that it cannot be completely washed away by time spent in naraka, or birth as an insect/germ/plant, there is a fourth category of birth. The jivA is 'imprisoned' in insentient material. Ie, due to its pApa karma, its DBJ is so contracted that it is almost nil. This makes the jivA unable to even cognise external objects. So, the jivAs adhere in matter like stones and bricks with this contracted DBJ, essentially existing in a static state without being able to do any sAdhana. The only thing to note then is that even these jivAs, with extremely contracted DBJ, have the feeling of 'I' and hence, are distinguished from matter even in this state.

    Since the jivA is trapped in insentient matter, it has to remain in this state until mahApralaya, when bhagavan converts this matter and all jivAs to a subtle form. Then, these jivAs will be issued new bodies and given a new chance.

    The idea is that, even during pralayA, the jivAs are put into a slumber by bhagavan by contracting their DBJ to almost nil. This state happens immediately for jivAs who have done heinous things - they get trapped in matter. The reason this is done is also because of bhagavad kArunyam - by trapping the jivA in matter, he ensures that they are incapable of further activity which would cause them to accrue further sins. And such entrapment until pralaya is also sufficient punishment to destroy their sins.

    Indeed, even pralaya happens periodically because Sriman Narayana feels at that time that the jivAs are so lost in samsArA that he has to temporarily prevent them from indulging in acts against the shAstrA. So he induces pralaya and contracts the DBJ of jivas to nil, reducing everything to sukshma form. Then, after a while, he feels sad that these jivAs are stuck without being able to do sAdhana (sa ekAki na ramEta - he did not like being alone during sRsti) and hence, creates everything again. This is cyclic.

    Ok. I think that Gaudiyas also have the idea that each of us have an eternal "spiritual form" which gets active in moxa. They are most probably getting it from here. For VA, I understand that we gain a spiritual form in Vaikunta or can choose to remain without a form.
    By virtue of DBJ and the availability of Suddha Sattvam, we can assume infinite number of bodies. VA holds that the liberated jivA serves Sriman Narayanan with these bodies everywhere he is present - in Para, vyUha, vibhava, antaryAmin and archa. If asked how the jivAs serve Bhagavan in temples in the material world when the Brahma Sutras state that the mukta does not come back (na ca punarAvartatE; anAvrtti sabdAt), it is explained that he does not come back due to karma, but only by his own will and in a non-material body, invisible or visible to samsArIs depending on his preference, to serve Narayana in abodes like Tirumala, Kanchi, Srirangam, Mathura, Ayodhya, etc.

    Of course, the jivA also may prefer to not have a body in moxa and such a situation does exist.
    Last edited by Sri Vaishnava; 04 May 2013 at 11:38 PM.
    [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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