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Pradhaana PratiTantram of Visistaadvaita

From: M.S.HARI (Madabhushi Sarangarajan Hari) (mshari_at_usa.net)
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 00:18:22 PDT

Dear Shree Vaishnavas,

Namaskaram. Please find below my article on "Pradhaana PratiTantram" of
Visistaadvaita. As usual I would like to have your comments/doubts/
questions regarding the same.

Thanks & Regards
M.S.HARI Raamaanuja Daasan.
===========================
"Pradhaana PratiTantram" of Visistaadvaita
==========================================
Every philosophical school of thought has its own unique concept(s) that
differentiates it from other schools of thought. Others schools of thought may
also contradict such concepts. Such concept(s) is/are called "Pradhaana
PratiTantram" in Sanskrit. In this article, the pradhaana pratitantram of
Visistaadvaita Shree Vaishnam is going to be discussed in brief.

The Pradhaana Prathitantram of Visistaadvaita is "Sareera-Aatma Bhaava"
otherwise called as "Sareera-Sareere Bhava" which is the "Body-Soul"
relationship between the universe (all sentient (Chit/Jeeva) and insentient
(Achit/non-living matter)) and the Brahman who is Lord Shreeman Naaraayana
Paramaataman. The Veda seems to talk about the identity of the universe (all
sentient (Chit/Jeeva) and insentient (Achit/non-living matter)) and the
Brahman in certain verses called "Abheda Sruthi". The same Veda seems to talk
about the categorical difference between the universe (all sentient
(Chit/Jeeva) and insentient (Achit/non-living matter)) and the Brahman in
verses called "Bheda Sruthi". There seems to be a contradiction in the premise
Veda. When we study the entire Veda carefully we find verses called "Gataka
Sruti" which synchronizes the "Abheda Sruthi" and the "Bheda Sruti" and sets
it clear that Veda has no contradiction in it and it conveys one idea that is
through the "Sareera-Aatma Bhaava".

Let me explain the nature of body and soul in detail. Soul is the one that
eternally and inseparably supports controls and owns the body for its purpose.
Body is the one that is eternally and inseparable supported, controlled and
owned by the soul and exists for the purpose of the soul. This is the
definition of soul and body respectively. Generally when I say "body", the
picture of it which comes to a person's mind is "that which has head, legs,
hands etc.". If you take the body of a snake, it does not possess legs hands
etc as it is found in human body. The body's physical form thus varies from
species to species. Therefore the definition is not in terms of these physical
natures but only of the definition given above holds good as far as the
soul-body relationship is concerned. 

Bhagavat Raamaanuja in his Shree Bhaasya talks about this as "Yasya Chetanasya
Yat Dravyam Sarvaatmanaa Swaarthe Niyantum Dhaarayitum Cha Sakyam Tat
Seshatayka Swaroopam Cha Tat Tasya Sareeram". He further stress the same in
his Vedaartha Samgraha as "Prutak Sidhi Anarha Aadhaara-Aadheya Bhaava:
Niyantru Niyaamya Bhaava: Sehsi-Sesha Bhaavancha".

The Brahman supports controls and owns the entire universe eternally and
inseparably. The entire universe is supported controlled and owned by the
Brahman and exists for the purpose of Brahman eternally and inseparably.
Therefore the Brahman is the soul of the universe and the universe is the body
of the Brahman.

When the Gataka Sruthi is used to synchronize, the Abheda sruthi verses mean
to tell that nothing other than the Brahman qualified by the universe as his
body exists. In the same way when the Gataka sruthi verses are used to
synchornize, the bheda sruthi verses mean to tell that the Brahman, who is the
soul of the universe, is different from the universe that is his body.  Body
and soul are different entities but they are inseparably related. 

This relation is to be eternally and inseparably present between the soul and
the body otherwise the concept is ruled out. For example, assume that a man is
supporting an object say "pot". Though he is the supporter and the pot is
supported, the man cannot be the soul of the pot and the pot cannot be called
as his body. This is because it is possible that the same pot can be supported
by someone else (if he gives it to another person) or by something else say
ground (if he keeps it on the ground). The inseparable eternal relation is not
present here in this example. Similarly in an example, a man controls his
servant by his order. Though the man is the controller and his servant is
controlled, the man cannot be called as the soul of the servant and the
servant cannot be called as his body. This is because it is possible that
someone else can control the same servant. The inseparable eternal relation is
not present in this example also. Follow another example where a man owns a
land and gets benefits from it. Though the man is the owner of the land and
enjoys the benefits from his land and the land is owned and exists for the
purpose of the man, the man cannot be called as the soul of the land and the
land cannot be called as the body of the man. The inseparable eternal relation
is not present in this example also, as another person can own the land if it
is sold or seized.

The body-soul relationship between the Universe and the Brahman is eternal and
inseparable. The universe cannot exist without the Brahman and the Brahman is
not without the universe as his body. Before creation, the Brahman has the
subtle Chit & Achit entities as his body. He creates the universe by giving
expanded form, name etc to them. The form, name etc are given to the Chit
entities as per their karma which is without a beginning. The Brahman after
creating the universe has the expanded universe as his body. Therefore the
Brahman is declared as the material cause and instrumental cause of the
universe. The Brahman has infinite divine qualities and is untouched by all
impurities of the universe as he is the soul and the universe is his body. 

This key concept of Visistaadvaita is declared by many verses in Veda
explicitly like "Ya: Aatmani Thistan Ya: Aatmaanaam Antaro Yamayati Yam Aatmaa
Na Veda Yasya Aatma Sareeram" .

Thus the Pradhaana PratiTantram of Visistaadvaita is to be comprehended.



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