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Posting 2: How to Classify Vis'istAdvaita Vedanta

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Wed Apr 28 1999 - 11:02:28 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

Everything in the finite realm (loosely define it as our world) 
can be reduced to axioms and definitions; not even a nihilist 
will question these (for even the Buddhist makes use of these
to propound his or her theory) [how ironic!] Vis*istAdvaita was 
defined in the previous posting as an exposition on the nature 
of reality.  Its contents can be thought of as consisting of axioms, definitions, and conclusions.  Axioms refer to statements of fact, 
taken as truths without proof; however, they have a rationale 
basis (i.e., they cannot be contradictory to common experience.)  
The axioms relating to the nature of reality have been verified by experience, by those who have compiled this collection of axioms, definitions, and conclusions. 

There are two angles from which this collection can be approached.  One who operates at the level of a faith, will denote this collection 
as a religion or a philosophy, and will doubt those axioms which 
are beyond his comprehension.  Whereas, one who operates at 
the level of a conviction, excepts the axioms as truths, because he 
or she is able to comprehend the rationale behind the axioms, and
treats the collection as simply the most perfect description of the
nature of reality.  Whether one operates at the level of a faith or conviction is a function of the magnitude of delusion resulting from avidya karama (karma that causes delusion.) The magnitude of 
delusion dissipates as one*s set of self manifesting knowledge 
expands (as it comes into contact with objects.)  Note, knowledge 
and its properties will discussed in detail later, for now just note 
that knowledge is self manifesting (i.e., it reveals itself when it 
comes in to contact with objects, subtle or physical) and that it is
the Atman that is the source and subject of the knowledge. 

In summary, the classification of Vis*istadvaita varies across
individuals. For those who operate at the level of a conviction,
it is simply the most perfect explanation of the nature of reality, 
all other explanations are either less perfect or untruths. 

To augment this posting let me add a quote from Sri. S.M.S. Chari*s fundamentals of Vis*istAdvaita * Vedanta Desika claims there
is not a topic in philosophy which is not discussed in his Tattva-MuktA-KalApa.  What is not considered here cannot 
be found elsewhere.  I have examined in this work very carefully 
almost all topics relating to both pramAnas and prameyas at some 
place or the other; if I have overlooked any philosophic issue or expressed the same in a manner that may appear ambiguous no 
one else would be capable to decide it other than myself.*  

Contemplate on this: You can pass me off as a fool, but who 
among us has got the credentials to argue with the sarvajna 
(one possessing comprehensive philosophic knowledge), the 
Kavitarkika Simha (lion of poets and logicians)!!!!  Question but
learn not to doubt! Realise your limitations!  Make use of your free 
will and ask the ParamAtman to make apparent your limitations.

Note: The next posting will provide some examples of Vedanta Desika*s mastery, that should evoke reverence of a great magnitude.  

Venkat (Venkataramanan)