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Re: nityatvam/paratvam

From: mani2 (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Wed Dec 12 2001 - 14:32:43 PST

--- In bhakti-list@y..., xsrinath@n... wrote:
> I agree with this statement, i.e. that the paradox of eternal jeeva
> is most easily resolved in advaita, least in dvaita, and with some
> explanation in vishistAdvaita.  This is because of how the schools
> define jeeva-brahman:  ... jeeva is
> an independent but inferior entity in dvaita.

To be fair to the Dvaita philosophy, I don't think this
accurately reflects the view of Sri Ananda Tirtha (Madhva).
As in Visishtadvaita, there is no doubt the jIva is 
totally dependent on Brahman.  The Dvaita philosophy
resolves entities into two categories -- svatantra and
paratantra, independent and dependent. In fact, the Dvaita
author B.N.K. Sharma coined the phrase 'svatantra-advitIya
brahma-vAda' for Sri Ananda Tirtha's philosophy -- the
doctrine where Brahman is One and Independent, and all
else -- matter and jIvas -- are totally dependent. The rub
is the implication that Advaita's Brahman is neither One
nor Independent, since it requires mAyA (a second entity)
to explain anything, and results in self-contradiction.  
The Dvaitins (wrongly, in my opinion) argue that 
Visishtadvaita's idea of Brahman is similarly not fully Independent 
since jIva and prakRti are considered the body (sarIra) of Isvara.
Since Visishtadvaita takes these two classes of entities to
be attributes (viseshaNa) of Brahman, Dvaitins argue that
this Brahman is dependent metaphysically on jIva and prakRti
for its Brahman-ness.

[This view is clearly refuted by Visishtadvaita philosophers
as being a total misunderstanding of Sri Ramanuja's philosophy,
and of the idea of 'sarIra'. If some entities are attributes of 
Brahman, it indicates only reciprocal relationship (one qualifies the 
other; one is qualified by the other), NOT reciprocal dependence.  As 
explained in my previous email, Brahman sustains the jIva and prakRti
as part of His body through His own eternal will (nitya-icchA); they
do not exist totally in their own right by their own essence.]

Dvaita therefore accepts that the jIva is totally dependent
on Brahman. They even accept in some sense that Brahman is the 
innermost Self of all. They simply have some problem giving this
idea its full weight, and cannot accept that
Brahman has the jIva and prakRti as attributes, and that
therefore Brahman has everything as Its metaphysical body.
Despite the clear definitions of Sri Ramanuja and Sri Desika,
they somehow fall into the trap of thinking that such a body
imposes a limitation on Brahman's purity.  This forces them
to posit the jIva as somehow external, separable entities.
This is at variance with Sri Ramanuja's explanation that
the jIva is in an inherent, attributive relation to Brahman,
one that can be realized meditatively. This idea of Ramanuja's
is known as 'pRthak-siddhi-anarhatva' -- the indelibility of
the relationship between jIva and paramAtman, as long as the
jIva exists (which is eternality).  Whenever the
jIva is mentioned or thought of, the paramAtman rightly must
be thought of as well as its inner Self.

This line is echoed in Tiruppavai -- 'un tannODu uravEl namakku
ingu ozhikka ozhiyAdu'.  The bond simply cannot be broken.

In short, Dvaita's idea should be paraphrased as 
'the jiva is dependent and inferior but external 
to the Brahman'.

aDiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan,
Mani



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