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Re: mutual exclusion - 1

From: Anand Karalapakkam (
Date: Fri Jul 16 1999 - 14:38:32 PDT

SrI Lakshminrusimha ParabrahmaNE namaha
SrI Lakshminrusimha divya pAdukA sEvaka SrIvaN-
SatakOpa SrI nArAyaNa yateendra mahAdESikAya namaha

 Dear devotees,
 namO nArAyaNA.

 Thanks to Sri Ravi dESIkan for his posting, comparing
 the three system of philosophies viz. advaita, visishtAdvaita
 and Dwaita.

 adiyEn would like to add more on this issue.
 Sorry for a lengthy one.

> secondly,emperumaanar and swami Desikan strongly refute the doctrine
> Maaya and we srivaishnavaas
> say "Jagat sathyam",this world is real ,they are all appendages og the

> saguna brahmam-sriman-naraayana,
> whereas to the adwaitha school the world is Mayaa,the brahmam is
devoid of
> Gunaas,Nirgunam,and all
> the mummuurthis,siva ,vishnu and brahma are all one and the same

  In some places, vEdAs also say that Brahman is nirguNa. But
  the meaning conveyed there is not the way advaitins are thinking.
  Bhagavad rAmAnuja and SwAmi dESikan have dealt with this
  extensively and have clearly refuted the untenable theory of
  the advaitins.

  For advaitins/sankara, Brahman is devoid of all attributes,
  whatsoever. Thus, their concept of Brahman, the only
  reality for them, is pure jn~Anam, without any attributes. Thus,
  it is better termed as "nirviSEsha Brahman" (attributeless
  Brahman). While "nirguNa Brahman", according to advaitins,
  denote the same thing, it poses some terminology problem also,
  since we also accept Brahman to be nirguNa. nirguNa implies
  devoid of guNAs ; but devoid of which guNAs is the question mark.
  Brahman is devoid of the guNAs of prakruti, characterized by rajas,
  tamas and sattva. Thus techically, Brahman is nirguNa only, but
  it has to be properly understood that, nirguNa here denies the
  existence of the guNAs associated with that of prakruti.

  Thus, advaitins are also referred to as
  "nirviSesha Brahma vAdins" , "mAyAvAdins" etc.


  Arguments in brief :

  niguNa srutis are those few texts that declare Brahman to
  be nirguNa. SaguNa srutis are those texts (many) which
  declare Brahman to have many numerous attributes.

   For advaitins, both these two type of texts can't be taken as
  equally valid and thus negates the SaguNa srutis and upholds
  nirguNa srutis with their interpretation that Brahman is devoid
  of all attributes/guNAs. Thus, for them Brahman is nirguNa ie.
  nirviSEsha and the Brahman of saguNa Srutis is called as
  "SaguNa Brahman", who is ultimately unreal ie. non-existent.
  advaitins use the "apacchEda nyAya" of mImAmsa to formulate
  their thoery.

  apacchEda nyAya :

  Jaimini's pUrvamImAmsa sUtra (6.5.54) "paurvAparyE
  pUrvadaurbalyam prakrutivat" discusses the passage (vEdAs)

  "yadyudgAtA pacchidyEta adakshiNaha sa yaj~naha -
   samsthApya tEna punar yajEta ; atha pratihartA
   sarvavEdasam dadyAt ".

  This is regarding the jyOtishtOma yaj~na, wherein the
  priests should go around the sacrificial fire, with
  each holding the tucked up waist-cloth of the priest in

  The expiatory rites to be performed when a priest lets
  go the waist-cloth, depends upon the priest himself :

  If the udgAtA, the priest chanting sAma vEda, lets go
  the waist-cloth of the priest in front of him, then
  as an expiatory rite, the whole yaj~na (sacrifice) has to
  be restrated from the beginning and the priests shouldn't
  be given any fee (dakshiNa) for performing the yaj~na.

  If the pratihartA, the priest chanting the R*g vEda, lets
  go the waist-cloth of the priest in front of him, then
  the expiatory rite consists of completing the yaj~na
  with the performer of yaj~na giving away all of his
  material wealth as the dakshiNa (fee) !!

  If the two priests let go the waist-cloth successively,
  then the expiatory rite to be performed is that corresponding
  to the latter priest's let go of the waist cloth. For instance,
  if the udgAtA lets go the waist-cloth atfirst, followed by the
  pratihartA, then the yaj~na is completed and the performer
  of the yaj~na has to give away all of his material wealth
  ( in accordance with the expiatory rite for pratihartA's
  let go of the waist-cloth and not that of udgAtA's). Thus, the
  "former" expiatory rite is over-ruled by the "latter".

  Thus, Jamini says in his maxim that, whenever such conflicts
  arise, the latter prevails over the former. This is the
  apacchEda nyAya. "apacchEda" means, "to let go the hold".

  Important Note <explained well by Bhagavad rAmAnuja
  and SwAmi dESikan> : Here, the "former" and "latter" are not
  known "apriori" (ie. we don't know as to which priest will
  let go the waist-cloth apriori). Thus, apacchEda nyAya is
  only applicable in cases wherein the conflict is of this

  advaitin's argument :

  1. karma kAnda portion deals with the rituals ;
     jn~na kAnda portion deals with Brahman. Thus a direct
     conflict arises. By applying apacchEda nyAya, the jn~Ana
     kAnda being the latter, overrules the karma kAnda (former).

  2. Within the jn~Ana kAnda, saguNa and nirguNa srutis occur,
     with the former upholding that Brahman has guNAs and the
     latter that Brahman does not have guNAs. SaguNa srutis are
     "former" because, if the nirguNa srutis has to _negate_ the
     guNAs, then texts with Brahman as possesor of guNAs has to
     precede it ( Brahman is understood only from vEdAs and thus,
     Brahman having guNAs also should be explicitly present in the
     vEdAs themselves, for a possible negation of it ; this is
     what precisely provided by the saguNa srutis, so says the
     advaitin). To resolve this direct conflict, apply
     apacchEda nyAya, and thus nirguNa srutis (latter) overrules
     the saguNa srutis (former). Thus, only nirvisEsha brahman
     exists and all the three viz. SaguNa Brahman, jIvAtma and
     prakriti are all illusory only (ie. not a reality).


    Criticism of advaitin's interpretation :

  The absurdity of applying apacchEda nyAya for karma kAnda
  and jn~Ana kAnda is very evident from the very first
  brahma sUtra "athAtO brahma jij~nyAsA", wherein bAshyakArar
  (bhagavad rAmAnuja) clearly establishes the import of that
  sUtra as the connection link between pUrva mImAmsa (karma
  khAnda) and uttara mImAmsa (jn~Ana khAnda). The following
  criticism taken appropriately also holds good for this case.

  Lets come to our discussion point :
  The absurdity of applying apacchEda nyAya in this context
  has been discussed well by bhagavad rAmAnuja and swAmi
  dESikan. SaguNa srutis _always_ have the relationship with
  the nirguNa srutis as its antecedence (ie. nirguNa srutis
  are always in subsequent to the SaguNa srutis, since for
  negation, the positive statement has to be present before
  it, as explained earlier ). Thus, with the view point of
  advaitins, when these two type of srutis are _always_ in
  opposition (in conflict), the "former" and the "latter" are
  known apriori and thus apacchEda nyAya can never be used in
  this case. It is not something accidental that nirguNa srutis
  become subsequent to the saguNa srutis. It is very evident
  that applying apacchEda-nyAya in this context is untenable.

  SwAmi dESikan in His "tattva muktA kalApa", points out that,
  when there is a _fixed order_ ( known apriori) between the
  conflicting texts - one as the "former" and the other as
  "latter", then "upakramAdhikaraNa nyAya" has to be applied,
  which precisely addresses this issue in hand. According to
  this nyAya (rule), the "former" rules over the "latter". Thus,
  even if we accept the view of the advaitin that saguNa srutis
  and nirguNa srutis are in direct conflict with each other,
  then one has to apply  "upakramAdhikaraNa nyAya", and thus,
  SaguNa Srutis rules over the nirguNa Srutis !!!

  Thus, the advaitin's interpretation of the texts are
  untenable and are absurd. Even after such an interpretation,
  advaitins land up into many more problems : How to account
  for the world of sentients and insentients ?? etc. They wash
  away their hands by introducing the concept of "mAyA" nowhere
  found/supported in the vEdAs - the criticisms on which to
  expose its utter absurdity is another ocean. The apriori
  dogmas of advaitins are well known anyway.

  Actual import of SaguNa and nirguNa Srutis :

  Bhagavad RAmAnuja, clearly establishes the correct import of
  these srutis. Actually, there is _no conflict_  between SaguNa
  and nirguNa Srutis. The conflict was seen only apparently.
  Bhagavad rAmAnuja correctly uses the "utasarga-apavAda nyAya",
  according to which, the text which speaks in the "negative
  sense" (ie. performing negation) has to be interpreted in
  accordance with the texts which perform the affirmation.

  Explanation of utsarga-apavAda nyAya :

  The Sruti text "nahimsyAt sarvA bhUtAni", prohibits the act
  of causing injury to any living being. But, the sruti text
  "vAyavyAm SvEtam AlabhEta bhUtikAmaha" prescribes the
  offering of the sacrificial animal (goat ?) for a yaj~na.
  The general rule (no injury to any living being) has to be
  understood in the light of the text in affirmation (prescribing
  the animal sacrifice). Thus, the general rule is only applicable
  to those cases which are not covered by the affirmative texts.

  note : The jIvAtma which has taken the body of this animal
         involved in the yaj~na, attains svarga (or similar
         higher lOkAs as the case may be).

   Application of utsarga-apavAda nyAya :

   Thus, nirguNa srutis are to be understood in accordance with
   the saguNa srutis which speak of the affirmation. According to
   this nyAya (rule), the negation of guNAs by nirguNa srutis are
   only to those guNAs that are not spoken off in the affirmative
   texts viz. SaguNa Srutis. Thus, while the saguNa srutis glorify
   the presence of all auspicious qualities with Brahman, the
   nirguNa srutis negate all the inauspicious(bad ??) qualities in
   Brahman. This is a very simple straightforward and correct
   understanding of the texts, without any apriori dogma. This
   is the very import of the Upanishads, as very much evident
   from various supporting texts cited by bhagavad rAmAnuja.

   SUtrakArar(Sage BAdarAyana alias vyAsa) in the
   "Ubhayalin~ga-adhikaraNa" of the vEdAnta sUtrAs, very clearly
   establishes this point.

  The first sUtra (3.2.11) of this adhikaraNa :
  "na sthAnatOpi parasyObhayalin~gam sarvatra hi"

 " Even on account of residing in every place (as antaryAmi), there
   is no imperfection in the Highest Self (ParamAtma) ; for
   everywhere ( all the texts) He is described as having
   two-fold characteristics"

   Bhagavad rAmAnuja explains in detail citing various Upanishad
   texts. The two-fold characteristics of Brahman spoken here,
   refers to :

   a. Total absence of all the imperfections.
   b. Possession of all auspicious qualities (kalyANa guNAs).

   For instance, "apahatapApmA satyasankalpaha" (chAndOgya Up
   8.1.5) says  " <Brahman is > free from evil and possesses
   sathyasankalpa (ie. true will) ", explaining clearly the
   two-fold characteristics of Brahman.

  This very important conclusion from Upanishads is very dear
  to bhagavad rAmAnuja and invariably uses it while glorifying
  the Parabrahman SrIman nArAyaNA.

a. For instance, in the very first mangaLa slOkam for vEdArtha
   Sangraha, bhagavad rAmAnuja says :

  " aSEsha cit-acit vastu SEshinE SEshaSAyinE |
    _nirmala ananta kalyANa nidhayE_  vishNavE namaha || "

    nirmalan (One free of all defects) and kalyANa nidhi
    (treasurehouse of all auspicious qualities) are
    explicitly referred here.

b. In the very first line of the "Introduction" to bhagavad
   gItA bAshya, bhagavad rAmAnuja says :

   " Sriyaph patihi nikhilahEyapratyaneeka-kalyANaikatAna: ..."

   " He(nArAyaNa) is the Sriyaph-pathi (consort of "Sri"- Goddess
     Lakshmi); He is wholly auspicious and is antagonistic to
     all that is evil (no hEya guNAs)....."

c. In the very beginning of SaraNAgati Gadyam :

   " bhagavan nArAyaNA.........anavadhikAtiSaya-asankhEya
     kalyANa guNagaNAm........" ( possesing all auspicious
     qualities and free of all imperfections/defects ).

   After pirAtti's words of affirmation and blessings to
   bhagavad rAmAnuja for the prapatti , the very first
   line is :

   " akhilahEyapratyaneeka-kalyANaikatAna ......"
   ( Free of all hEya guNAs ie. antagonistic to all that is
     evil/bad, possesor of all auspicious qualities .....).

  Ofcourse, our AzhwArs in their Divya prabandham clearly
  sing about this two-fold characteristics of SrIman nArAyaNA.

  For instance, our thiruppAnAzhwAr, in amalanAdipirAn ,
  starts with "amalan" ie. one free of all defects (and one
  who grants moksham to mumukshus by removing their sins)
  and says that PerumAL is "vimalan" ie. always free of
  all sorts of defects, and adds on many kalyANa guNAs
  of PerumAL like AtipirAn, viN~N~avar kOn, nimalan,
  neetivAnavan etc. SwAmi dESikan in His commentry
  "munivAhana bhOgam" enlists fifteen guNAs of PerumAL
  housed in this first pAsuram of thiruppAnAzhwAr.
  BAshyakArar (esp. in jijn~AsAdhikaraNa of Sri Bashya) and swAmi
  dESikan (esp. in SatadUshani) advances many perfect arguments
  to reject the theory of advaitins on "nirviSesha Brahman" as
  untenable on logical and metaphysical grounds and establishes
  that such a theory is not supported by the pramAnAs including
  Brahma sUtras etc.

  The book titled "Tat tvam asi and nEti nEti" of
  Sri U.Ve. K.S. NArAyaNAchArya of Karnataka is an excellent
  treatise on these most mishandled texts (tat tvam asi,nEti nEti)
  of Upanishads by the advaitins. He clearly exposes all the
  absurdities of the interpretations offered by Sankara and its
  consequences thereof.

  Any unbiassed vEdAntin will clearly understand the
  untenability of the interpretations offered by advaitins
  on this issue and also the philosophical consequences
  they arrive at.

AzhwAr,yemperumAnAr,dESikan,Azhagiyasingar thiruvadigaLE SaraNam

 adiyEn rAmAnuja dAsan
 ananthapadmanAbha dAsan