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Vis'istAdvaita and Advaita are mutually exclusive:Attention Harikrisha!

From: Venkat Nagarajan (NAGARAVE_at_fin.gov.on.ca)
Date: Tue Jun 01 1999 - 06:36:13 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

The source for following is *Fundamentals of Vis*istAdvaita 
VedAnata:A study based on Vedanta Des*ika*s:Tattva-MuktA-
KalApa*, by Sri. S.M.S. Chari.  The material that follows is not 
verbatim, but is in accordance with the material presented in 
the book.  Copies are available, please e-mail if interested. 
It is our duty to each buy a copy, for Sri. S.M.S. Chari 
produced this excellent work, out of great compassion. 
(He is sharing his tremendous knowledge with us, the less 
fortunate, who do not have the capacity to read and 
understand the original Sanskrit texts. )

A breif summary of Advaita and Vis*istAdvaita (just to highlight the
concept of moksha and the purpose of creation)

Kevala Advaita

Making use of the pramAnas and the concept of avidya (Non
Knowledge) advaita establishes that there is only one entity, 
Brahman, which is just undifferentiated consciousness.  
The superimposition of avidya (whose source is not known)
on this entity leads to the illusion of plurality.  While subject
to avidya the jiva, Brahman, and prakriti are all classified as real.  
At this stage one undertakes Saguna Brahma upasana.  
When an individual gains the intuitive knowledge that he 
is one with brahman, he or she is said to be liberated.  
However, notice that a liberated individual does not maintain
his or her individuality upon leaving the body; thus, moksha is
impermanent!

Vis*istAdvaita
Making use of the pramAnas, without any adjuncts, 
Vis*istAdvaita establishes that jiva, Brahman, and prariti 
are all real, distinct, beginingless and endless.
The supreme reality is a qualified whole; Isvara is the 
sustainer of the whole and prakriti and jivas are the sustained.  
Jivas are of three types, eternally free, liberated, and 
enslaved (those who are in misery whether in a 
manifest or non manifest state) by beginningless karma.  
The true nature of jiva, who is a subtle entity, is all 
pervading knowledge and bliss; in this sense jiva and
isvara are similar.  However, Isvara, who is the source of 
bliss for the jiva, has the creative power maya, which he 
uses to sustain all three types of jiva.  While in bondage, 
a jiva, which is the knower, does not realize its true 
nature is bliss and that it knows everything there is to 
know.  Isvara out of compassion uses his inherent
creative power maya to fashion a field for the jivatmans 
in bondage, out of pre-existing matter, in which to 
exhaust their load of karma, so that they can realize
their true nature.  Because there are an infinite number 
of individual souls, the process is eternal.  The key thing 
to note is that according to Vis'isTadvaita there is a 
purpose to creation (it is the ultimate act of compassion 
by the sustainer) and liberation is real and permanent.  
Moksha is described as the full and perfect experience
of the bliss of Brahman!

Notes

1. Notice Advaita and Vis*istAdvaita are mutually exclusive 
descriptions of the nature of reality.  Some, like the 
members of the RamaKrishna mutt, claim they are the 
same, but that is a dogmatic claim and is rooted in illogic.  
To say Advaita and Vis*istAdvaita is the same, is like 
saying 2+1=3 and 2+1=4.
2. It is possible for two mutually exclusive axiomatic 
philosophies to coexist; however only one can be the truth.
3.  While both are axiomatic; i.e., have a rational basis, 
Advaita makes use of an adjunct (avidya) not sanctioned
by scripture.
4.  While the state of kaivalya can eventually lead to 
moksha (it is an intermediate state and not the ultimate.)

Adiyen,
krishNArpaNam