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Re: posts on Vis'istAdvaita: Aside 2: Advaita and Vis'istAdvaita (mutually exclusive descriptions of the nature of reality)

From: Venkat Nagarajan (nagarajv_at_pathcom.com)
Date: Sun May 30 1999 - 20:36:38 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