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VishtAdvaita (in connection with Sri Damodar Swarup's queries)

From: Madhavakkannan V (srivaishnavan_at_hotmail.com)
Date: Thu Sep 20 2001 - 18:15:11 PDT

SrI:
SrImathE Gopaladesika mahadesikaya namah:
Dearest Srivaishnavas,

Sri Damodar swarup had raised few queries and Sri Sadanana answered then 
quite well:

adiyEn wants to add two cents (in order to understand the VisishtAdvaita 
philosophy better).

The three authoritative scriptures referred to as Prastaana Trayam are:
-Vedas (Sruti) - Poorva & Uttara Mimaamsa together.
-Bhagavat Gita
-Brahma Sutras - Of Veda Vyasa Bhagavan.

Veda is Apourusheyam (unauthored -not authored by anybody).
Lord revealed the same and taught to four faced Brahma.
Veda is eternal, and has no date of origin and end.
Veda is the only ultimate authority and hasno MISTAKES at all. The sruthi 
vAkhyams (statements) do not and contradict with each other(unlike our 
statements:-) If they appear so to us, it reflects our lack of understanding 
of sruthis and not their flaws (where there are no flaws..)

As long as any philosophy is in conformity with Statements (encompassed) in 
these three scriptures, and more so to Vedas, then, that needs to be 
considered as VaidIka philosophy.
Any philosophy which contradicts Vedic statement is uncondiered non-vaidIka.

It is not that Sri Ramanuja established this VisishtAdvaita philosophy. He 
only expounded the same. He has interpreted Stuthi vAkhyams and Brahma 
Suthras /GitA based on his AcharyAs' works. (listed below)

In Vedas, there are abhEdha sruthis, bhEdha sruthis and Ghataka sruthis.

Advaita- Monism is based on AbhEda sruthis;
Dwaita- Dualism is based on bhEda sruthis
VisishtAdvaita- based on Ghataka sruthis (encompassing both bhEdha and 
abhEdha sruthis)

Thus, all the three philosophies are based on Vedic statements.

Sri Ramanujacharya has based his system of philosphphy and interpretation on 
Ghataksa sruthi and on preceptor's works
-Bagavath Bodhayana (who wrote Bodhayana vritthi in 100,000 granthas on 
Vyasa's Brahma suthram),
-Dramidacharya (who wrote a commentary on Brahma sUthra- called Dramida 
Bhashya),
-TankAcharya (also known as Brahmanandi- who wrote a treatise on Brahma 
sUthras - knows as Vartika);
-Guhadevacharya
-Acharya Bharuchi (who wrote a treatise on Dharma saasthra and commented on 
Brahma sUthra)
-Acharya Kapardi- (who wrote commentaries on Brahma sUthra and Apasthama 
Kalpa sUthras)
-Nathamuni- who wrote NyAya tattvam and Yoga rahsyam
-Yamunacharya (916 CE to 1041 CE) who wrote Siddhitraya (embodying Athma 
siddhi, Iswara Siddhi and Samvit Siddhi), Agama pramANya and others)

No doubt all three (dwaita, Advaita and Visishtadvaita) are follwing Vedic 
statements. With due and high regards to them, adiyEn's intention is to 
elaborate the scriptural authority and accepatcne of totality of Vedic 
statements in VisishtAdvaita without any conflicts on bhEda /abhEda sruthis. 
(as beautifully elaborated by SrI Bhagavath Ramanujacharya)

The Vedas do not say anywhere that Bheda Srutis are incorrect or that only 
Abheda Srutis are correct or vice versa. The answer is provided by the 
Sarira- Sariri Bhava (the Body- Soul-relationship) - the basis of 
Visishtadvaita which answers the conflicts.

Thus, the central teaching of the VisishtAdvaita philosophy is that 
Parabrahman, The Supreme Lord, Sriya: Pathi Sriman Narayanan is in reality, 
the only one "TRUTH" (Tattva). It is eternal (Nithya), unconditioned reality 
(Satya) and infinitie knowledge (jnAna), infinitie on ppoint of time and 
space (anantha), Omnipresent (vibhu), Omniscient (Sarvajna), Omni potent 
(Sarvashakthan).

He is the Material Cause (UpAdhAna kaaraNa), instrumental cause (nimitta 
kaaraNa) as well as the auxiliary cause (Sahakaari kAraNa) of the Universe.

Other names given in Vedas for this Parabrahman are:
Sat (Self -existent), Atma (spirit), Brahman (Great?), Isa or ISwara (Lord), 
VishNu, Narayana (they are not common names! ), PurushOtthama, Vaasudeva.

Parabrahman, being the only Reality (Tattwa) is the cause of the Universe or 
worlds. It is knowable in the condition of manifestation but does not belong 
to the category of "material" in the normal sense of the term.

While Parabrahman is the INDEPENDENT Reality, Chit (sentient) and achit 
(non-sentient) are the two dependent realities out of the Lord - Parabrahman 
as His SarIra. In fact, these two DEPENDENT RELAITIES are thus, the 
QUALITIES of the INDEPENDENT REALITY (the Lord).

Thus, there is only one Brahman (advaita), who has chit and achit as its 
inseparable attributes (chit-achit viSishTa). It is only the "advaita" of 
this sense that is present in the actual reality (jIvAtma and matter are 
inseparable attributes of Brahman). Brahman/Iswara, chit and achit are 
distinct from one another, though related (with chit and achit as 
inseparable attributes to Brahman).

These three maintain an indisoluble union, inseparable unity among 
themselves.

Better said: (in the words of our Sri Anand Karalapakkam)
As VEdAnta dESika says, Brahman alone, as organically related to the entire 
cit and acit, is the one ultimate Reality (aSEsha-cidacit-prakAram 
brahmaikamEva tattvam). Though there is absolute difference between Iswara 
and the other two reals and also among individual souls and matter, the 
ultimate Reality is considered as one because as an organic unity it is one. 
In this sense, the system of vEdAnta expounded by RAmAnuja is described as 
ViSishtAdvaita which means oneness of the organic unity (ViSishtasya 
advaitam).

Sriman nArAyaNA out of His great compassion towards the baddha
jIvAtmAs propagates vedAs and allied sAstrAs , which are the
only way through which they can possibly know about Him & the
ways to reach Him. The ultimate and final essence of sAstrAs is that
Sriman NArAyaNA is the sarIrI and ,all chit & achit are His sarIrA.
This eternal sarIra sarIrI bhAvA is composed of the following three
things:

a. AdheyatvA (ie.being supported by a sarIrI) : Existence of
the sarIrA(body) is due to the sarIrI ie. sarIrI supports
the sarIrA. In other words , if sarIrI ceases to exist ,
sarIrA also ceases to exist.

b. niyamyatvA (ie. being controlled by a sarIrI ) : Not only
that sarIrA derives its existence from a sarIrI, it is also
being controlled by the sarIrI. So , sarIrA  acts as per the
will/desires of sarIrI.

c. seshatvA (ie. existing for the pleasure of sarIrI ) : Not only
that sarIrA is supported & controlled by sarIrI , it exists
only for the pleasure of sarIrI ie. sarIrI is sarIrA's Master.

It is to be noted that the "sarIrI" needn't be physically
present inside a "sarIrA". This is not a condition to be met
out for the sarIra-sarIrI bhAvA to hold good..

Thus Sriman NArAyaNA supports and controls all jIvAtmAs, and all
the jIvAtmAs exist purely for His enjoyment. Thus, the very
essential nature (svaroopam) of a jIvAtmA is to perform kainkaryam
to Sriman NArAyaNA for His pleasure and performance of any
other activity doesn't conform to its nature.

Thanks to Sri Damodar and Sri Sadananda for the thread and for giving us an 
opportunity to enjoy our philosophy and Sampradayam.

Trust beginners like me, can understand and perceive the VisistAdvaita 
philosophy. It is receommended to read Sri SMS Chari's books in English on 
Vaisnavism, Advaita and VisishtAdvaita, Fundamentals of Visishtadvaita 
Vedantha, Philosphy of Vedantha Suthra etc. They are treasures.

Please fogrive adiyEn for his indulgence. Though not qualified, adiyEn wrote 
(Fools rush in where angels fear to tread:-)
Regards
Narayana Narayana
aDiyEn Narayana dAsan madhavakkannan

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