Monday, August 29, 2005

Advaita, Visishtadvaita, Dvaita

There are three main schools of Vedanta:

1. Dvaita
2. Visitadvaita
3. Advaita

And allof these have a strong logical basis. They do not simply say "this is so". They give strong reasons for the same, and the arguments of each are simply wonderful.

1. Dvaita was propounded by Sri Madhvacharya. Their view is that Jiavatman and Paramatman are always different, and never same. A Jiva can anver become the Narayana, and the difference is eternally maintained.

2. Visitadvaita is a kind of middle between Advaita and Dvaita, and was propunded by Sri Ramanujacharya. They say that the Reality is one, but there are still differences in it, and that these differences cannot be resolved further. They give the example of a Mango fruit. Eventhough the mango is the same, the taste of the mango is different from the smell of mango.

3. The third is Advaita, which was mainly explained by Sri Adi Sankaracharya. According to it, all the differences can be resolved, and that the so called differences are just illusion and temporary, and that final reality is just one.

Take a ocean for example. The Dvaitins say that in a ocean, a wave is always different from a ocean. Visistadvaita says that though a wave is different from a ocean, it is still part of the same. So there are differences in the oneness. Advaita says, it is neither about waves, nor about ocean, it is the one reality of water. waves-ocean are just appearences of the mind. What exists is water alone.

Indian Philosophy 101-

For more detailed information and comparison of the three schools and their much moree, see this link. The posts are made by Krsna in Orkut.

The following are posts made by Bhagava, they also provide an excellent summary of the three schools and also links for additional reading.


dArsana = way of seeing = school of philosophy

"hindu" philosophy has six major schools called 'shad dArsanAs'.
1)nyAya (gautama)
2)vaiseshika (kaNAda)
3)sAnkhya (kapila)
4)yOga (patanjali)
5)pUrva-mImAmsa (jaimini)
6)uttara-mImAmsa (vyAsa)
advaita, vishishtAdvaita & dvaita are a part of the uttara-mImAmsa school.

all the above dArasaNas are based on vEdas. they all accept sruti (vEda) as a pramANa (valid means of knowledge) - and hence are called "hindu".

The darsanas


brahma satyam jagan mithya jIvO brahmAiva na para:
Brahman alone is real; the world is illusory; the individual and universal soul are not different (are one)

more about advaita

advaita FAQ


There exists an Ultimate Principle, an Absolute Being that is the source and substratum of all that exists. This immanent spirit is the inner guide and controller of the whole universe with all its diverse animate and inanimate elements. Communion with this gracious, omnipotent Supreme Being constitutes the supreme end of existence. Such communion is attainable exclusively through self-surrender and undivided, loving meditation.

The Brahman supports, controls and owns all chit and achit entities, he is the soul of all chit and achit entities. As all the chit and achit entities are supported, controlled and owned by Brahman and exist for the purpose of Brahman as inseparable attribute of Brahman, all the chit and achit entities are Brahman's body. The Brahman is Purushoththama: Shreeman Narayana: Vishnu: Vasudeva:

Meaning of the term “Visishtadvaita”: It is derived by two ways – “Visishtasya Advaitam – Visishtadvaitam” and “Visishtayoho Advaitam – Visishtadvaitam”.

“Visishtasya Advaitam” means – The Brahman qualified by all chit and achit entities as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) is without a second entity meaning unparalleled and unsurpassed. This brings out the ultimate supremacy of Shreeman Narayana Para Brahman who is Akila Heya Pratyaneeka: and Ananta Kalyaana Gunaakara:

“Visishtayoho Advaitam” means – The Brahman having the subtle (sukshma) chit and achit entities as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) before creation is the same Brahman having the expanded (stUla) chit and achit entities as his Saareeram/Prakaaram/Viseshanam (body/mode/attribute) after creation.

vishishtAdvaita FAQ


"five differences" in dvaita:
(i) jîva-Îshvara-bheda, or difference between the soul and Vishnu;
(îi) jaDa-Îshvara-bheda, or difference between the insentient and Vishnu;
(îii) mitha-jîva-bheda, or difference between any two souls;
(iv) jaDa-jîva-bheda, or difference between insentient and the soul;
(v) mitha-jaDa-bheda, or difference between any two insentients.

Here, "insentient" is used to refer to _all_ entities which are not 'chit' or having consciousness, such as matter, energy, etc. -- including so-called "living bodies" of creatures, and also such other insentients as space, linguistic or mathematical entities and their symbols, etc.

To clarify: Îshvara is a sentient Being, and the jîva is sentient also. However, this does not imply that both are fully alike; Îshvara is totally independent, while the jîva is completely dependent. It is the energization by the Îshvara that is the responsible for the activity of the jîva.

Tenets of dvaita::
"In Shrîman Madhva's school, (i) Hari (Vishnu) is supreme; (î) the universe is real; (îi) the [five] differences are real [and are the properties of the differents]; (iv) the leagues of jîvas are cohorts of Hari; (v) and are with superiority and inferiority [among themselves]; (vi) mukti (salvation) is the experience of [the jîva's] own innate joy; (vî) that is achieved by flawless devotion to the Supreme and correct knowledge; (vîi) the three pramâNas are aksha, etc., (pratyaksha, anumâna, âgama - sense-perception, logic, and scripture); (ix) Hari is the only entity [primarily] described in all Âmnâyas (Shrutis or Vedas)."

dvaita FAQ


Blogger V said...

SrIgurubhyo namaH On the topic of 'Doctrine of Difference' contained in the Article on Dvaita mata, here is a short response: The essence of the consideration of the five’bhedas’(jIva-Ishvara bheda, jiva-jiva bheda, jiva-jaDa bheda, Ishwara-jaDa bheda and jada-jada bheda) is contained in an encapsulated form in the 7th mantra of the Mandukya Upanishat: ‘nAntaH prajnam….’ All duality is categorically negated as pertaining to the relatively real (mithya) realm, the pAda-traya, and the Turiya is declared as the Absolute Truth: Advaitam Atma. The Panchadashi, Chitra Deepa Prakaranam (Ch.VI) teaches the method of comprehending the Non-dual Brahman/Atman by taking the example of a painting on a cloth/canvas. We can show that the five bheda-s (considered above) are not real in the absolute sense by studying this example. Let us suppose we have a painting-on-canvas of a scene of a market place. There are various people, men and women, different animals like cows, dogs, sheep, etc., several birds like crows, pigeons and so on depicted in the painting. There are many insentient objects like dress materials, food grains, sweet-meats, soft drinks, etc. that are being sold there. There is a temple and people go in and come out of it. What is fundamental to the above example is: the wide variety of sentient and insentient entities is having one common base, the canvas. Although the outlines, the colour, the presence of clothing on the people and its absence on animals, cars, cycles, etc. differ, the entire ‘difference’ stands on the one substratum, the canvas. The five bheda-s are observable only on the surface but when the substratum canvas is considered, the bheda-s no longer matter. The shopkeeper-customer (jiva-jiva) difference, the shopkeeper-foodgrain (jiva-jaDa) difference, the temple Deity-devotee (Ishwara-jiva) difference, the food-grain-cycle (jaDa-jaDa) difference, temple Deity-temple bell (Ishwara-jaDa) difference are all perceived only apparently but fade into insignificance the moment it is realized that the entire gamut of variety stands on one common substratum, the canvas. The canvas is the One Non-dual Consciousness, the Sat, Chit, Ananta Brahman/Atman, the drk. The variety, drishya, is only a superimposition on this substratum. The consideration of a dream, as an analogy, also would bring out the same results as above. The Shruti says: na iha nAnaa asti kinchana (No difference whatsoever exists here in Brahman). The five bheda-s were taken up for consideration not without a purpose. All bheda, duality, forms the subject matter of aparaa vidyaa, the sciences that pertain to the world. The Veda too has this portion when it teaches the purusharthas of dharma, artha and kAma. But when it comes to Moksha, the vidya takes the name of ‘parA vidyA’. This field of the Shastra is essentially the one that transcends bheda, duality. The main purport and purpose of the Vedanta, the Upanishads, is to teach abheda and only in this the Upanishads become the indispensable pramana. While bheda, duality, is perceived naturally, without being instructed, abheda is not; it requires to be instructed with effort and understood with great effort. It is towards this end the Upanishads endeavour. Says Sri Shankara Bhagavatpada in His commentary to the mantra 5.1.1 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: //na upadeshArham dvaitam, jAta-mAtra-prAni-buddhi-gamyatvAt.// [Duality does not require to be instructed (by the Veda) since it (duality) is perceived by every being even at birth.] A question would arise: If this is the case, why does the Veda speak of duality in great volumes? Reply: The Veda is actually refining the duality that is initially crude by making it conducive to the grasping of the ultimate teaching of Advaitam. All kinds of duality like: he is different and I am different, I am his/her son/daughter, I am dependent on him/her for my sustenance/wellbeing, etc. is cognized by every being even untutored. Even a just born baby or pup or calf looks upon the mother for being fed and security. This dependence on an external source continues as the child grows up. It looks up to the teacher for knowledge. The grown up man looks upon the employer, sva-svAmi-bhAva, for monetary benefits and to lead a life of happiness. The Veda takes this forward and teaches us that we have to look upon Ishwara for our wellbeing. It teaches us the existence of other worlds and helps us in attaining these by adhering to the means prescribed therein. It teaches us that the karmaphala dhAta is Ishwara and He is the One that can grant us the Parama PurushArtha, Moksha. All this is the refinement the Veda does in the realm of duality. It is only when it comes to the instruction pertaining to Moksha, the Veda takes a quantum jump, as witnessed in the Mandukya 7th mantra, and negates all duality, totally and holds out the Advaitic Truth as the means for Moksha which itself is ShAntam Shivam Advaitam.

1:25 AM  
Blogger Surya S said...

Dear V, thanks for that post. Particularly the intend of Bhedas in Vedic context.

Refinement, ah yes- that is the word.

2:26 AM  
Blogger Vasudev said...

When everything is mithya (non real), what sankaracharya is said is also mithya,
then how can we believe mithya, we should believe real. That is madhva shastra tells.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Vasudev said...

When everything is mithya (non real), what sankaracharya is said is also mithya,
then how can we believe mithya, we should believe real. That is madhva shastra tells.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Vasudev said...

When everything is mithya (non real), what sankaracharya is said is also mithya,
then how can we believe mithya, we should believe real. That is madhva shastra tells.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Padmanabha said...

Shankara the most possible scientifically thinking vedantic genius, said what we see...this Jagat is mithya, Brahma satya

3:37 AM  
Blogger Padmanabha said...

Further Mithya is not Asatya, It must be investigated, please investigate and find the truth for yourself. Lord Krshna says Adavitic knowledge is supreme and Saativika Jnana, dualistic knowledge-dvaita- is Rajo jnana.

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If mithya is not asatya then it must be satya(the princeple's which are to be investigated comes under real entities).
If a topic is to be investigated then it must be satya.

Is maya satya or asatya or anirvachya?

Which of these correctly describes the status of maya?

Maya has to be investigated.
If maya is held as unreal then how can one investigate and find the truth?It cannot be even held as truth either!!
The only possible escape is to treat maya as anirvachya i.e inexpressible.
If it is anirvachya then how can one investigate a topic which cannot be understood?How can one find the truth from a cannot understandable conecpt.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Srivathsa rao i said...

I have a question about madwa philosophy
1) for madwas there are 5 bedas
*)jiva -jiva
*)jiswara-jada and jiva-jada
BUT TODAYS SCIENCE HAVE PROVED THAT THERE IS NO JADA-JADA BEDA.....i:e according to madhvaacharya ,gold can never become silver....but todays science have proved that by changing electronics configuration we can change gold to silver....WHICH ACCORDING TO MADHVAACHARYA IMPOSSIBLE !!!!!!!.......
2)jiva-jiva beda:
accoring to dvaita each jiva is suguna and his prakrutika gunas are his own gunas.
1)me myself, i am human i see another human in kama,but if i become dog in next janma,i see dog with prakruthika guna kama is not atmans guna
2) bhudhi:
now when we are human we have high level of bhudhi,but if i become dog in next janma we have bhudhi of the level of dog,so budhi is not atmas guna
if u go on thinking like that u will come to know that ,these gunas atman got from MAYA of jagath..and is not atmans guna atman is nirgua and jagath is madwaacharya's jath is truth and 5 bedas are false.......

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, ofcourse you are right, prakruthika guna's are not atmas gunas.
Please answer my question here.
1-According to you prakruthika gunas are not atma's gunas, then what about the gunas of atma when he reaches hell or heven???
Are they prakruthika gunas too,or are they different from prakruthika gunas????

Abscence of prakruthika guna's doesn't mean that atman=brahman.
Atman has his own gunas(attributes) which is fully comprised of knowledge ,by which he can experience mukta ananda.They are his own gunas i.e atmas intrensic gunas.

Which gunas do you consider as prakruthika as per advaita?
As per you only the nirguna guna(attribute) must be non-prakruthika,excluding nirguna attribute everything else must be prakruthika.If so then what about the infinite attributes of krishna are they prakruthika too??

If you consider them as prakruthika then , we must also be having those attributes which are present in krishna himself!!!

What do you say?

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr.Srivatsa rao,

Please continue the ongoing argument,don't put your own questions on the line ,when there are already question to be answered.
And further more, i think your questions have been answered a million times. Even though it has been answered you keep on insisting the same question again.I have also seen the same questions posted by you in other blogs too.Please consider continuing the original argument. Don't post your own question whilst an ongoing argument.
Thank you.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Srivathsa rao i said...

1)I moksha....athman just has a awarness.. ..that is sacchidaanada....that is the swarupa of lord brahman....or in other words.....athman have become brahman.....when you are sleeping can you exerience the awakend sence?
similary...when you are under cann't experience sacchidaanada....when you come out of maya..which is see only purusha which is brahman in you...and nothing else
2) krisha don't have infinite attribute in reality....but under maya....he has infinite attribute...

2:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ofcourse you are absolutely right.According to advaita, krishna has infinite attributes,given that his infinite attributes are unreal.

Now , the infinite attributes of krishna must be prakruthika only.

Why does krishna have infinite prakruthika attributes,and why don't we have infinite attributes.

You can conclude by saying, since krishna is lord of maya he has infinite attributes.

Now my question is how did krishna gain the lordship over maya???
The obvious question here would be, Why is krishna the lord of maya?? and why are we slaves of maya???
We both are one and the same i.e brahman.

If krishna has earned the lordship over maya, then he must have been a slave of maya before being its lord.
Who was krishna's lord when he was slave of maya????

In advaita , two things are real important i.e
1- The nirguna brahman.
2- Nirguna brahman affected by maya(we).

Where does saguna brahman ,come in the list.He must either be unaffected my maya or affected by it.

MY question is,Is krishna affected by maya or not???

If he is affected by it then he must not be possessing infinite prakruthika attrubutes,and he must not be called lord.If he is not affected by maya then he must be nirguna,and mustn't possess attributes at all.

What do you conclude when you say that krishna is lord of maya.
Is it that he is unaffected by maya, or is it that he is not affected by maya at all,or is it that he is affected by maya but at a smaller proportion????

Please consider answering this question.We(you,me and everyone according to advaita) possess prakruthika attributes when we have body .

After we die ,we lose our body,and exp our sukha or dukha in heaven or hell.

We only posses prakruthika attributes when we have body ,now what about the attributes when one dies without the nirguna realization .

He must possess some attributes in him to diff him from nirguna brahman.

What are these attributes????Are they similar to krishna's attributes then it is foolishness to conclude that we are slaves of maya when we are lord of it.

Are they none i.e (nirguna), then everyone who dies must become nirguna brahman.

To put it out simply ..

What are the attributes of a non realized samsari,who(without) , his body is in swarga or naraka????Do you consider them to be prakruthika????

5:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please consider reading and understanding all my points before posting your questions...

5:10 AM  
Blogger Manjunath Subbarao said...

Dear Vaasudeva, Sri Shankara does not say everything is mithya, He only says that everything is Brahman. Even the world. Only when you see the world separately from Brahman, does dualities arise. The world is in Brahman and Brahman is in the world. These two cannot be seen differently. This is the TRUTH. No amount of argument can change this immutable law of the Lord.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Pradeep Kashyap said...

Hare Krishna

Dear Manjunath

Shri shankara did not tell every thing is mithya, but he said the Jagath (whole universe) is mithya, it is completely copycat of Bhoudha matha- only the word Shoonya is replaced by mithya
infact, people think He saved the vaidika matha by debating with bhoudha matha, but v call Advaitha is nothing but boudha matha (Prachanna bhoudha) disguised as vaidika matha but tells same thing as non vaidika bhoudha matha tells, Bhoudism says- Jagath is shoonya, advaitha says
jagath is mitya, bhoudhism says- mithya vedakaha, advaitha says- athatva vedakaha, they say bhrahma does not have any gunas (nirguna) nirakara when jeeva gets merged with shoonya its bhoudhism when jeeva gets merged with Bhrahma its Advaitha

1:16 AM  

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