Sunday, October 24, 2010

Advaita, Vishishtadvaita & Dvaita

Sri Sri Sankara, Srimad Ramanuja and Sriman Madhva are the most illustrious commentators on the Vedanta Sutras (Brahma-Sutras). These commentators have tried to establish theories of their own, such as

Advaita-Vada (unqualified non-dualism or uncompromising or rigorous monism),

Visishtadvaita-Vada (differentiated or qualified monism) and

Dvaita-Vada (strict or rigorous dualism).

Sri Sri Sankaraa had in view, while preparing his commentary, chiefly the purpose of combating the baneful effects which blind ritualism had brought to bear upon Hinduism.

Dualism (Dvaita), Qualified Monism (Visishtadvaita) and Monism (Advaita) are the three main schools of metaphysical thought. They are all stages on the way to the Ultimate Truth, viz., Para-Brahman (the Supreme Reality). They are rungs on the ladder of Yoga. They are not at all contradictory. On the contrary, they are complimentary to one another. These stages are harmoniously arranged in a graded series of spiritual experiences. Dualism, Qualified Monism, Pure Monism – all these culminate eventually in the Advaita Vedantic realisation of the Absolute or the Transcendental Trigunatita Ananta Brahman.

Sriman Madhva said: “Man is the servant of God”, and established his Dvaita philosophy.

Srimad Ramanuja said: “Man is a ray or spark of God”, and established his Visishtadvaita philosophy.

Sri Sri Sankara said: “Man is identical with Brahman or the Eternal Soul: and established his Kevala Advaita philosophy.

The Dvaitin wants to serve the Lord as a servant. He wishes to play with the Lord. He wishes to taste the sugar-candy.

A Visishtadvaitin wants to become like Lord Narayana and enjoy the divine. He does not wish to merge himself or become identical with the Lord. He wishes to remain as a spark. A Jnani (jnana = knowledge) merges himself in Brahman. He wishes to become identical with Brahman. He wants to become the sugar-candy itself.

People have different temperaments and different capacities. So, different schools of philosophy are also necessary. The highest rung is Advaita philosophy. A Dualist or Qualified Monist eventually becomes a Kevala Advaitin.

Maha Vishu Supreme

Vishnu Mayam Jagat -------------------------- Sri Sri Shankara

Brahamani Srinivase -------------------------- Srimad Ramanuja

Harih Paratarah -------------------------- Sriman Madhva

All the three Acharyas emphasized on the supremacy of Sri Maha Vishnu.


With the view that all beings are one, it is very nice to have a society that is not hindered by the inferior and superior status. Every being is respected irrespective of the social and economical differences. The rich and famous have to follow Advaita Philosophy and think that the sections of people who are serving them are equal to them and try to respect the Supreme residing in their hearts.

Sri Krishna confirms this in “Karmasanyasa Yoga” of Bhagavad-Gita in Chapter 5 as:

vidya vinaya sampane brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva pake ca panditah sama darsinah
(Gita 5.18)

The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see equal vision a learned and a gentle Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog eater.


The Supreme (Srinivasa) alone is the protector and without His approval not a single blade of grass is displaced. He and only He is the solution at the time of crisis. Being modest and humble is very important. Moksha is achieved by serving Him.

Charma Slokam:

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah

Abandon all varieties of obligation due to righteousness and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.


Sri Hari is Sarvottama. The other Demi-Gods including Maha Lakshmi serve Him. Reality in this materialistic world should be accepted. Even though all beings are one, a son has to show respect to his father, like wise an employee to his employer. The serving section have to follow Dvaita Philosophy and think that the people who have employed them are superior to them and try to respect the Supreme residing in their hearts.

Sri Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita explains Arjuna in regard to the Four Varnas. He says “Chatur-Varnam Maya Shrustam, Guna Karma Vibhagasha" The Four Varnas are classified based on Guna and Karma. The Guna that is told here is not the character but the Prakriti’ (nature) of the individual containing the amalgamation of the trigunas i.e. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.

An individual who has Satva guna is categories as Brahamana (teacher/scholar)
An individual who has Satva and Rajas with Rajas in prominence is a Kshatriya (ruler/administrator)
An individual who has Rajas and Tamas with Rajas in prominence is a Vaisya (merchant/tradesmen)
An individual who has Tamo guna is categories as Sudra (worker/crafsmen)

This system of division of labour was to help the individuals in inter dependence to strive for the existence of society. But this division of labour has so much so divide our society that we give much credit to Engineers and Doctors but we care less to Farmers and Soldiers. A road layer and a sanitary cleaner are as important to society as space scientist and research doctor. We usually tell our children to study well and give the instance of becoming a road layer and a sanitary cleaner if they don’t study well in this way we bring the division of labour in them. Instead we can tell them by studying well one can serve the society better than a road layer and a sanitary cleaner even though those work are divine and are necessary for society.

Karma is not the work that we do but is the latent desires that the souls have carried from their past lives. If suppose an individual who had been in the category of Brahamana and had a desire of having lordship over others as a ruler but could not fulfill his desire in that life, he will be given an opportunity by Supreme in the future life in letting him to take birth in a Kshatriya family. The proof for this is in “Atmasamyama Yoga” of Bhagavad-Gita in Chapter 6 Arjuna asks Krishna what would happen to a person who has full faith in Karma yoga but is unable to control his mind and senses and cannot practice it to perfection and passes away midway. Gita 6.37-38. Listening to the queries of Arjuna, Krishna answers that a person who has stepped into the path of Karma Yoga will never come to grieve in this world or in the next. Evil never befalls one who does good. After death, he will be born in a family of prosperous and pious parents after enjoying the celestial world. Gita 6.41-42

But now it is not the Guna and Karma but the birth the deciding factor now. A son of a Brahmin is a Brahmin even though he is rude or rouge and a son of an outcaste is considered an outcaste even he has a profound knowledge and acts a discipled gentleman.

1 comment:

  1. I solute all the three great gurus who are the Saviours of Hinduism. All other civilisations came to an end after existing for a period of time. Despite attacks of Muslims, British and someother foreign invasions Hindu civilization is untouched. This civilization has been in existence before the birth of grest saints like Mohammad prophet and Jesus christ. It is because of such great hindu gurus