Monday, October 25, 2010



Sriman Madhva was born around 1238 A.D., in a village called Pajaka, about eight miles southeast of the modern town of Udupi, in the Karnataka State. He lived for 79 years and preached Dvaita (Dualism).

Sriman Madhva evolved a dualistic system of Philosophy from the Prasthana-Traya Granthas. It is unqualified dualism. Madhva’s Vaishnavism is called “Sad Vaishnavism”, as it is distinct from “Sri Vaishnavism” of Sri Sri Ramanuja.

Sriman Madhva made a study on “Pancha-Beda”, which is often named as “Atyanta Bheda Darsanam”. It is classified as five distinctions:

1. The distinction between Supreme and the individual soul

2. The distinction between Supreme and non living matter

3. The distinction between the individual soul and non living matter

4. The distinction between one individual soul and the other

5. The distinction between one material thing and another.

The Atyanta Bheda Darsanam has been further categorized as ‘Padartha’ or objective reality, i.e.

a. Independent (Svatantra)

b. Dependent (Paratantra)

The Svatantra is one who is independent in total – meaning God, The Supreme and the Reality. Whereas the ‘Soul’ (Jiva) and the ‘World’ (Jagat) are the dependents (Paratantra) of the Supreme. Hence God rules them. The Supreme is the Independent and cannot be further classified, whereas the dependents are further classified as Chetana and Achetana. The positive signs are the ‘Chetana’ (intellect) i.e. Conscious souls and ‘Achetana’ (ignorant – unawareness or unconscious) that of ‘matter and time’. Unconscious entities are either eternal like the Vedas or eternal and non-externals like ‘Prakriti, time and space’, or non-eternal like the products of ‘Prakriti’.

Before defining the unconscious entity, Sriman Madhvacharya explains about the Svatantra and Paratantra which is Nitya-Mukta i.e. eternally free from Samsara. In this study the ‘Svatantra’ is Maha Vishnu, Who is intelligent and Who is the Governor of the world and Whose Nitya-Mukta or the energy or power is Lakshmi. Vishnu can be realized through various group forms (Vyuhas) and Avataras (Divine incarnations). Likewise, the foremost ‘Paratantra’ is Lakshmi, the energy or power of Vishnu, Who is co-eternal and Who can assume various forms without a material body. She is not affected by pain or sorrow. Their sons are Brahma and Vaayu.

Prakriti (Pra = Supreme + Kriti = created/creation):- It is believed in the philosophy of Sriman Madhva that Creation is different from Him. Based on this study he said that Vishnu is the efficient and the material or the cause of the world. God energizes Prakriti through Lakshmi and makes its evolution into the visible world. Prakriti is the material cause as all the objects, bodies and organs are made by Prakriti. The three aspects of Prakriti are presided over by the three powers – Lakshmi, Bhu (Saraswati – earth) and Durga. Avidya (ignorance) is also a form of Prakriti that hides the Supreme from the vision of the individual soul.

Sriman Madhva believed that the world made of Prakriti is not an illusion but a reality, distinct from God. It is not also a transformation of God as that of curd out of milk nor is it a body of God. Hence it is unqualified and absolute dualism.

Sriman Madhva accepted the classification of souls made by Srimad Ramanuja as:

a) Nitya – the Eternal (like Lakshmi)

b) Mukta or liberated (the Demi-Gods, Rishis, and Sages) and

c) Baddha or bound ones

Sriman Madhva added two more to these: Those who are eligible and not so eligible for Moksha

(i) The completely surrendered ones, even though Baddha are eligible for Moksha.

(ii) Those who are not eligible for salvation are classified as

(a) Nitya-Sansarins i.e bound by the cycle of Samsara and

(b) Those whose destiny is hell – the region of blinding darkness (Tamoyogya).

Based on this classification the individual soul (Jiva), a distinct entity becomes plurality of souls. It is believed, as based on the classification, no two jivas are alike in character. As soul (Jiva) is different from God and matter (Prakriti), it depends on God for guidance. The Lord impels the Jivas to action in accordance with their previous conduct. Because of the past deeds the Jivi has to undergo sufferings and pains by which its impurities are removed, it attains salvation and skips the cycle of life and death and enjoys the blissful and true nature of a Jiva. Although the Jivas are graded and the classes of souls in the realm of bliss are various, as such there is no discord among them as they are aware of Brahman and have no faults. But the soul does not attain equality with God. They are entitled only to serve the Lord. Through nine types of devotion {Nava vidana bakthi} souls attain salvation with the grace of God.

He took a stand different from Sri Sri Shankara on Brahman and constituted nine most famous statements (Prameyas).

The Shloka that lays out the nine prameyas is

SrIman Madhvamate

harih paratarah, satyam jagat, tattvatho bhedho jIvagaNA, hareranucarA, nIchoccabhAvam gatAh |

muktir naijasukhAnubhUtir, amalA bhaktih tatsAdhanam, hyakshrAdi tritayam pramANam, akhilAmnAyaikavedyo harih ||

1) Harih Paratarah

Harih ---------------- Hari
Parataraha -------- (is) Supreme

Hari is the Supreme Lord and there is none superior to Hari. Hari is the One and Only Independent Reality.

2) Satyam Jagat

Satyam --------------- True
Jagat ------------------ World

The world is real. According to Sriman Madhva the reality is very much that we live in this world. In context to Sri Sri Shankara calling this materialistic world as a dream, Sriman Madhva says that we are not yet awakened from the dream to say that this is a dream. Hence what is happening at this moment is to be considered.

3) Tattvatho Bhedho JIvagana

Tattvatho ------------ Virtues
Bhedho -------------- Difference
Jivagana ------------ Living beings

Difference in beings according to their virtues. Every follower of the Madhva school firm believe in the Pancha-bheda—five real and eternal distinctions— Atyanta Bheda Darsanam or Pancha-bheda:

A) Jiiveshvara bheda

The difference between Supreme Being and the Individual Soul {God and Living things}

B) Jadeshvara bheda

The difference between Supreme Being and the Non Living Matter {God and

C) Jiiva-Jiiva bheda

The difference between two individual Soul. Within the category of trees there are apple trees and there are lemon trees. {If this has been misinterpreted for division in caste then it is NOT the mistake of the Acharya. It may be the difference of two individuals of same family also like two brothers having common parents}

D) Jada-Jiiva-bheda

The difference between individual Soul and Non Living Matter {There is the category of trees and there is the category of hills. Trees and hills belong to different categories.}

E) Jada- Jada bheda

The difference between Non Living Matter. Within the category of books there are religious books and there are friction books.

4) Hareranucaraha

Harer --------------- Hari’s
Anucaraha -------- Followers

Having talked about difference due to distinction, Sriman Madhva concludes all are followers and servants of Hari.

5) Nichoccabhavam Gataha

Nicha --------------- inferior
Uccha -------------- superior
Bhavam ------------ feeling
Gataha ------------- exists

There is gradation among the beings. Some are superior; some are inferior. The law of karma at work. Because of their past karma, there are differences or gradations, taratamya among jivas. We have ripe apples as well as row apples in a basket. If this gradation were not to be there we would not have sentenced a criminal to jail.

6) Muktir Naijasukhanubhutih

Mukthi ------------- Salvation
Naija ---------------- without
Sukha -------------- Bliss
Anubuthir --------- felt

Moksha is the realization of innate happiness of the self. Ones life has a worthy meaning if it has mukthi (salvation).

7) Amala Bhaktih Tatsadhanam

Amala -------------- Pure
Bhakti -------------- Devotion
Tat ------------------- that (mukthi)
Sadhanam --------- Achievement

The means of achieving moksha is uncontaminated and unconditional Bhakti (devotion). Here Sriman Madhva emphasizes on Bhakti alone. There is no mention of Jnana (knowledge).

8) Hyakshsraditritayam Pramanam

Hya ---------------- Conclusion (Anumana)
Akshara --------- Word (Sruthi) (Sabda)
Adhi -------------- and
Tritayam -------- Three
Pramanam ----- Witness (Pratyaksha)

Sriman Madhva while talking of mukthi says it can be achieved through Bhakti alone. Bhakti towards Hari and the jnana (Knowing about Hari) is already available through perception, inference, and scriptural testimony, ie. Pratyaksha, Anumana, and Sabda.

Pratyaksha (perception):

There are jivatmas who have got the vision of the Supreme at some point of time. Like as we could let us say see “Fire”.

Anumana (inference):

Some times at the circumstantial evidence we have got to conclude the presence of the Supreme. Like if there is smoke on a hill we conclude that there must be fire at the bottom of the smoke. Even though fire is not visible from the foot of the hill. Let us suppose there is water in a vessel we immediately conclude it to be hot by seeing the vapors. The earth is rotating on its own axis; there must be some power to spin this huge ball. What is that power which makes this earth rotate?

Sabda (sound from Sruthis):

The testimony of the scripture. This is same as Srimad Ramanuja felt that the destiny has proclaimed at the crown of the all scriptures that SRINIVASA is the Para Brahman.

9) Akhilamnayaikavedyo Harih

Akhila -------------- All
Amnaya ----------- Praise
Eva ----------------- only
Vedyo ------------- Vedas
Harih -------------- Hari

Hari, and Hari alone, is praised in all the scriptures.

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