Indian Philosophy: Visistadvaita, the Jiva – Cit and the Matter – Acit

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Visistadvaita

  • Concept of Jiva
  • Concept of Matter
  • Concept of Bondage and Liberation
  • Concept of Refutation of Maya

The Jiva – Cit

  • According to Ramanuja, Jiva or the soul is an eternal, real substance which is completely dependent on God.
  • Ramanuja believes in qualitative monism and quantitative pluralism of soul.
  • According to him, the soul is both, self-luminous and self-conscious in nature.
  • So, consciousness is the essence of the soul.
  • During creation, the jiva is attached to the body due to the karmas of the past lives, while in the state of dissolution, it is associated with the karmas which one will reap in the next life.
  • In the state of liberation, all the karmic particles are removed.
  • Although, God is the inner controller of the soul (niyanta) , yet according to Ramanuja, the soul has freedom of will.

Ramanuja describes three classes for souls:

  • Nitya Mukta: or the eternally free souls or ever liberated.
  • Mukta: or the freed souls which were once bound.
  • Baddha: or the bound souls wandering in samsara due to karmas and ignorance.

They are further divided into four classes:

The Jiva - Cit

The Matter – Acit

According to Ramanuja, the concept of matter or Acit is a real, eternal substance which is entirely dependent on God.

There are three types of Acit:

Nitya-Vibhuti or Shuda-Sattva

  • This is made up of pure sattva.
  • It is immaterial in nature.
  • All the eternal abodes, the liberated souls are made up of Nitya-Vibhuti.
  • It is ajada.

Prakrti or Mishra-Sattva

  • This is what makes the samsara.
  • It undergoes change and is entirely dependent on God.

Kala or Time

It is another unconscious (Jada) type of matter, like Prakrti.

Kala or Time

Understanding Bondage and Liberation

  • According to Ramanuja, bondage in souls is due to association of soul with body.
  • So, it is due to the presence of karma or doings of previous lives, along with ignorance.
  • The way out according to him is only via the means of ordinary bhakti or devotion and Upasana or mediation.
  • It helps one to realize the pure jnana or the highest knowledge of God which is immediate and intuitive in nature.
  • This immediate intuitive knowledge of God is the highest Bhakti and is only possible via the grace of God.
  • Hence, according to him ordinary bhakti leads to higher bhakti and that finally leads to liberation via the grace of God.
Understanding Bondage and Liberation
  • Liberation is the realisation about the nature of God, Cit and Acit, gained by the individual soul.
  • So, liberation is nothing but the realization of the similarity between the liberated soul and God (Brhamaprakara) .

Thus, Ramanuja points out that liberation is possible, only when.

  • There is complete cessation of karmas and ignorance.
  • Divine grace dawns from God.

Hence, he believes in the concept of Jivan Mukti, only.

Refutation of Maya

The seven charges or anupapatti are:

  • Ashrayanupapatti: Where does Maya or ignorance exist?
  • Tirodhananupapatti: If ignorance (Maya or avidya) conceals Brahman then Brahman՚s self-revealing nature is not possible.
  • Svarupabupapatti: What is the nature of ignorance?
  • Anirvachniyatvanupapatti: Avidya is described as indescribable. This is a case of clear self-contradiction.
  • Pramanaupapatti: How can avidya or Maya be known?
  • Nivartakanupapatti: Who removes Avidya?
  • Nivrtyanupapatti: There is no way to remove avidya.

Questions

1. Superhuman; human; animal and immobile are the four classes of

A. Matter

B. Nitya Mukta

C. Mukta

D. Baddha

Answer: D

Explanation: Baddha or the bound souls wandering in samsara due to karmas and ignorance. They are further divided into four classes; Superhuman; human; animal and immobile

2. Prakriti; Kala and Nitya Vibhuti are the three types of

A. Cit

B. Acit

C. Both A and B

D. None of these

Answer: B

Explanation: There are three types of Acit

1. Nitya-Vibhuti or Shuda-sattva.

This is made up of pure sattva.

2. Prakrti or Mishra-sattva.

This is what makes the samsara.

3. Kala or Time

It is another unconscious (Jada) type of matter, like Prakrti.

3. Liberation is nothing but realisation of Brhamaprakara, is correct according to

A. Shankara

B. Ramanuja

C. Madhvacharya

D. Both B and C

Answer: B

Explanation: According to Ramanuja, liberation is nothing but the realisation of the similarity between the liberated soul and God (Brhamaprakara) .

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