Indian Philosophy: Visistadvaita, Saguna Brahman and Arthapak-Siddhi

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Visistadvaita

  • Concept of Saguna Brahman
  • Concept of Arthapak-siddhi
  • Concept of Parinama-Vada

Ramanuja is the founder of the Visistadvaita school of Vedanta.

He belonged to Vaishnavism tradition.

The Vaishnavism tradition has four major sects:

  • Ramanuja՚s Shrisampradaya, Madhav՚s Brahma sampradaya, Nimbarka՚s Sanaksampradaya and Vallabha՚s Rudrasampradhaya.
  • Some of the major texts by Ramanuja are Sri Bhashya, Vedartha Sangraham, Vedanta Sara, Gita Bhashya, etc.
  • The philosophy of Ramanuja is called qualified monism.
  • According to him, the absolute reality or Brahman possessed two qualities, matter, and soul.
  • Matter and soul are although real and eternal but are absolutely dependent on Brahman.
  • Ramanuja accepted the three Pramanas, namely, Perception, Inference and Verbal Testimony.

Saguna Brahman

  • According to Ramanuja, God or Brahman is full of positive attributes.
  • Brahman cannot be indeterminate, quality-less, and undifferentiated substance.
  • Brahman is determinate and qualified in nature (savishesha) because he is qualified by Cit and Acit, which are his two attributes.
  • According to Ramanuja, God or Brahman is Vasudeva and is made up of pure sattva.

Some of the characteristics of Brahman are:

  • He is antaryami
  • He is para or supreme, Lord Narayana or Vasudeva
  • He reveals himself through the four vyuhas
  • He comes down on earth in human or animal form (incarnation) . He is avatara or Vibhava.
  • He takes the form of holy idols, images, etc. (archanaavtara) .
  • He is also the creator (Pradyumna) , preserver (Aniruddha) and the destroyer (Sankar Shana) .
  • His manifestation as the ruler of emotional aspects of soul is called manas-tattva.
  • His manifestation as the ruler of the cognitive aspect of souls is called jitva-tattva or buddhi-tattva.
  • His manifestation as the ruler of the volitional aspect of souls is called ahankaratattva.
  • Ramanuja recognises three realties (tattva-traya) .
  • The Acit and Acit are both real and eternal but they are absolutely dependent on Brahman.
  • They are his attributes (prakara) .
Saguna Brahman
Saguna Brahman

Arthapak-Siddhi

  • The relation between matter, souls and God is that of inner-inseparability which is known as Arthapak-siddhi.
  • Matter and souls are controlled (niyama) , supported (dharya) , parts (amsha) , and means (shesha) of God.
  • While on the other hand, God is the controller (niyanta) , the support (adhara) , the whole (amshi) and the end (sheshi) .
  • So, although matter and souls are real and eternal as God, but they are completely dependent on God.
  • Therefore, God is free from both the differences, heterogeneous (vijatiya-bheda) and homogeneous (sajitya-bheda) because there is nothing which is external to him.
  • God possesses internal differences (svagata-bheda) because God is made up of different elements like Cit and Acit.

Parinamavada

  • Ramanuja accepts the theory of Brahma-Parinamavada.
  • According to Parinamavada the material cause changes itself in the form of its effect.
  • Therefore, the effect is the real transformation of its material cause.
  • According to Ramanuja, Prakriti or the cause is dependent on Brahman, it is controlled by him and it is also inseparable from him.
  • So, that makes God both the material cause (matter is an attribute of God) and the efficient cause of the universe.

Questions

1. Choose the correct statement.

1) Ramanuja belonged to Shavism tradition.

2) Ramanuja՚s sect is called Shrisampradaya.

3) He advocated the theory of Arthapaksiddhi.

4) He believed in the concept of Saguna Brahman

Choose the Correct Option:

A. All of the above

B. All except 1

C. All except 2

D. All except 3

Answer: B

Explanation:

  • Ramanuja belonged to Vaishnavism tradition.
  • Ramanuja՚s sect is called Shrisampradaya.
  • He advocated the theory of Arthapaksiddhi.
  • He believed in the concept of Saguna Brahman

2. ________ is avatara, para, pure sattva, Vibhava, etc.

A. Lord Krishna

B. Lord Vasudev

C. Lord Shiva

D. None of these

Answer: B

Explanation: According to Ramanuja, God or Brahman is Vasudeva and is made up of pure sattva.

Some of the characteristics of Brahman are:

  • He is antaryami
  • He is para or supreme, Lord Narayana or Vasudeva
  • He reveals himself through the four vyuhas
  • He comes down on earth in human or animal form (incarnation) . He is avatara or Vibhava
  • He takes the form of holy idols, images, etc. (archanaavtara)

3. Tattva-traya means

A. Brahman, Cit and Acit

B. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas

C. 3 qualities of Vedanta

D. None of these

Answer: A

Explanation: Ramanuja recognizes three realties (tattva-traya) . The Acit and Acit are both real and eternal but they are absolutely dependent on Brahman. They are his attributes (prakara) .

#Vedanta

#Ramanuja

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