Brief description of the Dvaita of Madhva
Sri Madhva's philosophy of Dvaita contains nine propositions (prameyas)
according to the following well-known verse:
shriman madhvamate harih paratarah satyam jagat tattvato
bhedah jIvagaNA hareranucarA nIcoccabhAvam gatAh |
muktir naijasukhAnubhUtir amalA bhaktih tatsAdhanam
akshAdi tritayam pramANam akhilAmnAyaikavedyo harih ||
Proposition 1 : harih paratarah
mattah parataram nAnyatkincidasti dhananjaya|| iti (Gita)
Hari is the Supreme Lord of the universe. None can equal Him.
ete cAmshakalAh pumsah krishnastu bhagavAn svayam || iti
Although, there exist innumerable Gods and Goddesses who are
worshiped by their respective followers, such Deities are to be
considered as partial manifestations of Hari. There are also incarnations
of Hari or Krishna like Matsya, Kurma, etc. The purpose of these incarnations
is to punish the wicked and protect the saintly.
Hari has innumerable divine attributes among which the chief ones are
indicated by the expression "saccidAnandavigraha". Hari has a personal
form which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss.
Proposition 2: satyam jagat
The world is real. It is not unreal, as claimed by Paashandavaadins.
Hari is ultimate cause of the creation, maintenance and destruction
of the world.
svayambhUh yathAtathyatah arthAn vyadadhAt shashvatIbhyah
samAbhyah || iti (Isavasya Upanishad)
God really creates the things of the world through the ages.
Proposition 3: tattvato bhedah
Separateness or difference is real. "nAbhAva upalabdheh" says
the Brahma Sutra (II.2.28). The things in the external world are
not nonexistent because of our perception and consciousness of them.
Since the world is real and we are aware of different things in the
world, differences are necessarily real.
Proposition 4: jIvagaNaa hareranucarAh
The individual souls or Jivas are different from Hari. They are
eternal servants of Hari.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad says:
dvA suparNA sayujA sakhAyA samAnam vrikSham parishasvajAte |
tayoranyah pippalam svAdvatti anashnan anyah abhicAkashIti ||
Two birds of handsome wings (the Jiva and Ishvara), inseparable
companions, dwell on the same (Ashvattha) tree (the body). One of the
birds (the Jiva) eats the (really bitter) fruit as if it is sweet.
The other Bird (Ishvara or God), without eating, looks on, illuminating
This difference between the jiva and Ishvara is the reason why this
doctrine is called Dvaita or Dualism.
sabrahmaka sarudrAshca sendrA devam maharShibhih |
arcayanti surashreShTham devam nArAyaNam harim ||
All the gods including Brahma, Rudra, Indra and the great sages
worship the God, who is the Supreme of all gods and who is
Narayana or Hari.
When such exalted beings are themselves servants of Hari, what to
speak of ordinary individual jivas? They too are eternal servants
Proposition 5: nIcocca bhAvamgatAh
Fundamentally, all jivas are similar to each other, they being
servitors of Hari. But, due to their different Karmas or Sadhanas,
there exist differences among them. Hence, some are superior and some
Proposition 6: muktih naijasukhAnubhUtih
Mukti or Moksha is obtained by realizing the true nature of the
individual soul. The true nature of the jiva is to dwell with God
and experience bliss.
Proposition 7: amalA bhaktih tatsAdhanam
Mukti is achieved by pure Bhakti.
Sarvopaadhivinirmuktam Tatparatvena Nirmalam |
HrishikeNa Hrishikesha Sevanam Bhaktirucyate ||
Worshiping Hrishikesha (Krishna) with all the senses,
with purity and no limitations (of place or time), is termed
Proposition 8: akshAdi tritayam pramANam
The means of right knowledge are 1) Perception,
2) Inference, and 3) Scriptural testimony.
Perception and Inference are susceptible to error.
So the word of the Scriptures is alone the independent
means of right-knowledge.
Proposition 9: akhilAmnAyaika vedyo Harih
Hari alone is to be known through all the Vedas and
the Vedas describe only Him. As the Hari Vamsha says,
vede rAmAyaNe caiva purANe bhArate tathA |
AdAvante ca madhye ca Harih sarvatra gIyate ||
In the Vedas, Raamayana, Puranas, Mahabharata, Hari
is extolled in the beginning, the end, the middle and