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Re: superstitions (Ramanuja vs. Madhva)

In article <39dur7$jh@ucunix.san.uc.edu> Mani Varadarajan <mani@srirangam.esd.sgi.com> writes:
>Vijay Pai makes a few assertions regarding some apparent
>similarities between Ramanujacharya's (c.1017-1137) and
>Madhvacharya's (12th-13th centuries) philosophies.  On the
>surface, this may appear to be true, but a deeper analysis
>clearly demonstrates this to be a very erroneous assumption. I
>have personally heard scholars of Ramanuja's school tell me that
>while Madhva is a Vaishnava, the basis for his philosophy and his
>strange form of Vedanta are entirely different from that of the
>rest of us, i.e., the Visishtadvaitins and the Advaitins.  I will
>try to make this clear in the following article.

 I have to disagree that Madhva's philosophy is entirely different
  from that of the  "rest of us". In fact, some scholars have even 
  tried to show that Madhva's description of jivas as being similar to
  the reflection of the Sun in water, is very close to Shankara's! 
  There have  been attempts to give an Advaitic interpretation of
  Madhva's doctrines.   

  If one systematically goes through the vast philosophical literature
  of the orthodox systems, MAdhvas claim, one is sure to conclude that  
  Madhva's system of qualitative dualism and quantitative pluralism is 
  the grand culmination of all philosophical AND religious thought.
   There has not been any new major philosophical system based on the
   Vedas after Dvaita and all the other major systems have been examined 
    and subject to criticism  by Dvaita scholars.  
    The Gaudiya-Vaishnava sect is only an offshoot of Dvaita and in fact,
    the Govinda Bhashya (commentary on the Brahma sutras) of Baladeva
    relies heavily on the Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Madhva.  
   Madhva's school emphasizes the use of logic in philosophical thought 
  much more than Ramanuja's. As Dasgupta says:(History of Ind. Phil.V 3) 

    "the logical and dialectical thinkers of the Visistadvaita were    
     decidedly inferior to the prominent thinkers of the Sankara and the
     Madhva school."

    One does NOT come across any TeekAkAra in the Ramanuja tradition who 
 has the same logical acuteness as , say, Sriharsa or Citsukha (Advaitins)
  or Jayatirtha or Vyasatirtha of the Madhva faith.      

  In fact, it is fair to say that Jayatirtha and Vyasatirtha represent the 
   highest dialectical skill in Indian philosophical thought. Especially, 
   Vyasatirtha's review of the principles, categories, concepts, and 
   definitions of the Navya-Nyaya (logic) of Gangesa and his school, in his
   `tarkatAnDava' represents a huge leap in what may be termed Indian Logic.
    The Nyayamrta of Vyasatirtha IS still the highest dialectic achievement
    of the Dvaita school and it is also the last word on Dvaita-Advaita
    polemics. The criticisms of Advaita raised by the Nyayamrta were so 
    powerful that for a long time the Advaitins had no significant response.
    It took no less a scholar than Madhusudana Sarasvati, the great logician
   of Bengal to come to the rescue of Advaita by writing the  Advaitasiddhi. 

   Ramanuja claimed to have given a theistic interpretation of the Brahma 
   Sutras. But the term ``ViSiShtAdvaita" and the idealogy of the school
    were compromising to genuine theism. What exactly  is being compromised by
    Visisitadvaita? It is the very majesty, transcendence and personal 
    homogeneity of Godhead! Why? Because the Visistadvaitin ties down his 
    Deity to an existence perpetually ``qualified" by two attributes --
    cit and acit. The highest Being Brahman can never have within Itself      
    ``limitation, difference and other-being". The Visistadvaitic view of
      SeSaSeSIbhAva holds that the SeSa contributes to the existence of the
      SeSI. But, Brahman, in the final analysis, is completely independent 
      and the EXISTENCE of everything else is immaterial to the existence 
    of Brahman. Also, according to the VisistAdvaita, God, Matter and Souls
    TOGETHER constitute Brahman, and not God alone, by Himself!!  

   Ramanuja never looked into the Rg Veda, the Aranyakas and Upanishads with
   a view of finding support for the theory that Visnu/Narayana IS the Para
    Brahman of the Vedanta. Nor did he try to find a place for Sritattva 
   (Lakshmi) , Bhakti and Prapatti in the Brahmasutras, although they played
   a vital role in the Vaisnavism of the Alvars and of himself.

   Perhaps the most glaring shortcoming of Ramanuja's system was his 
   indifference to the most sacred Vaisnava Purana -- the Bhagavata. 
   (There is evidence to show that the Bhagavata is earlier than Ramanuja.)
   Madhva's system borrows its  key tenets from two verses in the Bhagavata:

   dravyakarma ca kalaSca svabhAvo jIva eva ca 
   yadanugrahatah santi na santi yadupekShaya || (2.10.12)

   Substance, action, time, innate disposition, the jIva, all
   exist by the grace of God; if He neglects them they cease to

    idam hi viSvam bhagavAnivetaro yato jagatsthAnanirodhasambhavAh | 

     Bhagavan (God) is the world; yet He is distinct from it. He is
     cause of the existence, destruction, and creation of the world.    

    The Gita has similar verses (9.4, 9.5) where Krishna affirms that
     although He pervades the universe, He is distinct from it. At the
     same time He says that the universe does not rest in Him. 

>Yes, but why does Madhva deny the statements of unity contained in
>the Upanishads? Why does he resort to distorting sentences such 
>as (from the Chhandogya Upanishad):
>    aitad aatmyam idam sarvam ... sa atma, tat tvam asi
>                                           ^^^^^^^^^^^^
>    aitad aatmyam idam sarvam ... sa atma, atat tvam asi
>                                           ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>doing complete violence to the text and philosophical tradition?
      Vyasatirtha goes into a lengthy discussion of precisely this 
      statement and defends admirably Madhva's interpretation in
      his Nyayamrta.
>in moksha! Realize the consequences of this -- even in salvation,
>the Dvaita philosophy postulates that there are inherent 
>inequalities between the jivas' knowledge and enjoyment of bliss.
>Not differences in their *modes* of enjoyment, mind you, but
>actually *grades of bliss* in salvation!

     Madhva defends the gradations in bliss by pointing out the
    existence of four different kinds of Moksha -- sAlokya, 
    sArUpya, sAmIpya, and sAyujya. These four different kinds
   of Moksha are awarded to different types of people. And these
    types of mukti ARE mentioned in the Upanishads. (See Kali 
    Santarana Upanishad, for example.) 

>Please do continue if you wish, but please take care to understand 
>Ramanuja's philosophy before you paint him with the same brush
>as you do Madhva. It is insulting to Ramanuja to do so!
    Indeed it is! 
    Finally, it may be interesting for you to note that I am Smarta
    myself, following the Bhagavata tradition. I don't have any          
    ``sectarian" bias in arguing for Madhva.    



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