Vishisvadvaita

Vishisvadvaita

INTRODUCTION 

The three principle philosophies of Hinduism in terms of the God and Man are Advaita (non-dual), Vishistadvaita (qualified non-duality) and Dvaita (dual). These different philosophies appeal to different people. It is believed that one philosophy is not inferior to the other but the interpretation of the relationship of God and Man differs in each of the philosophies. The three main acharyas, Adi Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhava, propagated these philosophies from their understanding of the scriptures and their inner experience. One has to select the philosophy that suits them best.

VISHISHTADVAITA 

Vishishtadvaita Philosophy as propounded by Sri Ramanujacharya

TBrahman (Paramatma) is the supreme reality. Vishishtadvaita says that all individual souls are part of Brahman. The philosophy differs from Advaida in that it says that the world is not a Maya but real. Individual souls retain their separate identities even after Moksha. Liberation from birth and death is due to intense devotion to the Lord Vishnu.

Vishishtadvaita says that God exists but it admits plurality of souls. It is midway between Advaita and Dvaita philosophies. God and the individual souls are inseparable yet distinct. In liberation, the Jivatma (soul) understands Paramatma but do not merge in Paramatma.

Sri Ramanujacharya also wrote commentary for several key scriptures in Hinduism from the viewpoint of Vishishtadvaita philosophy. His commentary on Brahma sutra is famously known as the Shri Bhashyam. Ramanuja also wrote commentary for Thiruvaimozhi written by Nammalvar and it is popularly known as the Tamil Veda. This commentary represents the cream of Vishishtadvaita philosophy.

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