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18 AUGUST, 2017 (MAINS)



Q1. How does nature of Brahman differ in the philosophy of Shankar, Ramanuja and Madhva? Discuss critically. (2014/20)


Please write the answer in comments section

  • jaish

    Vedanta is most important orthodox Indian school of philosophy and it is mainly focused on Jagat, Jiva and Brahman. Important school are propounded by Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhava.

    Shankara’s view on nature of Brahman:
    Essence of Shankara’s philosophy:- “Braham satyam jagat mithya, jivo brahmaiva naparah”.
    Brahma is only ultimate reality, jagat is only mithya and jiva is not different from the Brahma.
    According to Shankara, Brahma is trikalabadhit sat. Sankara has accepted two forms of Brahma,that is nirguna and saguna Brahma. They are not separate entity but two forms of same reality. Nirguna brahma is the highest reality and also called ‘par Brahma’. It is indescribable, indeterminate which is beyond qualities, transempirical and sachchidanand. Saguna Brahma is accepted as determinate and it is accepted as the practical form of Brahma as well as generator, operator, and destroyer. It is personalistic in nature and regulator of law of karma. Sankara’s nirguna Brahma is devoid of all differences , that is why his philosophy is called non-dualism.

    Ramanuja’s views on nature of Brahma:
    Ramanuja has given the theory of qualified non-dualism and as per him, God is identified with absolute, that is Brahman. And it must be qualified entity. Therefore ramanuja has accepted internal difference in Brahman in chit and achit parts unlike the sankara. Here nature of Brahman is accepted as the determinate, personalistic, efficient and material cause of this universe. Here, there is no difference between saguna Brahma and saguna Brahma. Aparthaksiddhi sambandh is accepted between God to jiva and jagat.

    Madhava’s views on nature of Brahma:
    Madhava has given the theory of Bhedavada. As per this theory, there is strict distinction between God, the supreme souls and the individual souls. Here, jiva and jagat is accepeted as separate entity unlike the Ramanuja but these separate realities are dependent on the ultimate reality that is Brahma. Ramanuja’s conception of Brahma is determinate, personalistic in nature, there is no difference between saguna and nirguna Brahma. God is regarded as the efficient cause.

    In this sense, conception of Brahma in sankara, Ramanuja and Madhava is different but ultimately they have accepted Brahma is the ultimate reality. As per sanakara, if we know the Brahma, then we will become the Brahma, but as per Ramanuja we are the part of Brahma but not identical and as per Madhva, we are dependent on the Brahma, different and separate yet dependent.