Madhvacarya’s Line, Vedanta’s View of Reality, God’s Energies

Madhvacarya’s Line
Sri Madhvacarya

Question: Is it true that Madhvacarya is coming in the disciplic line of Sankara and that upon reading the Bhagavata he changed his allegiance to the Vaishnava school? In Manimanjari, the hagiological work of the Sanakadis, it is stated that his lineage is traced to the Suddha-Vaishnavas.

Answer: Jiva Gosvami himself writes in Tattva Sandarbha (Anu 24.1) that Madhvacarya comes in the line of Sankara. According to Manimanjari, Madhvacarya’s guru Acyutaprajna was not really a Sankarite but masqueraded as an Advaitin to avoid the harassment and persecution by the followers of Sankara. The sannyasa title Tirtha that Madhvacarya accepted from his guru and that is still carried on, is one of the ten titles of sannyasis in the Sankara sampradaya.

You can see the Madhava sannayasis resemble Mayavadi sannyasis. They remove their shikha and sacred thread and wear saffron, just like Mayavadi sannyasis. So Jiva Gosvami has some point, although he may not have been aware of the truth revealed by Manimanjari. He himself writes that Acyutaprajna was behaving like a monist.


 Vedanta’s View of Absolute Reality

Question: How does the Vedanta describe the nature of Reality? My main question is, Vedanta says that there is only one Supreme Self and other things are manifestations of his energy. Doesn’t this means that the universe is subjective, or the universe exist in the subject?
Conventional thought says that there is the “objective” cosmos independent of observers. Isn’t the idea of the Vedanta that the universe is not an independent existing object but included in the subject, Solipsism on a cosmic level?

Answer: It is not Solipsism at a cosmic level, but a combination of both, subjectivity and objectivity. The basic nature of reality according to Vedanta is neither completely subjective as understood or propagated by Solipsism, nor completely objective, as understood by the Newtonian physicists. Vedanta says that Absolute Reality is one, but it has variety in it. It has its own intrinsic and extrinsic nature. This gives rise to both, subjectivity and objectivity. Both of these exist simultaneously without any contradiction. This is the unique characteristic of the Absolute Reality, which cannot be understood by empiricism also.


The Relation between God and His energies

Question: There seems to be a difference in the approach of Sri Jiva Goswami and Sri Baladeva regarding the relationship between Brahman and swarupa shakti. While Jiva Goswami seems to accept real difference (and oneness) between ALL three shaktis of the Lord and applies the concept of achintya to arrive at this conclusion, Baladeva accepts real difference between Brahman and jivatma as well as Maya, but he applies the Madhvite concept of vishesha to conclude that the difference between swarupa shakti and Brahman is only apparent and there is no real difference between them. Does Sri Baladeva differ from Sri Jiva or does he elaborate on Jiva’s theory? How do we reconcile them? Can you please elaborate on this issue?

Answer: Yes, his explanation is not exactly in line with Jiva Gosvami. How to reconcile? Well, ultimately what does vishesha mean? It is just another way of saying it is acintya.


4 thoughts on “Madhvacarya’s Line, Vedanta’s View of Reality, God’s Energies”

  1. Radhe,Radhe!

    Adikesava prabhuji says that the concept of visesa,seems to be akin to the concept of acintya- bheda -abheda.For Madhvacarya hints that the identity-in difference between the whole and the part,the substance and the attribute,the sakti and saktiman,the agent and the action,in the case of Brahman as well as Jiva and Prakriti,is due to the acintya-sakti of Brahman.Visesa,thus,seems to be only another name for acintya-sakti of
    Brahman,which underlies the doctrine of acintya-bheda-abheda.

    Dasgupta,in fact,traces the supra-logical concept of acintya in the philosophy of Caitanya to the concept of visesa in the philosophy of
    Madhvacarya.He says,’The idea of introducing a concept of the supra-logical in order to reconcile the different scriptural texts,which describe reality as characterless(nirvisesa),qualified(visista),and many,can be traced to the introduction of the concept of visesa in the philosophy of Madhva,by which Madhva tried to reconcile the concept of monism with that of plurality.’.The view gains further support from the fact that Baladeva,reverts to Madhva,s doctrine of visesa in reconciling monism and pluralism,and characterises the concept of visesa as being identical with the concept of acintya.

    He says that Brahman is spoken of as possessing the qualities of sat,cit,and ananda,although these qualities constitute the essence of Brhaman.These is due to the supra-logical functions of visesa(acintya-visesa-mahima),because visesa does not imply that Brahman is,
    from one point of view,identical with its qualities,and from another point of view different.

    Adikesava prabhu says,however,that even though Madhvacarya has used
    visesa in the sense of acintya-sakti of Brahman,the acintya of Madhvacarya is not the same as the acintya of the school of Sri Caitanya.

    Madhvacarya has used the concept of acintya to explain the relation of
    bheda-abheda between part and whole,substance and attribute,and sakti and its possessor,in the case of Brahman,Jiva or Prakriti,but not between Brahman and Jiva or Prakriti.The relation of acintya-bheda-abheda,according to Sri Caitanya,is a relation that obtains universally between sakti and its possessor,and since Jiva and Prakriti are the manifestations of the sakti of Brahman,it obtains between Brahman and Jiva or Pakriti as well.

    Madhvacarya,s concept of acintya is not so acintya,or inconceivable,as the acintya of Sri Caitanya.
    Madhvacarya,s acintya is related to visesa,which reconciles the appearance of difference with with identity,while Sri Caitanya,s acintya reconciles real difference with real identity.

    Adikesava prabhu says,that it will not be proper,in this connection,to attach much importance to the expressions like’acintya-visesa-mahima’used by Baladeva,because he does not represent the true spirit of the philosophy of Sri Caitanya and,in certain respects,his views are influenced by Madhvacarya.His view on the doctrine of acintya bheda-abheda,does not seem to be free from this influence.For, like Madhvacharya,he has also not made any mention of acintya-bheda-abheda in connection with the problem of relation between God and Jiva or the world.

    dandavat pranam.

    1. > since Jiva and Prakriti are the manifestations of the sakti of Brahman.

      Brahman does not have shakti since it is nondual consciousness. Shakti cannot exist without shaktiman.

  2. Jay Sri Radhe!!

    Doctor O.B.L Kapoor says that even though Madhvacarya does not show any inclination for the doctrine of acintya-bheda-abheda,his philosophy appears to lead to it,when pressed to its logical conclusion.His exclusive preference for bheda,or pluralism,is in direct contrast with Samkara,s exclusive preference for abheda,or monism. Just as pluralism,as an essential aspect of the absolute whole of reality,asserts itself time after time in the monistic philosophy of Samkara,monism repeatedly asserts itself in the pluralistic philosophy of Madhvacarya.

    There is an aspect of identity in each of the five distinctions held
    by Madhvacharya as absolute.God and the individual soul are identical,since both are conscious and related to each other as a whole is to its parts.

    God and the inanimate world are identical in as much as the latter is wholly dependent for its creation and maintenance on the former.
    One individual soul is identical with another,in as much as both are conscious in nature,both are parts of God,and both are dependent upon Him.
    The individual soul and the inanimate world are identical,in as much as both have a relative existence and are dependent on God.
    One inanimate object is identical with another,in as much as both are inanimate and wholly dependent upon God,who binds them together in a systematic whole.

    Having recognised the distinction between God,Jiva and the world,as
    absolute,Madhvacarya,cannot regard God as the immanent regulator of the Jivas and the world,nor the Jivas and the world as wholly dependent upon Him.It is only the acintya- sakti of God which can make this kind of dependence or immanent regulation,implying identity-in-difference,possible.

    Madhvacarya makes the category of Visesa applicable to the whole and its parts in the case of God,Jiva,and the world.But he makes it innapplicable to God in relation to Jiva,although he recognises the latter as part of God.Obviously,this is due ,says Kapoor, to his insistence on absolute difference between God and Jiva.But, if the difference is absolute,he should not regard the Jiva as part of God,which he does,probably to safeguard the infinitude and omnipresence of God.To hide the inconsistency involved in this,he introduces the concept of pratibimba-amsa.The pratibimba-amsa,or the
    reflected- counter-part of an object,is supposed to be different from the object as pratibimba,and identical as amsa.

    Pratibimba-amsa,however, is not,says Kapoor,a logical concept,for the part of the pratibimba(or the pratibimba of a part)of an object cannot be part of the object itself.In case it is insisted that pratibimba-amsa of an object means a reflected counterpart of the object,which is both different and non-different from it ,pratibimba-amsa must be a supra-logical concept,similar to the concept of acintya-bheda-abheda.

    The role of the concept of pratibimba-amsa in the philosophy of Madhvacarya is very much the same as that of the concept of aprithak-siddhi in the philosophy of Ramanuja, according to Kapoor.
    Both the Acaryas propound their respective doctrines,but when forced by logic to adopt a position similar to acintya-bheda-abheda,they use these concepts to conceal their helplessness concludes Kappor.

    dandavat pranam.

  3. According to my understanding jiva and prakriti are manifestations of
    the sakti of the Saktiman.In the case of God,the part is not merely a part and the sakti is not merely a sakti.The part and the whole,the sakti and the saktiman(the possessor of sakti),interpenetrate and form an undivided whole.

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