The “Doctrine Special” of Visishtadvaita
Frequently Asked Questions
- What we understand directly by our senses, like what we see with our eyes or what we hear with our ears. This is called Pratyaksha.
- Inference or logic (Anumana) - That is, by seeing or understanding a thing, we logically infer something else, although it is not actually seen by us. For example, if we see smoke coming, we infer there is fire. So this is called one of the sources of knowledge (anumana).
- Sabda (or sound). We accept the Vedas, Smritis, Itihasas, Puranas as authority (So long as they do not contradict the Vedas).
It is from these that generally the various systems of philosophy are developed by logical deductions and arguments.
Talking of the first source, i.e. perception by senses, we have to be careful that our perception is correct and it is not wrong. For example, seeing is correct and it is not wrong. For example, seeing a rope from a distance, we may mistake it for a serpent. This is wrong perception. Similarly, in hot summer, on a tar road, seeing from a distance, you may think that there is water. This again is wrong perception. We have to guard against such wrong perceptions.
- The reproduction organ.
So, we have to be careful that what is understood through the senses of knowledge is correct.
We should also remember at a later time what we had seen or heard earlier. This is also accepted as an authority, since it is only remembering of an authority, which was understood through our senses earlier.
The Vedas are accpted as the basic authority. Along with this, we also accept the Brahma Sutra And Bhagavad Gita as authorities.
We also accept the Itihasas (Ramayana and Mahabharata), the Purana, the Smritis and the Vaishnava Agamas as authorities.
However, there is one improtant condition and that is, that anything in these works, which are
Not in tune with the Vedas or which are conrtradictory to Vedas, are not accepted as authority.
do not follow the code of conduct prescibed by Sastras and we go on committing sins.
Salvation means, release from this cycle of births and deaths and attainment of moksha or mukti
- The object of attainment is Sriman Narayana, who is permanently associated with Lakshmi. So, the nature of God.
- The nature of our Soul or Jivatma
- The means or the methods to be adopted by us, for attaining Moksha at the end of this life.
- The exact nature of Moksha or Parmapada.
- The hindrances that arise in attaining our goal of Moksha at the end of this life; and how to get over these hindrances or difficulties.
Similarly, the shape and size of one body are different from that of another. A tree has a
different body. An animal has a different body from that of a bird. The body of an elephant is
different from the body of a mosquito. So, you cannot give physical characteristics to define a body.
There are three characteristics which decide what the body is
entering into it, in the mother's womb. The bodycontinues and perishes or dies, only when the soul
leaves the body. In other words, the body is supported by the soul. As long as the soul remains in the body, the soul
supports the body.
This is the first characteristic of the body. Even in a state of dreamless sleep, the
body continues to exist. So, the soul fully supports the body.
- Supporting (adharatva)
- Controlling (niyantrutva)
- Mastership (Seshitva).
So, the soul is, in relation to the body, as follows:
- Supporter (adhara)
- Controller (niyanta)
- Master (Seshi).
So, the body is
- being supported by the soul; (adheyatva)
- being controlled by the soul; (niyamyatva)
- existing for the pleasure of the soul (seshatva).
Brahman versus the chetana and achetana:
- All these chetana and achetana are supported by Brahman.
- Secondly, in their waking state, they are controlled or ruled by Iswara.
- Thirdly, all these exist only for His pleasure.
Thus, all the three characteristics or factors which determine the relationship between the soul and
the body, are present in the case of Brahman or Iswara versus the entire chetana and achetana.
Hence the fundamental doctrine of our philosophy is that Iswara is the soul of all chetanas or
Jivatmas. Iswara is also the soul of all achetana i.e.the fundamental Matter and its evolutions.
In other words, all the Jivatmas are the body of Iswara. Similarly, Matter and its evolutions also
are the body of Iswara. This is the basic doctrine of our religion and philosophy.
also similar passages in the Subala Upanishad. These specifically and clearly say that Iswara is the
soul and the Jivatma and Matter are His body.
The following are some of the passages:-
- He is dwelling in the earth, is within the earth.
- His body is the earth
- His body is the water
- His body is the fire
- His body is the air
- His body is the sun
- His body is the moon and the stars
- His body is ether
- His body is the light
- His body is speech
- His body is the eye
- His body is the ear
- His body is the mind
- His body is the skin
- His body is the soul or Jivatma
- His body is the intellect
- His body is matter
- His body is death
- He is the internal soul of all beings
- He is the divine Lord Narayana. He is the soul of all.
- By logic and argument, we have said that Brahman supports and controls the Jivatma/achetana and it is for His purpose that the Jivatma/achetana is there. So, the Jivatma/achetana is the body and Brahman is the soul.
- Secondly, we have also quoted several passages from the Vedas, which clearly and explicitly state that Brahman is the soul; and the Jivatma, the matter and other evolutions are all His body.
Other frequently asked questions
- Vadakalai and Tenkalai
- The Three Secrets
- The Departure of the Soul
- Jivatma and Paramatma
- Karma, Janana and Bhakti Yogas
- Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita
- Iswara – The Lord and Master
- Matter and Creation
- The Eternal Jivatma
- The “Doctrine Special” of Visishtadvaita
- Alwars and Acharyas
- Vedas and Sastras