Three schools of thought

Madhava Kumar Turumella madhava at EMIRATES.NET.AE
Wed Nov 20 09:02:09 CST 1996

Dear Friends;

I have just joined this group.  Indeed, I am very glad to know that
you have been discussing on Adwaita school of thought.  Please give
me a chance to participate in your discussions and learn from you.

I am giving below an article I have written to further develop my
understanding over three schools of thought. I am eager to listen
your valueble comments and criticism.

Further, I apologise for the lenthyness of the Article. But, I did
not want to cut it into two.

Thanks & regards
madhava at

                        Om namassivAya

        The Upanishads and the three schools of thought
               (Dwaita, visisthadwaita, advaita)

                      By Madhava Kumar Turumella, Sharjah, UAE

Any religion in this world survives for ages only  because  of
the profundity and richness it has gotten in its philosophical
thought.  Religious philosophy, in general, is nothing but the
inquiry of the privileged human being in to the unknown.  Here
the unknown can be anything.  Some people have inquired in  to
the   existence  of  God  some  others  have  inquired   about
themselves like "who am I, where am I from, where am I  going"
etceteras.     Everyone,   who   ever   inquired    with    an
inquisitiveness, got separate answers according to  their  own
understanding.  Their understanding has been taught by them to
their  disciples  and  by the disciples to  the  others,  thus
forming a separate school of thought.

Hindu's  religious  books  are  called  Vedas.   Vedas  are  ,
basically believed to be, God's direct revelations. They   are
vast  compilations of many hymns received by many seers.    In
olden  days  teachers used to teach vedas to  their  students,
But,  the  teaching  is not continued like  a  monologue.  The
subject  being  taught  (that is,  Vedic  hymns)  is  directly
questioned and the teacher was supposed to satisfy his pupil's
inquisitive mind hence turning the teaching in to a  dialogue.
The  answers are so great that they again became a part of the
vedas named  "upanishads."

As  an illustration, we have this question "Who is supposed to
be  called  as a brahmin?".  This question is answered  in  an
upanishad  called "vajrasuchi upanishad."  In  this  upanishad
the  student question the guru "kOvA brAhmaNaH?". Meaning "who
is  the brahmin."  The guru answers rather in a very elaborate
way.   The whole dialogue is recorded and kept safe, so  that,
we  will not get a doubt in future about the subject.   In the
same  way,   "Kena unanishad" is also a question  asked  by  a
student.  The very name itself is a question. i.e. Kena  =  by

Since  these  upanishads are placed at the end of Vedas,  they
are  also called as Vedanta i.e. Philosophy.   All four  vedas
have  their  own upanishads.  Actually we should have  had  at
least   more  than  1200  upanishads.   Indeed,  the   foreign
invasions and the attack from the other religions have  caused
us  loosing most of the upanishads.  And the great damage  was
done  to them by some foreign sanskrit scholars writing  their
own  upanishads  and  puts them forth  to  support  their  own
religion.    For   example,  we  have  an   upanishad   called
"SailOpanishad"  means,  "That which is  told  on  mountains."
This  upanishad is nothing but a sanskrit translation  of  the
"ten  commandments"!.    Same way we  have  another  upanishad
called  "AllOpanishad" you can rightly guess the  name  itself
contains  "Allah" the muslim God.  This upanishad Is  again  a
translation of some parts of Holy Quron.  It is not  that  the
other religious scholars have done something wrong.  Probably,
they must have done this to make us understand their religion.
Unfortunately and inevitably these upanshads have confused the
later  days'  scholars and there arose a need to identify  the
right  upanishads.  And a massive research had been  commenced
and  fruitfully  we  found  the "Mouktika  Upanishad."    This
"Mouktika  Upanishad" was taught to Hanuma by Lord  Sri  Rama.
It  is  but  obvious that when Rama was ruling, there  was  no
Muslim  or  Crishtian  religions.   Hence  our  scholars  have
accepted the "mouktika upanishad" as authentic.  Fortunate for
us,  in the mouktika upanishad  Sri Rama teaches Hamuman about
moral values and quotes from various upanishads.  In fact, Sri
Rama  has  reffered 108 upanishads.  That is why we  have  108
authentic  upanishads.    In  Mouktika  upanishad   Sri   Rama
advises  Hanuman to study "Bruhadaranyaka Upanishad" in  order
to understand higher self (the self with in).  He also advises
if  in case one fails to understand "bruhadaranyaka" then  one
should  study the 10 main upanishads, further he advises  that
better study 108 upanishads.

The  ten main upanishads, which are the back bone to the Hindu
philosophical thoughts are named in the following sloka.

SlO :  eeSa kEna kaThaH praSna muMDa mAMDookya taittiri
     aitarEyaMca ChaMdOgyaM bruhadAranyakaM daSa ||

They  are  (1)  Esavasya  (2) Kena (3) Katha  (4)  prasna  (5)
muMdaka   (6)  maMDookya  (7)  taittiriya  (8)  aitarEya   (9)
chaMdOgya (10) bruhadAraNyaka.

Thus,  these upanishads are standing there to show  the  right
path  to  the  seeker.  Here  the seeker  means  "one  who  is
inquisitive to understand the higher soul or  God."  "Is there
someone called God? If so, where is he? what is he doing?" These are  the
basic  questions  each  and everyone puts  forward  when  they
happen to meet   saints or godmen.   You can expect the answer
from  Upanishads,  but  to understand the  subtle  meaning  of
Upanishad one requires a teacher.

The whole Hindu religious philosophy is basically built-up  on
three schools of thought. They are dwaita (dualism) founded by
Sri  Madhavacharya,   vishisthadwaita (qualified  non-dualism)
founded by Sri Ramanujacharya and Adwaita (non-dualism) by Sri
Adi  Sankara.   All three schools try to understand  the  term
"God"  in  their own way. In order to sustain their Logic  All
three masters have commented on the main "Ten upanishads."   I
am  trying to put below my understanding over these schools by
using  an  example of our 3 states we experience in our  daily
lives. i.e. Waking state, dream state, deep sleep state.

Dwaita:     Founded by Sri Madhavacharya,  this school teaches
that God is other than you.  That is God is existed as you are
existed to the other person.

For  example, I am fully awake now and I can see the  computer
right  in  front of me. I can see and read the  article  I  am
writing  now  and  I  can hear the other  persons  around  me,
talking  and  disturbing me with their doubts.  This  kind  of
state can be illustrated to Dwaita.

Dwaita  advises to prostrate to God.  Serve him  humbly.   You
are a slave to him hence obey him what ever is his orders.  Do
not  try to question him, because he clearly knows what he has
to  give to you.  Many religions in this world fall into  this
dwaita  category.  A powerful example is Islam.    During  the
time  of difficulties a dwaiti (one who follows dwaita) thinks
in this way :

"What  ever  you do Oh lord!  who am I to quarrel  with  thee?
Does  a  picture  ever  quarrel with the  painter?"   -  Swamy

For more understanding of this dwaita school of thought one is
recommended to read the commentaries on ten upanishads, by Sri

Question does not arise, when we understand Dwaita and try  to
obey  the  things as they are.  Dwaita has a great  following,
albeit,  in this world each and every human is unique  in  his
intellectual caliber.  Hence, one may question "why  should  I
prostrate  to  someone who unnecessarily  pains  me?   Dictate
things  that  I  do not want to do? Actually, where  is  he?".
Here,  the  reason  fails and logic does not  come  to  rescue
dwaita.  We can clearly see this in Islam.  In islam God never
comes  in a human form.  Since he is the almighty you can  see
him only during the judgment day.  In Christianity you can see
the  same thinking in a different way "Jesus is Jehovah's son"
that  means, Jehovah is there somewhere.  Something  does  not
stand  for  reason.   The dwaita school  never  accepts  human
reasoning.   On  contrary  it says God  is  beyond  reasoning.
There comes Vishistadwaita in to picture.

VishiSThadwaita: Sri Ramanujacharya, founder of Vishistadwaita
school  of  thought, in his commentaries over  10  upanishads,
says  that "God is not a separate entity. Indeed, you  are  in
him,  but  you  are  not him."  This is pointed  out  even  in
Bhagawad Geeta.  "Like the waves are in the ocean but ocean is
not in the waves."

How does one understand this?... Here is an example.

Before   entering  into the deep sleep state we  experience  a
state  called dream state.  In this state we dream  a  lot  of
things.   If  suppose, I wanted people around  me  should  not
disturb  me  and  I  should  put  this  article  in   a   more
apprehending way.  Since, I did not do it in the waking  state
in  dream state I dream "the same computer, the people  around
me,  the article I am writing" everything... as a part of  me.
That  is,  I  can  see  everything inside  me...   I  can  see
airplanes  flying inside me.  Logically, how can  an  airplane
fit  in  a  5 foot 9 inches individual?... It is only possible
during the dream.

In the same way, Vishistadwaita teaches that you are a part of
God's  dream.   You  are  a character that  what  ever  he  is
dreaming.   You are as if a small bubble in the  Ocean  called
God.  Hence, each and everything in this universe is a part of

Here  the  question arises:  Why is God dreaming?   If  he  is
dreaming, why should he dream different characters?  Where  is
he? Where am I? Etceteras...  Here comes to rescue the Adwaita
of  Sri  Adisankara, which stands for Logic  and  gives  clear
understanding about oneself.

Adwaita:    Sri  AdiSankara,  the  greatest  philosopher   and
missionary  ever seen in this world, is the advocate  of  this
School  of  thought.  You may wonder, then who  founded  this?
Actually, I should say that Sri Yagnavalkya, the seer  of  Sri
Sukla Yajurveda, founded this school.

Awaita  teaches  that "you are God"... "Tat tvam  asi,"  "that
thou  art".  Before going to give an example to this, I should
honestly accept that this example does not clearly stand as an
example  for  Adwaita State.  Eventually,  I  could  not  find
something else.

After  the dream state we enter into a state called the  "deep
sleep  state."  In this state, neither the ego (i.e.  `I'ness)
existed  nor  the world.  We experience, at least  for  a  few
minutes, absolute bliss.  Since there is no ego over there  we
can  neither explain nor understand what that state is, except
from  saying "sukhEna maya nidrA anubhootaya" means, "I  slept
very well."  In case, if one does question about the happiness
we experienced in deep sleep state, we fail in answering.

In  Bruhadranka Upanishad, the Seer says that it is indeed the
very  close  state  to  your  real  state  (your  self).    He
illustrates  a  bird  saying that  "like  a  bird,  tired  and
fatigued  through  out the day flying in the  world  withdraws
it's  wings and enters to take rest in it's nest, every  being
in  this  world  tired of the daily life  withdraws  all  it's
senses and enters and takes rest  in a State called deep sleep
state  that  is  very  near  to  his  Real  state  called   as

The  followers of Nondualism, tries to experience  this  state
without sleeping.  We call this state as "Samadhi."   This  is
a  state  that can only be experienced but can't be explained.
In adwaita God is nothing but absolute bliss.  It is also said
that  when  one  experiences this "samadhi" he can  understand
that  he is God and this world is a part of him.  Since he  is
there  the world is there.  Since he can see, the Sun and  the
moon and the stars are there. Since he can perceive the nature
is  full  of  greens.  If he is not there  nothing  is  there.
Perceiver is always superior than the perceived.

Sri  Adisankara  while  advocating this Nondualism  says  that
"Since you are a part of this world and right now you are  not
in  a  state  of understanding that you are God,   you  should
follow   the   path   of  Bhakti  (dwaita)   and   inquisition
(VishisTadwaita).  Adwaita (non-dualism) is a state  that  has
to be realized.  Until you realise you should practice"... And
this   practice   is   nothing  but   accepting   dwaita   and
vishistadwaita.  Realisation of "that thou Art" is  the  final
goal.   Bhagawat  Geeta  says "When one realises  this  state,
everything   in this world becomes equal to him."   "Sunicaiva
swapakEca paMDitAH samadarsinaH."

Personally, I feel that this is a great school of thought that
only  can make us think of equanimity.  When one realises that
he is everything, this world and everyone in this world are  a
manifestation of himself,  he feels no threat from the  world.
When there  is no threat where is the fear,and  when there  is  no
fear  everything is peaceful.  When one is at peace he desires
nothing,  when one desires nothing he does not think  of  evil
doings. Hence there is  the  great   prayer in our Brihadaranyaka

"asatOmA sadgamaya -  Let me travel from ignorance to the knowledge
"tamasOmA jyOtirgamaya - from darkness to the light"
"mrUtyOrmA   amrutaMgamaya -  and from death to the immortality"

                    OM SaMtiH SaMtiH SaMtiH
Seer or not I walk alone...
Madhava Kumar Turumella
P.O.Box. No : 22525
Sharjah, UAE.
Phone : 00971-6-597451 (Resi)
Fax : 00971-6-597490
E-Mail : madhava at

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