Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Mar 12 00:41:04 CST 1998

On Mon, 2 Mar 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> Nagi :
> AFAIK, Atman, Self and the Soul all refer to the same thing. Now you're
> scaring me by bringing up this question. Anyway there're only three
> entities towards which we should focus our attention : 1. The phenomenol
> world, 2. The Self and 3. Brahman.
> We know what the phenomenol world is - the world around us. The Self is
> something inside us which is the hidden seer and is the true 'I'. The
> Brahman is the Universal spirit. The Vedanta masters differ in their
> views on the three's relationship with each other and their nature.
> Shankara states that 1 is maya or unreal and 2 and 3 are alike. Ramanuja
> states the 1 and 2 are but part of 3. Madhva states 1 and 2 are seperate
> entities altogether from 3. The latter two don't subscribe to the theory
> of Maya but I think all three agree that 3 is the Creator.
> I'm not sure about Nimbarka. Can somebody explain the BhedaBheda
> doctrine and also some history about Nimbarka and Vallabha.

I don't know much about Nimbarka beyond that he was a Vaishnava and his
philosophy is called Bhedabheda.  There was an older Vedantin who ad
similiar views called Bhatt Bhaskar, a contemporary of Shankaracharya but
he didn't have any connection with Nimbarka.  I noticed the local Sanskrit
bookstore had the Vedantakaustubha which is this sampradayas commentary on
the Brahmasutras but I didn't feel the urge to buy it.

I'm quite familiar with Vallabha and his philosophy though.  He was a
Telang (Andhra) Brahmin who was a contemporary of Akhbar. His doctrine is
called Shuddhadvaita or 'pure' Advaita.  Like other Vaishnavas Vallabha
feels Shankaracharyas doctrine is 'tainted' by the concept of Maya.  He
believes Brahman ( == Krishna Bhagawan) is literally the phenomenal world
(which hence is real) and the individual self.  Thus they call their main
temples Havelis (Hindi for mansions) instead of mandirs as they are they
contain the living presence of God not just a symbol.  The river Yamuna,
Mt Govardhan and other landmarks of Vraj where Krishna Bhagawan grew up
also play a role in their religion.

His sampradaya is also called Pushti Marg or the path of prosperity.  If
the world and God are one, there is no need for vairagya.  (Indeed the
Goswamis or leaders of this sampradaya are householders, the descendants
of the seven sons of Vallabha.) Bhakti to Krishna Bhagwan in the Shrngara
rasa is the prefered form of worship.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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