Ramanuja's Summary of the Advaitin's Position - 1

S. Sriram ajiva_rts at YAMBOX.COM
Tue Apr 29 16:01:25 CDT 2003

From: "S Jayanarayanan" <sjayana at YAHOO.COM>

> [What I found interesting in Ramanuja's refutation of
> the above is that he argues from a purely logical
> standpoint why a non-differentiated entity cannot
> exist, without quoting a single definitive passage
> from any scripture showing differentiation in Brahman.
> Nor does he offer explanations for the upanishhadic
> quotes used by the advaitin. Perhaps he is less
> interested in what the upanishhads say and more
> involved in establishing his philosophy? Just a thought.]

The Upanisadic statements are broadly classified into bheda and
abheda sruti. bhedasruti denotes those statements that clearly showed
that  Brahman and Jiva were different, whilst abhedasruti denotes those
that cleary show that Brahman is only one and undifferentiated.

In reconciling these seemingly opposite points of view, Sankara
argues that in such a direct conflict between two statements/texts
the latter(para) statements/text would prevail over the former (purva),
(This principle is called apaccheda nyAya) and proceeds to interpret
the Vedanta-Sutras accordingly.

Ramanuja reconciled these differing points of view by identifying a
third type of sruti i.e. ghataka sruti. One of the upanisadic
statements that denote this body soul relationship is Bri. Up. 3.7.15
  'He who dwells in all beings, and within all beings,
  whom all beings do not know, whose body all beings are,
  and who pulls (rules) all beings within,
  he is thy Self, the puller (ruler) within, the immortal'
Ramanuja's Sri Bhasya provides an interpretation of the Vedanta-Sutras
based on this body-soul relationship between the many and the one.
In so doing, all apparently contradictory statements in the sruti
are reconciled.

Note: The complete etext of G. Thibaut's translation of Ramanuja's
is now available for download from http://www.sripedia.org
Thibaut's translation of Sankara's commentary of the Vedanta-Sutras
is being prepared for release. Those interested in helping could
login to http://texts01.archive.org/dp

Srinivasan Sriram

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