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

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at YAHOO.COM
Thu May 1 10:34:54 CDT 2003

--- "S. Sriram" <ajiva_rts at YAMBOX.COM> wrote:


> 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.

Can you find me a single Upanishhadic statement that
*discredits* abheda? There are several that discredit
bheda (e.g. B.U. 4.4.19, 2.4.14, 4.5.15).

The upanishhads discredit bheda alone.

> 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.

If Shankara downplays bheda, it is due to the fact
that the principal upanishhads themselves, though
favoring both abheda and bheda, repeatedly disfavor
bheda, while *never* disfavoring abheda. Shankara
simply remains steadfastly loyal to the upanishhads,
unlike Ramanuja, who, though well aware of the
disapproval accorded to bheda in the shruti, yet keen
on propounding his theory, proceeds to concoct a new

> 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.

Give me a definitive statement in the 10 principal
unpanishhads that specifically disfavors
non-difference, and I will completely subscribe to all
of Ramanuja's views.

One interesting point about Ramanuja's shrI bhaashhya
is that he quotes from the VishNu PuraaNa way more
than any other text -- including any upanishhad or
even the GItA. OTOH, Shankara primarily uses only the
upanishhads and the GItA, seldom quoting other texts.
Evidently, Ramanuja prefers a sectarian reading into
the Brahma suutra via the VishhNu purANa.

The answer to the question, "If there is only one book
that I should study, what would it be?" is, as per the
shrI VaishhNavas, the VishhNu PuraaNa. According to
the Shankaran tradition, it is the MANDUkya upanishhad
(with GauDapaada's KArikA and Shankara's
sub-commentary). The difference is rather telling.

> Note: The complete etext of G. Thibaut's translation
> of Ramanuja's
> commentary
> is now available for download from
> http://www.sripedia.org

Thanks for the link.

> 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
> Thanks
> Srinivasan Sriram



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