A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 4

Indian Pluralism

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1949 | 186,278 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of important madhva works: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the third part in the series called the “madhva and his school”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 3 - Important Madhva Works

The Mahābhārata-tātparya-nirṇaya. This work of Madhva consists of thirty-two chapters and is written in verse. In the first chapter Madhva begins with a very brief summary of his views. He says there that the four Vedas, the Pañcarātras, the Mahābhārata, the original Rāmāyaṇa, and the Brahma-sūtras are the only authoritative scriptural texts, and that anything that contradicts them is to be regarded as invalid. The Vaisṇava Purāṇas, being essentially nothing more than an elaboration of the Pañcarātras, should also be regarded as valid scriptures. The smṛti literature of Manu and others is valid in so far as it does not come into conflict with the teachings of the Vedas, the Mahābhārata, the Pañcarātras and the Vaiṣṇava Purāṇas[1]. Other śāstras such as those of Buddhism were made by Viṣṇu to confuse the Asuras, and Śiva also produced the Śaiva Śāstra for the same object at the command of Viṣṇu. All the śāstras that speak of the unity of the self with Brahman either in the present life or at liberation are false. Viṣṇu is the true Lord, and is also called Nārāyaṇa or Vāsudeva. The process of the world is real and is always associated with five-fold differences, viz. that between the self and God, between the selves themselves, between matter and God, between matter and matter, and between matter and self[2]. It is only the gods and the best men that may attain salvation through knowledge and grace of God; ordinary men pass through cycles of births and rebirths, and the worst are cursed in hell. Neither the demons nor those who are eternally liberated have to go through a cycle of birth and rebirth. The demons cannot under any circumstances attain salvation. The theory of eternal damnation is thus found only in Madhva, and in no other system of Indian philosophy. Men can attain salvation when they worship God as being associated with all good qualities and as being blissful and omniscient. Even in the state of liberation there are individual differences between the selves, and the perfect and desireless (niṣkāma) worship of God is the only means of salvation. It is only through devotion (bhakti) that there can be liberation; even the emancipated enjoy the eternal flow of pleasure through devotion; bhakti, or devotion, is here defined as an affection with the full consciousness of the greatness of the object of devotion[3], and it is regarded as the universal solvent. Even the performance of all religious duties cannot save a man from hell, but bhakti can save a man even if he commits the worst sin. Without bhakti even the best religious performances turn into sin, and with bhakti even the worst sins do not affect a man. God is pleased only with bhakti and nothing else, and He alone can give salvation.

In the second chapter Madhva says that in the Mahābhārata-tātparya-nirṇaya he tries to summarize the essential teachings of the Mahābhārata, the text of which in his time had become thoroughly corrupt; and that, difficult as the Mahābhārata itself is, it had become still more difficult to get to the root of it from these corrupt texts. He further says that in order to arrive at the correct reading he had procured the text of the Mahābhārata from various countries and that it is only by comparison of these different texts that he made his attempt to formulate its essential teachings in consonance with the teachings of other śāstras and the Vedas[4]. According to Madhva the Mahābhārata is an allegory, which shows a struggle between good and evil; the good representing the Pāṇḍavas, and the evil representing the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. The object of the Mahābhārata is to show the greatness of Viṣṇu. Madhva does not follow the order of the story as given in the Mahābhārata, he omits most of the incidental episodes, and supplements the story with others culled from other Purāṇas and the Rāmāyaṇa. Thus he gives a summary of the Rāmāyaṇa and also the story of Kṛṣṇa in the Bhāgavata-purāṇa as being a part of the Mahābhārata. In his treatment of the general story lIso he insists on the super-excellence of Bhīma and Kṛṣṇa.

There are several commentaries on this work of Madhva, viz.,

There were also other commentaries by Kṛṣṇācārya, Lakṣmaṇa Siṃha and Jaya-khaṇḍin Siṃha.

In the Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya Madhva selects some of the important verses from the twelve skandhas of the Bhāgavata-purāṇa, and adds short annotations with the selected verses from the selected chapters of each of the skandhas. These are not continuous, and many of the chapters are sometimes dropped altogether ; they are also brief, and made in such a manner that his own dualistic view may appear to be the right interpretation of the Bhāgavata. He sometimes supports his views by reference to the other Purāṇas, and in conclusion he gives a short summary of his view as representing the true view of the Bhāgavata.

The Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya is commented upon by various writers; some of the commentaries are

  • Bhāgavata-tātparya-vyākhyā (called also Tātparya-bodhinī),
  • Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya-vyākhyā-vivaraṇa,
  • Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya-vyākhyā-prabodhinī,
  • Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya-vyākhyā-padya-ratnāvalī,
  • Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya-vyākhyā-prakāśa, by Śrīnivāsa (a brief work in prose),
  • and Bhāgavata-tātparya-nirṇaya-ṭīkāy by Jadupati, Chalāri and Veda-garbhanārāyanācārya.

The Gītā-tātparya of Madhva is a work in prose and verse, giving a summary of the essence of the Gītā as understood by Madhva. It is a continuous summary of all the eighteen chapters of the Gītā in serial order. The summary, however, often quotes verses from the Gītā, which, however, are sometimes interrupted by small prose texts serving as links, sometimes of an explanatory nature, sometimes referring to purāṇic and other texts in support of Madhva’s interpretations, and sometimes introducing the context and the purpose of the verses of the Gītā —they sometimes introduce also discussions in prose against the monistic interpretation of the Gītā by Śaṅkara. The Tātparya, a work of about 1450 granthas, is commented upon by the famous Madhva author Jaya-tīrtha; the commentary is called Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya- nirṇaya-vyākhyā or Nyāya-dīpikā. This Nyāya-dīpikā was commented upon by Viṭṭhala-suta-śrinivāsācārya or Tāmraparṇl-Śrīnivāsācārya in a work called Tātparya-dīpikā-vyākhyā-nyāya-dīpa-kiraṇāvalī. The Bhagavadgītā-tātparya had at least two other commentaries, the Tātparya-ṭippaṇī, by Padmanābha-tīrtha, and the Nyāya-dīpa-bhāva-prakāśa, by Satyaprajña-bhikṣu. In addition to this Madhva wrote also a work styled Gītā-bhāṣya, in which he takes up the important ślokas, chapter by chapter, and in the course of commenting on them discusses many important problems of a controversial nature. Thus, following Kumārila, he says that it is because the śāstra is aparijñeya (of transcendent origin) that there is an absolute validity of the śāstras. Regarding the performance of karmas he says that they are to be performed because of the injunctions of the śāstras, without any desire for fruit. The only desires that should not be abandoned are for greater knowledge and a greater rise of bhakti; even if the karmas do not produce any fruit, they will at least produce the satisfaction of the Lord, because in following the injunctions of the śāstras the individual has obeyed the commands of God. He also controverts the Śaṅkara-view of monism, and says that, if God reflects Himself in men, the reflection cannot be identified with the original. The so-called upādhi or condition is supposed to make the difference between the Brahman and the individual. It is not also correct to say that, as water mixes with water, so also the individual at the time of salvation meets with God and there is no difference between them; for even when water mixes with water, there is difference, which explains the greater accumulation of water. So, in the state of salvation, the individual only comes closer to God, but never loses his personality. His state of mokṣa is said to be the most desirable because here one is divested of all sorrowful experiences, and has nothing to desire for oneself. It is in accordance with the difference in personality of different individuals; the state of salvation differs with each person. The common element in the state of salvation is the fact that no emancipated person has to suffer any painful experience. Madhva also takes great pains to show that Nārāyaṇa or Viṣṇu is the greatest or the highest Lord. In dealing with the third chapter he says that in the beginningless world even one karma may lead to many births and the accumulated store of karmas could never have yielded their full fruits to any person; therefore, even if one does not do any karma, he cannot escape the fruits which are in store for him as the result of his past karmas; consequently no good can be attained by the non-performance of karma. It is only the karma performed without any motive or desire that associates with knowledge and leads to salvation; so the non-performance of karma can never lead to salvation by itself. Madhva repudiates the idea that salvation can be attained by death in holy places, as the latter can only be attained by knowledge of Brahman. One is forced to perform the karmas by the force of one’s internal saṃskāras or sub-conscious tendencies. It is unnecessary to show in further detail that in this way Madhva interprets the Gītā in support of his own doctrines; and he also often tries to show that the view propounded by him is in consonance with the teachings of other Purāṇas and the Upaniṣads.

There is a number of works on Madhva’s interpretation of the Gītā: Gītārtha-saṃgraha by Rāghavendra, Gītā-vivṛti by Rāgha-vendra Yati, Gītā-vivṛti by Vidyādhirāja Bhaṭṭopādhyāya, and Prameya-dīpikā by Jaya-tīrtha, which has a further commentary on it, called Bhāva-prakāśa. Madhva wrote another commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya. It is a small work of about 2500 granthas, and the commentary is brief and suggestive[5]. He wrote also another work, the Anubhāṣya, which is a brief summary of the main contents and purport of the Brahma-sūtra. This has also a number of commentaries, by Jaya-tīrtha, Ananta bhaṭṭa, Chalāri-nrsimha, Rāghavendra-tīrtha and Śeṣācārya. There is also a work called Adhikaraṇārtha-saṃgraha, by Padmanābhācārya.

The Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya of Ānanda-tīrtha has a commentary by Jaya-tīrtha, called Tattva-prakāśikā. This has a number of commentaries: the Tātparya-prakāśikā-bhāva-bodha and the Tātparya-prakāśikā-gata-nyāya-vivaraṇa by Raghūttama Yati, and Bhāva-dīpikā or Tattva-prakāśikā-ṭippaṇī, the Tantra-dīpikā, by Rāghavendra Yati, Tātparya-candrikā, by Vyāsa-tīrtha, which had other commentaries, viz. the Tātparya-candrikā-prakāśa by Keśava Yati, Tātparya-candrikā-nyāya-vivaraṇa by Timmannācārya (or Timmapura-raghunāthācārya), and Tātparya-candriko-dāharaṇa-nyāya-vivaraṇa.

Besides these the Tattva-prakāśikā had other commentaries; the Abhinava-candrikā by Satyanātha Yati, one by Śrīnivāsa called Tattva-prakāśikā-vākyārtha-mañjari, and also the Vākyārtha-muktāvalī by the same author. The Tātparya-candrikā had another commentary, by Gururāja, and the Tattva-prakāśikā had another, the Tantra-dīpikā.

The Bhāṣya of Madhva was also commented upon by Jagannātha Yati (the Bhāṣya-dīpikā), by Viṭṭhala-suta-śrīnivāsa (the Bhāṣya-ṭippaṇī-prameya-muktāvalī), by Vādiraja (the Gurvartha-dīpikā), by Tāmraparṇī-śrīnivāsa, and by Su matīndra-tīrtha. There are also two others, the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣyārtha-saṃgraha and the Brahma-sūtrārtha.

The Anubhāṣya of Madhva was commented upon by Nṛsiṃha, Jaya-tīrtha, Ananta bhaṭṭa, Chalāri-nrsimha, Rāghavendra-tīrtha and Śeṣācārya.

Further, Madhva wrote another work on the Brahma-sūtra called the Anuvyākhyāna. This was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha in his Pañjikā and Nyāya-sudhā, and also by Jadupati and Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha. There is also another commentary on it, called Brahma-sūtrānuvyākhyāna-nyāya-saṃbandha-dīpikā. Of these the Nyāya-sudhā of Jaya-tīrtha is an exceedingly recondite work of great excellence. Anuvyākhyāna is commented upon by Raghūttama in his Nyāya-sūtra-nibandha-pradīpa and also in his Anuvyākhyāna-ṭīkā.  The Nyāya-sudhā itself was commented on by several writers. Thus we have commentaries by Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, Jadupati, Viṭṭhala-sutānanda -tīrtha, by Keśava bhaṭṭa (the Śeṣa-vākyārtha-candrikā), by Rāmacandra-tīrtha, Kuṇḍalagirisūri, Vidyādhīśa, Timmannārya, Vādirāja, and Rāghavendra Yati. We have also the Nyāyasudho-panyāsa, by Śrīpadarāja. The Anuvyākhyāna is a small work in verse which follows chapter by chapter the essential logical position of all the Brahma-sūtras.

Madhva says there that in rendering the interpretations he followed the trustworthy scriptural texts—the Vedas —and also logical reasoning[6]. He further says in the introduction that it is for the purpose of clearing his views in a proper manner that he writes the Anuvyākhyāna, though he had already written a bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra. He says in the first chapter that the Oṃkāra which designates the Brahman and which is also the purport of Gāyatrī is also the purport of all the Vedas and one should seek to know it. Those who seek to know the Brahman please God by such an endeavour, and by His grace are emancipated. The existence of all things, actions, time, character and selves depends upon God, and they may cease to exist at His will. God gives knowledge to the ignorant and salvation to the wise. The source of all bliss for the emancipated person is God Himself. All bondage is real, for it is perceived as such; nor is there any means by which one can prove the falsity of bondage, for if there were any proofs of its falsity, the proofs must be existent, and that would destroy the monistic view. The mere one cannot split itself into proof and the object of proof. So all experiences should be regarded as real. That which we find in consonance with practical behaviour should be regarded as real. The monists assert that there are three kinds of existence, but they cannot adduce any proofs. If the universe were really nonexistent, how could it affect anybody’s interests in a perverse manner? Brahman cannot be regarded as being only pure “being,” and the world-appearance cannot be regarded as false, for it is never negated in experience. If this world is to be known as different from pure non-being or the non-existent, then the non-existent has also to be known, which is impossible. It has been suggested that illusion is an example of non-existence, viz., the appearance of a thing as that which it is not. This virtually amounts to the assertion that appearance consists only of a being which does not exist, and this is also said to be indefinable. But such a position leads to a vicious infinite, because the reality of many entities has to depend on another and that on another and so on. Existence of a thing depends upon that which is not being negated, and its not being negated depends upon further experience and so on. Moreover, if the pure differenceless entity is self-luminous, how can it be covered by ajñāna? Again, unless it is possible to prove the existence of ajñāna, the existence of falsehood as a category cannot be proved. It is needless, however, for us to follow the whole argument of the Anuvyākhyāna, as it will be dealt with in other forms as elaborated by Vyāsa-tīrtha in his Nyāyāmṛta in controversy with the Advaita-siddhi.

Madhva also wrote a

  1. Pramāṇa-lakṣaṇa,
  2. Kathā-lakṣaṇa,
  3. Mithyātvānumāna-khaṇḍana,
  4. Upādhi-khaṇḍana,
  5. Māyā-vāda-khaṇḍana,
  6. Tattva-saṃkhyāna,
  7. Tattvoddyota,
  8. Tattva-viveka,
  9. Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya,
  10. Karma-nirṇaya[7].

The Pramāṇa-lakṣaṇa has a number of commentaries: Nyāya-kalpalatā, by Jaya-tīrtha, Sannyāya-dipikā, and others by Keśava-tīrtha, Pāṇḍuraṅga, Padmanābha-tīrtha, and Caṇḍakeśava. The Nyāya-kalpalatā of Jayatīrtha is a work of 1450 granthas; it has a commentary called Nyāya-kalpalatā-vyākhyā, by two other authors. One of them is a pupil of Vidyādhīśa Yati, but nothing is known about the author of the other work. There are also two other commentaries, the Prabodhinī and the Nyāya-mañjarī, by Caṇḍakeśavācārya. Other works relating to the same subject (the Madhva logic) are the Nyāya-muktāvalī, by Rāghavendra Yati, Nyāya-mauktikā-mālā, by Vijayīndra, and Nyāya-ratnāvalī, by Vādiraja. Jaya-tīrtha himself wrote a work called Pramāṇa-paddhati, which has a large number of commentaries (by Ananta bhaṭṭa, Vedeśa-bhikṣu, Vijayīndra, Viṭṭhala bhaṭṭa, Satyanātha Yati, Nṛsiṃha-tīrtha, Rāghavendra-tīrtha, Nārāyaṇa bhaṭṭa, Janārdana bhaṭṭa, and two others by unknown authors, the Bhāva-dīpa and the Padārtha-candrikā).

The Kathā-lakṣaṇa of Madhva was commented on by Padmanābha-tīrtha, Keśava Bhattāraka, and Jaya-tīrtha.

The Mithyātvānumāna-khaṇḍana of Madhva has at least four commentaries, by Jaya-tīrtha, the fourth being the Mandāra-mañjarī.

The Upādhi-khaṇḍana has at least three commentaries, by Jaya-tīrtha, Ananta bhaṭṭa and Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha. Both Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha and Padmanābha-tīrtha wrote commentaries on Jaya-tīrtha’s commentary named Upādhi-khaṇḍana-vyākhyā-vivaraṇa.

The Māyā-vāda-khaṇḍana of Madhva was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha, Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, Vyāsa-tīrtha, Keśavamiśra, Ananta bhaṭṭa and Padmanābha-tīrtha.

The Tattva-saṃkhyāna of Madhva was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha, Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, Ananta bhaṭṭa, Veṅkatādrisūri, Satyaprajña Yati, Satyaprajña-tīrtha, Maudgala Narasimhācārya, Timmannācārya, Gururāja and Yadupati. The commentary of Jaya-tīrtha, the Tattva-saṃkhyāna-vivaraṇa, was commented upon by Satya-dharma Yati (Satya-dharma-ṭippana).

The Tattvoddyota of Madhva was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha, Yadupati, Vedeśa-bhikṣu, Padmanābha-tīrtha, Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, Narapaṇḍita, Rāghavendra-tīrtha, Vijaylndra, Gururāja (or Keśava Bhattāraka).

The Tattva-viveka of Madhva was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha, Ananta bhaṭṭa and Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha.

In the Kathā-lakṣaṇa, Madhva tries to give an estimate of the nature of various wholesome discussions (vāda) as distinguished from unwholesome discussions (wrangling, vitaṇḍā). Vāda is discussion between the teacher and the pupil for the elucidation of different problems or between two or more pupils who are interested in the discovery of truth by reasoning. When this discussion, however, takes place through egotism, through a spirit of emulation, for the sake of victory through controversy, or for the attainment of fame, the discussion is called jalpa. Unwholesome discussion, vitaṇḍā, is undertaken for the purpose of discrediting the true points of view by specious argument. There may be one or more presidents (praśnika) in a discussion, but such a person or persons should be strictly impartial. All discussions must be validly based, on the scriptural texts, and these should not be wrongly interpreted by specious argument[8]. The Kathā-lakṣaṇa of Madhva seems to have been based on a work called Brahma-tarka. The nature of vāda, jalpa, and vitaṇḍā according to the Nyāya philosophy has already been treated in the first volume of the present work[9].

It is unnecessary to enter into the Prapañca-mithyātvānumāna-khaṇḍana, Upādhi-khaṇḍana and Māyāvāda-khaṇḍana, because the main subject-matter of these tracts has been dealt with in our treatment of Vyāsa-tīrtha’s Nyāyāmṛta in controversy with the Advaita-siddhi.

The Tattva-saṃkhyāna is a small tract of eleven verses which relates in brief some of the important tenets of Madhva’s doctrines. Thus it says that there are two categories—the independent and the dependent; Viṣṇu alone is independent. The category of the dependent is of two kinds—the existent and the non-existent. The non-existent or the negation is of three kinds—negation before production (prāgabhāva), negation by destruction (dhvamsābhāva), and universal negation (atyantābhāva). The existents are again conscious or unconscious. The conscious entities are again twofold, those who are associated with sorrows and those who are not so. Those who are associated with sorrows are again twofold, viz., those who are emancipated and those who are in sorrow. Those who are in sorrow are again twofold, viz., those who are worthy of salvation and those who are not. There are others who are not worthy of salvation at any time. The worst men, the demons, the rākṣasas and the piśācas are not worthy of salvation at any time. Of these there are two kinds, viz., those who are already damned in hell and those who pursue the course of saṃsāra but are doomed to hell. The unconscious entities are again threefold, the eternal, the non-eternal, and the partly eternal and partly non-eternal. The Vedas alone are eternal. The sacred literature of the Purāṇas, time and prakṛti are both eternal and non-eternal; for, when in essence the teachings of the Purāṇas are eternal, time and prakṛti are eternal; in their evolution they are non-eternal. The non-eternal again is twofold—the created and the uncreated (saṃsliṣṭa and asaṃsliṣṭa). The uncreated ones are mahat, aham, buddhi, manas, the senses, the tanmātras and the five bhūtis. The world and all that exists in the world are created. Creation really means being prompted into activities, and as such the created entities undergo various stages: God alone is the inward mover of all things and all changes. The Tattva-viveka of Madhva is as small a work as the Tattva-saṃkhyāna, consisting only of a dozen granthas, and deals more or less with the same subject: it is therefore unnecessary to give a general summary of its contents.

The Tattvoddyota, however, is a somewhat longer work in verse and prose. It starts with a question, whether there is a difference between the emancipated souls, and Madhva says that the emancipated souls are different from God because they had been emancipated at a particular time. They cannot be both different and non-different from God, for that would be meaningless. The concept of anirvacanīya of the Vedāntists has no illustration to support it. Madhva takes pains to refute the theoiy of anirvacanīya with the help of scriptural texts, and he holds that the so-called falsity of the Śaṅkarites cannot be supported by perception, inference or implication. There is no reason to think that the world-appearances as such cannot be negated[10]. He further says that, if everything in the world were false, then the allegation that the world would be contradicted in experience would also be false. If the contradiction of the world be false, then virtually it amounts to saying that the world-experience is never contradicted. If it is said that the world-appearance is different from being and if the predicate “being” means the class-concept of being, then it is a virtual admission of a plurality of existents, without which the class-concept of being is impossible. If however the predicate “being” means pure being, then, since such a pure “being” is only Brahman, its difference from the world would be an intelligible proposition, and it would not prove the so-called anirvacanīya. It is said that falsity is that which is different from both being and non-being, and that would virtually amount to saying that that which is not different is alone true[11]. On such a supposition the plurality of causes or of effects or the diversities of grounds in inferences must all be discarded as false, and knowledge would be false. Knowledge implies diversity; for the knower, the knowledge and the object of knowledge cannot be the same. Again, it is wrong to hold that ignorance rests in the object of knowledge or the Brahman; for the ignorance always belongs to the knowledge. If on the occasion of knowledge it is held that the ignorance belonging to the objects is removed, then, the ignorance being removed in the object by one person’s knowledge of it, all persons should be able to know the object. If any knowing of the jug means that the ignorance resting in the jug is removed, then, the ignorance being removed, the jug should be known even by persons who are not present here[12]. Again, if by the knowledge of any object the ignorance resting in another object be removed, then by the knowledge of the jug the ignorance in other objects could be removed.

Again, a material object is that which never can be a knower. For that reason the self, as a knower, can never be regarded as material. But according to the monists the ātman which is equalized with Brahman, being without any quality, can never be a knower, and, if it cannot be a knower, it must be of the nature of a material object, which is impossible. Also the self, or the ātman, cannot be a false knower, for the category of falsehood as the indefinable (or anirvacaniya) has already been refuted. If materiality means non-luminousness (aprakāśatva), then we have to admit that the self, which is differenceless, is unable to illumine itself or anything else; and thus the self would be non-luminous. The self cannot illumine itself, because then it would itself be the subject and object of its work of illumination, which is impossible. The other objects, being false (according to the monists), cannot be illuminated either. If they are no objects and if they are only false, they cannot be illuminated. Thus the monists fail to explain the nature of the self-luminousness of Brahman. Again, the argument that things which are limited in time and space are false does not hold either; for time and the prakṛti are not limited by time and space, and therefore they cannot be regarded as false, as the monists wish to think. Again, if it did hold, things which are limited by their own nature and character would consequently be false. Thus, the selves would be false, since they are different from one another in their character.

Moreover, the world is perceived as true and real, and there is no one who has experienced it to be false (the perception of the smallness of the sun or of the moon is an illusion, due to the distance from which they are seen; such conditions do not hold regarding the world as we perceive it). There is no reason which supports the view that the world is the product of ignorance. Again, the analogy of a magician and his magic is inapplicable to the world; for the magician does not perceive his magic creation, nor is he deluded by it. But in the case under discussion God (the Īśvara) perceives His own creation. Therefore the world cannot be regarded as magic or māyā ; for God perceives everything directly. Thus, from whatever point of view one may discuss the doctrine of māyā, one finds it untenable, and there are no proofs which can support it.

Madhva further holds that in the Brahma-sūtra, Book n, not only are various other philosophies refuted but that even the monistic doctrine has been refuted. The refutation of Buddhism is in reality also a refutation of the monists, who are in reality nothing but crypto-Buddhists or Buddhists in disguise[13]. The śūnyavādi Buddhists hold that truth is of two kinds, that which is saṃvṛta, or of limited or practical importance only, and that which is paramārtha, or ultimately real. If one truly discusses the nature of things, there is no reality, and what is perceived as real is only an appearance. What is called the pāramārthika reality means only the cessation of all appearance[14]. There is no difference between the qualityless Brahman and the śūnya of the Buddhists. The qualityless Brahman is self-luminous and eternal; the śūnya of the Buddhists is unknowable by mind or speech, and is also differenceless, self-luminous, and eternal. It is opposed to materiality, to practicality, to pain and suffering, and to cessation and the defects of bondage[15]. It is not actually a real-positive entity, though it supports all positive appearance; and, though in itself it is eternal, from the practical point of view it appears in manifold characters. It is neither existent nor non-existent, neither good, nor bad—it is not a thing which one should either leave aside or take, for it is the eternal śūnya[16]. It may be observed in this connection that the monists also do not believe in the reality of the characters of being and non-being, because the Brahman is devoid of all characters and qualities. Like śūnya of the Buddhists, it is unspeakable, though it is referred to by all words, and it is unknowable, though all knowledge refers to it. Neither the Śaṅkarites nor the Śūnyavādins believe in the category of being or positivity as characters. TheŚūnyavādin does not regard the śūnya or the void as a character.

The view of the Śaṅkarites, therefore, is entirely different from belief in a personal God, endowed with characters and qualities (which is the general purport of all valid scriptural texts). If the Brahman be void of all characters, it is beyond all determination. The monists think that the Brahman is absoluteless, differenceless, and this precludes them from resorting to any argument in support of their view; for all arguments presuppose relativity and difference. In the absence of any valid argument, and in the face of practical experience of the reality of the world, there is indeed nothing which can establish the monistic view. All arguments that would prove the falsity of the world will fall within the world-appearance and be themselves false. If all selves were identical, then there would be no difference between the emancipated and the un-emancipated ones. If it is held that all difference is due to ignorance, then God, who has no ignorance, would perceive Himself as one with all individual selves, and thus share their sufferings; but the scriptural text of the Gītā definitely shows that God perceives Himself as different from ordinary individual selves. The experience of suffering cannot also be due to upādhi (or condition) which may act as a limit; for in spite of diversity of conditions the experiencer remains the same. Moreover, since God is free from all conditions, the difference of conditions ought not to prevent Him from perceiving His equality with all beings in sharing their sufferings. Those also who hold that there is only one individual and that all misconceptions are due to Him are wrong; for at his death there should be cessation of the differences. There is also no proof in support of the view that all notion of difference and the appearance of the world is due to the misconception of only one individual. Thus there are no proofs in support of the monistic view as held by the Śaṅkarites. It is therefore time that the upholders of the māyā doctrine should flee, now that the omniscient Lord is coming to tear asunder the darkness of specious arguments and false interpretations of spiritual texts[17].

The Karma-nirṇaya of Madhva deals with the nature of karma or scriptural duties, which forms the subject-matter of the Pūrva-mīmāṃsā. The Pūrva-mīmāmsā not only practically ignores the existence of God but also denies it. Madhva was himself a great believer in a personal God and therefore wished to interpret the Mīmāṃsā in an authentic manner. He held that the various gods, e.g., Indra or Agni, stood for Viṣṇu or Nārāyaṇa. The Pūrva-mīmāṃsā was satisfied with providing for heaven as the object of all performance of sacrifices, but with Madhva the ultimate goal was true knowledge and the attainment of emancipation through the grace of God. He disliked the idea that the scriptural sacrifices are to be performed with the object of attaining heaven, and he emphasized his notion that they should be performed without any motive; with him they should be performed merely because they are religious injunctions or the commands of God. He further held that it is only by such motiveless performance of actions that the mind could be purified for the attainment of the grace of God. The motiveless performance of sacrifices is therefore in a way preliminary and accessory to the attainment of wisdom and the grace of God.

Thus, as usual, Madhva tries to refute the argument of the monists against the possibility of possession by God of infinite attributes and in favour of a differenceless Brahma. He further says that the texts such as satyam, jñānam, anantam, Brahma, which apparently inspires a qualityless Brahman, are to be subordinated to other texts which are of a dualistic nature. Proceeding by way of inference, he says that the world, being of the nature of an effect, must have an intelligent cause—a maker—and this maker is God. The maker of this world must necessarily be associated with omniscience and omnipotence. Madhva cites the evidence of the Bhāgavata-purāṇa in favour of a saguṇa Brahma, a Brahma associated with qualities. Where the texts refer to Brahman as nirguita, the idea is that the Brahman is not associated with any bad qualities. Also the Brahman cannot be devoid of all determination, viśeṣa ; the denial of determination is itself a determination, and as such would have to be denied by the monists; and this would necessarily lead to the affirmation of the determination. Madhva then resorts to his old arguments against māyā, mithyā, and amrvacanīya, and points out that the logic of excluded middle would rule out the possibility of a category which is neither sat nor asat. There is really no instance of a so-called anirvacamya. An illusion, after it is contradicted, is sometimes pointed out as an instance of anirvacanīya, but this is wholly wrong; for in the case of an illusion something was actually perceived by the senses but interpreted wrongly. The fact that something was actually in contact with the visual sense is undisputed; and, when the illusion is contradicted, the contradiction means the discovery that an object which was believed to be there is not there. The object that was erroneously perceived—e.g., a snake—was a real object, but it did not exist where it was thought to exist. To say that the illusion is false (mithyā) only means that the object illusorily perceived does not exist there. The mere fact that an object was illusorily perceived cannot mean that it was really existent; and nevertheless its non-existence was contradicted; so it was neither existent nor nonexistent. The only legitimate point of view is that the illusorily perceived object did not exist while it was perceived, i.e. it was asat. The rope which was perceived as “snake” is later on contradicted, when the perception of “snake” disappears; but the world as such has never been found to disappear. Thus there is no similarity between the perception of the world and the perception of the illusory snake. Moreover that which is anirvacanīya is so called because it is hard to describe it on account of its uniqueness, but that does not prove that it is a category which is neither existent nor non-existent. Though it may be sufficiently described, still one may not exhaust its description. A jar is different from a cloth and also different from the merely chimerical hare’s horn, viz., a jar is different from an existent cloth and a non-existent hare’s horn; but that does not make a jar anirvacanīya, or false. The jar as shown above is sadasad-vilakṣaṇa, but it is not on that account non-existent.

Again, the meaning of the phrase sadasad-vilakṣaṇa is very vague. In the first place, if it means the conception of a difference (bheda), then the meaning is inconsistent. The monists hold that only the Brahman exists, and therefore, if the difference between the existent and the non-existent exists, there will be dualism. But in reply it may be held that the affirmation of dualism is only possible as a lower degree of reality which is called the vyāvahārika. The meaning of this word is not clear. It cannot mean a category which is different from both being and non-being, since such a category is logically invalid. If it means only conditional being, then even the conception of the highest reality is conditioned by human knowledge, and is therefore conditional (vyāvahārika) ; and the application of the term to illusory perception or normal perception alone is doubtful. In the second place, the term sadasad-vilakṣaṇa also cannot mean identity between the Brahman and the world; for such identity is open to contradiction. The monists can therefore affirm neither the reality of difference nor the reality of absolute identity between the world and Brahman.

The view of the monists that there are different degrees of reality, and that there is identity between them in essence and difference only in appearance, cannot be established, unless the truth of degrees of reality can be established. They hold that the world (which has an inferior degree of reality) is superimposed on the Brahman, or that Brahman has manifested Himself as the world; but such an expression is invalid if there is absolute identity between the world and the Brahman. The phrase “absolute identity” would be merely a tautology, and the scriptural texts so interpreted would be tautological. The monists argue that even identical expressions have satyaṃ jñānaṃ anantam, and are not tautological, because they serve to exclude their negatives. To style Brahman “satya” or “jñāna” means that Brahman is not asatya and ajñāna. But such an interpretation would destroy their contention that all the scriptural epithets have an akhaṇḍārtha, i.e., refer to one differenceless Brahman; for according to their own interpretation the scriptural epithets do not have only one significance (viz., the affirmation of pure differenceless being), but also the negation of other qualities; and in that case the final significance of all scriptural epithets as referring to the differenceless Brahman is contradicted. Again, the anirvacanīyatā of the world depends upon a false analysis of illusion; and so the statement that the differencelessness of Brahman depends on the very illusoriness of the world is not established by any monist by any valid argument. The difference between the world-appearance and Brahman cannot be regarded by the monists as ultimately real; for in that case “difference” is a category having a co-existent reality with Brahman. Again, the concept of difference between the existent and the non-existent requires classification; and, unless this is done, the mere assertion that the world-appearance is both identical with and different from Brahman would have no meaning.

That which is different from the non-existent is existent and that which is different from the existent is non-existent or chimerical. The non-existent has no determination; for it cannot be known by any means, and as such its difference from the existent cannot be known either, since to know the difference between two entities one must know the two entities fully. No one can argue about whether the hare’s horn is different or not different from a tree. Again, if sat or “existent” means the ultimately differenceless real, then, since such a difference has no character iri it, it is not possible to form any concept of its difference from any other thing. Thus it is not possible to form any concept of anything which is different from the existent and also from the non-existent; if the world is different from the non-existent, it must be real; and if the world is different from the existent, it must be the hare’s horn. The law of excluded middle again rules out the existence of anything which is neither existent nor non-existent; in a pair of contradictory judgments one must be right. Thus the reality of Brahman is endowed with all qualities and as a creator and sustainer of the world He cannot be denied.

Madhva then contends with the Prabhākaras, who hold that the ultimate import of propositions must lead to the performance of an action. If that were the case, the Vedic propositions would never have any import implying the reality of Brahman; for Brahman cannot be the object of the activity of man. Madhva holds that the purpose of all Vedic texts is the glorification of God; and, further, that what is effected by activity among finite human beings is already pre-established with infinite God. All actions imply iṣṭasādhanatā (pleasurable motive) and not mere activity. Nothing will be put into action by any man which is distinctly injurious to him. If the chief emphasis of all actions thus be iṣṭasādhanatā, then the assertion of the Mlmāmṣā school, that the import of all possibilities is kāryatā, is false; iṣṭasādhanatā includes kāryatā. The supreme iṣṭasādhanatā of all actions is the attainment of emancipation through the grace of God. It is therefore necessary that all sacrificial actions should be performed with devotion, since it is by devotional worship alone that one can attain the grace of God. The Karma-nirṇaya is a small work of less than 400 granthas.

In the Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya, a work of about 600 granthas, Madhva discusses a number of important problems. He declares that the Vedas, the Mahābhārata, the Pañcarātras, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Viṣṇu-purāṇa and all other sacred literature that follows them are to be regarded as valid scriptures (sad-āgama). All other texts that run counter to them are to be counted as bad scriptures (durāgama), and by following them one cannot know the real nature of God. It is neither by perception nor by inference that one can know God; it is only by the Vedas that one can know the nature of God. The Vedas are not produced by any human being (apauruṣeya); unless the transcendental origin of the Vedas is admitted, there can be no absolute validity of religious duties; all ethical and religious duties will be relative. No human commands can give the assurance of absence of ignorance or absence of false knowledge; nor can it be supposed that these commands proceed from an omniscient being, for the existence of an omniscient being cannot be known apart from the scriptures. It will be too much to suppose that such an omniscient being is not interested in deceiving us. But, on the other hand, if the Vedas are regarded as not having emanated from any person, we are not forced to make any other supposition; the impersonal origin of the Vedas is valid in itself, because we do not know of any one who has written them. Their utterances are different from other utterances of an ordinary nature, because we know the authors of the latter. The Vedas exist in their own nature and have been revealed only to the sages, and their validity does not depend on anything else; for, unless this is admitted, we can have no absolute criterion of validity and there will be infinite regress. Their validity does not depend on any reasoning; for good reasoning can only show that the process of thought is devoid of logical defects, and cannot by itself establish validity for anything. Since the Vedas are impersonal, the question of the absence of logical defects does not arise. All validity is self-evident; it is non-validity which is proved by later experience. Nor can it be said that the words of Vedic utterances of one syllable are produced at the time of utterance; for in that case they would be recognized as known before. Such recognition cannot be due to similarity; for in that case all recognitions would have to be considered as cases of similarity, which would lead us to the Buddhist view; recognitions are to be considered as illusory. Thus the selfvalidity of the Vedas has to be accepted as the absolute determinant of all important problems[18]. These Vedas were originally perceived by God; He imparted them to sages, who at the beginning of each creation, remembered the instructions of their previous birth. The alphabets and words are also eternal, as they are always apparent in the mind of the eternal God; so, though the syllables appear in the ākāśa, and though the Vedas consist of a conglomeration of them, the Vedas are eternal. The Mīmāṃsā view that the acquirement of words is associated with activity is wrong; for words and their meanings are already definitely settled, and it is only by physical gestures that meanings are acquired by individual people. The purpose of a proposition is finished when it indicates its meaning, and the validity of the proposition is in the realization of such a meaning. While one is acquainted with such a meaning and finds that the direction involved in it, if pursued, will be profitable, one works accordingly, but when one finds it to be injurious one desists from it. All grammars and lexicons are based on the relation already existent between words and their meanings, and no action is implied therein.

All the scriptures refer to Nārāyaṇa as omniscient and the creator of all things. It is wrong to suppose that the scriptures declare the identity of the individual selves with God; for there is no proof for such an assertion.

The existence of God cannot be proved by any inference; for inference of equal force can be adduced against the existence of God. If it is urged that the world, being an effect, must have a creator or maker just as a jug has a potter for its maker, then it may also be urged on the contrary that the world is without any maker, like the self; if it is urged that the self is not an effect and that therefore the counter-argument does not stand, then it may also be urged that all makers have bodies, and since He has no body, God cannot be a creator. Thus the existence of God can only be proved on the testimony of the scriptures, and they hold that God is different from the individual selves. If any scriptural texts seem to indicate the identity of God and self or of God and the world, this will be contradicted by perceptual experience and inference, and consequently the monistic interpretations of these texts would be invalid. Now the scriptures cannot suggest anything which is directly contradicted by experience; for, if experience be invalid, then the experience of the validity of the scriptures will also become invalid. The teaching of the scriptures gains additional strength by its consonance with what is perceived by other pramāṇas ; and, since all the pramāṇas point to the reality of diversity, the monistic interpretation of the scriptural texts cannot be accepted as true. When any particular experience is contradicted by a number of other pramāṇas, that experience is thereby rendered invalid. It is in this manner that the falsity of the conch-shell-silver is attested What was perceived as silver at a distance was contradicted on closer inspection and by the contact of the hand, and for that reason the conch-shell-silver perceived at a distance is regarded as invalid. An experience which is contradicted by a large number of other pramāṇas is by reason of that very fact to be regarded as defective[19]. The comparative value of evidence can be calculated either by its quantity or its quality[20]. There are two classes of qualitative proofs, viz., that which is relative (upajīvaka) and that which is independent (upajīvya); of these the latter must be regarded as the stronger. Perception and inference are independent sources of evidence, and may therefore be regarded as upajīvya, while the scriptural texts are dependent on perception and inference, and are therefore to be regarded as upajīvaka. Valid perception precedes inference and is superior to it, for the inference has to depend on perception; thus, if there is a flat contradiction between the scriptural texts and what is universally perceived by all, the scriptural texts have to be so explained that there may not be any such contradiction. By its own nature as a support of all evidence, perception or direct experience, being the upajīvya, has a stronger claim to validity[21]. Of the two classes of texts, viz., those which are monistic and those which are dualistic, the latter is supported by perceptual evidence. If it is urged that the purpose of the śruti texts is to transcend perception and that it is by perception alone that we realize pure being, then it follows that the dualistic texts, which contradict ordinary perception, are to be regarded as more valid on the very ground that they transcend perception. So, whichever way we look at it, the superiority of the duality texts cannot be denied. Again, when a particular fact is supported by many evidences that strengthens the validity of that fact. The fact that God is different from the individual and the world, is attested by many evidences and as such it cannot be challenged; and the final and ultimate import of all the Vedic texts is the declaration of the fact that Lord Viṣṇu is the highest of all. It is only by the knowledge of the greatness and goodness of God that one can be devoted to Him, and it is by devotion to God and by His grace that one can attain emancipation, which is the highest object of life. Thus it is through the declaration of God and His goodness that the śruti serves to attain this for us.    .

No one can have any attachment to anything with which he feels himself identical. A king does not love his rival; rather he would try to inflict defeat on him by attacking him; but the same king would give away his all to one who praised him. Most of the ascriptions of the texts endow God with various qualities and powers which would be unexplainable on monistic lines. So Madhva urges that the ultimate aim of all śruti and smṛti texts is to speak of the superexcellence of Viṣṇu, the supreme Lord.

But his opponents argue that ascription or affirmation of qualities to reality depends upon the concept of difference; the concept of difference again depends upon the separate existence of the quality and the qualified. Unless there are two entities, there is no conception of difference; and, unless there is a conception of difference, there cannot be a conception of separate entities. Thus these two conceptions are related to each other in a circular manner and are therefore logically invalid[22]. Madhva in reply says that the above argument is invalid, because things are in themselves of the nature of difference. It is wrong to argue that differences are meaningless because they can only be realized with reference to certain objects; for, just as unity has a separate meaning, so the difference is also realized by itself. It is wrong to think that first we have the notion of the differing objects in themselves in their unity and that then the differences are realized; to perceive the object is to perceive the difference. Difference is as simple and analysable as unity. Unity is also a simple notion, yet it can be expressed in the form of a relation of identity—such as that of Brahman and individual self, as the monists say. In the same way difference is a simple notion, though it may be expressed a6 subsisting between two entities. It is true that in cases of doubt and illusion our notion of difference is arrested, but so it is also in the case of our notion of unity. For to perceive an object is not to perceive its unity or identity; to perceive objects is to perceive their uniqueness, and it is this uniqueness which constitutes difference[23].

The expression “its difference” signifies the very uniqueness of the nature of the thing; for, had it not been so, then the perception of the object would not have led us to realize its separateness and difference from others. If such a difference was not realized with the very perception of the object, then one might easily have confused oneself with a jug or with a piece of cloth; but such a confusion never occurs, the reason being that the jug, as soon as it is perceived, is perceived as different from all other things. Difference therefore is realized as the very nature of things that are perceived; doubts occur only in those cases where there is some similarity, while in most other cases the difference of an entity from other entities is realized with the very perception of the entity. Just as, when a number of lights are seen at a glance, they are all known in a general manner, so difference is also known in a general manner, though the particular difference of the object from any other specific object may not be realized immediately upon perception. When a number of articles is perceived, we also perceive at once that each article is different, though the specific difference of each article from the other may not be realized at once. We conclude therefore that perception of difference is dependent upon a prior perception of multiplicity as a series of units upon which the notion of difference is superimposed. That in the perception of each entity its specific nature and uniqueness is perceived cannot be denied even by the Vedāntists, even by the monists, who regard each entity as being different from the Brahman. Thus the circular reasoning with which the monists associate the perception of difference is a fallacy and is untenable. If an object in the very revelation of its nature did not also reveal its special difference or uniqueness, then the perception of all things would be identical. Moreover each difference has its own unique character; the difference from a jug is not the same as the difference from a cloth.

Thus the perception of difference cannot be challenged as invalid; to say that what is perceived in a valid manner is false is a denial of experience, and is invalid. The illusory perception of the conch-shell silver is regarded as illusory only because it is contradicted by a stronger perceptual experience. No syllogistic reasoning has the power to challenge the correctness of valid perceptual experience. No dialectical reasoning can prove the invalidity of direct and immediate experience. Upon this reasoning all arguments denying the differences of things are contradicted by the scriptural texts, by perception and by other arguments; the arguments of those who challenge the reality of difference are absolutely specious in their nature. It is idle to say that in reality there is no difference though such difference may be realized in our ordinary practical experience (vyāvahārika). It has already been demonstrated that falsehood defined as that which is different from both the existent and the non-existent is meaningless. To attempt to deny the non-existent because it is unworthy of experience is meaningless; for, whether it was or was not experienced, there would be no need to deny it. The difference of anything from the non-existent would not be known without the knowledge of the non-existent. The appearance of the silver in the conch-shell cannot be described as something different from the existent and the non-existent; for the silver appearance is regarded as non-existent in the conch-shell; it cannot be argued that, since such an appearance was realized, therefore it could not have been non-existent.

The perception of the nonexistent as the existent is the perception of one thing as another: it is of the nature of illusion. It cannot be said that the non-existent cannot be perceived even in illusion; for it is admitted by the monists that the anirvacanīya, which has no real existence, can be perceived. Nor can it be held that such a perception is itself anirvacanīya (or indefinable); for in that case we should have a vicious infinite, since the first anirvacanīya has to depend on the second and that on the third and so on. If the silver appearance was in reality anirvacanīya by nature, it would have been perceived as such, and that would have destroyed the illusion; for, if the silver-appearance was known at the time of perception as being anirvacanīya (or indefinable), no one would have failed to realize that he was experiencing an illusion. The word mithyā, “false”, does not in reality mean anirvacanīya ; it should mean non-existence. Now there cannot be anything which is neither existent nor non-existent; everyone perceives that either things are existent or they are not; no one has perceived anything which is neither existent nor nonexistent. Thus the supposition of the so-called anirvacanīya and that of the perception of the non-existent are alike invalid; the perception of difference is valid, and the monistic claim falls to the ground.

The scriptures also assert difference between the individual selves and the Brahman; if even the scriptural texts are false, then it is idle to preach monism on scriptural grounds. It is on scriptural grounds that we have to admit that Brahman is the greatest and the highest; for the purport of all the valid scriptures tends to such an assertion—yet no one can for a moment think that he is one with Brahman; no one feels “I am omniscient, I am omnipotent, I am devoid of all sorrows and all defects”; on the contrary our common experience is just the opposite, and it cannot be false, for there is no proof of its falsity. The scriptures themselves never declare the identity of the self with the Brahman; the so-called identity text (tat tvam asi, “That art thou”) is proclaimed with illustrations which all point to a dualistic view. The illustration in the context of every “identity” (or monistic) text shows its real purport, viz., that it asserts the difference between Brahman and the selves. When it is said that, when one is known, everything is known, the meaning is that the chief object of knowledge is one, or that one alone is the cause; it does not mean that other things are false. For, if that one alone were the truth and everything else were false, then we should expect the knowledge of all falsehood to be derived from the knowledge of the truth, which is impossible (nahi satya-jñānena mithyā-jñānam bhavati). It cannot be said that the knowledge of the conch-shell leads to a knowledge of the silver; for the two awarenesses are different. It is only by knowing “this is not silver” that one knows the conch-shell; so long as one knows the silver (which is false), one does not know the conch-shell (which is true). By knowing an entity one does not know the negation of the entity.

The knowledge of the non-existence of an entity is preceded by the knowledge of its existence elsewhere. It is customary for people to speak of other things as being known when the most important and the most essential thing is known; when one knows the principal men of a village, one may say that one knows the village. When one knows the father, one may say that he knows the son; “O! I know him, he is the son of so and so, he is known to me”; from one’s knowledge of one person one may affirm the knowledge of other persons like him; by knowing one woman one may say “O ! I know women.” It is on the basis of such instances that the scriptural texts affirm that by the knowledge of one everything else is known. There is no reason for saying that such affirmations declare the falsity of all other things except Brahman. When the texts assert that by knowing one lump of earth one knows all earthen-wares, the idea is that of similarity, since surely not all earthen-wares are made out of one lump of earth; the text does not say that by knowing earth we know all earthen-wares; what it does say is that by knowing one lump of earth we know all earthenwares. It is the similarity between one lump of earth and all other earthen-wares that justifies the text. The word “vācārambhaṇam” does not mean falsehood, generated by words, for in that case the word nāmadheya would be inapplicable. We conclude that the scriptures nowhere declare the falsehood of the world; on the contrary, they abound in condemnation of the view that the world is false[24].

The highest self, the Brahman, is absolutely independent, omniscient, omnipotent and blissful, whereas the ordinary self, though similar to Him in character, is always under His control, knows little and has little power. It is wrong to suppose that self is one but appears as many because of a false upādhi or condition, and impossible to conceive that the self could be misconceived as not-self. The so-called creation of illusory appearance by magic, in imitation of real things, is only possible because real things exist; it is on the basis of real things that unreal illusions appear. Dreams also occur on the basis of real experiences which are imitated in them. Dream creations can take place only through the functioning of the subconscious impressions (vāsanā); but there is no reason to suppose that the world as such, which is never contradicted and which is truly experienced, is illusory, like dream creations. Moreover the Lord is omniscient and self-luminous, and it is not possible that He should be covered by ignorance. If it is argued that the one Brahman appears as many through a condition (or upādhi) and that He passes through the cycles of birth and rebirth, then, since these cycles are never-ending, Brahman will never be free from them and He will never have emancipation because His association with upādhi will be permanent. It is no defence to say that the pure Brahman cannot have any bondage through conditions; that which is already associated with upādhi or condition cannot require a further condition for associating the previous condition with it; for that will lead to a vicious infinite. Again, the thesis of the existence of a false upādhi can be proved only if there is a proof for the existence of ignorance as an entity; if there is no ignorance, there cannot be any falsehood. Again, as upādhi cannot exist without ignorance, nor ignorance without upādhi, this would involve a vicious circle.

According to the hypothesis omniscience can be affirmed only of that which is unassociated with a false upādhi ; so that, if the pure Brahman is itself associated with ignorance, there can never be emancipation; for then the ignorance will be its own nature, from which it cannot dissociate itself. Moreover, such a permanent existence of ignorance would naturally lead to a dualism of the Brahman and ignorance. If it is held that it is by the ajñāna of the jīva (soul) that the false appearance of the world is possible, then it may be pointed out that there is a vicious circle here also; for without the pre-existence of ajñāna there is no jīva, and without jīva there cannot be ajñāna ; without ajñāna there is no upādhi, and without upādhi there is no ajñāna. Nor can it be held that it is the pure Brahman that appears as ignorant through illusion; for, unless ajñāna is established, there cannot be illusion, and, unless there is illusion, there cannot be ajñāna. From another point of view too it may be urged that the monists support an impossible proposition in saying that, when all the individuals are emancipated, the Brahman will be emancipated, since the living units or the souls are far more numerous than even the atoms; on the tip of an atom there may be millions of living units, and it is impossible to conceive that they should all attain salvation through the knowledge of Brahman. It also cannot be said that there is nothing to be surprised at the logical certainty of falsehood; for it must be a very strong argument against our opponent, that they cannot prove the falsehood of all things which are immediately and directly perceived; and, unless such proofs are available, things that are perceived through direct experience cannot be ignored. We all know that we are always enjoying the objects of the world in our experience, and in view of this fact how can we say that there is no difference between an experience and the object experienced? When we perceive our food, how can we say that there is no food? A perceptual experience can be discarded only when it is known that the conditions of perception were such as to vitiate its validity.

We perceive a thing from a distance; we may mistrust it in certain respects, since we know that when we perceive a thing at a distance the object appears small and blurred; but, unless the possibility of such distorting conditions can be proved, no perception can be regarded as invalid. Moreover, the defects of a perception can also be discovered by a maturer perception. The falsehood of the world has never been proved as defective by any argument whatever. Moreover the experience of knowledge, ignorance, pleasure and pain cannot be contradicted; so it has to be admitted that the experience of the world is true, and, being true, it cannot be negated; therefore it is impossible to have such an emancipation as is desired by the monists. If that which is directly experienced can be negated merely by specious arguments without the testimony of a stronger experience, then even the perception of the self could be regarded as false. There is no lack of specious arguments about the existence of the self; for one may quite well argue that, since everything is false, the experience of the self also is false, and there is no reason why we should distinguish the existence of other things from the experience of the self, since as experience they are of the same order.

It will be an insupportable assumption that the experience of the self belongs to a different order, wherefore its falsity cannot be affirmed. Nor is it possible to affirm that all illusions occur on the basis of self-experience; for, in order to assert that, one must first prove that the experience of the self is not illusory, while all other experiences are so— which is exactly the point contested by the Madhvas. If it is urged that illogicality only shows that the experience is false, then it may also be urged that the illogicality or the inexplicable nature of the experience of the self in association with the objective experience only proves the falsity of the experience of the self and can lead to nothing; for the monists urge that all experiences may be mere semblances of experience, being only products of avidyā. The avidyā itself is regarded as inexplicable, and all reality is supposed to depend not on experience, but on the logical arguments; in which case one may as well say that objects are the real seers and the subject that which is seen. One may say too that there may be false appearances without a seer; the illogicality or inexplicability of the situation is nothing to shy at, since the māyā is illogical and inexplicable; a fact which makes it impossible to indicate in what manner it will create confusion. Creating confusion is its sole function, and therefore one may say that either there are appearances without any seer, illusions without a basis, or that the objects are the so-called seers and the self, the so-called seer, is in reality nothing but an object.

Again, if all differences are regarded as mere false appearances due to upādhi, why should there not on the same analogy be experience of reality? Though feelings of pleasure and pain appear in different limbs of one person, yet the experiencer is felt as the same. Why should not experiences in different bodies or persons be felt as belonging to the same individual?—the analogy is the same. In spite of the difference of upādhis (such as the difference between the limbs of one person), there is the feeling of one experiencer; so in the different upādhis of the bodies of more than one person there may be the appearance of one experiencer. And again, the destruction of one upādhi cannot liberate the Brahman or the self; for the Brahman is associated with other upādhis and is suffering bondage all the same.

Again, one may ask whether the upādhi covers the whole of the Brahman or a part of it. The Brahman cannot be conceived as made up of parts; if the association of upādhi were due to another upādhi, then there would be a vicious infinite. Again, since the Brahman is all-pervading, there cannot be any difference through upādhi, and no conception of a part of the Brahman is possible; upādhi is possible only of things that are limited by time or place. Again, for the same reason experiences through different upādhis must be of one and the same Brahman, and in that case there ought to be the appearance of one experience through all the different bodies, just as the experience of pleasure and pain in the different limbs of a person are attributed to him alone.

Again, the pure Brahman cannot pass through cycles of births and rebirths, because it is pure. Then the birth, rebirth and bondage of the monists must be of Brahman as associated with upādhi and māyā. Now the question is: is the Brahman associated with māyā different from pure Brahman or identical with it? If it be identical with pure Brahman, then it cannot suffer bondage. If it is not identical, then the question is whether it is eternal or non-eternal: if it is not eternal, then it will be destroyed, and there will be no emancipation; if it is eternal, then one has to admit that the māyā and Brahman remain eternally associated, which virtually means the ultimate reality of two entities. If it is urged that Brahman in pure essence is one, though He appears as many in association with the upādhi, the simple reply is that, if the pure essence can be associated with upādhi, the essence in itself cannot be regarded as pure. To say that the upādhi is false is meaningless, because the concepts of falsehood and upādhi are mutually interdependent. Nor can it be said that this is due to beginningless karma ; for, unless the plurality of the upādhis can be proved, the plurality of the karma cannot be proved either, as the two concepts are interdependent. So the monistic view is contradicted by all our means of knowledge; and all the śruti texts support the pluralistic view. Both the māyā and the Brahman are incapable of description on a monistic view; it is difficult too to realize how the Brahman or the monist can express Himself; for, if He is one and there is no activity, He ought not to be able to express Himself. If He cannot express Himself to others who do not exist, He cannot express Himself to Himself either; for self-action is impossible (na ca svenāpi jñeyatvam tair ucyate kartṛ-karma-virodhāt). There cannot be any knowledge without a knower; the knowledge that is devoid of the knower and the known is empty and void, since none of us has experienced any knowledge where there is no knowledge and the knower.

The Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya of Madhva had a comment called the Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya-ṭīkā by Jaya-tīrtha, Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya-ṭīkā-ṭippaṇī by Keśavasvāmin, Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya-ṭippaṇī by Śrīnivāsa and Padmanābha-tīrtha, Bhaktabodha by Raghūttama; it had also another commentary, called Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya-ṭīkopanyāsa. Besides these there were independent works on the lines of Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya called Viṣṇu-tattva-nirṇaya-vākyārtha and Vanamālī Miśra’s Viṣṇu-tattva-prahāsa[25].

The Nyāya-vivaraṇa of Madhva is a work of more than six hundred granthas, which deals with the logical connection of the different chapters of the Brahma-sūtra. A number of commentaries was written on it, by Viṭṭhala-sutānanda-tīrtha, Mudgalānanda-tīrtha, and Raghūttama; Jaya-tīrtha also wrote on it the Nyāya-vivaraṇa-pañjikā. Rāghavendra, Vijayīndra and Vādirāja wrote respectively Nyāya-muktāvalī, Nyāya-mauktikamālā, and Nyāya-ratnāvalī, on the lines of Madhva’s Nyāya-vivaraṇa. Madhva wrote it after he had finished his Bhāṣya, Anubhāṣya and Anuvyākhyāna; it is needless for us to follow the work in detail, but we may briefly indicate Madhva’s manner of approach. He says that the Brahma-sūtra was written in order to discredit the monistic interpretations of the Upaniṣads. Thus with the monist Brahman cannot be a subject of enquiry, because He is self-luminous; in opposition to this view the Brahma-sūtra starts with the thesis that Brahman, being the supreme person who is full of all qualities, can hardly be known by our finite minds. There is then a natural enquiry regarding the extent of the greatness of the supreme being, and in the second sūtra it is shown that Brahman cannot be identical with the individual selves, because He is the source from which the world has come into being and it is He who supports the world also. In the third sūtra we learn that the Brahman-causality of the world cannot be known except through scripture; in the fourth we read that the scriptures from which we can know the Brahman cannot be any other than the Upaniṣads. In this way, all through his first chapter, Madhva tries to show that, if we interpret the doubtful śruti texts on the basis of those whose meanings are clear and definite, we find that they too declare the superiority and transcendence of the supreme Lord.

The same process of reconciling the śruti texts with the idea of showing the transcendence of God over individual selves goes on through the remaining chapters of the first book. In dealing with the fourth book Madhva discusses his pet view that not all persons can be liberated, since only a few can be worthy of liberation[26]. He further says that God must be worshipped continually by chanting His excellent qualities every day. The scriptural duties as well as meditation (dhyāna) and its accessories (postures, etc.) are to be carried out; without meditation there cannot be a direct intuition of God[27]. It cannot be urged that with the rise of knowledge all karmas are destroyed and salvation comes by itself; for knowledge can remove only the unripe (aprārabdha) karmas. The fruit of the prārabdha or ripe karmas has to be enjoyed till they are exhausted. Thus Madhva favours the doctrine of jīvanmukti. Though it has been said that the rise of true knowledge removes the aprārabdha karmas, yet the real agency belongs to God; when the true knowledge rises in a man, God is pleased, and He destroys the unripe karmas[28]. At the time of death all wise persons pass on to fire and from there to vāyu, which takes them to Brahman, since it is only through vāyu that one can approach Brahman. Those who return to the world pass through smoke; and there are others who because of their sinful character pass on to the lowest world. Even in the state of salvation the emancipated beings enjoy devotion as pure bliss.

The Tantra-sāra-saṃgraha of Madhva is a work of four chapters on ritual, which deals with the methods of worshipping Viṣṇu by the use of mantras; and various processes of ritualistic worship are described. It is commented upon by Chalāri-nṛsiṃhācārya, Chalāri-śeṣācārya, Raghunātha Yati and Śrīnivāsācārya. Jaya-tīrtha wrote in verse a small work called Tantra-sārokta-pūjāvidhi; Śrīnivāsācārya also wrote a small work on the same lines, the Tantra-sāra-mantroddhāra.

Madhva wrote also another small work, called Sadācāra-smṛti, in forty verses; this too is a work on rituals, describing the normal duties of a good vaiṣṇava There is a commentary by Droṇācārya (Sadācāra-smṛti-vyākhyā).

He wrote also another small work, called Kṛṣṇāṃṛta-mahārṇava. The present writer has not been able to trace any commentary on it. It consists of two hundred and forty-two verses, describing the forms of worshipping Viṣṇu, and emphasizes the indispensable necessity of continual meditation on the super-excellent nature of God and of worshipping Him; it speaks also of repentance and meditation on God’s name as a way of expiation of sins. Madhva further says that in this present Kali age bhakti of God is the only way to emancipation. Meditation on God alone can remove all sins[29]; no ablutions, no asceticism are necessary for those who meditate on God; the name of God is the only instrument for removing sins. So the whole of the Kṛṣnāṃṛta-mahārṇava describes the glory of God, as well as the methods of worshipping Him; and, further, the duties of the good vaiṣṇavas during the important tithis.

Madhva wrote another small work, the Dvādaśa-stotra, consisting of about one hundred and thirty verses. No commentary on this has been traced by the present writer.

He wrote also another very small work, in two verses, the Narasiṃha-nakha-stotra, and another, the Yamaka-bhārata, of eighty-one verses. This latter was commented upon by Yadupati and Timmaṇṇa bhaṭṭa; and in it Madhva describes the story of Kṛṣṇa in brief, including the episodes of Vmdāvana and that of Hastināpur in association with the Pāṇḍavas.

He wrote also the Ṛg-bhāṣya, i.e., a commentary on some selected verses of the Ṛg-Veda, which was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha, Śrīnivāsā-tīrtha, Veṅkaṭa, Chalāri-nṛsiṃhācārya, Rāghavendra, Keśavācārya, Lakṣmīnārāyaṇa and Satyanātha Yati. Two anonymous works are known to the present writer which were written on the lines of the Ṛg-bhāṣya; they are Ṛg-artha-cūḍāmaṇi and Ṛg-arthoddhāra. Rāghvendra Yati also wrote a work on the same lines, called Ṛg-artha-mañjarī. Madhva’s commentary on the Iṣoponiṣat was commented on by Jaya-tīrtha, Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, Raghunātha Yati, Nṛsiṃhācārya and Satyaprajña Yati, and Rāghavendra-tīrtha wrote a separate work on īśa, Kena, Katḥa, Praśna, Muṇḍaka and Māṇḍūkya Upaniṣads, which follows Madhva’s line of interpretation of these Upaniṣads.

Madhva’s commentary on the Aitareyopaniṣad was commented upon by Tāmraparṇī Śrīnivāsa, Jaya-tīrtha, Viśveśvara-tīrtha and Nārāyaṇa-tīrtha; and Narasiṃha Yati wrote a separate treatise, the Aitareyopaniṣad-khaṇḍārtha, on which a commentary, the Khaṇḍār-tha-prakaśa, was written by Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha.

The Kaṭhopaniṣad-bhāṣya of Madhva was commented upon by Vedeśa. Vyāsa-tīrtha wrote a commentary, the Kenopaniṣad-bhāṣya-ṭīkā, on Madhva’s Kenopaniṣad-bhāṣya, while Rāghavendra-tīrtha wrote a separate work (the Kempaniṣad-khaṇḍārtha).

The Chāndogyopaniṣad-bhāṣya of Madhva was commented upon by Vyāsa-tīrtha; Vedeśa and Rāghavendra-tīrtha wrote a separate work, the Chāndogyopaniṣad-khaṇḍārtha. The Talavakāra-bhāṣya of Madhva had the following commentaries: the Talavakāra-bhāṣya-ṭīkā, by Vyāsa-tīrtha, and Talabavāra-ṭippaṇī, by Vedeśa-bhikṣu; Nṛsiṃha-bhikṣu wrote the Talavakāra-khaṇḍārtha-prakāśikā.

The Praśnopaniṣad-bhāṣya of Madhva was commented upon by Jaya-tīrtha in the Praśnopaniṣad-bhāṣya-ṭīkā, which had two commentaries, the Praśnopaniṣad-bhāṣya- ṭīkā-ṭippana by Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha. The Bṛhadāraṇyaka-bhāṣya of Madhva had commentaries (Bṛhadāraṇyaka-bhāṣya-ṭīkā) by Raghūttama, Vyāsa-tīrtha and Śrīnivāsa-tīrtha, and Raghūttama Yati wrote a separate work on it, called the Bṛhadāraṇ-yaka-bhāva-bodha.

The Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad-bhāṣya of Madhva had two commentaries on it, by Vyāsa-tīrtha and Kṛṣṇācārya, and Rāghavendra Yati wrote a separate work on it, the Māṇḍūkya-khaṇḍārtha.

The Muṇḍakopaniṣad-bhāṣya of Madhva has the following commentaries: the Muṇḍakopamṣad-bhāṣya-ṭīkā by Vyāsa-tīrtha and Nārāyaṇa-tīrtha; Muṇḍakopaniṣad-bhāṣya-ṭīkā-ṭippaṇī by Kṛṣṇācārya; and Muṇḍakopaniṣad-bhāṣya-vyākhyā by N rsimha-bhikṣu.

Footnotes and references:


ṛg-ādayaś catvāraḥ pañca-rātraṃ ca bhārataṃ
mūla-rāmāyaṇam Brahma-sūtram mānaṃ svataḥ smṛtaṃ.
, I. 30.

a-viruddhaṃ tu yat tv asya pramāṇaṃ tac ca nānyathā
etad-viruddhaṃ yat tu syān na tan mānaṃ kathañcana
vaiṣṇavāni purāṇāni pāñcarātrātmakatvataḥ
pramāṇāny evam manvādyāḥ smṛtayo’py anukūlataḥ.
I. 31-32.


jagat-pravāhaḥ satyo’yam pañca-bheda-samanvitaḥ
jīveśayor bhidā caiva jīva-bhedaḥ paras-param
jaḍeśayor jaḍānāṃ ca jaḍa-jlva-bhidā tathā
pañca bhedā ime nityāḥ sarvāvasthāsu nityaśaḥ
muktānāṃ ca na hīyante tāratamyaṃ ca sarvadā.
      Ibid. I. 69-71.


bhaktyarthāny akhilāny eva bhaktir mokṣāya kevalā
muktānam api bhaktir hi nityānanda-sva-rūpiṇī
jñāna-pūrva-para-sneho nityo bhaktir itīryate.
I. 106-7.


śāstrāntarāṇi sañjānati vedāṃś cāsya prasādataḥ
deśe deśe tathā granthān drṣṭvā caiva pṛthagvidhān.
II. 7.


A verse containing thirty-two letters is called a grantha.


ātma-vākyatayā tena śruti-mūlatayā tathā
yukti-mūlatayā caiva prāmāṇyaṃ trividhaṃ mahat.
I. 1.


These ten works of Madhva are called the daśaprakaraṇa. Sometimes, however, the Mithyātvānumāna-khaṇḍana is replaced by Ṛgveda-brahma-pañcikā.


Mr Nāgarāja Śarma has summarized the contents of the Kathā-lakṣaṇa, utilizing the materials of the commentators Jaya-tīrtha, Rāghavendrasvāmi and Vedeśa-tīrtha, in the Reign of Realism.


On the subject of the nature of kathā and the conditions of disputation see also Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, pp. 20 ff., Benares, 1914.


na ca bādhyaṃ jagad ity atra kiñcin mānaṃ.
p. 242.


sad-vilakṣaṇatvam a-sad-vilakṣaṇatvaṃ ca mithyā ity a-vilakṣaṇam eva satyaṃ syāt.
p. 242(a).


nahi jñāna-jñeyayor ekākāratā nahi
ajñasya ghaṭāśrayatvaṃ brahmāśrayatvaṃ vā
asti; puṃgatam eva hi tamojñānena
nivartate; viṣayāśrayaṃced ajñanaṃ
nivartate tarhi ekena jñātasya ghaṭasya
any air ajñātatvaṃ na syāt.
p. 242.


na ca nir-viśeṣa-braḥma-vādinaḥ śūnyāt kaś cid viśeṣaḥ;
tasya nirviśeṣaṃ svayaṃbhūtaṃ nirlepam ajarāmaraṃ
śūnyaṃ tattvaṃ vijñeyaṃ manovācām agocaram.
p. 243(a).


satyaṃ ca dvividḥaṃ proktaṃ saṃvṛtam pāramārtḥikaṃ
saṃvṛtaṃ vyavaḥāryaṃ syān nirvṛtaṃ pāramārtḥikaṃ
vicāryamānena satyañ cāpi pratīyate yasya tat saṃvṛtaṃ jñānaṃ vyavaḥāra-padañ ca yat.
p. 243(a).


nir-viśeṣaṃ svayaṃ bhūtaṃ nirlepam ajarāmaraṃ
śūnyaṃ tattvam avijñeyaṃ manovācām agocaraṃ
jāḍya-saṃvṛti-duḥkhānta-pūrva-doṣa-viroḍhi yat
nitya-bḥāvanayā bhātaṃ tad bḥāvaṃ yogināṃ nayet
bhāvārtha-pratiyogitvaṃ bhāvatvaṃ vā na tattvata
viśvākārañca saṃvṛtya yasya tat padam akṣayam.
p. 243(a).


nāsya sattvam asattvaṃ vā na doṣo guṇa eva vā
heyopādeya-raḥitaṃ tac chūnyaṃ padam akṣayam.

      Ibid. p. 243.


palāyadhvaṃ palāyadhvaṃ tvarayā māyi-dānavāḥ
sarvajño harir āyāti tarkāgama-darāribhid.
p. 245(a).


vijñeyaṃ paramam Brahma jñāpikā paramā śrutiḥ
anādi-nityā sā tac ca vinā tāṃ na ca gamyate.
p. 206.


bahu-pramāṇa-viruddhānāṃ doṣajanyatva-niyamāt;
doṣa-janyatvaṃ ca balavat-pramāṇa-virodhād eva jñāyate.

aduṣṭam indriyaṃ tv akṣaṃ tarko’duṣṭas tatḥānumā
āgamo’duṣṭavākyaṃ ca tādṛk cānubhavaḥ smṛtaḥ
balavat-pramāṇataś caiva jñeyā doṣā na cānyatḥā.
p. 262a (4).


dvi-vidḥam balavatvañ ca bahutvāc ca svabhāvataḥ.


Madhva here states the different kinds of pramāṇas according to Brahma-tarka. The account of the pramāṇas is dealt with in a separate section.


na ca viśeṣaṇa-viśeṣyatayā bheda-siddhiḥ, viśeṣaṇa-viśeṣya-bhāvaś ca bhedāpekṣaḥ dharmi-pratiyogy-apekṣayā bheda-siddhir bhedāpekṣaṃ ca dharmi-pratiyogitvam ity anyonyāśrayatayā bhedasyāyuktiḥ.
p. 264.


padārtha-sva-rūpatvād bhedasya na ca dharmi-pratiyogy-apekṣayā bhedasya svarūpatvam aikyavat-svarūpasyaiva tathātvāt, sva-rūpa-siddhā vai tad asid-dhiś ca jīveśvaraikyaṃ vadataḥ siddhaiva, bhedas tu sva-rūpa-darśana eva siddhiḥ, prāyaḥ sarvato vilakṣaṇaṃ hi padārtha-sva-rūpaṃ dṛśyate.


asatyam apratiṣṭhaṃ te jagad āhur anīśvaram
a-paras-para-sambhūtaṃ kim anyat kāma-haitukam
etāṃ dṛṣṭim avaṣṭabhya naṣṭātmāno’lpa-buddhayaḥ.
XVI. 8. 9, as quoted by Madhva.


ato jñātṛ-jñeyabhāvāt jñānam api śūnyataiva; ataḥ śūnya-vādān na kaścid viśeṣah; na ca jñātṛ-jñeya-rahitaṃ jñānaṃ kvacid dṛṣṭam.
      Op. cit.
p. 275 (17).


mahā-phalatvāt sarveṣām aśaktyā eva upapannatvāt; anyathā sarva-puruṣāśa-kyasyaiva sādhanatayā sarvēṣām mokṣāpatteḥ.
p. 16 (a).


dhyānaṃ vinā aparokṣa-jñānākhya-viśeṣa-kāryānupapatteḥ.    Ibid.


kartnāṇi kṣapayed viṣṇur aprārabdhāni vidyayā
prārabdhāni tu bhogena kṣapayan svaṃ padaṃ nayet.


smaraṇād eva kṛṣṇasya pāpasaṃghaṭṭapañjaraḥ
śatadhā bḥedam āyāti girir vajrāhato yathā.
verse 46.

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