Friday, July 4, 2008

Lectures on Philosophy – Madhva Philosophy

[This evening, I brought Eckhart Tolle’s ‘A New Earth – Awakening to your life’s purpose’ from the library near my house. My dad, Prof. P S Nagendra Rao, saw the book and commented that these books have no real philosophical or spiritual basis. So, he started discussing Madhva (Dvaita) philosophy. We talked for about a hour or so.
I have tried my best to post the main ideas here.]

Dvaita, Advaita, Vishsitadvaita etc. are Vedantas. They are interpretations of the Vedas by brilliant sages, so that the common man can understand and follow righteous paths, leading to pure happiness – Nirvana or Mukti

The basic tenets of Madhva Philosophy:

Sreeman Madhwamate Harihi paratarah ||
[Hari or God is the ultimate. He is omnipresent. He is independent of all other entities]

Satyam Jagat ||
[The world is real. This includes all that we see, observe, experience etc.]

Bhedha ||
[Existance of differences. Five kinds of differences are recognized, between living-living; living- non-living; non-living - non- living; living – God; non-living - God]

Jeevaganah Hareranucharah ||
[All living entities are controlled by God]

Neechochcha Bhavadgatah ||
[Existance of hierarchy in all entities]

Muktihi Nija Sukhanubhutihi ||
[The manifestation of real happiness is attained only at Mukti*]

Amala Bhaktisya tat Sadhanam ||
[Mukti can be attained by pure devotion]

Hyakshadi Traya Pramanam ||
[The basis for all these tenants are these three – Aagama, Anumana, Pratyaksha*]

Akhilam Nayeka Vedyo Harihi ||
[The ‘God’ that is propounded in all Vedas refers to Hari himself]

The above stotra is attributed to Sri Vyasatirtha, when he was just a boy of five years.
As the story goes, Guru Brahmanya Tirtha passing along a forest area one evening comes across the boy, Vyasa, walking along with some cattle.
He asks the boy– ‘Dear child, how far is the village from here?’
The boy replies – ‘Dear Sir, The Sun has almost set. I am a five years old. I happen to be taking my cattle home at this hour. How far do you think the village can really be?’
The Guru, pleased with this reply, asks him – ‘You appear to be very smart for your age. What else can you tell me?’
The boy says – ‘I can tell you more than just this. I live near a Matha and occasionally I hear talks on philosophy.’
Intrigued, Brahmanya Tirtha asks him – ‘Well then, what can you tell me about Madva Philosophy.’
It is then that the above stotra came to being.
The stotra has nine lines and it is the shortest form in which Madhva philosophy can be almost fully explained. He was five years old.

A few concepts:
*Mukti: This is eternal salvation. There is a concept called Anadi. Anadi refers to infinite souls existing for an infinite amount of time. God doesn’t create souls. They always exist. Have always existed. Each soul is associated with a Svabhava – a behavior, again unique. God is only responsible for giving life to a soul in this earth. A soul attains Mukti – or eternal nirvana, real happiness, only when it can get out this infinite cycle of births and deaths and suspended animation in between births and deaths.

*Aagama, Anumana, Pratyaksha:
Aagama:
What is evident from the Vedas, Upanishads and The Gita
Anumana: What is evident from deductive logic and questioning
Pratyaksha: What is evident from what we can observe ourselves

3 comments:

evilsense said...

Well, these are my problems with the madhva philosophy :

1. Theistic: God, :?. Ok, let me pass this assumption by assuming that he is referring it as a symbol for absolute reality. I can't accept this if God there is some kinda supreme-human being.

2. The world is real. What we see are real. Clean, but are they absolute? I still give heed to lot of new age theories which suggest we can make our own realities. What bout hallucinations then, are they not real??

3. Assuming bedha is real is downright ridiculous and there is no justification.

4. Mukti, ok for once let us assume that we attain mukthi when we are aware of the reality.

5. devotion?? what the heck? no other way? :)

I don't beleive even advaita is true. Infact, these are interpretations of vedas which are deemed unquestionable. But the problem is no one can udnerstand them ( it is not direct, and full of abstractions) , so ppl make up their own interpretations and fight over them ( advaita v/s dvaita).

I am against "seeing is believing to be real", people know how reality has worked counter-intuitively in all these years of pure science.

There should be other ways...

Rakesh Babu G R said...

If I can't remember what my previous life was in my next janma, what is the use of Mukthi?. If ever the concept of Mukthi was true(which is not), I wouldn't want it. I would want to exist in this world, and enjoy it as much as I can.

As Laplace said "I don't need the hypothesis of God".

Dha said...

@takaal..
i don't have the exact answer to your question, but i guess it has to do with the souls being eternal, and having some kind of intrinsic memory called Svabhava.
there has to be some memory, man.. think God keeps tab.. :)
i bet that this question would have been asked by people before..
i need to start looking at some Madhva pages.. for a more particular answer..
i keep telling myself, it will be one of these days..
let's see..