Appendix (Part 6)

This article is part 131 of 135 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

The study of five aspects

Let us now examine the difference between the three matas. Each mata has its many subtle processes and detailed specifications. That is out of the scope of this book. I am not competent enough to do that. I do not even feel that it is required here. I have tried to summarise the five aspects that I feel are central and fundamental for philosophical seekers in a table.
If there are any shortcomings or excesses in this short discussion from the point of view of any mata, kindly let me know and I will correct them.
Which of the three matas are correct? All the three are correct, and equally correct. One is milk, one is butter and the other is ghee. All are equally gavyas[1].

No Topic Dvaita Viśiṣtādvaita Advaita
1 Jagat It is different from the parabrahma in five key aspects. It is satya (it is true, it exists). It is the body of the Brahma, the result of the energy of Brahma. It is the vivarta of Brahma (Vivarta refers to the phenomenon wherein an entity appears in different forms without actually changing itself. That is Māyā. Exhibiting differences is one of its characteristics).
It is anirvacanīya - something that cannot be explained with words.
2 Parabrahma (Īśvara) It has qualities and has a form.
Hari is the most excellent.
It has qualities and has a form.
Nārāyaṇa is omnipresent.
It has qualities and form, and does not have them too. Also known as paramātmā.
Worshipped in forms such as, Śiva, Viṣnu, and Devī. Parabrahma is omnipresent and beyond everything.
3 Jīva Follower or servant of Hari A subsidiary or a part of Īśvara —
Īśvara’s entourage.
Īśvara is śeṣi - the essence or the owner.
An apparent modification of Brahma consciousness with upādhis (adjuncts) such as the body.
A part of Brahma.
4 Mokṣa Closeness to Viṣnu
Innate bliss.
A state of enjoyment similar to that of Viṣṇu. Appearance identical to Viṣṇu in all aspects except creation of the world and consortship with Lakṣmī Dissolution of the jīva adjunct; cessation of the jīva-state; merging with Brahma.
5 Sādhana (Means) Bhakti
"Bhaktiśca tatsādhanam"
Bhakti that results in jñānaśemuṣī bhaktirūpā Jñāna that is of the form of one’s own experience.
svānubhūtyeka-mānāya


One way is fit for some; for some others, another way is prescribed; for yet others, yet another way is proper. There is a difference between the three. When food is seen, the tongue recognizes that there is difference in tastes; the doctor recognizes there is difference in guṇa[2]. Therefore there will be a difference in the claimants for the food as well. Even if there is a difference in appearance and taste, all three can be used equally well. Different vessels have to be used for different foods, they are intended for different people too.

There are two perspectives from which a theory’s validity and invalidity can be examined. One is that of the viewed object and the other is that of the viewer. Here the object is Parabrahma or Paramātmā. It is not perceptible to us. It has not shown us its form directly. Has it not shown itself in the Vedas? That is true, but such statements about Brahma appear ambiguous in the hubbub of commentaries. If there are ten perspectives, there will be ten views. All the ten views are congruous for the single object.
Let us look at an example.

rāmāya rāma-bhadrāya rāma-candrāya vedhase ।
raghunāthāya nāthāya sītāyāḥ pataye namaḥ ॥

At first glance, this verse appears to be a list of synonyms of a person’s name, like the Amara-kośa. But if it is observed keenly, an interesting meaning might emerge out of it, like below:
Śri Rāmacandra is sitting in his court. Many people have gathered there. All of them love him equally. Everyone regards him as his own. Everyone has flowers and akṣatas[3] in their hands to worship him. Then —
A simple-minded vaidika raised his voice and said ‘rāmāya’.
The elders there felt that it was not enough. Is Rāma a common man on the streets? They said ‘rāmabhadrāya’, to signify their love and his auspiciousness.
The people of the city decided that ‘rāmacandrāya’ was right to express their happiness.
Ṛṣis such as Vaśiṣṭha and others who dwell in Brahma felt that ‘vedhase’ was the right name.
Can Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna remain quiet? They remembered their lineage and said ‘raghunāthāya’.
Can Mother Sītā forget her privilege? She expressed the love of her heart by saying ‘nāthāya’.
Then the womenfolk that had gathered there — with pride — proclaimed ‘sītāyāḥ pataye’ — “our Sītā’s husband”.
Which among these seven is valid? Which ones are wrong? Let those who look only at the differences deliberate upon this.
In our understanding, all seven are right. From seven different points of view, all seven are equally valid.
Arjuna told Bhagavan -

piteva putrasya sakheva sakhyuḥ priyaḥ priyāyāḥ ॥

-BG 11.44

that he has seen Bhagavān through three different relationships. Which of them is correct? Which of them is wrong? All three are correct. All three relationships can be present in the same person. May our polemic pundits discuss this.
I have again and again submitted that personal experience is required for the right understanding of the principle of mata. The true nature of Brahma can only be understood by deliberation, not just by bookish information.
The upaniṣad says  -

naiṣā tarkeṇa matir-āpaneyā ॥

-kaṭhopaniṣad - 1.2.9

The path of harmony
The feelings of the mental organ (antaḥkarana) towards Bhagavān might be of three kinds, as below :
Svatāsamarpaṇa - Surrendering oneself to the divine : finding happiness in serving
Svatāsahabhāga - Partnering with the divine : indicates happiness in being with the divine.
Svatāvilayana - Merging with the divine : finds happiness in becoming one with the divine.
These three kinds of happiness are the essence of mokṣa.
Among the three kinds of happiness, it is natural that a philosophical seeker has exceeding affinity towards one. This affinity is due to the impressions created due to multiple past lives. These impressions create and encourage love for an object other than oneself. Towards Bhagavān, this love can be that of (1) a master and a servant ; (2) a lover or a brother; (3) father and a child.

The secret of Dvaita

A bhakta’s surrender to the divine is like the relationship between master and servant. Illustrations of this are bhaktas such as Āñjaneya and Prahlāda. Āñjaneya is the foremost among the doers of Rāma’s work. He does not desire any position beyond that. If Śri Rāmacandra had called Āñjaneya and asked him to sit next to him on his throne, this servant of Rāma would have felt dejected about it rather than feeling happy. If anyone other than Śri Rāma had told him that, he probably would have slapped him. Such was Āñjaneya’s bhakti towards Rāma. He was not equal to Rāma; it would never happen. This is the feeling of a good servant. This is the bliss of Dvaita. For ordinary householders, the worship of the divine and service to the divine are mere means towards another objective. Their main intention is to obtain the result of their good karma - towards the enjoyment of the fruits of karma. They try to propitiate the divine for their own desires. But great bhaktas like Āñjaneya are happy by merely expressing the bhakti in their hearts. Their main satisfaction is that Bhagavān accepted their bhakti. The fetters of bhakti are the means to remove the shackles of the universe. The bond of bhakti to Bhagavān is their sole means to get rid of worldly fetters. The feeling of Dvaita happens due to such proclivities.

Bhakti is satisfied by expression. It does not beg for anything else. It should keep flowing and reach the desired object. It is the nature of love.

If a cow’s udder is full of milk, it feels satisfied if its calf comes and suckles it. If the calf does not approach its mother, the cow’s fortune itself becomes a burden to it. It experiences pain because of its milk. When the lips of the mouth that desire the cow’s milk touch its udder, the cow forgets all its pain and feels that its life is fulfilled.

When does a horse feel satisfied? When its master uses its speed. The satisfaction obtained by the expression of its power is much greater for a horse than that obtained by feeding on grass and gram.

When does a dog feel most satisfied? When it does something for its master. This satisfaction is greater than that when it gets milk and bread. Thus, love keeps roaming, looking for a recipient — like a river searching for the ocean.

To be continued...

The present series is a modern English translation of DVG’s Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award-winning work, Bhagavad-gītā-tātparya or Jīvana-dharma-yoga. The translators wish to express their thanks to Śatāvadhāni R Ganesh for his valuable feedback and to Hari Ravikumar for his astute edits.

Footnotes

[1]Gavya is anything obtained from a cow

[2]According to Ayurveda, each food has a quality that can increase or decrease the three doshas of the body, viz., vāta, pitta and kapha.

[3]It is customary to use flowers and akṣatas to worship any deity.

Author(s)

About:

Devanahalli Venkataramanayya Gundappa (1887-1975) was a great visionary and polymath. He was a journalist, poet, art connoisseur, philosopher, political analyst, institution builder, social commentator, social worker, and activist.

Translator(s)

About:

Engineer. Lapsed blogger. Abiding interest in Sanskrit, religion, and philosophy. A wannabe jack-of-all.

About:

Mother of two. Engineer. Worshiper of Indian music, poetry, and art.

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