Appendix (Part 7)

This article is part 132 of 135 in the series Jīvana-dharma-yoga

The result of human love is also the same. When a mother feeds her baby, dresses it up, and cuddles it, what does she expect in return? She only desires for her baby to accept her love, nothing else. The joy of the baby is her reward. This is the bliss of Dvaita. The same idea is expressed by the below bhakti-sūtras by Nārada:

svayaṃ phalarūpata iti brahmakumāraḥ ॥
rājagṛha-bhojanādiṣu tathaiva dṛṣṭatvāt ॥
ṇa tena rāja-paritoṣaḥ kṣucchāntirvā ॥

-Chapter 2: Sūtras 30-32

Bhakti is its own reward. The bliss we experience when we express bhakti towards the object is itself our reward. It is like the happiness experienced in sighting the architectural splendour and tasting the dainty feasts during our visit to a royal palace. The satisfaction that the king experiences because of the palace, and the fullness he feels because of the food — these do not concern the guest. The only reward the guest obtains is the sights and tastes experienced in the palace. The guest does not bring back anything other than this happiness.

We go to Lalbagh to take a walk. What is its reward? The experience of walking in such a beautiful place is its own remuneration. When we see a baby, we feel like taking it in our arms and cuddling it. What is its reward? The act of cuddling is its own reward. The remuneration for love is its experience. The experience of all great art is similar.
A gopika said thus —

āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṃ pinaṣṭu mām 
adarśanān-marma-hatāṃ karotu vā ।
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo 
mat-prāṇa-nāthas-tu sa eva nāparaḥ ॥

-Śikṣāṣṭaka - 8

“Let Kṛṣṇa embrace and crush me when I have fallen at his feet; or let him hide from me and cause agony in all my limbs. Let this profligate do as he pleases; but he alone is my master, no one else”.

This is a type of personality. it is unfortunate for a person of this personality type to not find a recipient who is willing to accept such the nectar of love. Love, like other feelings, swells and swells in the heart. If there is no one to zealously receive it, life becomes worse than death; the world becomes a wasteland.

Dvaita is more pleasing to people for whom such subservience to all-encompassing love is a predominant personality characteristic. It is the innate nature of these people. Here, the answer to all philosophical questions is decided through the appreciation of love. Mokṣa is merely experiencing love for the divine. The divine principle should exist; I should lovingly serve it and it should accept my service. Therein lies my happiness. Thus, Dvaita requires two separate entities. It is the jīva’s bliss of surrendering to the divine.

The view of Viśiṣṭādvaita

A wonderful example for camaraderie akin to a wholesome brotherly feeling with the divine is the mutual love and affection of Rāma and Lakṣmana. They are both different in so many ways. In goals and objectives that matter, they both think alike. When Rāma loses courage, Lakṣmana encourages him. When Rāma is careless, Lakṣmana alerts him. There is no other pleasure for Lakṣmana than Rāma’s pleasure. However, he does not take part in Rāma’s pleasures. Rāma’s victory is Lakṣmana’s victory too. But, when he used a weapon on Indrajit, Lakṣmana said —

dharmātmā satya-sandhaś-ca rāmo dāśarathir-yadi ॥

-Rāmāyaṇa 6.78.31

“May this arrow find its mark because of Rāma’s devotion to satya and dharma”.

He did not think that he gained this victory. This is partnering with the divine replete with bhakti.

The tales of great women like Sītā and Rukmiṇi can also be taken as an example here. They always pray only for the company of their loved ones. Their bliss is only when they love and are loved in return. Their love needs a recipient. Bhagavān himself is the recipient. Bhagavān accepts them, and the bhakta is accepted — thus two aspects are required here. Still, sometimes these two become one. The lover loses his identity in the company of his beloved. Sītādevi criticises her husband on many occasions and even instructs him. Rukmiṇi and Kṛṣṇa fought too. This intimacy — this mutual authority and freedom is the proof that they are internally one. This is partnering one’s self with the divine. This is the inner meaning of the feeling of Viśiṣṭādvaita. It is certainly of the form of abheda — or no difference. However, there is a seed of difference in this oneness. Husband and wife are equal to each other; but still the wife, in her mind, respects her husband. A father and son might behave in the same way. Even so, the son constantly remembers that he is different from his father. In an ocean, the water is not different from the wave; both are the same. However, a wave is a wave and not just water. The same is said by Śaṅkaracharya also:

sāmudro hi taraṅgaḥ | kvacana samudro na tāraṅgaḥ ॥

-Ṣaṭpadīstotram, 3

There is a view that is possible when a wave is in the form of a wave. When the wave merges with the body of the ocean, there is another view possible. Viśiṣṭādvaita eyes the play of the waves on the ocean surface. The wave of the ocean thinks that it is a wave; that it is born of the ocean; and that it will merge in the ocean itself ; it is a part of the ocean ; its place is in the play of the ocean ; and that it is its puṇya — this dhyāna itself is blissful to the wave. This is also the natural mindset of some people. A small entity should mingle harmoniously with a big one and remain united. However, it should not forget that it is small and has joined something bigger. Even while being one, there is respect issuing from a feeling of difference, like a blob of ghee floating in a vessel of milk. This is also another type of human nature. This is Viśiṣṭādvaita.

The feeling of Advaita

Now, let us discuss Advaita which is the merger of oneself with the divine. Here, even the memory of the feeling of difference between oneself and the object of worship disappears.

In the relationship between a father and child, the identity of the child is merged with that of the father when the child is an infant. The separate identity of the baby is seen only in physical life. In all other transactions, the son is one with the father. He does not have a separate identity. Even when the father becomes very old, whatever the son does is the same as whatever the father does. Apart from physical life, the entire authority of the father rests in the hands of the son. Not only in the case of an old father and young son, but in many instances even during middle-age, the son is the father and the father is the son. The Śruti says -

ātmā vai putra nāmāsi ।

-Bṛhadāraṇyaka-Upaniṣad 6.4.8.

This is the feeling that the body and its organs are different, but the essence of the jīva is the same.

This unity is better demonstrated in the example of husband and wife. Advaita is the acme of love- experience. The following extract is from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka-upaniṣad:

tadyathā priyayā striyā sampariṣvakto na bāhyaṃ kiñcana veda nāntaram । evam-eva-ayaṃ puruṣaḥ prājñena-ātmanā sampariṣvakto na bāhyaṃ kiñcana veda nāntaram । tadvā asyaitad-āptakāmaṃ ātmakāmaṃ akāmagṃ rūpagṃ śokāntaram । atra pitā’apitā bhavati mātā’amātā lokā alokā devā adevā vedā avedāḥ ॥

-ibid. 4.3 21-22

“A man is not aware of the outside world when he is in the deep embrace of his beloved. He is not aware of anything inside of him. Since he has attained the object of his desire, he does not have any other desire, and is free of sorrow. At that time, he does not remember any of his other relatives or his relationship with the world. (Indeed, he does not remember himself). Everything is whollly one at that time.”

Love is Dvaita in the beginning ; when the lovers are talking and laughing together, it is Viśiṣṭādvaita; At its pinnacle, differences are forgotten, the lovers are one, and love is Advaita.

The following verses from the Visṇupurāṇa demonstrate that by constantly meditating upon the object of his love, a lover merges with it and culminates in a feeling of abheda (non-difference). In the līlās of Rādhā and Mādhava[1], it is said that Rādhā, unable to bear separation from Kṛṣṇa, constantly meditated upon him, while gradually imitating him and then declaring to herself that she, herself was Kṛṣṇa and finally became Kṛṣṇa.

gopyaśca bṛndaśaḥ kṛṣṇa-ceṣṭā-svāyatta-mūrtayaḥ ।
kṛṣṇe nibaddha-hṛdayā idam-ūcuḥ parasparam ॥
kṛṣṇo’haṃ eṣa lalitaṃ vrajāmy-ālokyatāṃ gatiḥ ।
anyā bravīti kṛṣṇasya mama gītir-niśamyatām ॥
duṣṭa kāliya tiṣṭhātra kṛṣṇo’ham-iti cāparā ।
bāhum-āsphoṭya kṛṣṇasya līlayā sarpam-ādade ॥

-Viṣṇupurāṇa (Aṃśa 5, chapter 13)

“The gopīs, in hordes, began imitating Kṛṣṇa themselves. Their hearts were one with Kṛṣṇa, and spoke thus to each other — “I am Kṛṣṇa, I am walking, look at my gait”; another said “I am Kṛṣṇa, listen to my song”; yet another said “Evil Kāliya, stop! I am Kṛṣṇa”.

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.


[1]In the Visṇupurāṇa, these verses are about Gopis in general.



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.



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


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

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Shiva-Rama-Krishna is an English adaptation of Śatāvadhāni Dr. R Ganesh's popular lecture series on the three great...


ಮಹಾಮಾಹೇಶ್ವರ ಅಭಿನವಗುಪ್ತ ಜಗತ್ತಿನ ವಿದ್ಯಾವಲಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಮರೆಯಲಾಗದ ಹೆಸರು. ಮುಖ್ಯವಾಗಿ ಶೈವದರ್ಶನ ಮತ್ತು ಸೌಂದರ್ಯಮೀಮಾಂಸೆಗಳ ಪರಮಾಚಾರ್ಯನಾಗಿ  ಸಾವಿರ ವರ್ಷಗಳಿಂದ ಇವನು ಜ್ಞಾನಪ್ರಪಂಚವನ್ನು ಪ್ರಭಾವಿಸುತ್ತಲೇ ಇದ್ದಾನೆ. ಭರತಮುನಿಯ ನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರವನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥಮಾಡಿಕೊಳ್ಳಲು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ ನಮಗಿರುವ ಆಲಂಬನ. ಇದೇ ರೀತಿ ರಸಧ್ವನಿಸಿದ್ಧಾಂತವನ್ನು...


“वागर्थविस्मयास्वादः” प्रमुखतया साहित्यशास्त्रतत्त्वानि विमृशति । अत्र सौन्दर्यर्यशास्त्रीयमूलतत्त्वानि यथा रस-ध्वनि-वक्रता-औचित्यादीनि सुनिपुणं परामृष्टानि प्रतिनवे चिकित्सकप्रज्ञाप्रकाशे। तदन्तर एव संस्कृतवाङ्मयस्य सामर्थ्यसमाविष्कारोऽपि विहितः। क्वचिदिव च्छन्दोमीमांसा च...

The Best of Hiriyanna

The Best of Hiriyanna is a collection of forty-eight essays by Prof. M. Hiriyanna that sheds new light on Sanskrit Literature, Indian...

Stories Behind Verses

Stories Behind Verses is a remarkable collection of over a hundred anecdotes, each of which captures a story behind the composition of a Sanskrit verse. Collected over several years from...