Shuddha-advaita Brahmvaad - Philosophy of Shree Vallabhacharyaji

Before entering on the description and discussion of the system of Shree Vallabhacharya, let us, for a while, turn our attention to the philosophy and religion of the Vedic seers. Through the dim twilight of the bygone ages, we see the ancient sages repeating the holy verse ‘We worship the divine, beautiful, nescience destroying Lord Savitra. May he turn out thoughts to Him.’ We see Aruni teaching his son the doctrine of ‘The Knowledge of everything by knowledge of one’. We see Yajnavalkya repeating similar holy instruction to his wife Maitreyi. The sages of ancient India believed in an optimistic thorough-going pantheism. The theories like doctrine of illusive skepticism were entirely unknown to them. But the poisonous current of corruption sapped the solid foundations of the old Vedic religion, and in its stead arose numerous other theories, theistic, anti-theistic, orthodox and heretical. These theories do not, in any way, supply the youthful buoyant spirit of the Vedic times. The optimistic spirit was turned into a pessimistic one. The names of some of these systems. The names of some of these systems are sankhya, yoga, nyaya, vaisesika, and the mimamsa, among the orthodox ones; and Jainism, Buddhism and the Materialism of the Charvakas among the non-orthodox ones. We shall briefly refer to these systems without making any attempt to criticize them here, as they are already seriously criticized by Badarayana Vyasa. For the sake of convenience, let us take the non-orthodox ones. The naturally devout mind of the Indian cannot for a moment entertain the soul-less materialism of Charvakas. Vyasa takes no notice of it, and even though it may have some secret followers scattered here and there in India, we shall none be the worse if we entirely ignore it.

Among the un-orthodox systems, Vyasa takes particular care to criticize the two most important of them, viz., Buddhism and Jainism. Their Propounders did not accept the authority of the Vedas. There is the revolt against the old Vedic religion.

The Bhuddhas do not believe in a permanent soul. The purpose of the soul is served by alayavijnama. There is no Isvara-God. Karma is the chief regulator.

The Jainas are anekanta-vadins. Their doctrines is styled sapta-bhangi-naya, which they reply to all existing things. Like Bhuaddhas, they also do not believe in God as a creator. According to them, the human soul consists of atoms, and is of the size of the body.

The spirit of these two systems is pessimistic. Their claims to be ranked as religious systems are based on their laws of rigidly disciplining the life of man. These two systems are vehemently criticized by Vyasa in the second pada of the second chapter of the brahma-mimansa.

Of all the systems which recognize the Vedas as an authority, the first and foremost stands the atheistic system of Kapila. The importance of this system can be realized from the fact that Vyasa devotees more padas than one for its refutation, and that it has been hailed with great enthusiasm by modern oriental and occidental scholars as the ‘the first singularly philosophic attempt which tries to probe into the mysterious problems of the universe through the instrumentality of the pure reason.

The Sankhyas admitted two principles purusa and prakrati. They did not accept anything like God-Isvara. The purusas or souls are many, all pervading devoid of attributes and action, intelligent etc., while prakrati is the equibalance of the three gunas sattva, rajas, and tamas. When purusa becomes conscious of prakrati, the equibalance of these three gunas is distributed, and creation is the result, which leads purusa into bondage. The sole aim of the Sankhyas is to set free purusa from prakrati. A complete cessation of all pains and souls existence in an unconscious connection with pure intelligence consititute absolution. The sankhya system is technically called vikruta – parinamvada. The turning of milk into curds illustrates prakrati’s evolution into universe.

With the thourough refutation of the sankhya system, Vyasa disposes of the yoga system in only one sutra.

Setting aside the Vedic claims of the Sankhyas, Vyasa then proceeds to show that the tarkika systems, the nyaya and vaisesika both, stand on the same level with them. Their claims to be regarded as Vedic are still poorer. Nyaya and vaisesika systems are attributed to Gautama and Kannada respectively. They believe that the universe has originated out of atoms. Isvara-God, whom unlike the Sankhyas they accept, the only the efficient cause of the universe as a potter is of the jar. The human souls are many, all pervading etc. Final complete cessation of all pains is their ideal of absolution or moksha. This doctrine is technically known as arambh-vada or asat-karya-vada. Coming into existence of a pot which had no existence in earth before its origination illustrates the case of the universe coming into existence though it was not there in atoms. With Jaimini, his own pupil, the author of karma-mimansa, Vyasa has not much to quarrel. Vyasa in general accepts the lines of reasoning established by Jaimini in his work. The only thing to which Vyasa strongly objects is the sole predominance of karma in the regulation of the universe. Vyasa believes karmas as one of the inherent eternal powers of God, who through the agency of karma controls the universe.

The System of Vyasa is taught by him in the Brahma-sutra. Vyasa is the highest authority on the Vedas.

Though we say Buddhism has left the land of its birth, it is not the whole truth, for even at present it is to be found in a disguised form. The theory of maya in its proper light is a mild edition of Buddhistic doctrine. Its ultimate significance is very similar to Buddhism. This theory comes very near to the Buddhistic doctrine of void or sunya-vada. The whole theory appears to have been propounded in a queer vein of melancholy. Though this system boasts as thoroughly Vedic, the absolute eternal truths of the Vedas in their proper light are conspicuous by their very absence. All seems distorted and twisted. Hence it is that the claim of this theory of maya to be regarded as Vedic is vehemently criticized by all the later doctors of vendanta.

When Vallabha was born, this anti-theistic system was very prevalent, as it is even today through the general ignorance of the people. In spite of Ramanuja, Madhva, and others, Sankara seemed to carry everything before him on account of the unrivalled charm of his language. The whole body of the Vedanta sutras has been poisoned to the very core by the so-called theory of maya. The pure brahma-sutra of the ancient Vedic sages was covered up by this new doctrine, having its origin in Buddhism. It was Vallabha who tried and succeeded in showing the baselessness of maya-vada in the Vedanta-sutras and establishing the prue brahmavada of Vedic seers by a thoroughly consistent interpretation of the brahma-mimansa. The Vedic doctrine of Vallabha is known as suddha-advaita brahma vada. This doctrine is the natural outcome of the four prasthanas. Vallabha has written on all these with a view to show that they unanimously teach one and the same thing. Similar attempts before and after Vallabha were made by Sankara, Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Srikantha, and Bhikshu.

Ramanuja and Srikantha are both Visistadvaita-vadins. One is a vaisnava and the other is a saiva. It deserves to be remarked that this saiva system is altogether different from the sankara system. According to Sankara, Brahma, Visnu, and Siva are mere creatures of nescience, and are as unreal as the objects seen in a dream. But to Srikantha, Siva is real supreme deity, as Visnu is to Ramanuja, Madhva or Nimbarka, or Purushottama to Vallabha. Bhaskara and Nimbarka are both dvaita-dvaita philosophers. To the first named scholar duality is due to the real thing liming adjunct, while non-duality is real; to the second non-duality is aupadhika, due to the limiting adjunct, while duality is real. Madhva is a dualistic philosopher, but Vallabha looks upon him also as a partially dualistic and partially non-dualistic one. The theory of Bhikshu is styled as vibhagadvaita. This theory is the outcome of the mixture of sankhya, yoga, and the Vedanta.

Pramanas:

Sr. No

System

Pramanas

1.

Buddhas

Perception and Inference. Not in Vedas

2.

Sankhyas

Vedas

3.

Tarkikas

Vedas

4.

Mimansakas

Perception, inference, analogy and word of vedic testimony (apta vakya), arthapatti, anupalabdhi

5.

Naiyayikas

Perception, inference, analogy and word of vedic testimony (apta vakya)

6.

Vyasa

Srutis and smrutis

7.

Vallabhacharya

Srutis and Smrutis,   (only aluakik arthas), Shreemad Bhagwat Mahapuran, Shree Vyasa Sutras, and Shreemand Bhagwad Geeta.

8.

Charvaks

No Pramanas

9.

Jaines

Not Vedas

 

SUDHA ADVAITA :


Shri Vallabvhacharya’s philosophy is a faithful interpretion of Vedas and Upanishadie teachings. Which in known as "SUDHA ADVAITA" or Pure Monism.
Suddha advaita philosophy differs from KEVALA Advaita or Absolute Monism of Shri Sankracharaya and that of Visishta Advaita or distinguished Monism of Shri Ramanujacharaya. 
Absolute Monism of Shri Sankaracharya deals with perfect isolation and detachment of soul from matter and identification with perfect isolation and detachment of sous from matter and identification with the Supreme Being called the emancipation or Beatitude. 
Shri Ramanuja regards Brahma and Prakruti as identical and real entities. 
Suddhavdvaita connotes that this Universe and individual soul are part and parcel of Brahma and there is no difference or dualism. 
Brahma exists in pure form both as creator and as created. 


THREE STATES OF BRAHMA : 
Shri vallabhacharya envisages three states of Purushottama. The ADHI DAIVIC or the transcendental form, the ADHYATMIC or the creative aspect known as AKSHARA BRAHMA or the immutable, and the ADHI BHAUTIK or the materialistic aspect consisting of Universe, i.e. jagat. 
Even though HE is manifest in different forms, He is indivisible (Avibhakta). He is manifest in the Universe as inert aspect (JAD) and as conscious aspect in soul (CHETANA). But he is never separate from hs original form (SWARUPA) and thus ADWAIT. 
Brahma is called SATCHIHANANDA swarupa SAT means being, CHIT means consciousness. ANANDA is Bliss. These three qualities are integral part of Brahma.

JAGAT ( THE WORLD ) :
The world is the mainfestation of that SAT aspect i.e. being of Brahma. But this manifestation implies the concealment of His other two constituents viz. CHIT (awarness) and ANANDA (Bliss). ANANDA (Bliss) form is non manifest i.e. concealed in it (Tirobhava(. Thus JAGAT being mainfestation of Brahm is real and not illusion.

 AVIRBHAVA TIROBHAVA :
Thus Brahma reveals HIS form and attributes in all objects by His two inherent powers known as AVIRBHAVA or mainfestation and TIROBHAVA or concealment.
 These powers assist each other in order to fulfil the purpose of Brahma. They are made explict by HIS power of mainfestation and implict by His power of concealment.
 Brahma as a material cause of the world assumes any forma by HIS will and for HIS "LILA" or playful pastimes in his LILA every object has a purpose to serve HIS will.
 This world in its myriad objects is a divine play of Brahm, the GOD.
 Brahma manisfests HIMSELF by HIS own will as cause (karana) and effect (karya). But the effect is not different from cause. Only it is known by a different name.
 The creative activity belongs to Brahma. He reveals this world out of his self and for His own sport by HIS will.

 NON DUALISM :
It is very important to note that Brahma never exists in dual form (DWAITa)either in souls, known as SAJATIYA or in material objects, known as VIJATIYAS or as ANTARY AMIN of the subconcious awareness.
 HIS existence is mainfest in all three forms. Only he becomes three-fold vix. ADI BHAUTIK or in materealistic, ADHYATMIK or spiritual and ADHI DAIVIK or transcendental.

 KARYA :
This world is the KARYA or work of Brahma. The mainfestation of Brahma in various forms is not different from its cause but is identicaL With HIM. Brahma is unchanging like the clay in pot.
 Emergence of the world is no doubt a change. But this change is not modification. It is merely a mainfestation of a cause a different form. It is not a product either. The transformation does not effect the real nature of the object undergoing the change.
 The change is like that of gold which is transformed into gold ornaments. But before the change, it is gold and even after melting the ornaments it will remain gold.
In the same way the world is a transformation from Brahma, but is does not lose its nature of Brahma’s form. It will remain same even at the end of dissolution.

 JIVA :
This universe is the place where Bhrama desires to play HIS LILAS and jiva is the medium through which HE would like to play.
 Bhrama has six attributes (Gunas). They are known as :

    1. ISWARAY or opulence;
    2. YASH or fame;
    3. SRI or glory;
    4. JNANA or spiritual knowledge;
    5. VAIRAGYA or detachment and
    6. ANANDA or Bliss.

Bhrama by HIS own sweet will and with the intention to play (LILA) allows all the six attrivutes to disappear and manifest HIMSELF in the form of jova with only those two qualities calles SAT and CHIT in predominance.
Thus deprived of the divine qualities a jiva wades in a quagmire of ignorance and misery, groping in dark, greedily grasping at the mundane objects for his temporary pleasures and sensuous satifactions.
Jiva is an infinitismal part (Anu) of Bhrama. He is like the head of a grain (Aragramatra). He is part (Amsa) of Bhrama all the same.
Jiva manifests from Brahma in the same way as millions of sparkings (Visphulingas) emerge out of a ball of fire and sill ratain the original sparkle.


REALISATION OF BRAHMA :
After understanding the true form (Swarupa) of Brahma and the relationship between the divine being and the Universe and the Jivas, the process of realising HIS true nature could be understood.
The procedure advocated by Shri Vallabhacharya is simple, easy and adaptable even by most ordinary man. Any person can follow the method and achieve the desired results.

RASA RUPA :

The primary aim of a Jiva should not be just attaining liberation (Moksah).

Brahma is described as RASA RUPA or the embodiment of the sentiment of the divine live. He is ANAND RUPA or personification of Bliss.

The origin of the concept of Jiva emerged from the disappearance of this Blissful state. Any attempt to receive back that blissful state should be the chief aim of a Jiva.

PUSTI BHAKTI :

The path of devotion ( Bhakti Marga) is the only means by which a Jiva could hope to realize Brahma. But to achieve this the benign grace (Anugraha) of the divine being is essential. Unless Brahma bestows this grace upon a Jiva< the later could nevER Aspire to attain this supreme state of Blissfulness.

This particular system of devotion is known as PUSTI BHAKTI. The word PUSTI indicates th blessings (Kripa) a Jiva receives from Brahma. This system is also called THE PATH OF GRACE or Anugrah Marga.

PUSTI BHAKTI is something special. It is sublime. It is the means through which a Jiva attempts to experience the Blissful form the RASA PURA Brahma.

In PUSTI BHAKTI, th devotees never even dreams for the fruits (Phala) of their devotion because it is itself the means (Sadhan) AND THE END (Phala).

PUSTI BHAKTI indicates the unstinted dedication and service to Shri Krishna. Call HIM with whatever name you may like, He is the same Poorna Purusottama.

Service or SEVA shows out attachment of mental faculites towards Shri Krishna. We pay all our attention towards HIM alone.

TANUJA VITTAJA SEVA :
Service towards Shri Krishna can be offered either physically or through our monetary means. This aspect of worship is known a TANUJA – VITTAJA SEVA.

The service offered physically is the initial stage of devotion. We offer it with out own body and by using our own money. tHis is called TANUJA – VITTAJA SEVA.

MANASI SEVA :
The best form of service is the spiritual one known as MANASI. When all inner sentiments are concentrated round the ONE and onlyu REALITY, the GOD, one can achieve detachemtn from worldly aspects.

When the inner self cravces for the union with the Blissful form in HIS eternal sporitve moods known as NITYA LILLA, one is said to have attained the spiritual state of service.MANASI SEVA is result oriented and is the end (Phala).

ASAKTI VYASANA :
Bhakti or devotion passes through three stages. It begins with ordinary love for the divine being. The second stage envisages the growth of interest and attraction towards Shri Thakurji. This stage is known as ASAKTI. This ASAKTI gradually develops into a kind of addiction or VYASANA, when the devotee would begin to feel detached from the family and worldly bonds. An inner urge will drive him to sek the presence of Shri Thakurji. When he will fail to have a glimpse of HIM he will begin to feel the pangs of separation. Nothing remains of any importance for agonied soul except to receive that transcendental experience of GOD.

It is contended that this highest stage of esxperiencing the blissful form is possible only when Supreme Being showers HIS GRACE or KRIPA on that soul.

ASAKTI VYASANA :
There is one more aspect of experiencing this Bliss (Ananda). It is known as ASAKTI VYASANA. What does it mean?. When the divine being bestows HIS Grace upon such a Pusti Jiva, He imparts HIS blissful state into that body, indriyas or sense organs and Antahkarana or the subconscience and replaces that soul into HIS original form.

PURNA PURUSHOTTAMA :
Brahma has one more epithet known as PURNA PURUSHOTTAMA or the sublime of all persons.

The Sastras depict HIM as NIRDHOSHA or without any flaws. He is complete. He is controller of all qualities (Guna Vigraha). He is also independent (Atma Tantra).

Brahma has been aptly descrived by Sruties as NISCHETANATMAK SARIRA GUNAS meaning that HE does not have the qualities of a materialistic body. He is also said to be an extention of the very Bliss.

MAYA :
HE is said to be basis of the whole Universe. MAYA or the pwer of creation is only an inherent ability of the DIVINE BEGIN and is within HIM. It is not an outside , independent agent is generally understood.

HE is APRAKRUTA i.e. beyond nature which can be seen and perveived. HE is personisfication of a Anand in the sense that this very Anand itself assumes the form HE dsires. HE is AVIKARI or without any modification or change.HE is embodiment of limitless attributes that are transcendental but not materialistic.When Sruties assert that HE has a form and endless qualities,it does not refer to the worldly (Laukika) form and materialistic qualities of which of which we are aware of. The qualities and the form to which Sruties refer are transcendental i.e. Alaukika.

VALLABH DARSHAN :
Shri Vallabhacharya wanted to find out a path through which a Jiva could approach Shri Krishna or achieve HIM. Shri Krishnasi described in Sruties with different names like ANANDA MAY, VAISHWANARA, SARVAKAMA, SARVAGANDHA, NETI NETI ETC.
Out of these various aspects of divinity,one which could be agreeable to all, Shri Vallabhacharya discovered that, ANANDAMAY Purushottama is the best aspect.

Upanishad describe the creative activity of the divine begin as RAMANA or LILA or HIS PASTIME.

Creation (Srsti) is two-fold .One referring to human souls and the other to the world .

The Universe is thge supreme one,Shri Krishna , thought has three constituents within HIM known as SAT OR being CHIT or awareness and ANANDA or Bliss, but by a peculiar exigency of HIS LILA, his Anandamaya part remains non-manifest to the DIVINE BEING And instead, superimposes his ego over this divine quality. The consequenc of this ist hat he suffers sorrow and misery .

I orders to remove this ignoranc the vow a pusti Jiva through the Mantra in prose enjoins him to part with I_ness and Mine-ness (Ahanta And Mamta) and dedicates everything to LORD KRISHNA.

The result of this ATMA-NEVEDAN is that The Jiva will no longer be master of all that he possesses.Even the Jive is no longer the master of himself . He belongs to Shri Krishna . He will realise that the will of Shri Krishna alone prevails ove his actions . Sorrow and miseryh caused by ignoranc are substituted by joy and happiness. He becomes a part of the sprotive activity of Purna Purhottam.

Thus Shri Vallabhacharya clearly concluded that Pust Margiya Sevea Pranali is a sure path to follow which circumvents,foresees,provides for all the conceivable i mind. It guides the devotee to a result oriented system of servic (Seva) and through that ,ultimate sublimation to reach HIM.

The initiated jiva should serve Shri Krisha with dedication and a sense of surrender.

A devotee should not forget that whatever pursuits he may follow,he is only an instrumental and whatever he does,it is on behalf of Lord Krishna and ofr pleasing HIM only.

The highest divinity is the object of the most fervent warmth of love m\known as PREM.

The women of Vraj(Gopies) had these ideal in the eternal lovable personificatin of Bliss-Shri Krishna,Nitya Prya Ananda Rupa Krasna.

References:

1. Shree Vedantchantamani By Shree Gattulalaji

2. Shuddha-advaita Martand by Shree Girdharlalji (kashiwale)

3. Prameyratnarnav