PhD Thesis on Brahmavad
by Shri RaghuNathLalji

 

These are extracts from the published PhD on the Brahmavada of Shri Vallabhacharyaji by Shri RaghuNathlalji.  HH RaghuNathlalji commenced on this thesis at the highly esteemed University of Baroda at a time when most others in the sect considered it unnecessary to even study the subject at a university level.  Pioneering such insights and examinations, HH RaghuNathlalji has made this book (and its publication on the net) freely available to all those who may wish to know more about the precepts of Shri Vallabh.

I sincerely thank all those who helped me bring this about and apologise if any of the quotes are taken out of context.  As this is a compilation of my favourite quotes from the book, they are not always in order - so please excuse any lack of direction in this presentation.  For a fuller understanding of the Thesis, please read the original (available from HH RaghuNathlalji who currentlyy lives in Ville Parle, Mumbai, India).

HH RaghuNathlalji is a direct descendent of Shri Vallabh and is born in the seventh branch of the family, who inherited the nidhi   svarup of Lord Shri Madan Mohanji - currently residing at Kamvan in Vraj (India).   I bow unto his lotus feet and an eternally grateful for his generosity of love and understanding.

 

Extracts from the Thesis...

Ultimate Reality has to be ascertained with the help of the scriptures alone. In doing so, if something goes against logic, logic has to be set aside. For, after all, logic is the product of the limited mind, where as the Ultimate Reality transcends all limits.

Where the objects lie beyond the ken of human intelligence, one should not resort to logical reasoning. For, the very meaning of "lying beyond the ken of human intelligence" is that no amount of logical reasoning will enable one to know about such objects." So, the scriptures alone will enable one to ascertain correctly the nature of the Ultimate Reality.

***** 

Sri Vallabhacharya's Faith is an Intelligent Faith and not a Blind Faith. He believes in human efforts, both physical and mental. His famous dictum:

"Prayatna-paryantam Jiva-krtyam"

meaning, "One has to try one's utmost"…"Where human effort ends, divine effort begins." This is a very truth. Human efforts are a vital link in the chain. Without them, the chain will snap asunder. It is only after all the human energy has been spent that the divine energy will begin to flow. When a seed has been sown by human hands, then alone all the natural forces necessary to multiply it are set free. Without the seed being sown, all these latent forces are helpless. The human efforts alone will open the doors for the divine efforts …

… light of the Sun is an attribute of the Sun, which is the substance. This light is different from the Sun. We say that the Sun rises and the Sun sets. We never say that the light rises and the light sets. Moreover, the light is here, where as the Sun is far, far away. These two, the Sun and its light, though different are not as the tree and the monkey which is on it or as the cage and the bird which is in it. These latter can remain without each other; but not so the Sun and its light.

***** 

… West values the matter more than the spirit … East Values the Spirit more than the matter. But our body has both. They are like our eyes.

***** 

True faith and fearlessness always go together. True faith is eternal. It is never shaken. "A faith which cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets" says A.C.Clarke …

The real religion consists not in what one believes but in how one lives.

The fundamental belief of the Hindu Scriptures is that … "The substance is One, though the Sages have given different names to it."

Science is neutral. It is after all a means. It can be utilised either for good or bad … whether an end is good or bad will be taught by religion.

Science starts with doubt, Religion starts with faith.

Mahatma Gandhi has said, "Faith is not a delicate flower which would wither under the slightest stormy weather. Faith is like the Himalayas … No storm can possibly move the Himalayas from their foundations…and I want everyone of you to cultivate (that sort of) faith in God and religion.

An idol is believed to be God. Objectively, such an idol is either a well-shaped or ill-shaped or even shapeless … But subjectively, it is God. And it is this subjective belief that is at the root of all religious progress … in our heart of hearts, it is God incarnate, it is God who is manifest for us in this form, limitless God, manifest in a form having limitations, in spite of these limitations … The God of Belief gradually becomes the God of actual experience. And this is not a piece of idle imagination.

… A person may worship any object he likes. For him that object is all right. But the belief that that object alone will liberate … It is the worship that liberates and not the object. This is the cardinal principle of the Indian Religion. The well known stanza :

"Kasthe na vidyate devo,
Na silayam na mrnmaye;
Bhavena vidyate devo,
Tasmad bhavo hi Karanam."

Meaning "God resides neither in wood, nor in stone, nor in clay. But, he resides there because of the spirit of veneration which a devotee has towards it, So this spirit of veneration counts and nothing else."

*****

In the system of Suddhadvaita Vedanta, otherwise known as Brahmavada, the One, Secondless, Ultimate Reality, is the only category. Every other thing has proceeded from it at the time of creation, is non-different from it during creation, and merges into it at the time of dissolution … animate souls and the inanimate objects are respectively its parts and modifications. The animate souls are its parts because they retain to some extent the essential quantities thereof, namely, consciousness and joy. The inanimate objects are its modifications, because the above said qualities are absent therein.

"God" is nothing but a convenient theological term for this Ultimate reality. In the Vedic Scriptures, it is called "Brahma" because it is greater than its parts, the animate souls and its modifications, the inanimate objects. It is also called "Paramatama", because it pervades them all.

Suddhadvaita means unity, pure and simple.

"Sad eva somya idam agree asid, ekam eva advitiyam" - meaning - "In the beginning there was only one Real Entity, only one and that too without a second."

"Tad aiksata 'Bahu syam, prajayeya' iti" - meaning - "That one Real Entity wished: Let me become many, let me multiply myself."

*****

Katha Upnisad says - "Some rare seeker of like eternal turned his gaze inward and saw God face to face." God is both within and without. The difference is, however, that God without is simply known whereas God within is actually felt. The hunger of another person is simply known: but one's own hunger is keenly felt. And knowing and feeling are worlds apart. Other thinkers simply knew that the world is full of misery, whereas Gautuma Buddha actually felt it. Other Indians knew that India was in bondage, Mahatma Gandhi actually felt it. In the same way, philosophers simply know that God is everywhere, whereas saints actually feel his presence everywhere. That is why the hearts of the latter are full of compassion for even the tiniest of creatures.

*****

"God is one; and that too without a second." This statement is capable of being interpreted in two ways; and these two ways arise from the two ways in which the word "second" is interpreted. If by the word "second" is meant a second God, the statement means that there is one God and there is no other God. In other words, there are no two Gods; but there can be entities other than God. The dualistic philosophers like Sri Madhavacarya adopt this interpretation. If, however, by the word "second" is meant a second entity, the statement means that God is the only Ultimate substance in the universe. In other words, there is no entity other than God, God is the only entity in the universe. This is the interpretation adopted by monistic philosopher like Sri Vallabhacarya. There is one extreme view as regards the second interpretation. And this extreme view arises from the logical limitation, namely, one is always one and never two. Sri Sankaracarya takes this extreme view. According to him, everything other than this one ultimate Substance, which may happen to appear, is only apparent and not real.

*****

Relying on the Vedas, Sri Vallabhacarya believes that in the beginning, ie before this Creation came into existence, the Ultimate Reality was the only entity; and it was this one Ultimate Reality which became many. And it is this act of becoming many that is responsible for the coming into existence of this creation. Now this fact of creation also when closely considered lends to rational support to the doctrine of Suddhadvaita or Pure Monism …

Now, there arises a very important question: A potter makes a pot out of clay. A goldsmith makes ornaments out of gold. Out of what, then, does the Creator create this universe ? Without clay the potter is helpless. For, without it he cannot make a pot. Similarly, the goldsmith cannot make ornaments without gold. Moreover, the potter requires a wheel; and the goldsmith his tools. Without these, they can do nothing. Does the creator too then requires any tools with which to fashion the universe ? The clay and the wheel are other than the potter; the gold and the tools are other than the goldsmith. Now, if the creator were to need a meterial like clay or gold; or were to depend on instruments like the potter's wheel or the goldsmith's tools, would it not curtail his independence to that extent. How would this be compatible with his infinite power or omnipotence ? …

Sri Vallabhacarya, in his Anu Bhasya has discussed this (very) point… God the Creator is all in one; and that He creates the universe out of himself without any extraneous help whatsoever. And the Sruti passage "Sa atmanam svayam akuruta" states this very thing.

*****

… the difference between the Kevaladvita or Absolute Monism of Sri Sankaracarya and the Suddhadvaita or Pure Monism of Sri Vallabhacarya (is) … according to the latter, the world being a modification of the Ultimate Reality is as real as the Ultimate Reality ! A gold ornament is not less gold (or) less real than the ingot of gold. According to the former (ie Kevaladvita) the Ultimate Reality is incapable of any modification, so the world is merely an appearance and not a reality.

*****

(explaining evil -)

Sri Sankaracarya sweeps the platform clean by denying evil altogether. According to him, this very world has no existence, much less the evil therein. If the very rope-serpent (a rope believed to be a serpent in the dark) does not exit, much less the poison in its fang. As the rope remains absolutely untouched by the rope-servant and its supposed poison, so God … to is absolutely free from the world and the evil supposed to be therein …

As for Sri Ramanujacarya, the souls and the world constitute God's body. So just as the soul remains untouched by the defects of the body, so God remains untouched by the evil either in the souls or in the world. So his (Sri Ramanujacarya's) God is also free from the evil ...

As for Sri Madhvacarya, God, the souls, and the world are three distinct entities, so his (Sri Madhavacarya's) God is also absolutely free from all evil …

… from the Sudhhadhvaita point of view … the souls are the real and not supposed parts of God; and the world is in reality nothing but God in another form, as the ornaments are nothing but gold in another form. As such the evil in the souls and the world is as much his as theirs … If the golden ornament receives scratches, the gold in it is bound to have them also and it cannot remain free from them … Taking God to be the material cause of the universe, we have to believe that He Himself has become the universe in the same way as clay becomes a pot … Then just as clay and the pot are one, so God and the universe are one … (but) … the heat of fire is not painful to fire itself, nor the coldness of ice is painful to ice itself (so - the good and evil of this world do not affect the God who pervades his entire universe.)

… Our body is one. Although it is made up of many parts, we never feel that it is many. We always hold our head high above and keep our feet down below. But have we ever had even the slightest idea that we are open to the charge of partiality on account of the differential treatment of these two limbs ?

*****

Other aspects of the Ultimate Reality :-

  1. This Ultimate Reality is infinite and all comprehensive.
  2. The diverse names and forms to be found in this universe are but the manifestations of the self same Ultimate Entity. In other words that One Ultimate Entity has become Many.
  3. The power of this Ultimate Reality are simply incomprehensible. And one very peculiar characteristic of this aspects is the fact that even the mutually conflicting qualities can reside together in it.
  4. This Ultimate Reality is endowed with all divine quality. In other words, it is not attribute-less as some other philosophers are disposed to think.
  5. The ultimate Reality is both personal and impersonal. And the personal aspect repeatedly incarnates itself.
  6. All this activity is only a sport on part of this Ultimate Reality.

*****

Please click here to get in touch with Goswami Shri RaghuNathlalji, of Mor-haveli, Gokul, originally from Kamvan, Shri Madan Mohanji's Nidhi - goswami_123@vsnl.net

 

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