Vedantic Philosophy of Sri Vallabhacharya and World Peace
Human life is different from other creatures in a very unique aspect and that is, each human knowingly or unknowingly believes in some philosophy which guides them throughout their entire life span and which differentiates him/her from any other creature. Thus, we believe, Philosophy is an important part of human life and existence. Philosophy is all-pervasive. Let's remember a remarkable quote from Blaise Pascal in this reference “A Reed only is man, the frailest in the world, but a reed that thinks. Unnecessary that the Universe arm itself to destroy him: a breath of air, a drop of water is enough to kill him. Yet, if the All should crush him, man would still be nobler than that which destroys him: for he knows that he dies, and he knows that the universe is stronger than he; but the universe knows nothing of it.” Let us use this inherent pride we have inherited from the Supreme Being for a positive cause without belittling the other species existing in this universe and be the ambassadors of peace, tolerance and make the world a just place to live in harmony with all.
World is no longer a closed system. World is now interconnected with Ideas, Faiths, Philosophies, Religions and Science and thus, there is a natural demand for Tolerance and Peace between -
- Various Religious Theological systems
- Religious Theologies and Scientific Conclusions
- Perspectives offered by various branches of knowledge including Art, Religion, Science and Philosophy.
Harmonizing different branches of knowledge and appreciating the unique perspectives they bring
The nature of understanding which occurs in a human mind has four dimensions of understanding and thus four different branches of knowledge arise. The fundamental problem of conflicts amongst different faiths, beliefs, religions, sects, traditions, opinions arise due to lack of understanding how human mind works. If we harmonize between different faculties functional within human minds, we believe it would be great step forward in proposing a common framework of establishing peace and harmony. The four dimensions of understanding and branches of knowledge are -
- Philosophical understanding - Deals with logical analysis and understanding
- Religious understanding - Tries to make our lifestyle conducive to that Truth and ultimately leads us to worldly and transcendental welfare.
- Scientific understanding - Tries to reconstruct that Truth by experimentation and observation to make human life comfortable.
- Artistic understanding - Tries to aesthetically present and express our impressions of that Truth.
Let’s try to analyze these four different types of understanding because without analyzing these aspects, we cannot arrive at any conclusion to any question. Let’s compare and contrast each type of understanding and dive deeper.
Religious as well as philosophical understanding are both based on typical mental awareness. Mental awareness could be either emotional or rational activity. Religious understanding is not necessarily a rational activity of our mind but it is more of an emotional activity because all the religions have certain faith or belief or devotion as a foundation which afterwards gets rationalized but it's faith which is an emotion however, philosophy is not necessarily based on the emotion, instead it is based on the rational activity of our mind. Because of these activities, we become aware of our own self. Different types of awareness - both religion and science are of different types and both religion and science give a different type of awareness of our surroundings which starts from our own-self to our family to the galaxies and universes.
Coming to art and science, we must note here that art as well as science both are not merely just mental activity but they are also experimental activity. They want to experiment something. The difference between mental and experimental activities is subtle but still important to realize. All experimental activities are also mental but all the mental activities are not necessarily experimental in nature. Art and science provide us with experimental understanding. Take any form of art like music or poetry or sculpture - any artistic activity must have an experimental activity likewise science also wants to experiment, and observe. Therefore, it becomes creative in nature. The cycle of experimentation and observation which leads us to create something, simultaneously also leads us to inquiring about that phenomenon based on the deductive or inductive reasoning of our mind and makes us arrive at a certain general conclusion.
Coming to science and philosophy - they both strive to assess our awareness for deriving conclusions based on the deduction or induction type of reasoning. Whereas art and religion both gather the impressions, whether it is mundane or transcendental phenomenon in our consciousness and express it in our behavior through an external media (visual, or auditory).
All of these four types of understanding, if they are coordinated, will give us one coordinated conclusion. However, if they give contradictory conclusions, then arises the question of choosing the right type of understanding that will allow us to comprehend reality with absolute certainty.
Just like a good home needs to protect one's own self along with the need of a good ventilation system – each Religious system today needs similar characteristics. Just like a home protects one own self, a religious system should resort by its root philosophy and at the same time, just like a home also needs a ventilation system, a religious system needs to share, communicate, understand and appreciate other philosophies to allow a strong, healthy and tolerant environment to be created in this world. Without peace among religions, their cannot be peace among the people of this world since it’s the philosophy which uplifts the people and it’s the same philosophy that may be the very cause of the destruction of the world. In spite of having a theoretical ideal of unity before us, we still have a subtle prejudice concealed in our minds to attack our friends. This subtle prejudice in us some day manifests in ourselves in much more fierce fights to re-establish our identity due to the fears that we might be fostering due to our neighbors. Philosophy is all pervasive finding its applications and needs even in Science. Philosophy and Science need each other for the things still unknown and unconquerable by Science, Vedic Philosophy provides a framework to go above and beyond the limits of scientific experiments. For e.g one can perceive the origins of the Universe from different perspectives like Big-Bang Theory (in Purusha Sukta Rig. Veda. 10/90/17), and Oscillating/Pulsating Universe Theory( in Vedic and Puranic Scriptures. Similar concepts like Black Holes described in (rig Samhita 10-11-129/1-3) and (brahmand Puran 1/1/1) and Manusmriti (1/5-32) and (brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1/1/1)
The very inherent nature of the human to be logical can at times be disastrous to maintain peace and maintain cordial relationships. The way humans perceive Logic as a panacea of all problems is proving to be hazardous for mutual existence. Our scriptures very well recognizes this problem and has rightly said about this as “नैषा तर्केन मति आपनिया (कठोपनिषद). Let us not be limited by the power of mere logic. Let us be not confined within a small sphere of logic. Let our mind be governed by that supreme reality in which all the mini-spheres of logic reside. Logic should be used knowing its limits and logic should never cause us to negate the fact that lies beyond its comprehension. This sets up the base of means of knowing that Supreme Reality and totality which is the source of inter-faith tolerance, a source of peace, a source of love and a source of mutual respect.
Eternal quest for the Ultimate Reality
The root of all the conflicts, we believe, is due to the limited ability of the human minds in comprehending that all-encompassing, wholistic, ultimately reality that is by nature encompasses all the diversities and multiplicities seen in each and every phenomena of this creation. These diversities and multiplicities are manifested in various forms including different religions, faiths, philosophies, opinions, conclusions, theories, doctrines, traditions. Thus, it becomes essential to understand this all-encompassing and wholistic phenomena in order to establish peace. Vedic system refers this all-encompassing phenomena as "Brahman". Brahman is defined as the infinite conscious being which is essentially "the Whole". It is the "Brahman" that forms the basis and the core foundation to establishing peace and inter-faith tolerance and love.
Means of knowledge to know Brahman
The Means of knowledge to know such a supreme reality thus cannot be mere logic but to allow our supra-natural, supra logical entity to be understood by our ancient scriptures that were realized and experienced by our ancestors. The factual infinitude, multi-dimensional reality is described in a various different ways to narrate the same ultimate reality “एकं सद विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति” Ṛg Veda 1.164.46 इन्द्रं॑ मि॒त्रं वरु॑णम॒ग्निमा॑हु॒रथो॑ दि॒व्यः स सु॑प॒र्णो ग॒रुत्मा॑न् एकं॒ सद्विप्रा॑ बहु॒धा व॑दन्त्य॒ग्निं य॒मं मा॑त॒रिश्वा॑नमाहुः ॥४६॥
Stand taken by our scriptures is also thus multifarious in describing this Totality. One feels that glimpse of oneness with that totality when one is deep asleep when the poor do not remain poor and rich do not remain rich, when all becomes equal. This is also referred to by our scriptures in Brahmasutra.
While other systems says Maya, Cheating, Kufr, Pakhand etc to human philosophies but Vedas do not take the similar stand and says “सर्ववादानवसरं (factual truth) नानावादानुरोधितः (logical Truth)” which is the philosophy of the all philosophies. The Infinitude of Totality does not reject the finitude of the philosophies and this totality still follows the finitude while maintaining his own infinitude by not being able to completely be followed by a mere single philosophy.
Achieving that Brahman
While pursuing different methods to achieve the results, one must not push ourselves and others to the limit which is rightly said by Sri Vallabhacharyaji that Bhakti cannot be done by forceful acts. Forcibly, none of the good or bad things must be done. Force will cause friction and friction will cause the reversal of the results. One must identify one’s own limits and should perform the actions within those limits. Let the means to follow any faith be based on Action, Understanding and most importantly out of the innermost core of bliss (atmarati) that exists in each and every animate/inanimate objects of the world. The core of bliss is due to the presence of that totality within one’s self. When this atmarati culminates in Bhakti then bhakt creates God, not Brahman and paramatma. All the flavors of love originates from this atmarati and this is the natural and sincerer love from which all other loves is reflected in other objects (नवा रे सर्वस्य कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति आत्मनस्तु कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति).
Essential Nature of Brahman: The Second-less Complex Homogeneous Infinite Conscious Being. Ref: सत्यं ज्ञानं अनन्तं ब्रह्म (तैत्ति. उप. 2|1)
Efficient Nature of Brahman: The one from which every other thing has proceeded from it at the time of creation and is non-different from it during creation, sustained within it and merges into it at the time of dissolution. Ref: यतो वा इमानि भूतानि जायन्ते ...तद ब्रह्म (तैत्ति. उप. 3|1)
Theory of Monistic Polytheism (Brahmavāda) : Foundation to World Peace
Sri Vallabhācharya - A Revivalist of Vedic Theory of Monistic Polytheism (Shuddhādvaita Brahma-Vāda) One of the many systems of religious thought in India that is based on the authority of the Vedās is that of Sri Vallabhācharya, generally known as the Shuddhādvaita Vedanta, or Sākār BrahmaVāda in the Religio-Philosophical circles, and as Pushtimārga, as a sect of religion.
The doctrine in which brahman (the Secondless Ultimate Reality) is everything. One complex homogeneous entity devoid of any distinctions within itself becomes many for its own sport through divine will without undergoing least change within itself. Every other thing has proceeded from it at the time of creation and is non-different from it during creation and merges into it at the time of dissolution. Pure Brahman only is the Independent Material and Efficient cause of the Universe and not Nescience, Matter, etc.
तं तु औपनिषदं पुरुषं पृच्छामि (बृह. उप. 3 |9|26)
ब्रह्म ते ब्रवाणि (बृह. उप. 2|1|1)
यतो वा इमानि भूतानि जायन्ते ...तद ब्रह्म (तैत्ति. उप. 3|1)
सत्यं ज्ञानं अनन्तं ब्रह्म (तैत्ति. उप. 2|1)
किंस्विद् वनं क उ स वृक्ष आस ...? (ऋक् संहिता 10|81|4)
ब्रह्म वनं ब्रह्म स वृक्ष आस ...(तैत्ति. ब्राह्म. 2|8|9|17)
सर्वं खलु इदं ब्रह्म (छान्दोग्य उप. 3|14|1)
आत्मैव तदिदं सर्वं सृज्यते ...अयमेव ब्रह्मवाद शिष्टं मोहाय कल्पितं (तत्वार्थदीप निबन्ध 2|183-184)
a. सत्कारणवाद – Theory of Eternal Presence of Cause in the Effect:
The Cause is eternally present into the effects without undergoing the least amount of changes and thus the cause does not get modified, destroyed or exhausted at least.
असद् वा इदं अग्रे आसीत् – सत्कारणवाद (छान्दोग्य उपनिषद्)
वा - means "as if '' not there. That means Unmanifested (not the absolute absence)
b. सत्कार्यवाद – Theory of Eternal Presence of Effect in the Cause:
All effects are eternally present into the cause and thus all effects are Ultimate Reality and not just phenomenal illusionary appearance, or Relative Reality. If Effects are considered illusionary or unreal then the cause may not even remain a cause itself. Brahman’s value is enhanced when he creates the universe just like Gold and the Ornament. He reveals infinite formal, nominal and functional multiplicities which were so far unrevealed.
सदेव सौम्य इदं अग्रे आसीत् – सत्कार्यवाद (छान्दोग्य उपनिषद्)
c. अविकृत परिणामवाद: Theory of Unmodified Substantial Transformation
Substance and Transformation are not different. That means its Identity and not Illusionary. Thus, Substantial Transformation is acceptable in Vallabh Vedant. Thus, Brahman without undergoing the least change within itself transforms into sentient and insentient forms, Names and functions. For e.g Gold and the Ornament.
d. आविर्भाव/तिरोभाव – Theory of Manifestation and Un-manifestation:
Five types of Non-existence (Prior non-existence, Posterior non-existence, temporal non-existence, Mutual non-existence) are not accepted in Vallabha’s System. Rather, Brahman Frog and Turtles go into the Hibernation process. While in hibernation, the Function of Oxygen is concealed but after the process is over, the Oxygen is manifested in Functions. Same as a child in the mother's womb taking Oxygen via Blood while in womb and when outside, takes Oxygen from the environment. That doesn’t mean Oxygen was not present. Oxygen was always needed and present within the womb and outside. For e.g Photosynthesis. The Light is transformed into food.
e. अभिन्न निमित्त उपादान कारणता वाद:
जगतः समवायि स्यात् तदेव च निमित्तकम् |
कदाचिद्रमते स्वस्मिन् प्रपञ्चेपि क्वचित्सुखं ||
यत्र येन यतो यस्य यस्मै यद्यद यथा यदा |
स्यादिदं भगवान् साक्षात् प्रधान पुरुषेश्वरः ||
( तत्वार्थ दीप निबन्ध 1|68-69)
तैत्तरिय उप. 2|1
ष्वे. उप. 6|16तैत्तरिय उप. 2|7
f. लीलार्थसृष्टिवाद – लोकवत् तु लीला कैवल्यं (ब्रह्मसूत्र), वैषम्य नैघृण्य निषेध
i. क्रीडार्थं आत्मनः इदं त्रिजगत् कृतं ते स्वाम्यन्तु तत्र कुधियो अपर ईश कुर्युः कर्तुः प्रभोः तव किम् अस्यतः आवहन्ति... (भाग. पु 8/24/20)
ii. अनायासेन हर्षात् क्रियामाणा चेष्टा लीला (सु. बो.)
ब्रह्म रूपं जगद् ज्ञातव्यं जगतो व्यतिरिच्यत इति न तत्र आसक्तिः कर्तव्या (सुबो. 2/9/35)
सूर्यादि रूप ध्रुग् ब्रह्म काण्डे ज्ञान अङ्गं ईर्यते, पुराणेष्वपि सर्वेषु तत् तत् रूपो हरिः तथा, भजनं सर्वरुपेषु फल सिद्धयै तथापि तु आदिमूर्तिः कृष्ण एव सेव्यः (त. दी. नि. 1/11-13)
द्वे वाव ब्रह्मणो रूपे मूर्तंचामूर्तं चाथ यन्मूर्तं तदसत्यं यदमूर्तं तत्सत्यं तद्ब्रह्म तज्ज्योतिर्यज्ज्योतिः सआदित्यः स वा एष ओमित्येतदात्माऽभवत्स त्रेधात्मानं व्यकुरुतोमितितिस्रो मात्रा एताभिः सर्वमिदमोतं प्रोतं चैवास्मीत्येवं ह्याहैतद्वा आदित्यओमित्येवं ध्यायताऽऽत्मानं युञ्जीतेति ॥ ३
Two forms, or two manifestations, as it were, are of Brahman. These two manifestations are murtam ca, amurtam ca, the formed and the formless, the visible and the invisible, that with shape and that without any particular shape. These are the two ways in which Brahman manifests itself in the five elements, murtam caivamurtam ca: And, likewise, that which is with form is Martya, or perishable. That which is without form is not perishable - it is Amrta. That which is with form is limited - Sthita. That which is without form is Yac, or unlimited. That which is with form is Sat, or perceptible. That which is without form is Tyat, or imperceptible. That which is Murta is also Martya; it is also Sthita; it is also Sat
Monistic Polytheism = Realism + Neither Dual nor Non-Dual
Type of Unity: Substantial
Type of Multiplicity: Formal/Qualitative/Functional/Nominal
शुद्धाद्वैत = एकमेवाद्वितीयं + तद् ऐक्षत बहुस्यां प्रजायेय
(ब्रह्म स्वस्वरूप स्वाभाविक अद्वैत + नाम रूप कर्म जीव नानात्व रूप ऐच्छिक द्वैत )
Component Theories of Monistic Polytheism (Brahmavāda)
● Theory of Coincidentia of Contradictorum
● Theory of Non-duality of Material and Efficient Cause
● Theory of Eternal Presence of Cause in the Effect
● Theory of Eternal Presence of Effect in the Cause
● Theory of Manifestation and Un-manifestation
● Theory of Substantial Identity
● Theory of Unmodified Substantial Transformation
● Theory of Creation as part of Divine Willful Sport
|Theory||Degree of Lila||Diagrammatic Representation|
|Vedic Interpretive Philosophies|
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान इतर
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान इतर
|Singularity in Duality|
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान इव
|Same as above|
|Duality in Singularity|
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान इव
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान्
|Same as above|
इदं हि विश्वं भगवान्
Let A=Singularity (अद्वैत) and B=Multiplicity (द्वैत)
(मायावाद – शाङ्कर मत)
|A||B||A AND ~B||A= +
C = चिद् and D = अचित्
|A=B or A=~[~B]||~A And B||A AND B|