Faith

Substance and modes

Visishtadvaita does not deny the world, but says the world is real. But if this is so, then how do we interpret the statement Ekameva Advitiyam? This means that there is only One, and no second. If the world is real, then does that mean that sentient and non-sentient matter do not really exist? How can the srutis talk of oneness and also talk of a state of non-oneness? In other words, how can there be bheda (several) and abheda (One) concepts in the srutis?

Ramanuja did not reject any of the sruti vakhyas. He showed that there really was no contradiction in the many statements. He incorporated both bheda and abheda concepts in his philosophy by reconciling the differences. He used mediating texts — ghataka srutis — to balance what seem like opposing points of view, said M.A. Venkatakrishnan in a discourse.

There is an Upanishadic statement which talks of Bhoktha, Bhogyam and Preritha. Bhoktha is the one who enjoys according to his karma. Bhogyam is that which he enjoys. Preritha is the one who controls everything. In other words, Preritha is the Supreme One. The creation of sentient and non-sentient matter is a matter of sport to the Lord, and is entirely due to His wish. Actually, even this creation should be seen thus.

During pralaya, that is deluge, the jivas are in latent mode and during creation, they are made manifest. The Lord is the substance. Sentient and non-sentient matter are modes and cannot exist independently of the Lord.

The ghataka srutis show that the Universe is His body, thereby establishing the sareera sareeri connection between Paramatma and the Universe. Ramanuja also established that the Supreme One is full of auspicious qualities.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 8:30:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/Substance-and-modes/article16439217.ece

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