Faith

Explaining Visishtadvaita

Vedanta Desika authored many works on Visishtadvaita. Even his stotras are full of Visishtadvaitic tenets, said Veliyanallur T.S.R. Narayanachariar, in a discourse. Vyasa’s Brahma Sutra has 545 sutras, according to the Visishtadvaitic school, and has 156 adhikaranas. Ramanujacharya’s commentary on Brahma Sutra is called Sri Bhashyam. Sudarsana Suri wrote a commentary called Sruta Prakasika, on Sri Bhashyam. He says Sri Bhashyam is succinct, but majestic. It is not easy to understand Ramanuja’s commentary, which is why Acharyas have taken pains to explain it for us. Desika wrote works like Tattva mukta kalapa, Adhikarana Saravali etc, to help us understand Visishtadvaita.

Each chapter in Brahma Sutra has sections called paadas and each paada has sub-sections called adhikaranas. In Adhikarana Saravali, which has 562 slokas, Desika points out what is special in each adhikarana. He anticipates questions that might be raised and answers them. Usually Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa are dealt with separately. But Ramanuja did not accept such a division. He saw both of them as one. Ramanuja clarifies that this was not an idea that originated with him. He says he is following what Acharyas before him had said.

The first sloka in Desika’s Adhikarana Saravali is a mangala sloka, in praise of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam. Lord Ranganatha gave Desika the title of Vedantacharya and Goddess Ranaganayaki of Srirangam gave him the title of Sarvatantra Svatantra. Although Desika wrote many Vedantic works, he felt that it was Adhikarana Saravali, which justified his title of Vedantacharya.. Through this work, Desika helps us understand Sri Bhasyam better. It talks about the auspicious qualities of the Supreme One and about how to reach His feet.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 3:07:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/explaining-visishtadvaita/article33661714.ece

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