The Dvaitadarśanam (Theory of Dualism) propounded and expounded by Madhvācārya, is the third major school, after Advaitam (Monism) of Śaṅkarācārya and Viśiṣṭādvaitam of Rāmānujācārya. Dvaita school mainly advocates the theory of difference between Jīvātmā (individual soul) and Paramātmā (universal soul). The universe is real and beginningless. Viṣṇu is Īśvara (God / Brahman). Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference) and Śabda (Statement) are the Pramāṇas. Vedas are Apauruṣeya (non-human). These are some of the important tenets of Dvaita.
Madhvācārya or Pūrṇaprajña or Ānandatīrtha had authored three works – Brahmasūtrabhāṣyam, Mahābhāratatātparyanirṇayaḥ and Viṣṇutattvanirṇayaḥ, in order to open a new school called Dvaitadarśanam.
Unlike Advaitam and Viśiṣṭādvaitam, the Dvaitam did not have any work before Ānandatīrtha ventured upon the task. The following factors are commonly accepted by both Viśiṣṭādvaitam and Dvaitam –
- Jīvāṇutvam – The Jīva (being) is of the size of an Aṇu (atom).
- Dāsatvam – Jīva is a servant of Īśvara.
- Vedāpauruṣeyatvam – Vedas are not authored by human beings.
- Siddhārthabodhakatvam – Vedas preach Brahman.
- Svataḥpramāṇatvam – Vedas are self-authoritative (not Parataḥpramāṇam – authoritative through something else).
- Pramāṇatritvam – Three Pramāṇas, viz. Pratyakṣam (Perception), Anumānam (Inference) and Śabda (statement) are accepted (the rest are included in the three).
- Pañcarātropajīvyatvam – The tenets are based on the work Pañcarātra.
- Prapañcabhedasatyatvam – The universe as well as the difference (of Jīva and Īśvara) are real.
In spite of the similarity in such a number of issues Dvaita refuted Viśiṣṭādvaita as the latter accepted a theory wherein the factors, viz. Bheda (difference between Jīva and Īśvara), Abheda (non-difference between Jīva and Īśvara) and Bhedābheda (difference and non-difference between Jīva and Īśvara) that have mutual contradiction and thus had become akin to Jainadarśanam (wherein the Saptabhaṅginaya, which is full of factors that are mutually contradictory). So, Ānandatīrtha decided to offer a different interpretation to Upaniṣadic sentences through Brahmasūtrabhāṣyam and thus an entirely new school of thought called Dvaitadarśanam had emerged in Vedānta system.
In Dvaitavedāntam (the school of Dvaita) Tattvam (reality) is of two types. It is stated in Tattvaviveka –
स्वतन्त्रं परतन्त्रं च द्विविधं तत्त्वमिष्यते। स्वतन्त्रो भगवान् विष्णुः निर्दोषोऽशेषसद्गुणः॥
svatantraṃ paratantraṃ ca dvividhaṃ tattvamiṣyate.
svatantro bhagavān viṣṇuḥ nirdoṣo’śeṣasadguṇaḥ॥
Reality is of two types – independent and dependent. God Viṣṇu, who is impeccable and filled with all the virtues and is independent.
Upaniṣats explain the Brahmatattvam (reality of Brahman) as a thing that does not have any Bheda (difference), whatsoever, within and when such sentences are awake how is it possible to claim that Viṣṇu, who is Brahman, has got all the virtues? (This is the question of an Advaitin, i.e. one who follows Advaita).
In Viṣṇutattvanirṇaya, Madhvācārya responds –
Bheda (difference) is not a property of a Padārtha (thing). Rather, it is, according to us, the form itself of a thing. This is as per Pratyakṣapramāṇam (Perception).
Sometimes, due to certain reasons, a thing that really exists cannot be perceived. Eight such reasons are enumerated in Sāṃkhyakārikā (verse 7) by Īśvarakṛṣṇa –
अतिदूरात् सामीप्यात् इन्द्रियाघातात् मनोऽनवस्थानात्।
सौक्ष्म्यात् व्यवधानात् अभिभवात् समानाभिहाराच्च॥७॥
atidūrāt sāmīpyāt indriyāghātāt mano’navasthānāt.
saukṣmyāt vyavadhānāt abhibhavāt samānābhihārācca॥7॥
(The eight reasons mentioned in the above verse are explained below).
- Atidūrāt – Due to too much of distance a thing cannot be perceived – the trees on a faraway mountain.
- Atisāmīpyāt – Due to too much of proximity – the lampblack (applied to eyelashes and eyelids as both medicinal and ornamental).
- Indriyāghātāt – Due to shock to sense organs – when eyes are subjected to electric shock (from sky during rainy season).
- Mano’navasthānāt – Due to lack of concentration (of mind) – if one’s mind is full of lust then he fails to perceive a pot in broad daylight.
- Saukṣmyāt – Due to minute form – an atom.
- Vyavadhānāt – Due to an obstacle – a thing behind the wall.
- Abhibhavāt – Due to domination – the light of a lamp in sunshine or stars during daytime (they are dominated by sunshine).
- Samānābhihārācca – Due to mixing – when water and milk are mixed then neither can be perceived in its own form.
Therefore since something cannot be perceived one should not conclude that it is not there. It may be due to one of the said eight causes.
Even through Anumāna (Inference) it is possible to decide Bheda – Īśvara is different from Jīva, because Īśvara is to be served. Whoever is a servant, is different from the served (master), just like a servant is different from the king.
If people who wish “I should have comfort but not worry” desire the place of authority then they cannot get the authority. Rather they, on the contrary, will become centers of all worries. One who describes his inferiority and praises the virtues of another person would be rewarded by the praiseworthy. It is clearly stated –
घातयन्ति हि राजानः राजाहमितिवादिनः। ददत्यखिलमिष्टं च स्वगुणोत्कर्षवादिनाम्॥
ghātayanti hi rājānaḥ rājāhamitivādinaḥ.
dadatyakhilamiṣṭaṃ ca svaguṇotkarṣavādinām॥
Kings get killed those who declare that they are kings. They provide all the desired things to those who praise the greatness of their virtues.
This is simply to counter the Advaitins, who advocate that one should go for Abheda (non-difference) between Brahman and Jīvātmā. So one, with a desire to attain Abheda with Īśvara, should not downplay the virtues of Viṣṇu. Such people, who hate Viṣṇu, it is asserted by Ānandatīrtha in Mahābhāratatātparyanirṇaya (1-111), would end up in hell.
अनादिद्वेषिणो दैत्याः विष्णौ द्वेषो विवर्धितः।
तमस्यन्धे पातयति दैत्यानन्ते विनिश्चयात्॥
anādidveṣiṇo daityāḥ viṣṇau dveṣo vivardhitaḥ.
tamasyandhe pātayati daityānante viniścayāt॥
Demons (Rākṣasas) had had hatred against Viṣṇu since time immemorial. Finally, the increased hatred against Viṣṇu would throw the demons in the great hell.
The Sevā (worship) of Viṣṇu is of three types – Aṅkanam, Nāmakaraṇam and Bhajanam.
- Aṅkanam – Having the markings of Viṣṇu’s weapon, i.e. Sudarśana disc etc. to remember Viṣṇu’s form and get the desired things. Śākalaysaṃhitāpariśiṣṭam says –
चक्रं बिभर्ति पुरुषोऽभितप्तं बलं देवानाममृतस्य विष्णोः।
स याति नाकं दुरितावधूय विशन्ति यद्यतयो वीतरागाः॥
देवासो येन विधृतेन बाहुना सुदर्शनेन प्रयातास्तमायन्।
येनाङ्किता मनवो लोकसृष्टिं वितन्वन्ति ब्राह्मणास्तद्वहन्ति॥
तद्विष्णोः परमं पदं येन गच्छन्ति लाञ्छिताः।
उरुक्रमस्य चिह्नैरङ्किता लोके सुभगा भवामः॥
cakraṃ bibharti puruṣo’bhitaptaṃ balaṃ devānāmamṛtasya viṣṇoḥ.
sa yāti nākaṃ duritāvadhūya viśanti yadyato vītarāgāḥ॥
devāso yena vidhṛtena bāhunā sudarśanena prayātāstamāyan.
yenāṅkitā manavo lokasṛṣṭiṃ vitanvanti brāhmaṇāstadvahanti॥
tadviṣṇoḥ paramaṃ padaṃ yena gacchanti lāñchitāḥ.
urukramasya cihnairaṅkitā loke subhagā bhavāmaḥ॥
A person should bear the marking of (hot) Sudarśana disc, that gives strength to deities and is related to Viṣṇu, who is eternal. Such a person, having got rid of the sins, enters the heaven, that is attained by monks, who renounced the universe. Brāhmaṇas bear the (marking of) Sudarśana disc by wearing which on hands, the Gods reached Viṣṇu and marked by which Manus do the creation of worlds. People, marked by which, reach the great abode of Viṣṇu, mark by those marks of Viṣṇu, we become fortunate in the world.
Even Taittirīyāraṇyaka (1-48) says this –
अतप्ततनूर्न तदामो अश्नुते श्रितास इद्वहन्तस्तत्समासत
ataptatanūrna tadāmo aśnute śritāsa idvahantastatsamāsata
A person whose body is not burnt with the markings of Sudarśana disc etc. cannot reach that place. Those who bear the markings only resort to Nārāyaṇa (Viṣṇu) and stay in that place.
- Nāmakaraṇam – Naming sons etc. with names such as Keśava (Viṣṇu) etc. so that one would always remember the name of Viṣṇu.
- Bhajanam – Worship is called Bhajanam and it is of ten types, divided into three groups performed respectively by speech, body and mind.
- Worship with speech are:
- Satyam – Speaking the truth
- Hitam – Words useful for prosperity
- Priyam – Words that are pleasing,
- Svādhyāyaḥ – Recitation (of Vedas etc.)
- Worship with body are:
- Dānam – Donation
- Paritrāṇam – Preservation,
- Parirakṣaṇam – Protecting all from all
- Worship with mind are:
- Dayā – Kindness
- Spṛhā – Interest,
- Śraddhā – Care
Paramaśruti also proposes Bheda –
जीवेश्वरभिदा चैव जडेश्वरभिदा तथा। जीवभेदो मिथश्चैव जडजीवभिदा तथा॥
मिथश्च जडभेदो यः प्रपञ्चो भेदपञ्चकः। सोऽयं सत्योऽप्यनादिश्च सादिश्चेन्नाशमाप्नुयात्॥
jīveśvarabhidā caiva jaḍeśvarabhidā tathā.
jīvabhedo mithaścaiva jaḍajīvabhidā tathā॥
mithaśca jaḍabhedo yaḥ prapañco bhedapañcakaḥ.
so’yaṃ satyo’pyanādiśca sādiścennāśamāpnuyāt॥
The universe that consists of five kinds of Bheda is real – Bheda between Jīva and Īśvara, Jaḍa (the one without consciousness) and Īśvara, Jīva and Jīva, Jaḍa and Jīva, and Jaḍa and Jaḍa. The universe is real (Advaitins say it is a myth), beginningless. If it had had a beginning then it should perish.
According to Dvaita the term “Māyā” means “bhagavadicchā” – the desire of Viṣṇu (for Advaitins “Māyā” means “Avidyā” – nescience).
In Bhagavadgītā (15.16) Śrīkṛṣṇa clearly says that there is Bheda –
द्वाविमौ पुरुषौ लोके क्षरश्चाक्षर एव च। क्षरः सर्वाणि भूतानि कूटस्थोऽक्षर उच्यते॥
dvāvimau puruṣau loke kṣaraścākṣara eva ca.
kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭastho’kṣara ucyate॥
In this universe there are two living things – Kṣara and Akṣara. The gamut of beings, right from Brahmā (creator), is called Kṣara and the immutable thing is called Akṣara.
Here Akṣara refers to Mahālakṣmi (wife of Viṣṇu) –
ब्रह्मा शिवः सुरेशाद्याः शरीरक्षरणात् क्षराः। लक्ष्मीरक्षरदेहत्वात् अक्षरा, तत्परो हरिः॥
brahmā śivaḥ sureśādyāḥ śarīrakṣaraṇāt kṣarāḥ.
lakṣmīrakṣaradehatvāt akṣarā, tatparo hariḥ॥
Brahmā (creator, the word is in masculine gender, the other one, Brahma is in neuter gender and means Paramātmā), Śiva, Indra etc. are called Kṣarāḥ as their bodies perish. And since her body does not perish Lakṣmī is called Akṣarā.
उत्तमः पुरुषस्त्वन्यः परमात्मेत्युदाहृतः।
यो लोकत्रयमाविश्य बिभर्त्यव्यय ईश्वरः॥भगवद्गीता १५.१७॥
uttamaḥ puruṣastvanyaḥ paramātmetyudāhṛtaḥ.
yo lokatrayamāviśya bibartyavyaya īśvaraḥ॥bhagavadgītā 15.17॥
A person different from Kṣara and Akṣara is called Paramātmā, who , being imperishable and all-powerful, entered the three worlds and bears them.
यस्मात् क्षरमतीतोऽहम् अक्षरादपि चोत्तमः।
अतोऽस्मिन् लोके वेदे च प्रथितः पुरुषोत्तमः॥भगवद्गीता १५.१८॥
yasmāt kṣaramatīto’ham akṣarādapi cottamaḥ.
ato’smin loke vede ca prathitaḥ puruṣottamaḥ॥bhagavadgītā 15.18॥
Since I am beyond Kṣara and better than Akṣara, in both the worlds and Veda, I became popular as Puruṣottama.
In Mahāvarāhapurāṇa also it is stated that Viṣṇu is the purport of all Vedas –
मुख्यं च सर्ववेदानां तात्पर्यं श्रीपतौ परे। उत्कर्षे तु तदन्यत्र तात्पर्यं स्यादवान्तरम्॥
mukhyaṃ ca sarvavedānāṃ tātparyaṃ śrīpatau pare.
utkarṣe tu tadanyatra tātparyaṃ syādavāntaram॥
The chief purport of all Vedas is in Viṣṇu and the greatness of his virtues. In rest of the things it is the subordinate purport.
In Nārāyaṇastuti it is clearly stated that Mokṣa can be attained only through the mercy of Viṣṇu –
यस्य प्रसादात् परमार्तिरूपात् अस्मात् संसारात् मुच्यते नापरेण।
नारायणोऽसौ परमो विचिन्त्यो मुमुक्षुभिः कर्मपाशादमुष्मात्॥
yasya prasādāt paramārtirūpāt asmāt saṃsārāt mucyate nāpareṇa.
nārāyaṇo’sau paramo vicintyo mumukṣubhiḥ karmapāśādamuṣmāt॥
Those who wish to attain Mokṣa by getting rid of the chains of Karma, by whose mercy only a man can get relieved from the most miserable world, but not relieved by any other thing, should meditate that great Nārāyaṇa (Viṣṇu).
Meaning of Tattvamasi (Chāndogyopaniṣat)
Madhvācārya offers a totally different interpretation of the popular Mahāvākyam, i.e. tat tvam asi in order to bring it in support of his Dvaita theory. He remarks that interpreting this Mahāvākyam in terms of Abheda (to support Advaitam) by Śaṅkarācārya is due to lack of knowledge of the purport of Chāndogyopaniṣat.
आह नित्यपरोक्षं तु तच्छब्दो ह्यविशेषतः।
त्वंशब्दश्चापरोक्षार्थः तयोरैक्यं कथं भवेत॥
आदित्यो यूप इतिवत् सादृश्यार्था तु सा श्रुतिः।
āha nityaparokṣaṃ tu tacchabdo hyaviśeṣataḥ.
tvaṃśabdaścāparokṣārthaḥ tayoraikyaṃ kathaṃ bhaveta॥
ādityo yūpa itivat sādṛśyārthā tu sā śrutiḥ.
The word “tat” (= that) denotes an indirect (that which is not in front of one’s eyes) thing, without any qualifiers. On the other hand, the word “tvam” (you) denotes a thing that is direct (in front of one’s eyes). Then, how will both of them, i.e. direct and indirect things, become a single thing? It is just like the usage “Ādityaḥ yūpaḥ”
Yūpaḥ is the fast wooden pole to which the animal in sacrifices is tied. Clarified butter is applied on the Yūpa and it shines. Such a pole is compared with Sun by Veda. Similarly in the Mahāvākyam also – “you are like Paramātmā”.
On the other hand it can be as it is; “atat tvam asi” (you are not that) is the actual sentence – in Chāndogyopaniṣat the following sentence is there – “sa ātmātattvamasi śvetaketo”. Here the splitting of words is like this – saḥ, ātmā, atat, tvam, asi, śvetaketo. The same thing is said by the following –
अतत्त्वमिति वा छेदः तेनैक्यं सुनिराकृतम्
atattvamiti vā chedaḥ tenaikyaṃ sunirākṛtam
It can be split as atat tvam asi (you are not that) and by this the Abheda is well refuted.
Since Ātmā (tat) has got virtues like “independence” etc. and “you” do not have them, “you are not that”. Thus “you” are different from “that” – there is Bheda. Even Chāndogyopaniṣat (6.8.3) supports this theory –
स यथा शकुनिः सूत्रेण प्रबद्धः
sa yathā śakuniḥ sūtreṇa prabaddhaḥ
He is like a bird tied with a rope.
From eighth to sixteenth parts of sixth chapter, Chāndogyopaniṣat offers nine similar instances and all these are construed in accordance with Dvaitadarśanam, i.e. Bheda between Jīva and Īśvara.
Universe is not a myth
Ānandatīrtha vehemently refutes the theory of Śaṅkarācārya – “jagat mithyā” (the universe is a myth, i.e. unreal). For this he takes up the popular sentence from Chāndogyopaniṣat (6.1.5) –
वाचारम्भणं विकारो नामधेयं मृत्तिकेत्येव सत्यम्
vācārambhaṇaṃ vikāro nāmadheyaṃ mṛttiketyeva satyam
The changed form is just a name started by speech. Clay is the real thing.
The above sentence is quoted by followers of Advaita as a Vedic authority in deciding that the universe is unreal – jagat mithyā. Now Ānandatīrtha offers a different interpretation that is in line with Dvaitadarśanam:
Pronouncing with speech has got change / transformation. Clay only is eternal and the same is name. This is true.
Therefore the universe is not at all unreal but real.
- Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha, Sāyaṇamādhava, Chowkhamba, Varanasi, 2001.
- Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha (Telugu), Ācārya P. Srīrāmacandruḍu, Sanatana Supatha Publishers, Bhimunipatnam, AP, 2008.
- Ānandatīrthacatussūtrabhāṣyam, Law Journal, Madras, 1934.
- Viṣṇutattvanirṇayaḥ, Dvaita Vedanta Studies and Research Foundation, Bangalore,1991.
- Mahābhāratatātparyanirṇayaḥ, Sri Vyasa Madhwa Seva Pratisthana, Bangalore, 1998.
- A Compilation of well-known 120 Upaniṣads, Naryana Ram Achaya (Ed.), Nirnay Sagar Press, Bombay, 1948.
- The Bhagavadgītā with 11 Commentaries, Shastri Gajanana Shambhhu Sadhale (Ed.), Gujarati Printing Press, Bombay, 1935.
- Chāndogyopaniṣat, Motilal Jalan, Gorakhpur.
- Taittirīya-Kṛṣṇayajurvedīya-Āraṇyakopaniṣad, Corporation Press, Mysore, 1980.