Which is correct philosophy : Advait (monoistic philosophy) Vedanta or Dvait (dualistic Vedanta)?

by : Chaitanya Rishabh




I have been pursuing this dilemma when I been through Advait Vedanta of Sripad Adi Shankaracharya and later Dvait Vedanta of Sripad Madhvacharya. Both were self realized and both still holds a very respectful position in the society. While there was a tug of war within me I got association of devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and came to know about the Achintya Bhed Abhed Tattva (ABA). ABA tattva is the clarification given by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who took Harinaam Diksha from Dvait School of Vedanta and Sanyas Diksha from Advait school.

Firstly, let's analyze the Vedic scriptures unbiasedly without any preoccupied conception:

Vedic verses which teach oneness or non-difference: Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1: sarva khalv idam brahma “Everything, both matter and spirit, is non-different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is the Supreme Brahman.

Chandogya Upanisad 7.25.2: atmaivedam sarvam iti, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is everything.”

Vedic Verses which teach difference: Katha Upanishada 1.2.20:

aṇor aṇīyān mahato mahīyān ātmāsya jantor nihito guhāyām tam akratuḥ paśyati vīta-śoko dhātuḥ prasādān mahimānam ātmanaḥ

“Both the Supersoul [Paramātmā] and the atomic soul [ jīvātmā] are situated on the same tree of the body within the same heart of the living being, and only one who has become free from all material desires as well as lamentations can, by the grace of the Supreme, understand the glories of the soul.”

The Svetasvatara Upanishad 5.9:

bālāgra-śata-bhāgasya śatadhā kalpitasya ca bhāgo jīvaḥ sa vijñeyaḥ sa cānantyāya kalpate

“When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul.”

Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.1

dva suparna sayuja sakhayah samanam vriksham parishasvajate tayor anyah pippalam svadv atty anasnann anyo ‘bhicakasiti

“The Lord and the living entity are compared to two birds sitting in a tree. While the illusioned living entity eats the fruits of the material world, the Lord as Supersoul and best friend witnesses these activities.”

Katha Upanishad 2.2.13

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman

“The Supreme Lord is eternal and the living beings are eternal. The Supreme Lord is cognizant and the living beings are cognizant. The difference is that the Supreme Lord is supplying all the necessities of life for the many other living entities.”

Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 4.3.8:

sa va ayam purusho jayamanah shariram abhisampadyamanah sa utkraman mriyamanah

“At the moment of birth the spirit soul enters a material body and at the moment of death the soul leaves the body.”

//As we can see, the above verse says the soul or Jiva enters and leaves the body. This suggests clearly that the Jiva or soul is not unlimited Brahman but an eternal part of the Para Brahman. The same is confirmed in the verses of Mundaka and Svetashvatara which are quoted above the verse of Katha Upanishada.

Also, the Same is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita 15.7:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ “The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts.”

// The verse above, clearly says that there is another living entity or soul which is atomic in size and eternal part of the Supreme Lord. However, the Impersonalists try to argue that here Krishna says, the material bodies are my frag-mental parts, but to refute such illogical conceptions, Krishna said “sanātanaḥ” means eternal. The bodies of the living entities (individual souls) are not eternal and subject to deteriorate.

So, what is correct path of Liberation?

Chāndogya Upaniṣad 8.12.3, the demigod Brahmā explains:

evam evaiṣa samprasādo ‘smāt śarīrāt samutthāya paraṁ jyotir upasampadya svena rūpeṇābhiniṣpadyate sa uttamaḥ puruṣaḥ

“By the Supreme Lord’s mercy, the enlightened soul leaves his material body and enters the effulgent spiritual world. There he attains his own spiritual body. He becomes the most exalted of persons.”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his disciples concluded Achintya Bhed Abhed Tattva as follows:

1. The individual souls and supersoul are same in quality but different in quantity just like sun and it’s rays or gold and it’s particles. Thus we (individual souls) and God are different as well as same. I’m quoting a detailed example for a better understanding of this Vedanta : Srila Prabhupada says in Gita introductory chapter : A particle of gold is also gold, a drop of water from the ocean is also salty, and similarly we the living entities, being part and parcel of the supreme controller, īśvara, or Bhagavān, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, have all the qualities of the Supreme Lord in minute quantity because we are minute īśvaras, subordinate īśvaras. We are trying to control nature, as presently we are trying to control space or planets, and this tendency to control is there because it is in Kṛṣṇa. But although we have a tendency to lord it over material nature, we should know that we are not the supreme controller. This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Ref: Introduction.

2.The individual souls are subordinate to Lord or dependent on Lord eternally.

3. The world is real but temporary.

4. God (Lord Krishna/Vishnu) has a Spiritual, eternal form with spiritual or transcendental qualities. His bodily effulgence is known as Brahman.

5. The individuals are different souls which are of same quality and quantity compared to each other.

6. Bhakti alone can give salvation. Moksha is not the destruction of the “I” in the soul, but it is the destruction of the false sense of “I”, the ahamkara (false ego or pride), confusion of oneness with the body, karma and so on. The true “I” of the individuality of the soul persists even through moksha because it is a different entity than Supersoul (Krishna), who is the inner soul or supersoul of the individual soul.

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