Short Essay on the Dvaita Philosophy by Madhavacharya
Dvaita philosophy was propounded by Madhavacharya who was a Vaishnavite whose one aim was to confute the theory of Maya or unreality of the world and establish the doctrine of Bhakti or love and faith on a secure basis.
In contrast to Shankara's Non-dualism and Ramanuja's qualified Non-dualism, Madhavacharya postulates five eternal distinctions or individualities viz.
(i) Distinction between god and an individual spirit
(ii) God and the inanimate world
(iii) The individual spirit and the inanimate world
(iv) One individual spirit and another
(v) One inanimate object and another.
The Madhavas follow the method of Vaisheshikas and divide all existing things into categories of substance, qualities etc.
God or the Supreme self possesses an infinite number of qualities and his functions are eight viz. (i) creation (ii) protection (iii) dissolution (iv) controlling all things (v) giving knowledge (vi) manifestation of himself (vii) tying beings down to the world (viii) redemption.
Lakshmi is independent of God. She is eternal and blessed like the supreme soul and is his consort.
Madhvacharya's philosophy forms some of the core Indian beliefs on the nature of reality. He is considered one of the influential theologians. He revitalized a Hindu monotheism. Great leaders of the Vaishnava Bhakti movement in Karnataka, Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa were strong proponents of this philosophy. Raghavendra Swami was a leading advocator of this philosophy. Madhava's theology influenced scholars such as Nimbarka, Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Madhava's aim was to offer a new insight and analysis of the classical Hindu texts thereby resulting in the Dvaita tradition. He who built a convincing alternative system of Vedantic interpretation that took on Advaita fully. His doctrine of eternal damnation differs from Hinduism. Many of his doctrines resemble strict monotheism. He considered the role of Bhakti more important than any other schools of Vedanta. The third is the belief in the supremacy of Lord Vishnu over other deities. He differed from the traditional Hindu beliefs. For instance, souls are divided into three categories. One is that can be liberated, the other is that is subject to eternal rebirth and the third one is eventual sentence to hell. In contrast Hindus believe in universal salvation. Madhvacharya puts forth that Brahman and Atman are eternally different, with God always being the Superior one.
All knowledge emanates from Paramatma, whatever the means by which it is acquired.
Direct perception is possible for everyone and can be achieved by various means like Vairagya, equanimity, self-control, acquaintance with the lore, attendance on Gupj or perceptor and acquisition of knowledge from him, reflection on what has been taught, devotion and love of God.
Dvaitaa, doctrine is simply theistic and identifies the Supreme God with Narayan or he is generally designated as Vishnu. Madhwa earned the title of Poorna Prajna.
Dvaita philosophy was advocated in reaction to the ultimately anti-theistic non-dualism of Advaita Vedanta and as a response to the Vishishta-advaita of Ramanuja. Dvaita simply means 'dualism.' According to the Dvaita School there is a difference between the self and the Supreme power. Madhava advocated the belief that Lord Vishnu is the only "Brahman" in the universe and the absolute force. All other gods and goddesses are his subordinates. However, the philosophy does point out differences between Vishnu and the self; self and matter; Brahman and matter and several selves. Despite the differences there is a distinct relationship between all these, as the Lord desires it. Nothing on this earth can survive without Lord's will.
Madhwa's philosophy is realistic in absolute sense.
He propagated 'Yathar-Vada'. According to him the senses which help us to know, are seven and not five, Manas and Saksin are the remaining two instruments and through which things are known.
Madhava departed from the tenets of mainstream Vedanta philosophy by denying that God is both the material and the efficient causes of the world. According to Madhava's philosophy, matter and soul, time and space are all dependent realities, which exist by the will of God. The aim is to make one realize the profound significance of the distinction between what is independent and what is dependent. Dvaitins uphold the existence of a plurality of individual selves and the mind's independence. Both are existentially dependent upon Lord Vishnu who is only truly independent and is a self sufficient reality that sustains everything. Devotion to a personal deity leads to release from rebirth. Madhava's Dvaita principle forms a comprehensive philosophy of the Vedantic tradition. The second most important teaching of Madhava is that the Supreme Being cannot be a mere abstraction but is a perfect personality of infinite and auspicious attributes of perfection.
The concept of Saksin as the seventh principle is a distinctive feature of Dvaita philosophy