On Brahmasutras and VisishtAdvaita

Govind Rengarajan govind at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Wed Oct 1 11:52:45 CDT 1997

On Wed, 1 Oct 1997, Nanda Kumar wrote:

> A question on a different subject.
> Last weekend I met an Iyengar who follows VisishtAdvaita. He said that
> the main purport of that scool of thought is Karma Yoga. But again I read
> in the above mentioned book on the Brahmasutras that both
> Madavacharya and Ramanuja considered Bhakti as the only means to
> realize Brahman. Can somebody knowledgable clarify?
        This point was addressed for a different reason in an
        earlier post of mine (reproduced below). In Sri Vaishnava
        sampradAyam, bhakti and prapatti (complete surrender) are
        valid means for mOkshA. Prapatti is prescribed for
        someone who is unable to engage in bhakti mArgA for
        whatever reason (for e.g., one's station in this life).
        What this implies is that even if one is unable to follow
        one's dharmAs properly, a complete unconditional surrender
        will lead to mOkshA. IMO, prapatti is more difficult
        than following the bhakti mArgA, thanks to our ego.

        If you (or anybody else) need more information, we can
        carry the discussions in private.

        govind rengarajan

>From govind at isc.tamu.edu Wed Oct  1 11:36:01 1997
Date: Sat, 20 Sep 1997 11:18:22 -0500
From: Govind Rengarajan <govind at isc.tamu.edu>
To: ADVAITA-L at tamu.edu
Subject: Re: doership, pre-ordained etc

On Sat, 20 Sep 1997, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

>      interpreted by vishishhTa-advaita and dvaita as "with what
>      is given to you by the Lord, enjoy". Here again, there is no
>      mention of contribution by humans to their own uplift either
>      in worldly or paramArthic matters. Thus again, "I" would

        Just so that this point is clarified, there are two schools
        of thought in the visishtAdvaita (Sri Vaishnava) tradition
        (both belonging to Sri rAmAnujA tradition). One school
        emphasizes the need for *complete* surrender which in itself
        takes place only under God's grace. Whereas, the other
        school prescribes two paths - one, *complete* surrender
        (prapatti), and the other, a bhakti mArgA with dedicated
        and devoted practise of one's visEsha dharmA.

        In the former school, free will is given importance only so
        much as to be willing to receive God's compassion and grace.
        In the latter school, the necessity of free will at the
        vyAvahArikA level is recognized, and is encouraged (towards
        turning one's mind in a single-minded devotion to God).

        govind rengarajan

        PS: This post was not meant to be a digression in
        the discussions of free will in the advaita tradition,
        but only to clarify the Sri Vaishnava philosophy in these

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