[Advaita-l] Samanvaya (Reconciliation) - 2 cases

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Mar 27 06:50:28 CDT 2012

Recently I was listening to the well-known Vishishtadvaitin scholar and
Sri VeLukkuDi Krishnan Swami's discourses on the TiruppAvai. He mentioned
something that was very new and interesting to me:

In the srivaishnava (vishishtadvaita) tradition there are two streams:
propounded by Vedanta Desika and Pillai LokAcharya. While the former
sharaNAgati the latter disagrees with him that that is not the upAya but the
Lord Himself is the upAya to be sought for mokSha. These two streams have
gained very distinct positions in the srivaishnava tradition that they go
by the
names 'vaDakalai' and 'tengalai' respectively and a considerable amount of
animosity too prevails between the two groups, expressing itself in
awkward ways even to this day.

The Swami presented the two 'schools' and appealed to the srivaishnavas in
general to give up animosity. He sought to reconcile the two this way: For
these AchAryas, Ramanuja is the Master. They owe their highest loyalty to
While Vedanta Desika advocated sharaNAgati as upAya he was basing it on the
Vedanta ['yo brahmANam vidadhAt pUrvam....mumukShurvai sharaNam aham
prapadye' of the Upanishad]. Pillai LokAchArya while denouncing the
as upAya argued that the Lord is Compassion personified and it is owing to
His compassion that there can be moksha. 'sharaNAgati' would be a business
approach for one will think: I have
done sharaNAgati and therefore I must get moksha'. But the Lord's chief
guNa of
'compassion' does not get a place in such a situation. Therefore, one should
seek the Lord Himself and will get liberated out of His compassion. The
reconciliation is this way: Both the Acharyas are only highlighting one
while they know for sure that the other aspect is also not to be lost sight
Unless asked for one cannot get moksha. And unless 'granted' one cannot get
mokSha. Thus both sharaNAgati and the Lord's compassion have their
roles in an aspirant getting moksha.

I remembered a parallel situation in Advaita. Dr. Mani Dravid SastriNaH, a
top-ranking scholar of Advaita, once presented a paper where an aspect of
the BhAmati and the
VivaraNa schools were reconciled:

While one holds that the moksha-giving knowledge is generated through the
operation of the mind, the other holds that it is brought about by the
mahAvAkya. Now, it might appear that these are two exclusive positions. The
reconciliation lies in recognizing that it is impossible to the mind to
the vRtti unless it is trained by the mahavakya-anusandhAnam. The mahAvAkya
itself, too, can't give knowledge unless it passes through the cultivated
Thus both the positions have the requirement of the other too and when this
kept in mind there will be no real difference between the two schools, in

This Advaitic scholar has worked out similar reconciliations of a few more
aspects of these
two streams.


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