Essentials of Hinduism – Different Schools of Thought

Print !

Back

Different Schools of Thought

The sects that are at the present time in India, come to be divided in general into the two great classes of Dualists and Monists. The little differences which some of these sects insist upon, and upon the authority of which want to take new names, as pure Advaitists, or Qualified Advaitists, and so forth, do not matter much. As a classification, either they are Dualists or Monists, and of the sects existing at the present time, some of them are very new, and others seem to be reproductions of very ancient sects. The one class I would present by the life and philosophy of R&m&nuja, and the other, by SankarRch&rya. Ramanuja is the leading dualistic philosopher of later India, whom all the other dualistic sects have followed, directly or indirectly, both in the substance of their teaching, and in the organisation of their sects, even down to some of the most minute points of their organisation. You will be astonished, if you compare Ramanuja and his work with the other dualistic Vaishnava sects in India, to see how much they resemble each other in organisation, teaching and method. There is the great Southern preacher Mftdhva Muni, and following him, the great Chaitanya of Bengal, who took up the philosophy of the M&dhvas, and preached it in Bengal. There are some other sects also in Southern India, as the qualified dualistic Saivas. The Saivas in most parts of India are Advaitists, except in some portions of Southern India, and in Ceylon. But they also only substitute Siva for Vishnu, and are Ramanujists in every sense of the term except in the doctrine of the soul. The followers of Ramanuja hold that the soul is Anu, like a particle, very small, and the followers of Sankaracharya hold that it is Vibhu, omnipresent. There have been several non-dualistic sects. It seems that there have been sects in ancient times which Sankara’s movement has entirely swallowed up and assimilated.

According to Ramanuja these three entities are eternal – God, and soul, and Nature. The souls are eternal, and they will remain eternally existing, individualised ¦ through eternity, and will retain their individuality all through. Your soul will-

The sects that are at the present time in India, come to be divided in general into the two great classes of Dualists and Monists. The little differences which some of these sects insist upon, and upon the authority of which want to take new names, as pure Advaitists, or Qualified Advaitists, and so forth, do not matter much. As a classification, either they are Dualists or Monists, and of the sects existing at the present time, some of them are very new, and others seem to be reproductions of very ancient sects. The one class I would present by the life and philosophy of Ramanuja, and the other, by Sankaracharya. Ramanuja is the leading dualistic philosopher of later India, whom all the other dualistic sects have followed, directly or indirectly, both in the substance of their teaching, and in the organisation of their sects, even down to some of the most minute points of their organisation. You will be astonished, if you compare Ramanuja and his work with the other dualistic Vaishnava sects in India, to see how much they resemble each other in organisation, teaching and method. There is the great Southern preacher M&dhva Muni, and following him, the great Chaitanya of Bengal, who took up the philosophy of the M&dhvas, and preached it in Bengal. There are some other sects also in Southern India, as the qualified dualistic Saivas. The Saivas in most parts of India are Advaitists, except in some portions of Southern India, and in Ceylon. But they also only substitute Siva for Vishnu, and are Ramanujists in every sense of the term except in the doctrine of the soul. The followers of Ramanuja hold that the soul is Anu, like a particle, very-small, and the followers of Sankaracharya hold that it is Vibhu, omnipresent. There have been several non-dualistic sectB. It seems that there have been sects in ancient times which Sankara’s movement has entirely swallowed up and assimilated.

According to Ramanuja these three entities are eternal – God, and soul, and Nature. The souls are eternal, and they will remain eternally existing, individualised through eternity, and will retain their individuality all through. Your soul will.

be different from my soul through all eternity, says Ramanuja, and so will this Nature, which is an existing fact, as much a fact as the existence of soul, or the existence of God, remain always different. And God is interpenetrating, the essence of the soul. He is the Antary&m in ; in this sense Ramanuja sometimes thinks that God is one with the soul, the essence of the soul, and these souls – at the time of Pralaya, when the whole of Nature becomes what he calls sankuchita, contracted, – become contracted and minute and remain so for a time. And at the beginning of the next cycle they all come out, according to their past Karma, and undergo the effect of that Karma. Every action that makes the natural inborn purity and perfection of the soul get contracted, is a bad action, and every action that makes it come out and expand itself, is a good action, says Ramanuja. Whatever helps to make the vik&sa of the soul is good, and whatever makes it sankuchita is bad. And thus the soul is going on, expanding or contracting in its actions, till, through the grace of God, comes salvation. And that grace comes to all souls, says Ramanuja, that are pure, and struggle for that grace.

According to the dualistic sects of India, the individual souls remain as individuals throughout, and God creates the universe out of pre-existing material, only as the efficient cause. According to the Advaitists, on the other hand, God is both the material and the efficient cause of the universe. He is not only the Creator of the Universe, but He creates it out of Himself. That is the Advaitist position. There are crude dualistic sects who believe that this world has been created by God out of Himself, and at the same time God is eternally separate from the universe, and everything is eternally subordinate to the Ruler of the Universe. There are sects too who also believe that out of Himself God has evolved this universe, and individuals in the long run attain to Nirvftna, to give up the finite and become the Infinite. But these sects have disappeared. The one sect of Advaitists that you see in modern India is composed of the followers of Sankara. According to Sankara, God is both the material and the efficient cause, through Maya, but not in reality. God has not become this universe, but the universe is not, and God is. This is one of the highest points to understand of Advaita Vedanta, this idea of Maya.

Spread the message
Night Mode