Bhaskara Bhaskara (late 9 th century, post Sankara) advocated a doctrine of identity in difference, bhedabheda – difference and non-difference. Brahman has innumerable auspicious attributes but no form. He is not a person. Consequently, Bhakti is relatively unimportant as a means of liberation. He emphasizes karma yoga and jnana yoga.
Brahman is transformed into the universe of duality and change, yet without alteration of his essential being. Bhaskara affirms the reality of the physical universe and therefore rejects the two-tier view of reality (as Paramartha and Vyavahara) held by Sankara. Brahman and the Universe
Jivas are in their real nature one with Brahman but is differentiated from Brahman through the state of bondage, entanglement in the material world. In moksha the jiva is liberated from the material world and its differentiation from Brahman. Brahman and the Jivas
In moksha the jiva is liberated from the material world and its differentiation from Brahman. The Jiva is destined for a real dissolution or merging into Brahman, as the rivers of water empty into the ocean. The Jiva is thus different (bheda) from Brahman in bondage but not different (abheda) from Brahman in liberation.
Nimbarka affirmed dualism in non dualism Bhedabheda Absolute Brahman Impersonal Without Attributes Transcendental Greater than the Universe Absolute Brahman Impersonal Without Attributes Transcendental Greater than the Universe Relative Brahman Personal With Auspicious Attributes Immanent Universe Comes out of Personal Brahman Relative Brahman Personal With Auspicious Attributes Immanent Universe Comes out of Personal Brahman
The individual jiva soul is to Brahman what a wave is to the ocean. The wave is a part of the ocean, but it is not the whole of the ocean. The essence of the wave is water, as is also the ocean. But the wave is contained within the ocean. Like Brahman, the jiva is eternal consciousness, but the jiva is only a part of Brahman, not the whole. There is an identity of nature, but a distinctness of being.
Nimbarka said that the jiva is to Brahman what a ray of sunlight is to the sun. The ray of sunlight is distinct from the sun. Although the sunlight is dependent on the sun, neither exists without the other. The sun is greater than the ray of sunlight, but the ray of sunlight is the essence of the sun.
Nimbarka emphasized meditation on Brahman in the personal form of Krishna and his consort Radha, as embodying the divine will and supreme devotion.
Born in Bengal (India) Studied under well-known logician and grammarian Vasudeva Established himself as a master logician and debater well-versed in Vedic texts and philosophy Spiritual transformation at age 22 at Gaya, under the guidance of guru Ishvara Puri In state of ecstasy, which became his regular practice, engaged in worship of Krishna
Like Madhva, Caitanya affirmed that Brahman is ultimately personal, and jivas are really distinct from Him. Like Sankara, Caitanya affirmed an identity between Brahman and jivas. His metaphysics is a middle position between dvaita (duality) and advaita (nonduality).
Acintya Bhedabheda Tattva the principle (tattva) of inconceivable (acintya) difference (bheda) and non-difference (abheda) between the self and God.
1. The Justification of Brahman with Attributes (Saguna Brahman)
Scriptural Argument Like pre-existing vedanta traditions (other than advaita), Caitanya and his followers argued on the basis of the shastras that Brahman has attributes. Philosophical Argument They also argued this point philosophically against Advaita Vedanta from the very premises of Advaita Vedanta.
(1)Brahman alone is real. Therefore: (2) Brahman alone is the cause of all phenomena. Therefore: (3) Brahman is the cause of superimposition. (4) Nothing can be a cause without having a quality or attribute (namely the attribute of “being the cause of x”). Therefore: (5) Brahman has attributes.
2. The Justification of Brahman as Personal (Bhagavan)
Scriptural Argument The shastras (especially the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavata Purana ) teach that Brahman has attributes and is a personal being (Bhagavan).
Krishna is the Supreme personality of the Godhead. “I am the basis of Brahman, the immortal, the imperishable, everlasting dharma, and absolute bliss.” ~Krishna ( Gita 14:27)
While all schools of Vaishnavism regard Krishna as an avatar of Vishnu, Gaudiya Vaishnavism regards Krishna himself as the Supreme Personality of the Godhead and Vishnu is one of Krishna’s emanations.
Philosophical Argument The philosophical argument for personal Brahman relies on the concepts of absoluteness or perfection, each of which – it is argued - must contain within it the notion of “personhood.”
(1) The Absolute is perfectly complete. Therefore: (2) The Absolute must contain within itself every aspect or order of existence. (3) The personal is an aspect or order of existence. Therefore: (4) The Absolute is personal. (5) Brahman is the Absolute. Therefore: (6) Brahman is personal.
Personal Brahman must be distinct (bheda) from the jivas and material nature. Theological/Philosophical Argument: If personal Brahman is not different from jivas and material nature, then either avidya is unreal or it is real and located it in the being of God. (Both consequences contradict the shastras)
4. The Justification of Abheda (Non-Difference)
The sastras affirm that Brahman is “one without a second.” Hence, in some sense, jivas (and material nature) must be non-different (abheda) from Brahman. Jivas and the entire realm of material nature are powers or energies (shaktis) of Brahman.
G.V. affirms that God and shaktis are different in one respect and non-different in another respect, as indicated by the following analogies and metaphors: sun/sunlight ocean/waves fire/sparks The metaphors suggest: One thing’s possessing the nature of another thing in a dependent and limited manner.
Jivas possess the nature of Brahman/Krishna (satchitananda) in a dependent and limited way. For example, jivas are distinct centers of consciousness (cit), with finite knowledge, action, and bliss.
Krishna and his energies are abheda in much the same way that the burning property of a fire is non-different from fire.
Acintya means “inconceivable” or “incomprehensible,” not necessarily contradictory. What is contradictory is inconceivable, but not everything inconceivable is contradictory. “Acintya” may simply mean what cannot be fully comprehended or explained by the finite intellect through analytical reasoning. It may appear contradictory.
Divine Omnipotence G.V. appeals to divine omnipotence to justify the acintya character of the relation between God and souls. An omnipotent being will be able to do what seems impossible to finite minds.
The principle of acintya bhedahbeda tattva is theologically required for the realization and intensification of bhakti. Bhakti can only be properly cultivated and perfected if there is both intimacy and separation between the self and God.
Elements of Bhakti Where there is attraction, there is a desire for closeness, but where the attraction is blissful: (A) The desire for closeness is satisfied (union). (B) The desire for closeness is not fully or maximally satisfied (separation). The intimacy of love is actualized in (A). Its potential for persistence and further development is grounded in (B).
What are the ontological preconditions for the efficacy of bhakti? God and individual souls must remain distinct (bheda) and yet share a common life (abheda). The common life is sat-chit-ananda Being, Consciousness, and Bliss
GV regards Krishna as the most perfect object of Bhakti since Krishna embodies the qualities that engender both “intimacy” and “separation” between the self and God. Bhakti and Krishna
Krishna’s “Madhurya” Qualities Madhurya (Sweetness) Human Qualities Engendering “Intimacy”
Stages of Bhakti Vaidhi Bhakti: External actions/rituals done for the sake of Krishna. Raga-nuga Bhakti: Spontaneous internal remembrance of Krishna’s person and activities on earth, as well as the desire to serve Krishna. Bhava Bhakti: awakening of feeling of love for and intimacy with Krishna. Prema Bhakti: Bhava cultivated in the mood of ecstasy.
Cultivation of Bhakti Hearing the name, form, and attributes, and lilas (past times) of Krishna Speaking and singing about Krishna Meditating on and remembering Krishna Serving the feet of Krishna Worship of Krishna Doing what pleases Krishna Developing friendship towards Krishna Compete Surrender to Krishna
Bhakti as Conjugal Mood Among the moods of intimacy that express bhakti, the conjugal mood is the most important in GV.
In Vaishnava bhakti literature, the young woman Radharani was Krishna’s consort and highest caliber devotee in Krishna’s lilas (past times) in Vrindavana. Krishna could not fathom the depth and intensity of Radha’s love, so he eventually incarnated himself again on earth (as both Krishna and Radha) so he could experience the highest degree of devotion to himself.
Gauidya Vaishnavism maintains that Caitanya is the combined incarnation of Krishna and his female consort Radharani.
Caitanya is thus regarded as the manifestation of God on earth in the mode of a devotee so that He might taste the sweetness of human love for Him.
Power Point Sources A.K. Majumdar, Bhakti Renaissance (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1979) Swami Prabhavananda, The Spiritual Heritage of India (Vedanta Press, 1979) R.C. Zaehner, Hinduism (Oxford University Press, 1972). P.T. Raju, The Philosophical Traditions of India (University of Pittsburg Press, 1971) Swami Tapasynananda, Bhakti Schools of Vedanta (Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1984) Bhaktivinoda Thakur, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts (Gaudiya Press, 1987). Steven Rosen (ed), Vaishnavism: Contemporary Scholars Discuss the Gaudiya Tradition (Folk Books, 1992).