Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 08 Jan 2013



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

The single truth will appear in different ways with different concepts simultaneously correct according to different receivers. The same lady appears as wife, sister and mother simultaneously to her husband, brother and son. Similarly, the same truth is taken as monism, qualified monism and dualism by different levels of devotees, which are represented by Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva respectively. The truth or the object is the human incarnation about which different devotees have different levels of views. The object of these three philosophies is the human incarnation, which is the human being charged by God. The object is neither God nor the separate human being. Whether current and wire are different entities or to be taken as one entity, becomes the debate in the case of the electrified wire only and not about the non-electrified wire present in your hand and [also not about] the electricity existing in the power station. The human incarnation is taken as God only by certain high class devotees. The middle class devotees take the human incarnation as a homogenous mixture of two separate entities i.e., God and human being, but, both can be treated as one since both are inseparable. The low class devotees take the human incarnation always as two separate entities at any time and the separation is clear when God leaves the human being either after the work or in the end. God left Parashurama after the work and left Rama only in the end of His life. These three classes of devotees are represented by the three theories of Shankara, Ramanuja and Madhva respectively. These three preachers resulted due to the three levels of devotees and you should not misunderstand that the three levels of devotees resulted due to three theories of the preachers.

God represents the current and the human being stand for the wire. According to Shankara, the unimaginable God can never be grasped and cannot be even separately mentioned in strict sense. The imaginable human being alone can be mentioned and hence, there is no point of dualism at any time. The simile has the limitation since both electricity and wire are imaginable items. Since the only unimaginable item is God, you can take no other unimaginable item for the comparison of God. There cannot be two unimaginables since you cannot distinguish the phase boundaries of the two unimaginables. Therefore, God is only an alternative word for the human being in the human incarnation. Such human being exhibits unimaginable activities and these activities are only the actions of an entity like walking of a person. The actions cannot be taken as a separate entity. Therefore, only the strict monism results as per Shankara. Shankara told that soul or human being is God in the case of human incarnation only. He, being the human incarnation, told that He alone is God (Shivah kevaloham). But, the egoistic atheists present in His time took that every soul is God and felt that they are God. By this, they indirectly accepted the existence of God since they exist. Hence, Shankara allowed this misunderstanding so that the atheists could be converted to theists. Therefore, Shankara did not mention the context of human incarnation in His commentaries, which were written for the sake of atheists. But, He revealed the context of human incarnation in His prayers by telling that He, a human being, alone is God. First, He told that He is God (Shivoham). The disciples repeated the same referring to themselves also. Then, He swallowed the molten lead asking them also to do the same. They fell on His feet. Then He revealed that He alone is God (Aham = I, kevalah = alone, Shivah = God). He introduced the word ‘alone’ as subsequent correction. You must understand that Shankara behaved in a diplomatic way in order to uplift the atheists. You must not forget the history to note that at the time of Shankara, almost all Indians were only Buddhists or Purvamimaamsakaas, who were atheists. The preacher as a Guru is always worried to uplift the then existing humanity around Him and for that sake, He can play diplomacy in the concepts.

According to Ramanuja, the unimaginable God is separately established by inference if not by perception. Inference is also treated as an authority of knowledge. But every specific inference itself should be based on its specific perception. You cannot take that since inference is generally based on perception, the generalization can be applied to any specific inference. You are inferring the fire in a distant house by seeing the out coming smoke. Such inference is valid because such specific inference has specific perception also. This means that you have watched the relationship of fire and smoke in a kitchen. Here, the inference is valid because you have the perception in the same individual case in the kitchen. Hence, monism is inevitable in the case of unimaginable God since He was not perceived at any place and at any time like the fire in the kitchen. Such monism can be given as a result of lack of separation between the two entities. This theory is neither monism nor dualism but stands as a bridge between the two extreme concepts. The middle class devotees treat the human incarnation as both God and human being in different contexts. The human incarnation is taken as God while the unimaginable activities are exhibited and the same is taken as human being in the normal routine activities. Krishna was addressed by His name as a human being only in all the activities except while preaching the spiritual knowledge (the Gita). Though knowledge is the activity of a scholar and is an imaginable item i.e., the nervous energy existing in different pulses or thoughts, the uniqueness or the exceptional unimaginable status of such knowledge alone indicates God. The part of the knowledge indicates the human being and the unique speciality of the knowledge indicates God. Hence, God is mentioned as special knowledge (Prajnanam) and not mere knowledge (Jnanam). Here, God is not the knowledge but, the possessor of knowledge. The possessor can be addressed by the possessed item. God is told to be the knowledge also elsewhere in the Veda, but the two adjectives i.e., truth (satyam) and infinite (anantam) used there bring speciality to the knowledge. The scholar (guru) cannot speak about the deepest absolute truth in the knowledge. He cannot also clarify the infinite doubts and fails somewhere. The human incarnation (Satguru) always preaches the bitter truth only and can clarify all the doubts of all the humanity. Krishna is not addressed as God while performing the other miracles like lifting mountain etc., since such miracles can also be performed by demons by the grace of God. Special knowledge is the unique identity of God in human form and hence, is mentioned as the constant associated characteristic of God for identification in the Veda.

As per Madhva, the difference of the unimaginable God from the imaginable creation clearly establishes the existence of separate unimaginable God at any place and at any time. If the unimaginable God is non-existent due to lack of perception, the boundary of imaginable space must have been perceived as imaginable item since everything that exists is only imaginable. Therefore, the human incarnation is always a split personality due to the separate existence of both unimaginable God and imaginable human being. In this context, the simile perfectly suits since we can say that electricity is always a chain of electrons and the metallic wire is a chain of metallic crystals at any time. Hence, the knowledge given by the human incarnation can be taken as the output from God through the separate human being as the medium. The low class devotees view the human incarnation always as a two-in-one system. Their respect to the human incarnation is always towards the unimaginable God through the imaginable human medium. Their aim is always towards the unimaginable God and view the human being as just a medium.

Consequences of the Different Views

Shankara preached that perfect knowledge of the monism is sufficient. People misunderstand that Shankara did not support the devotion and service. It is meaningless to think like that. If you see the excellent devotional prayers written by Shankara and His lifelong dedication to the service of God in constant moving for the propagation of spiritual knowledge, you will not have such opinion. The point here is that once you view the human incarnation as God only through the knowledge of monism, devotion and service are automatic consequences and need not be mentioned separately.

Ramanuja stressed on devotion because the concept of dualism will lower the respect towards the human incarnation. Such lowering should be compensated by special effort in increasing the devotion. Again people may criticise Ramanuja stating that service is not mentioned by Him. Service is automatic consequence of devotion and need not be separately mentioned. You serve your child or parents only due to your love (devotion) on them.

The lowest respect towards human incarnation should be compensated by the practical devotion called as service. If service to God is expressed, naturally the devotion should be present and hence, devotion is not separately mentioned by Madhva. Hence, we need not mistake the three preachers for mentioning knowledge or devotion or service alone. The knowledge of Monism automatically results in devotion and subsequent service. The devotion is the product of knowledge and its automatic consequence is service. Service being the final product includes its chain of causes, which are devotion and knowledge. Hence, any one of these three includes the other two. The most peculiar tragedy is that an inert statue, which can stand as a representative model of God only, can be viewed as God through perfect monism but not a specific human being directly possessed by God. Of course, the valid reason for this tragedy is that exactly like media repel against each other. The human being-part of the human incarnation and an ordinary human being are one and the same by composition and happen to be exactly the same media.