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For the school of Vedanta founded by Madhwacharya, (Vishnu/Brahman). Because the existence of individuals
see Tatva-vada.
is grounded in the divine, they are depicted as reections,
images or even shadows of the divine, but never in any
Dvaita (Sanskrit: ) (also known as Bheda-vda, way identical with the divine. Liberation therefore is described as the realization that all nite reality is essentially
Tattva-vda and Bimba-pratibimba-vda) is a school of
Vedanta founded by Shri Madhvacharya (c. 1238-1317 dependent on the Supreme.
CE) who was also known as Purna Prajna and Ananda Five fundamental, eternal and real dierences are deTirtha. Dvaita stresses a strict distinction between God scribed in this system
the Supreme-Soul (paramtm ())and the individual souls (jiivatma ()). According to Mad Between the individual soul (or jvatma) and God
hvacharya, the individual souls of beings are not 'created'
(Brahmatma shvara or Vishnu).
by God but do, nonetheless, depend on Him for their ex Between matter (inanimate, insentient) and God.
Among individual souls (jvatma)

Between matter and jva.


Among various types of matter.

Dvaita Vedanta (dualistic conclusions of the Vedas) espouses dualism by theorizing the existence of two separate realities. The rst and the more important reality
is that of Vishnu or Brahman. Vishnu is the supreme
Self, God, the absolute truth of the universe, the independent reality. The second reality is that of dependent
but equally real universe that exists with its own separate
essence. Everything that is composed of the second reality, such as individual soul (Jiva), matter, etc. exist with
their own separate reality. The distinguishing factor of
this philosophy as opposed to Advaita Vedanta (monistic
conclusion of Vedas) is that God takes on a personal role
and is seen as a real eternal entity that governs and controls the universe.[1]

These ve dierences are said to make up the universe.

The universe is aptly called "prapancha" for this reason.
Madhva diered signicantly from traditional Hindu beliefs, owing to his concept of eternal damnation. For
example, he divides souls into three classes. One class
of souls, which qualify for liberation (Mukti-yogyas), another subject to eternal rebirth or eternal transmigration
(Nitya-samsarins) and a third class that is eventually condemned to eternal hell or andhatamas (Tamo-yogyas).[3]
No other Hindu philosopher or school of Hinduism holds
such beliefs. In contrast, most Hindus believe in universal
salvation; that all souls will eventually obtain moksha,
even if after millions of rebirths.

Like Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya also embraced

Vaishnava theology which understood God as being
personal and endowed with attributes. To Madhvacharya,
Brahman of the Vedanta was same as Vishnu. He stated
"brahmashabdashcha vishhnaveva" or that Brahman can
only refer to Vishnu. To him, Vishnu was not just
any other deity, but rather the singularly all-important
Supreme One. Vishnu was the primary object of worship, while the demigods were regarded as subordinate
to Him. The demigods and other sentient beings were
graded, with Vayu, the god of life, being the highest, and
Vishnu being eternally above them.

Vyasatirtha (one of systems eminent disciples) is said to

have succinctly captured the basic tenets (nine prameyas)
of Madhvas system in a pithy prameya sloka - "SrimanMadhvamate Harih paratarah...", that is, Sri Hari is
supreme, a grasp of which may be deemed a fair and accurate understanding of the fundamental position of this

2 Tharathamya
among gods

Dvaita Vedanta is not similar to Western dualism which

posits the existence of two independent realities or principles. Madhvas Dualism also acknowledges two principles, however, it holds one of them (the sentient) as
being rigorously and eternally dependent on the other



Vishnu is the Supreme Lord and Lakshmi is His eternal

consort. Brahma and Vayu occupy the same next level.
Their wives (Saraswati and Bharathi respectively) occupy
the next level. Garuda-Sesha-Shiva, Indra-Kamadeva,


Surya-Chandra, Varuna, Agni, Ganesha-Kubera and oth- and Brahman are one and the same, which is not eviers successively occupy the lower rungs in this hierarchy. dent to the atman till it comes out of a so-called illusion,
Madhva propounds that life in the world can be divided Madhvacharya puts forth that Brahman (Vishnu/God)
into two groups, kshara and akshara. Kshara refers to and Atman (soul) are eternally dierent, with God allife with destructible bodies, while akshara refers to in- ways the Superior one. It is the same point that Maddestructible bodies. Laxmi is akshara, while others from hvacharya reinforces in one of his doctrines, "Yadi NamaBrahma and lower are ksharas or jvas. Vishnu is exempt paro Na bhavet Shri Hari, khathamasya vashet Jagatedabhoot. Yadi Namanatasya Vashe Sakalam, Khathamevath
from this classication, as his body is transcendental.
nitya sukham Na Bhaveth
If you feel there is no God, how do you explain as to why
you cannot free yourself from the limitations on Earth? If
3 Impact of Dvaita movement
you feel YOU are the one in control of everything (as Advaita preaches that Soul and God are one and the same),
Madhvas Dualistic view, along with Shankaras
then how come you don't enjoy happiness always and are
also subject to sorrow and pain (as God is supposed to be
Vishishtadvaita (Attributive Nondualism), form
an eternity of happiness)? "
some of the core Indian beliefs on the nature of
Madhva is considered one of the inuential theologians in Hindu history. He revitalized a Hindu
monotheism despite attacks, theological and physical, by outsiders. Great leaders of the Vaishnava
Bhakti movement in Karnataka, Purandara Dasa
and Kanaka Dasa for example, were strong proponents of the Dvaita tradition. The famous Hindu
saint, Raghavendra Swami, was a leading gure in
the Dvaita tradition.
Madhvas theology heavily inuenced those of later
scholars such as Nimbarka, Vallabha and Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu. B.N.K. Sharma notes that Nimbarkas
theology is a loose rchau of Madhvas in its most
essential aspects. Vallabha even borrowed without
acknowledgement a verse from Madhvas sarvashstrrtha-sangraha. The followers of Caitanya
claim a link to Madhva.
Madhvas singular contribution was to oer a
new insight and analysis of the classical Vedantic texts, the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahma Sutra,
Mahabharata, Pancharatra and Puranas, and place
uncompromising Dvaita thought, which had been
ravaged by attacks from Advaita, on a rm footing.
Before Madhva, nondualism was rejected by others,
such as the Mimamsa tradition of Vedic exegesis,
and by the Nyaya tradition of classical logic. However, it was only he who built a cogent, alternative
system of Vedantic interpretation that could take on
Advaita in full measure.
Shiva is understood to be a demigod (deva) by followers
of Dvaita. This understanding reveals a strong monotheistic understanding that God is personal, unlike Advaita,
for which the identity of God does not matter as it is
Nirguna or without attributes.
Historically, Dvaita scholars have been involved in vigorous debates against other schools of thought, especially Advaita. Whereas Advaita preaches that Atman

4 See also
Achintya Bheda Abheda
Hindu philosophy

5 References
[1] Etter, Christopher. A Study of Qualitative Non-Pluralism.
iUniverse Inc. P. 59-60. ISBN 0-595-39312-8.
[2] Fowler, Jeaneane D. Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism. Sussex Academic
Press. P. 340-344. ISBN 1-898723-93-1.
[3] Tapasyananda, Swami. Bhakti Schools of Vedanta pg.
[4] Dvaita Resources. Retrieved 2011-03-18.

6 Other sources
Deepak Sarma, An Introduction to Madhva
Vedanta, Ashgate, 2003.
B.N.K. Sharma, `The History of the Dvaita School
of Vedanta and Its Literature', 3rd ed., Motilal Banarsidass, 2000.
B.N.K. Sharma, `The Philosophy of Madhvacharya',
Motilal Banarsidass, 1986.

B.N.K. Sharma, `The Brahma Sutras and Their
Principal Commentaries, 3 vols., Munshiram
Manoharlal, 1986.

External links
Bhakti Schools of Vedanta,
by Swami
Tapasyananda, available at Sri Ramakrishna
Math, Chennai.
available at India web site: and US site: and http://www.sanskrit.
org/Madhva/madhvateachings.html .
Madhvas dierences with Sankara and Ramanuja. A dedicated website on Madhwa Philosophy, Articles, books and detailed discourses on Dvaita Philosophy by Sri Vishnudasa Nagendracharya


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