Siva Chetty on Facebook asked:

What is Vishishtadvaita, Advaita, Dvaita ?

What is the similiarity or difference between them ?


Shantanu Panigrahi replied

In my personal assessment, these are three distinct philosophies of Advaita. The first thing to know is that Advaita is meant to be nondual. True advaita is atheistic and is more accurately described as Brahmoadvaita Vedanta. This means that there is no difference between the self and the Self as Brahman which is the Ultimate Reality of the Philosophy. This is also known in a different way as Consciousness to relate to the experiences of human beings in particular. In Advaita Vedanta, the idea is to remain still and let atman be Brahman, with no distinction between the two. The existence of Paramatman or God beyond the Brahman is rejected as non-existent. So it is purely non-dual.


On the other hand, Dwaita is dual philosophy, accepting that God exists but is separate from the human being and is inaccessible by the human being. So it is not advaita. The believer of this philosophy is doing the same thing as an Advaitist except that He or she believes that God created Brahaman with His Maya, and left it at that for Brahman to be eternal. Atman is Brahman is still applicable to Dwaitist.


No we come to what is Vishista-advaita. This is qualified advaita, the philosophy accepting that God as Paramatman created Brahman but Brahman consists of guna-consciousness of sattvic, rajasic and tamasic attributes. atman is not Brahman in this conception. The idea in Vishista-advaita Vedanta is to immerse oneself in the Pararmatman Himself taking guidance nonchalantly, spontaneously and unpremeditatedly to go towards ones Fate which is the surrender to God. The means to do so is to lose all one's attachments, desires, ego, plans, missons, objectives so that the mind is free from the body and becomes he atman through its various stages of jivaatma until it becomes mahatman or Om, which is the interface between the resulting mind and the Supermind still free of the spirit of Parmatman. So free of body and free of spirit accepting that Brahman goes its own way and the Vedanta of Vishista-advaita means that a person is nothing. It is nothingness in other words because the universe is illusionary in vyavaharika reality, and in absolute Reality there is only God manifesting through His maya this reality. The mind can switch between the vyvavahrika reality where it operates at the Om interface to conduct its sanatan dharma and the paramarthika reality where it is at one with Paramatman as God and worships God as God, so one is worshipping oneself. When God does not manifest, He is unmanifest as It which is indescribable. Hence, this is known as qualified advaita.

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