All too frequently the term Vedanta is used when what is meant whether recognized or not is Advaita Vedanta and more specifically the Philosophical system associated with Sankaracarya. Yet in fact Vedanta Literally meaning the concluding portions of the Veda ie the Upanishads is Properly used in Indian Philosophy to Designate those systems that take such text as the Upanishads authoritatively along with a few others such as the Brahma sutras alternatively known as the Vedantasutar. There are a goodly number of philosophical systems other than Sankara’s that fall into the classification of Vedanta systems many of them virtually unknown to most students.
The names of many of the Vedanta Systems derive from their respective theories concerning the relations between Brahman Celebrated in the Upanishads as the highest principle and Atman the individual self Advaita argues these are identical non different (Abheda) Dvaita says they are completely different (Bheda) Other Vedantic systems resist these extremes and argue that the relation between Brahman and self is one of identity in difference (Bhedabheda) The best Know such system is the Visistadvaita system of Ramanuja and the Srivaisnavas but there are many others . Here in this Volume the Literature of several others of this Bhedabheda persuasion those associated with the names of Bhartrprapanca Bhaskara and Srikantha are explored.
Karl H. Potter
Karl H. Potter is Professor of philosophy and South Asian Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle and is the General Edition of the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies Series containing 28 Volume.
M.M. Agrawal is Professor in Sanskrit at University of Delhi. He is an author of many books and has contributed several papers and articles in India and abroad. His main contribution lies in the field of poetics and Vaisnava philosophy. There are six works related with these topic Bhava Prakasanam of Saradatanaya (Awarded with special Prize by Sanskrit Academy. Lucknow) Rasarnavalankara Rasavarupanirupanam Brahma sutra Nimbarkabhasya with three commentaries viz Vedanta Kaustubha Vedanta kaustubhaprabha and Bhavadipika (in 4 Vols)and the philosophy of Nimbarka (Awarded by Sanskrit Parishad Calcutta)
Apart from these his other outstanding boos are essence of Vaisnavism (Sophia Ideological Series No . 5). Aspect of Indian Philosophy , Srimadbagavadgita with the commentary Gudharthadipika Saraswati (in 2 Vols) . Six Systems of Indian Philosophy and Sarasvati (in 2 vols) Six Systems of Indian Philosophy and Sarvadarsanasangraha of Madhvacarya.
What is Relation? Everything is determined to be true or false on the basis of direct experiences alone. Philosophy primarily explains different kinds of experiences. Every experience involves some kind of relation. That relation determines cognition of it, which is an experience. Determinate experiences are made possible by relations. An abstract entity has no relation to anything. Relations determine facts. Hence, relations playa very important role in knowledge.
Every relation involves two terms, viz., a Pratiyogin (counter-positive or referenda) and an anuyogin (referent). The pratiyogin is that which "rests" on a substratum (or locus) and the anuyogin is that substratum.
In Buddhist philosophy relations are contingent reality, that is to say, no ultimate reality at all. Ultimate reality is unrelated; it is non-relative, it is the absolute. Relations are constructions of our imagination, they are nothing actual. The Indian realists, however, kept to the principle that relations are as real as the things related and that relations are perceived through the senses. Udyotakara says that the perception of the connection of an object with its mark is the first act of sense-perception from which inference proceeds. According to him this connection is perceived by the senses as well as the connected facts.
Dharmakirti in the first stanza of his work Sambandhapariksa states that: relation necessarily involves dependence. Therefore, relations do not really exist in the sense of ultimate or independent reality. Vinitadeva, in another passage, states that the expressions "related to another", "dependent on another", "supported by another","subject to another's will" are convertible. Causality, contact, inherence and opposition are not realities by themselves. There are no "possessors" of these relations otherwise than in imagination. A reality is always one reality. It cannot be single and double at the same time. Vacaspatimisra quotes a Buddhist who remarks that these relations considered as objective realities are, as it were, unfair dealers who buy goods without ever paying any equivalent. They indeed pretend to acquire perceptiveness, but possess no shape of their own which they could deliver to consciousness as a price for the acquisition of that perceptiveness. If a thing is a separate unity it must have a separate shape which it imparts to consciousness in the way of producing a representation. But a relation has no shape apart from the things related. Therefore, says Vinitadeva, a relation in the sense of dependence cannot be something objectively real. Neither can a relation be partially real, because to be partially real means nothing but to be real and non-real at the same time, since reality has no parts. What has parts can be real empirically, but not ultimately
Kesavamisra defines a relation as follows: "A relation must be different from its relate, dependent on both and single (Sambandho hi sambandhibhyam Bhinnah, Ubhayasritah, Ekasca), as, for example, in the contact between a kettle-drum and a stick. The contact relation tsamyogasambandha) is different from the kettle-drum and the stick because the kettle- drum and the stick are substances (Drarya) and contact is a quality (gu1fa) dependent on both, and is a single entity; According to the Naiyayikas a relation can be perceived. Vatsyayana says that a relation is seen, i.e., perceived.' Similarly, Visvanatha says that contact is an object of the eye" and the perception of Inherence is due to the relation of attributiveness.
Like Naiyayikas, Mimamsakas maintain that a relation is perceived. Kumarila Bhatta in his Slokavarttika, interpreting the words Janatasambandhasya, says that they mean that a permanent relation, whether it be a case of co-existence (as in the case of the contiguity of the constellation of Krttika with Rohini where, by the rise of the former the early rise of the latter may be inferred) or a case of identity (as in the relation between a genus and a species), or a case of cause and effect or otherwise between' two things and a third thing, which had been apprehended in a large number of cases, is perceived. Sucaritamisra in his Kasikia. On Stokavarttika says that to indicate that relation is perceived it is said in Slokavarttika yadavastu lokal pratipadyatesmin dvidhiipi tat sakyat eva Vaktumiti
In Samkarite Advaita philosophy, all relations are purely conceptual and superimposed, because Sarnkara holds that real existence (Paramarthasatta) is one, whereas the phenomenal world is illusory, vyavahiirika. In this sense, no relations possess reality from the ultimate standpoint. So, relations such as cause and effect, etc. are held to be illusory (Vivarta).
According to the Saivas, the entire manifestation, whether subjective or objective, is due to the will of the universal self. Relation is nothing but a special category based on the general category-unity in multiplicity-involving two external realities. Because both the material and the subject that works on it are the manifestations of the ultimate, the relation naturally does not depend on the individual self, but ultimately depends on the universal self
Some Vedantic schools such as those of Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, etc., to establish the truth of the proposition that relations are real, recognize that each existent has a twofold aspect: one its causal state and the other its effectual state. Take for example the pot, the dish, etc., and the clay. The pot is different from the dish in nature and shape, but there is also non-difference so far as both are clay. They are thus both different and non-different from each other. In this manner both non-difference and difference are equally real, and so all relations are real.
II. Types of Relation There are indefinite numbers of relations in Indian philosophy. According to Naiyayikas, the principal relations are contact (Sam yoga) and inherence (Samavaya). Sa1 1yoga is defined as the contact of two things that were first separate and therefore there can be no contact between two all pervading things which are never apart from each other.' For example, the tree is perceived through contact with the eye's rays. Inherence is an intimate or inseparable relation. Its blue color cannot be separated from the blue lotus. Annarnbhatta defines samavaya as an intimate relation between two things which are technically called Ayutasiddha. Ayutasiddha means those things which have never existed in a separate condition without themselves being destroyed. Ayutasiddha things are limited number to 0) the component parts of a composite whole, (2) a quality (Guna) and what is qualifies (Gunin); (3) a motion (kriya) and what moves (kriyavan), (4) an individual (Vyakti) and a universal (Juati), and (5) an eternal substance (Nityadravya) and its individuate (visesa) .
All these cases concern different aspects of the problem of the one and the many. But the Madhva philosopher thinks they are not all aspects of the same type. Some of them concern the relationship between a substance and attribute, of a property- possessor (Dharmin) to its multiple properties (dharma), while others provide an account of the plurality of the relations between a substance and other things, separate from some and yet in relation with others. These two aspects are considered in a distinct way by the Madhva: the first is classed under the notion of what is qualified. (Visita) while the other is comprehended in the notion of difference (Bheda) of real entities and divides them one from the others.
III. Relation of Bhedabheda. In the place of inherence the Bhatta Mimamsakas and Advaitins recognize the relation of difference-cum-identity (Tadatmya). The relation of Tadatmya, according to Bhatt as, is not absolute identity as the Naiyayikas .take it to be, but it is identity in a relative sense, i.e., identity (Abheda) compatible with difference (Bheda-Sahisnu). Though difference and identity are ordinarily opposed to each other, yet they are taken by the Bhattas to be compatible with each other, on the ground that it is experience, after all, that determines the compatibility or incompatibility of two things and that experience warrants the recognition of difference, associated with identity, as forming the relation between Jati and yakti. In the proposition "this is a horse (ayaJ1 Asvah), for instance this refers to a particular (Vyakti) and horse according to the Bhattas, primarily refers to Hoarseness (Asvatva), which is a universal (Jatti). According to this view, in the judgment embodied in this proposition Jatti is equated with a Vyakti. But this equation cannot be absolute as, in that case, the two words this and horse would turn out to be synonyms. Therefore the Bhattas argue that, on the strength of what is presented in cognition, a particular relation consisting in difference-cum-identity (Bhedabheda) should be recognized in the case of Jati and vyakti
In the philosophy of Nimbarka, a relation always presupposes difference and non-difference (Bhedabheda). When we say that the universe is non-different from Brahman, we do not mean thereby by non-difference absolute identity but simply that the universe is absolutely dependent on Brahman, which can have no existence and activity independently of Him, just as the thousand-rayed sun, having independent existence and activity in contrast to its own rays, is their soul and the rays are non-different from it. Thus, non-difference here means essential dependence and not absolute identity. The relation of identity is possible between two things when they are non- different in some way or other. No identity is possible between a cow and a horse. Again, identity is not possible in the case of a single horse as well. But there is a relation of identity between an effect and its cause, an attribute and its locus, a power and its possessor, i.e., only between two things which are both different and non-different. Otherwise, in accordance with the text "All this, verily is Brahman", the universe, consisting of the sentient and the non-sentient, must be non-different from Brahman in nature, which is impossible.
Thus, the non-difference is of the kind which is not in conflict with difference. 2 And difference means difference of nature. Thus, difference and non-difference (Bhedabheda) in this relation are equally real and compatible with each other. There is no contradiction between difference and non- difference.
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