Dvaita, Advaita, and Viśiṣṭādvaita: Contrasting Views of Mokṣa

Asian Philosophy 20 (2):215-224 (2011)
The three major schools of Vedanta— a kara's Advaita, R m nuja's Viśi dvaita, and Madhva's Dvaita—all claim to be based on the Upanishads, but they have evolved very different views of Brahman, or the Supreme Reality, and the soul's relation to that Reality once it is liberated from rebirth, when mok a or eternal life commences. Advaita teaches that liberated souls merge into the seamless blissful Brahman, the only Reality, and finally escape their earth dreams of sin and suffering, even to the point of forfeiting individuality. Both Viśi dvaita and Dvaita are resolutely realist systems and see essential differences between Brahman and souls that are never transcended, even in the world of the liberated, visualized in these systems as a glorious paradise where God (Vishnu) reigns in splendor over blissful souls devoted to Him everlastingly. But whereas Madhva sees innate differences in souls, each with a greater or lesser capacity for bliss, R m nuja sees a universal sameness in the quality and degree of bliss, even to the point of equating it with the bliss of God Himself. The author points out these and other contrasts between the three views of mok a , critiques each, then develops a view of the liberated state more satisfactory (in his view) than any of the three in a marriage of East and West
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