Application of Philosophy of Brahman | Madhva



Madhva mentions two kinds of expressions of God, the Independent and the dependent. The former is the principle, and the latter is the effect of the principle in operation. So the dependent illustrates the richness of the Independent.

The dependent consists of the conscious and the unconscious. There are three kinds of the latter: (1) what is produced incessantly, e.g. the Veda; (2) Mixture of incessant production and occasional production, e.g. matter, time and space; and (3) what is occasionally produced, e.g. jar, etc.

A knower or a conscious being is incessantly produced in every case of mental activity. The application of philosophy should be the aim of life for all knowers.

But there are different kinds of individuals: those that are after philosophy, those that are indifferent to it and those that are opposed to it. Just as wrong knowledge is no knowledge, the latter two are not real knowers.

The philosophy of Brahman is difficult to comprehend. One can follow it only in accordance with the grace of Viṣṇu. This causes degrees of philo­sophical knowledge.

Accordingly five grades of knowers, in respect of philo­sophy, are distinguished—Controller (deva) of the world, teacher (Ṛṣi), father (pitṛi), protector (pa) and man (nara).

This gradation implies that controller, etc., are necessarily philosophers of different orders. To call others controllers, etc. is wrong.

Degrees of philosophical knowledge imply degrees of non-knowledge, including illusion.

Superimposition of doership on man causes illusion. Illusion causes evils—attachment, hatred, etc. Birth, death, etc. are the results. These are all dependent on Viṣṇu who is their author.

Viṣṇu as All-doer is the principle of every soul. This implies that no soul can be inactive or irresponsible unless it superimposes doership on it.

To appre­ciate Viṣṇu as All-doer is to see that one's body is the vehicle of Viṣṇu but not of the individual self. This results in acting consistently with dis­position, birth, environment etc., which are creations of Viṣṇu.

Action is life. It is an expression of knowledge. It consists in realizing that it is dependent. This is to appreciate the Independent in Its creative activity. This is the practical worship of Viṣṇu.

The study and teaching of the philosophy of Brahman frees the soul from bondage. It presupposes complete absence of an opposite bias.

The expressions of this absence are in order—interest in finding out Truth, study of philosophy, devotion to Truth, absence of illusion, appreciation of Truth, overcoming opposition, satisfaction in knowledge,

apprehension of the self-sufficiency of Truth, sense of dependence of the individuality, the sense of absence of essence and endurance in the elements of the world and unconditioned interest in understanding Brahman.

One who has no preconceptions has legitimate doubt with regard to the source of the knowledge of Truth.

Absence of doubt means presence of preconception. One who really doubts comes to enquire into the best source of knowledge that presents the highest Truth.

This enquiry is philosophy. With philosophy the previous virtues become pronounced and help philosophy in turn.

So according to Madhva ethical or spiritual discipline is the process of making philosophy of Brahman indispensable, intensive and comprehen­sive. It results in clearer expression of the Veda and its meaning, Brahman. This state is attained by teaching. Teaching pleases Viṣṇu.

Study and teaching have a social implication. Madhva insists on a social reconstruction in which nobody should go without philosophy.

His leading ideas in this connection are these:

 In characterizing the disposition favourable for philosophy he prefers merit to birth. He holds that even the lowest caste (Śūdras) may study the philosophy of Brahman.

He recognizes that even the untouchables (antyajas) are devoted to Viṣṇu. He holds that enquiry into Viṣṇu is the common purpose of the human community.

Society is the creation of political organization. Madhva holds that it is the duty of Government to establish the environment in which alone philosophy of Brahman is possible.

The ideas that are consistent with this education ought to be encouraged at all cost and the ideas that are opposed to this must be put down. Hence political organization is essen­tially the means of establishing knowledge.

Knowledge is at first mediate. With practice it becomes clear, i.e. imme­diate. With this the person enjoys philosophy of Brahman according to the intensity of his knowledge. This is emancipation in life (jīvan-mukti).

By the grace of Viṣṇu, one attains to Viṣṇu. This is emancipation. It con­sists in enjoying the bliss of Viṣṇu, i.e. enjoying Viṣṇu as the dearest.