Philosophy Of Sankara And Ramanuja

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COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE ULTIMATE REALITIES PROPOSED BY SANKARA AND RAMANUJA

1. Introduction:
The two important systems of thought in Indian Philosophy are that of Sankara and Ramanuja. Sankara who proposed a monistic philosophy claimed that the one and only ultimate reality is the “Brahman”. Ramanuja too proposed a monistic philosophy and claimed that the highest reality is “Ishwara”. We find a definite critique given on the philosophy of Sankara by Ramanuja, which shows that he was very well aware of the ultimate reality that Sankara had proposed. Both proposed a monistic philosophy with two different terminologies of ultimate realities. Before they can be compared, it would be first necessary to find out whether both the terminologies used
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According to Ramanuja, the ultimate reality is an organic unity. This in other words means that the absolute reality is a unity with “inter-related and inter-dependent subordinate elements” called as visheshanas and the “immanent and controlling spirit” called vishesha. The total whole comprises of Acit meaning matter, chit meaning souls and Ishwara meaning God, and the former two being completely dependent on Ishwara. Matter and souls are not a creation of Ishwara, but they all are co-eternal. But it is also stressed that though co-eternal, matter and souls are not identical to Ishwara but on the contrary inferior and completely dependent on Ishwara. In other words, Ramanuja claims that the matter and souls are attributes of Ishwara, thus accepting in his philosophy the concept of substance and its attributes. All of the three i.e. Ishwara, Cit and Acit form an organic unity and are hierarchical. Ishwara is the highest reality followed by Cit (souls) and then Acit (matter). He further claims that the souls and matter form substances themselves and having their own attributes. Consciousness for example is considered to be an attribute of Cit

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