Vedanta Teaching of Vallabhacharya is known as Shuddhadvaita
(pure monism), so called in order to contrast it with Shankara’s Advaita, which
is kevala-advaita, admitting an impure maya as an illusory adjunct. In shuddhadvaita philosophy, Vallabha calls Brahman of Upanishads as
Krishna. He is devoid of differences, internal and external alike, is of the
nature of existence, consciousness and bliss.
- The Supreme Person
- The indwelling spirit in all beings (antaryami)
- His form called akshara (indestructible) is the cause of the
world, including all matters (parkriti) and selver. However, the world and
selves are not different from Krishna, the Brahman.
Of the three characteristics of Brahman, existence,
consciousness and bliss, material objects have only existence (sat); selves
have existence and consciousness (chit); and Krishna has all three characteristics
in full (sat-chit-ananda). Yet Krishna (Brahman) can be conceived as sa-guna
(possessed of qualities) and as nirguna (devoid of all qualities) because Brahman
is independent and generates qualities at His will. He may choose to have
qualities or no qualities at all.
Maya is God’s own power to manifest Himself variously; but may
is not a deceptive and illusory power. Rather, it is real. God is both the
material and the efficient cause. He does not require anything other than
Himself to create the world. Creation is only the manifestation of Brahman
(svarupa-parinama) and hence real. Yet Brahman keeps his self-identity unchanged
in and through the process of creation.
Creation is God’s own sport. A certain ignorance (avidya)
does exist in the self, obscuring the truth about creation and Brahman’s role
in it. This accounts for bondage and the need for release.
Selves, being the manifestation of Brahman through one of
his forms called akshara, are eternally free though they are in bondage due to
ignorance. Selves are of three classes.
- chosen ones who co-exist with Krishna Brahman and enjoy the
proximity to him.
- The devotees
- The ignorant who do not think of God at all.
It is the first of kind who enjoy the bliss of Brahman.
Those who practice knowledge and scriptural study to Akshara Brahman. However,
those who have knowledge and devotion reach the Supreme Brahman.
Devotion is, then, the exalted means to release. It is of
- Involving one’s own disciplined effort (maryada) and
- Chosen by grace (pushti).