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  1. The following summarizes Madhva’s 9 major philosophies, which were developed throughout his lifetime, as summarized in the Prameya Shloka by Sri Vyasa Tirtha (1460-1539), as follows: 1. Hari (Visnu) is Supreme. 2. The world is real. 3. The differences are real. 4. The various classes of jivas are cohorts of Visnu. 5.

    • Madhva and Sankara
    • Madhva and Ramanuja
    • Dvaita Vedanta
    • Canonical Sources
    • References and Further Reading

    The main tenet of Madhva’s Dvaita Vedanta is that the Vedic tradition teaches a fundamental difference between the human soul or atman and the ultimate reality, brahman. This is markedly different from the earlier Advaita Vedanta, which Madhva often vociferously attacked. Sankara’s A-dvaita or “non-dualist” Vedanta (9th century) argued that the atm...

    While Ramanuja’s system of Visistadvaita Vedanta or “qualified non-dualism” modifies Sankara’s position on the soul’s identity with brahman, Madhva also rejected it. Ramanuja assumes a plurality of individual souls whose identity remains intact even after liberation but maintains that the souls share the essential nature of brahma. The souls are et...

    Like Ramanuja, Madhva identifies brahman with Visnu. However, he argues that any system that allows for any identification of the atman with brahman undermines Visnu’s supremacy, compromises His status, and strips devotional acts of their meaning. Madhva’s insistence on the modal distinction between the atman and brahman, wherein the former is inal...

    Madhva’s attempts to locate his controversial views in the canonical Vedanta texts often proved difficult. He is perhaps most famous for his idiosyncratic rendering of the Chandogya Upanisad’s statement tat tvam asi or “you (the atman) are that (brahman).” By carrying over the ‘a’ from the preceding word, Madhva rendered the phrase atat tvam asior ...

    Sharma, B. N. K. Philosophy of Sri Madhvacarya. Rev. ed. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1986.
    Sharma, B. N. K. Madhva’s Teachings in His Own Words. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1961.
    Siauve, Suzanne. La Doctrine de Madhva. Pondicherry: Institut Francais d’Indologie, 1968.
  2. Dvaita (Dualism) Dvaita, (Sanskrit: “Dualism”) an important school in Vedanta, is one of the six philosophical systems (darshans) of Indian Philosophy. Its founder was Madhva, also called Anandatirtha ( c. 1199–1278), who came from the area of modern Karnataka state, where he still has many followers.

  3. Madhva, also called Anandatirtha or Purnaprajna, (born c. 1199 or 1238 ce, near Udipi, Karnataka, India—died c. 1278 or 1317, Udipi), Hindu philosopher, exponent of Dvaita (“ Dualism ”; belief in a basic difference in kind between God and individual souls). His followers are called Madhvas. Madhva was born into a Brahman family.