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Discussions on other Vaishnava-sampradayas and Gaudiyas other than the Rupanuga-tradition should go here. This includes for example Madhva, Ramanuja, Nimbarka, Gaura-nagari, Radha-vallabhi and the such.

Taratamya - Madhva and a gradation of jivas



Nell - Sat, 11 Oct 2003 17:12:17 +0530
Nomoskar!

I have read Sankara And Indian Philosophy by Nataly Isayeva, a Russian scholar. She scrutinizes the ideas of Sankara and the concepts and notions of Advaita Vedanta. In epilogue she touches upon a question of Vedanta evolution after Sankara and she makes mention of Visistadvaita and Dvaitavedanta.

She says that in Madhva's opinion there is a gradation of jivas (taratamya). According to previous activities and the predominance of sattva, rajas or tamas in their natures, jivas are divided into nitya-mukta (free eternally), mukta (liberated) and baddha (tied). Tied jivas are divided into muktiyogya (chosen for liberation), tamoyogya (chosen for hell) and nityasamsarinah (doomed to rove eternally in samsara).

Ms. Isayeva says this precise radical preordination sets apart Dvaita from the others Indian religious and philosophic schools.

Does the concept of taratamya exist in teachings of Lord Caitanya?

Jai Sri Vrndavanesvari!
Madhava - Sun, 12 Oct 2003 03:47:25 +0530
QUOTE
She says that in Madhva's opinion there is a gradation of jivas (taratamya). According to previous activities and the predominance of sattva, rajas or tamas in their natures, jivas are divided into nitya-mukta (free eternally), mukta (liberated) and baddha (tied). Tied jivas are divided into muktiyogya (chosen for liberation), tamoyogya (chosen for hell) and nityasamsarinah (doomed to rove eternally in samsara).

I find it hard to believe that some jivas would be nitya-mukta on account of the predominance of a particular guna in their svabhava.

I assume the word "nitya" in the term "nityasamsarinah" is not used in a literal sense of endless bondage.


QUOTE
Ms. Isayeva says this precise radical preordination sets apart Dvaita from the others Indian religious and philosophic schools.

Essentially what's being said in the passage in which taratamya is described is merely that some jivas are on their way to liberation and some on their way to hell in accordance with the modes of nature influencing them. I hardly find this an original concept. I always thought this is the basics of Bhagavad-gita.
adiyen - Sun, 12 Oct 2003 05:03:47 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Oct 11 2003, 10:17 PM)
I assume the word "nitya" in the term "nityasamsarinah" is not used in a literal sense of endless bondage.

Ahh, no, apparently Tattvavadis do believe that some souls are eternally damned. This supposedly distinguishes them from other Hindus, but Robert Minor makes the point in 'The BGita and Reified Hinduism', Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Spring 1995, that damnation and perdition are taught in Gita, and asks then if Gita itself is a faithful representation of Hindu beliefs?

So the Madhvaites are certainly faithful to Gita, but is Gita faithful to Hinduism?

This is perhaps the larger question.

We could assert that the Gita's teachings are closer to christianity than popular Hinduism is. So a group of westerners from christian and jewish backgrounds, imbibing the true message of Gita 'As It Is', were/are in a position to challenge popular Hinduism in an unprecedented way.

Isn't that interesting?
Gaurasundara - Sun, 12 Oct 2003 10:59:32 +0530
I've been a member of the Dvaita List for some years, despite that I am no more knowledgeable about Dvaita thought than I was when I joined! The reason for that is because the members are always engaged in some deep theological discussion about Dvaita; they are experienced practitioners who discuss only the "deep" stuff, so the List is not a good place for beginners and the curious unless a member there actually takes the time to explain to you. Even then, even the basics are complicated. Tattvavada is a tough thing, indeed!

[However there is some basic stuff on the Tattvavada site which is no longer online due to upgrading. One can find these pages via Google's cache.]

That said, I believe that the concept of 'taratmya' relates to the Tattvavadic conception of hierachy. An inkling of this can be seen in their famous motto: Hari sarvottama Vayu jivottama, "Hari is the best of all, Vayu is the best of all jivas." Indeed, the Tattvavdadis believe in an intricate hierarchy of deities that explain the position of each deity, which position these deities will take in the next kalpa, who will take over that position in yet the next kalpa, and so on. There is apparently a very long queue in the heavens!

Right now, there is a discussion going on about Tulasi-devi's position in the taratmya; they say She is "Jambavati with a special presence of Lakshmi; and if one worships Vishnu with Tulasi, such a person will reach the abode of Vishnu." This is apparently to be found in the Uma-Mahesvara samvada of the Padma Purana, Uttara-khanda.

However, in order to answer your question, I don't think that there is a concept of taratmya in Gaudiya Vaishnavism that is anything like the intricate hierarchy that is present in Tattvavada as far as I know.
Madhava - Sun, 12 Oct 2003 11:10:54 +0530
Of course we have a basic division of the varieties of bhaktas into five categories, as in Brihad Bhagavatamritam, and it's relevance is evident to anyone who desires to practice bhakti himself.

However, I fail to see the advantage of devising a comprehensive hierarchy of all the devas. I suppose we are not going to become each one of them or spend considerable amounts of time with them on our journey to the perfection.
Gaurasundara - Sun, 12 Oct 2003 11:33:07 +0530
QUOTE(Madhava @ Oct 12 2003, 05:40 AM)
However, I fail to see the advantage of devising a comprehensive hierarchy of all the devas. I suppose we are not going to become each one of them or spend considerable amounts of time with them on our journey to the perfection.

Interestingly, it was said by one long-practising member that "it is well known that proper knowledge about devatAtAratamya is of great import in Dvaita philosophy." This is something of what is mentioned in the Dvaita FAQ:

"M‚dhvas have a 't‚ratamya' or divine hierarchy of deities after Vishnu, which is derived from sh‚stra sources, and said hierarchy is very important in considerations of worship, since each lesser deity is worshipped as the iconic representative of the next higher one, with the idea being that all worship is ultimately meant for Vishnu only. Thus, M‚dhvas acknowledge a hierarchy of worth among deities other than Vishnu, and say that each lesser deity is akin to an image in a mirror, of the one higher. This concept of images captures both the notion of difference (since the object and its image are not identical) and an hierarchy of worth (since the image is never of the same worth as the object), and is what causes Tattvav‚da to also be referred to as Bimba-pratibimba-v‚da (doctrine of object and image, as mentioned previously)."

I suspect that this is some sort of "preaching strategy" for people who are sort of befuddled by slokas that speak of attaining the position of devas. We often hear of Indra's anxiety whenever he perceives a challenger to his position. "One who performs 100 Asvamedha-yajnas will attain the position of Indra," and so on.

On the other hand, it is also a beneficial subject to know inasmuch as "Hari sarvottama" is an extremely vital part of Tattvavada doctrine. One who is familar with Madhva's philosophy will know that it is extremely important to know the differences between Hari (Krishna), Shiva, Brahma, and so on. I believe Srimad Visvanatha Cakravartipada speaks a little of this in his Madhurya-kadambini. After all, Madhvacharya himself devoted an extraordinary amount of time to writing about all of these things. It may be useful for Gaudiyas to know these things as "Hari sarvottama" is an important part of Gaudiya theology also, albeit expressed in a different way.
Another important point of Dvaita theology is that names like Agni, Indra, Maruts, and so on, are actually secondary names of Vishnu. Therefore, while chanting the Vedic hymns to such deities it is essential to think of or visualise such deities as being Vishnu in a secondary form. This is similar to Gaudiya theology inasmuch as Gaudiyas also acknowledge that secondary names are also names of Vishnu/Krishna.

It's all very interesting, I feel. And it also gives us an insight into how much the Gaudiyas have in common with Madhvas, as well as how different they are.