After reading this article you will learn about Dvaitadvaita Philosophy of Nimbarka.
Nimbarka lived shortly after Ramanuja. Nimbarka advocates the doctrine of dualistic monism (dvaitadvaitavada) He insist on difference as well as non-difference or identity (bhedabheda) between Brahman and the individual souls and the world.
He advocates the relation of identity-in-difference between them. He, like Bhaskara, advocates the doctrine of transformation of Brahman into the world (brahmaparipamavada).
Brahman is the greatest, Supreme Person (purusottama) possessed of infinite, inconceivable, natural essences, qualities, and powers. He is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent.
He is possessed of infinite excellent qualities. He is free from all taint of imperfections. He is the creator, preserver, and destroyer of the world of conscious souls (cit) and unconscious matter (acit). He is absolutely free and independent controller of all finite agents, and dispenser of the fruits of their actions.
He has infinite knowledge, infinite bliss, and infinite will and power. He is infinite (bhuma). He is self-subsistent and absolute. He has transcendental bliss and immortality. He is imperishable (aksara). He is the ground of all effects in the past, the present, and the future. He is the support of the world. He is the cause of its stability and harmony. He is of the nature of eternal manifestation.
He is transcendent as well as immanent. He transcends the world. He is immanent in the world. He is knowable through the Vedas only. He is the final goal of human attainment. He is the supreme end of the individual souls. They share in the bliss of God. He is the inner controller (antaryamin) of the world and the souls. He is the knower and controller of all things and beings.
Brahman is the material cause and the efficient cause of the world. He transforms himself into the world by his own extraordinary power without any accessory conditions, even as milk is transformed into curd without any accessory conditions. God, who is omniscient and omnipotent, transforms himself into the world by his own power and will with his essential nature (svarupa) unmodified (avyakrta).
He is unmodified in his essential nature and modified in his inessential nature. It may be urged that if God be the material cause of the world, he, being devoid of parts, becomes entirely transformed into the world, and that if he partly transforms himself into the world, he ceases to be partless. But the Sruti says: “Brahman willed to become many; he created the world (sat) out of himself and yet remained transcendent (tyat), even as a spider spins out a cobweb out of itself.”
The omnipotent Supreme Lord can create the world out of himself, and yet remain transcendent. The inconceivable creative power in God is the cause of the world. It is real. It is the will of God. It is not indefinable Maya of Samkara, which is neither real nor unreal. The world which is the transformation of Brahman is real. It is not a false appearance as Samkara holds.
Effect is non-different from cause. It is not absolutely different from cause. When cause is perceived, effect is perceived. Effect is a transformation of cause. Hence, effect is non-different from cause.
The effect that happens subsequently, pre-exists in the cause. If the effect were non-existent in the cause, then sprouts of barley would be produced from fire. The effect is the unfoldment of the cause, even as an unrolled cloth is the unfoldment of a folded cloth.
Vital airs are inhaled and exhaled. So the effect is implicit in the cause, and becomes explicit when it assumes the form of the effect. The world pre-exists in Brahman in an implicit condition, and becomes explicit after creation. Cause and effect are partly different and partly non-different from the world. Brahman is transformed into the world, which is non-different from him. Brahman is the inner controller of the world.
So there is no absolute identity between them. Brahman is both different and non-different from the world of unconscious matter and conscious souls, even as the sea is different and non-different from its waves, and the sun is different and non- different from its rays.
The world including formed and unformed existence, material things and spiritual beings, exists in its cause, Brahman, is the relation of identity-in-different. God is related to the world as a snake is related to its coiled form. God remains unmodified in his essential nature, and only undergoes modification through his conscious energy (cit-sakti) and unconscious energy (acit-sakti).
This doctrine resembles Vallabha’s doctrine of immutable transformation (avikrtaparinama). God transcends his three natures as the world, souls, and even as God. In his pure and transcendent nature he is absolutely unaffected by changes and mutations of the world of phenomena.
As noumenon he is immutable; as phenomenon he undergoes mutations. In his esoteric and essential nature he is immutable; in his exoteric and phenomenal nature he is mutable.
The individual soul (jiva) is not born. It is eternal. Its birth and death are due to its connection with and separation from its body. It is the knower or ego which possesses the essential quality of knowledge.
The relation of the soul to knowledge is that of the qualified (dharmin) to its quality (dharma). There is identity-indifference between them. The soul and knowledge, though non-distinct from each other, are related to each other as substance and attribute. The soul is an enjoyer.
It feels pleasure and pain, which are the fruitions of merits and demerits. It is an active agent. It has the power of doing right and wrong actions. Its activity is controlled by God. It strives to share in the infinite bliss of God. It is atomic.
But it can experience pleasure and pain through its entire body. Its seat is in the heart. It has experience through its whole body, even as the light of a lamp illumines the whole room. It is a part of Brahman. It is both different and non-different from him.
There is great difference between a soul and Brahman. The soul is subject to joys and sorrows (bhoktr). It experiences the fruits of its actions. But Brahman does not experience fruits of actions (abhokt). Brahman is the worshipped while the soul is the worshipper.
Brahman is known by the soul which is the knower. The soul strives to receive the infinite bliss of God who is the giver of bliss. Brahman is the inner controller of the soul which is controlled by him.
So Brahman and the soul are different from each other. But they are not absolutely different from each other. The soul is a part of Brahman. It is identical with him in-essence. Its natural knowledge and bliss are covered by nescience (avidya) which is removed by the grace of God.
The liberated soul acquires absolute equality with God, being purged of merits and demerits and becoming immaculate, But it does not lose its integrity in him.
Brahman is not defiled by the limitations and imperfections of the souls, though he regulates their different states, waking, dream, sleep, and intuitive state. Their natural will-power is eclipsed by the superior will of God who guides them in all matters according to their past deeds.
Their bondage and release are due to the will of God. He is absolutely pure in spite of his connection with their impurities. He is the inner controller of all; yet he does not undergo any limitation.
Though he is omnipresent, he does not suffer from the limitations of the souls. Even as light reveals objects covered by darkness, so God reveals everything, but is not affected by it. He abides in the souls, but is not affected by their changes.
He is not infected with their impurities. Brahman is both different from and identical with souls, even as the sun is both different from and identical with its rays for the sun and its rays are both light.
Nimbarka and Bhaskara:
Nimbarka, like Bhaskara, believes in the transformation of Brahman into the world (brahmaparinama). He recognizes, like him, the relation of identity-in-difference (bhedabheda) between Brahman and the individual souls.
But Bhaskara emphasizes identity between them, their difference being due to limiting conditions (upadhi). Nimbarka stresses both identity and difference between them. His doctrine is dualistic non-dualism (dvaitadvaitavada) which stresses identity-in-difference (bhedabheda) between God and the soul and the world.
Nimbarka condemns both monistic absolutism and dualism, and reconciles the identity texts with the difference texts in his doctrine of dualistic monism. The world and the souls are different from Brahman because they have real and distinct existence dependent upon him. They are non-different from Brahman because they cannot exist apart from him.
‘Tat tvam asi’, or ‘That thout art’ means that individual soul (tvam) is both different and non-different from Brahman (tat). There is non-difference or identity between them in their essential nature. There is difference between them because they are related to each other as part and whole, the controlled and the controller, and the worshipper and the worshipped.
Nimbarka and Ramanuja:
Ramanuja recognizes internal difference (svagatabheda) within Brahman. He regards Brahman as the qualified (visejya) substance whose attributes (visejapa) or modes (prakara) are the unconscious world of matter (acit) and conscious souls (cit). Matter and soul are adjectives of the divine substance.
They co-inhere in Brahman. Their co-inherence in Brahman shows their substantial identity. They constitute the body of Brahman who is the soul. They are inseparably related to each other like body and soul. There is inseparable relation (aprthaksiddhi) between them.
Ramanuja stresses identity or unity more than difference. But Nimbarka emphasizes identity as well as difference. The world is the transformation of the conscious energies (cit-sakti) and the unconscious energies (acit-sakti) of Brahman.
The individual souls are parts of Brahman. The world and souls are real and substantial; they are not mere adjectives of Brahman. He is immanent in them as their inner controller. But he transcends them, and is not affected by their changes and mutations. He is immutable in his essential nature.