I am going to explain to clear the doubt of Relation between Jiva and Brahman Through the Visistadvaita Philsophy.

This is totally different form Differences between Advaita & Vishishtadvaita

Here is doubt come from this question How does Vishistaadvaita philosophy explain 'jiva' name for Lord Shriman Narayana

  • 3
    Possible duplicate of Differences between Advaita & Vishishtadvaita – Chinmay Sarupria Jun 3 '16 at 7:03
  • @ChinmaySarupria : It is totally different, you should remove this tag please, – Shree Krishna Jun 3 '16 at 7:04
  • @ChinmaySarupria: Here I expalin the totally different thing the doubt comes form the different question it's my request to remove duplication tag as I explained in Question. – Shree Krishna Jun 3 '16 at 7:09
  • 1
    The answer to that question covers other philosophies also. So by difference I mean understanding the relation of Jiva and Brahman according to different philosophies. In any case, the relation between Brahman and jeeva is like a tree and its branches, that answer says the same thing, your answer says the same thing. Nothing unique, nothing different, that's why I've marked it duplicate. – Chinmay Sarupria Jun 3 '16 at 7:32
  • 1
    @ChinmaySarupria I don't think this question should be closed as a duplicate. After all there are many differences between Advaita and Visistadvaita, not just the relationship between Jivatma and Paramatma. Plus this is about explaining the Visistadvaita view, whereas that is about contrasting it with the Advaita view. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 3 '16 at 8:19

We will see Visisthadvaita Philosophy in detail and also clear the doubts of Advaita and Dvaita philosophy as well as Abhed,Bhed Sruti (Advaita & Dvaita) and also demonstrate Gatak sruti

Here we also understand this Philosophy from the Basic, I will try my best to demonstrate this Philosophy through the Sruti , Bhagvad-Gita and Ramanuja-Philosophy so, we can eailsy understand the main concept of Visisthadavita Philosophy and also the relation between Brahman & Jiva

Understand words in my answer:


Chetan=Concsious=Living-elements (Human-beings,gods,antigods,animals etc)


Visesan(विशेषण)= Adjactive, Visesya(विशेष्य)= Substantive , Visistha (विशिष्ट)= Individual

First Let's see what Gatak sruti says:

Gatak Sruti:

visisthacye visisthacye visistha visithayodaitam visisthadiatam | sukhsma jadchetan visistha sthulam chidchidrisithayordriatam bhedithertha: ||

Without Adjactive (विशेषण) there is no meaning of Substantive (विशेष्य). in-other word who is free from Adjactive (विशेषण) is called Individual (विशिष्ट).Lord Vishnu is Individual (विशिष्ट) who is different from jad(unconscious) and Chetan (conscious),even-though they are not different from Lord Vishnu is called Visisthaadivate.

Like we can not sperate the Virtue (गुण) from Virtuness (गुणी), same way Adjactive( Jad(Nature), Chetan(Living-Beings)) can't be sperated from the Visistha (Individual) (Lord Vishnu).

Like body and soul both are different from each other but we can't sperated both thing from each-other. same way jad-chetan and Supreme Lord Vishnu are different yet we can't sperated jad-chetan (Nature & Living-beings) and Lord vishnu(Super-soul) from each-other.

Jad and Chetan (Nature and Living beings) are body of the Lord Vishnu (Supreme Lord), and in this way very beautifully include the both bhed Shruti (Dvaita) and abhed Shruti (Advaita).

Like Living-beings(Souls) do all the work through his body same-way, Lord Vishnu does his every work through jad and Chetan (Living-entities , nature).

This Example will clear your doubt

For Example

Randomly we call the person whose name is Gopal, so he will turn around and will stare us, because we call him with his name.But we know body is jad (deadly thing, unconscious), If there is no soul(Consciousness) in the body then we will called that "Dead Body" rather than Gopal,Why? because there is no Soul in that body.So,that's mean Gopal is title (Degree) for that particular soul. Then why that particualr body turn around and stare us when we called to Gopal??!!.So, that's mean there is no different between gopal and his body,but difference is there we know (Because Gopal is only title/degree for that specific body, If the body is no more then there is no meaning of Gopal).

Same-way Lord and living-beings,nature(jad&chetan) are different ( Davita Philosophy) but they are connected as "body to soul" relation to the supreme lord. so that's why both are same (Advaita Philosophy). ( Here Soul is Lord Vishnu and body is living-beings & nature)

Here body (Jad/Chetan Both(nature/all living beings):

Body: Human-beings, animals , demigods, antigods,gods, nature, all univers etc etc

Soul: Lord Vishnu

More simple example we can take, Mango and it's taste , we know that mango and it's taste both are different (Dviata philosophy) from each other,In other hand,they both are same(Adviata Philosophy)we can't separate both of them (mango & it's taste) from each other.

Hence the solution given by the Visisthadviata Philosophy through the Gatak-Sruti

If you want to read more Details then you can read Sri-ramanujacharaya "Vedarth Sangraha"

Here another sloka from Gatak Sruti:

yamatama Na Ved yesaya Atama Sariram | Yum Pruthvi na ved yesaya Pruthvi Sariram ||

Living-Beings are body of Lord, Living beings don't know this thing, Nature (Earth) is the body of Lord, even nature doesn't know this thing. Living-Beings and Maya(Nature) is the body of Lord and the Lord Vishnu is the seated as soul in that body (living-beings & nature).

In Sri-Valmiki Ramayan This Sloka indicates:

Jagat sarvah sariram tey saitharya tey Vasudhatalam.....

meaning : This all Univers is body of yours (Lord Vishnu), and the all things in nature is depended on you(Lord Vishnu).

In Vishnu Puran this sloka indicates:

Sarvah vai harestanu...|

meaning: All the elements(Living-Beings, Nature) are body of Lord Shri Hari.

Let's we understand from the Bhagvad-Gita (Chapter 9 sloka 4,5,6,8,9,10) which encouraged the Philosophy of Visisthadvaita

mayā tatam idaṃ sarvaṃ jagad avyakta mūrtinā | mat-sthāni sarva bhūtāni na cāhaṃ teṣv-avasthitaḥ || 4 ||

This entire universe is pervaded by Me, in an unmanifest form. All beings abide in Me, but I do not abide in them.


This entire universe — composed of both sentient and insentient beings, is pervaded by Me — the inner controller whose essential nature is unmanifest. The meaning is that all this universe is pervaded by Krishna the Principal (śeṣi) so that He may sustain and manage it. This [doctrine of] universal pervasion by an inner controller, who is invisible to all beings, is taught in the Antaryāmi- Brāhmaṇa. So also Krishna’s primacy over everything is taught.

na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni paśya me yogam aiśvaram | bhūta-bhṛnna ca bhūtastho mamātmā bhūta-bhāvanaḥ || 5 ||

And yet beings do not abide in Me. Behold My divine Yoga, I am the upholder of all beings and yet I am not in them. My will alone causes their existence.


“I am not in them” means — “I do not depend on them for My existence. I do not need any help from them to exist. And yet beings do not abide in Me, as I do not support them as a jug or any other kind of vessel supports the water contained in it. How then are they contained? By My will. Behold My divine Yogic Power, namely, My wonderful Divine qualities, unique to Me alone and having no comparison elsewhere. What are these qualities? I am the sustainer of all beings and yet I am not in them — My will alone keeps them in existence.” The gist is that Krishna is the supporter of all beings, and yet He derives no personal assistance whatever from them. His will alone projects, sustains and controls all beings. Sri Krishna gives an illustration to show how all beings depend on His will for their existence and activity.

yathākāśa-sthito nityaṃ vāyuḥ sarvatrago mahān | tathā sarvāṇi bhūtāni mat-sthānīty-upadhāraya || 6 ||

As the mighty wind moving everywhere, ever remains in space, even so, know that all beings abide in Me.


The mighty wind exists and moves everywhere in space without any perceivable support. So it has to be admitted that the powerful air-current is dependent on Me for its existence and is being upheld by Me alone. Even so, know that all entities abide in Me, who am invisible to them, and that they are upheld by Me alone. The Vedic sages declare thus: — The origin of clouds, the waters of the ocean remaining within bounds, the phases of the moon, the strong movements of the gale, the flash of lightning and the movements of the sun—all these are marvellous manifestations of the power of Vishnu. (?) The meaning is that they are all the marvellous miracles which are unique to Vishnu. The Vedas and other texts also declare likewise: ‘Verily O Gargi, at the command of that imperishable One, the sun and the moon stand apart’ (Br. Up., 3.8.9,) ‘Through the fear of Him the wind blows, through the fear of Him the sun rises, through the fear of Him Agni and Indra perform their duties’ (Tai. Up., 2.8.1). It has been declared that the existence and activity of all beings originate by the will of the Supreme Being, who is totally independent.

Now Sri Krishna declares that the origin and dissolution of all entities also are accomplished by His will only:—

sarva bhūtāni kaunteya prakṛtiṃ yānti māmikām | kalpa-kṣaye punas-tāni kalpādau visṛjāmy-aham || 7 ||

All beings, O Arjuna, are assimilated into My Nature (Prakrti) at the end of a cycle of time (kalpa). Again I send them forth at the beginning of a new cycle.


All the mobile and immobile entities enter into Krishna’s Being (Prakrti) at the end of a cycle, of Brahma’s life. This Prakrti (Nature), constituting the Divine Being, is described by the term Tamas, as it cannot be differentiated into name and form. Manu also concurs: ‘This universe became Tamas.... by an act of [divine] will. He produced it out of His body’ (Manu, 1.5.8). The Vedas also declare this: — ‘He whose physical nature is Unmanifest’ (Sub. Up., 7); ‘The Unmanifest (avyakta) merges into the Imperishable (akṣara), the akṣara into (Darkness) Tamas’ (Ibid., 2); and also — ‘There was Darkness (Tamas); consciousness was in the beginning concealed by Darkness (Tamas)’ (Tai. Br. ii:8-9)

prakṛtiṃ svām-avaṣṭabhya visṛjāmi punaḥ punaḥ | bhūta-grāmam imaṃ kṛtsnam avaśaṃ prakṛter-vaśāt || 8 ||

Animating my own Nature [Prakrti], I send forth again and again all this multitude of beings, helpless under the sway of Prakrti.


“I develop it eightfold and send forth this fourfold aggregate of beings; gods, animals, humans and inanimate things, time after time. All these entities are helpless, being under the sway of Prakrti comprising the three Gunas which cause delusion.”If this is so, it may be argued that the inequalities of creation are due to the Lord being cruel or partial etc.

To this, the Lord answers: —

na ca māṃ tāni karmāṇi nibadhnanti dhanañjaya | udāsīnavad-āsīnam asaktaṃ teṣu karmasu || 9 ||

But these actions do not bind Me, O Dhanañjaya, for I remain detached from them, remaining like one indifferent.


“But results like the inequality of creation do not bind Me. I cannot be accused of such negative qualities as cruelty, partiality etc, because the differences of conditions like being born as a god, human being, animal or vegetable are all caused by the previous actions (Karmas) of individual Jīvas themselves. I am unaffected by these inequalities.” Accordingly, the author of the Vedanta-sutras says: — ‘There is no partiality or lack of compassion in Him, because creation is dependent on Karma, for so Scripture declares’ (Br. Sutra., 2.1.34), and ‘If it be said that there can be no Karma on account of non-distinction [between Jīvas and Brahman prior to creation], it is replied that this is incorrect, because both the Jīvas and Karma are beginningless....’ (Ibid. 2.1.35).

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram | hetunānena kaunteya jagad viparivartate || 10 ||

Under My supervision, Prakrti produces all beings that move and move not. Indeed, because of this, O Kaunteya, does the world revolve.


Behold in this wonderful phenomena the cosmic dominion inherent in Krishna, and personal characteristics such as sovereignty, true resolve and being free from cruelty and similar defects! So declare the Vedas:— ‘The possessor of Maya [the Lord] projects this universe out of this [Prakrti in its subtle state]. Another [the individual Self] is confined by Maya in the world. One should know the Maya to be the Prakrti. And the possessor of Maya to be the Mighty Lord’ (Sve. Up., 4;9-10)

Another Sloka of Bhagvad-Gita ( Chapter 7 Sloka 7,12) which encouraged the Philosophy of Visisthadvaita

mattaḥ parataraṃ nānyat kiñcid-asti dhanañjayaḥ | mayi sarvam idaṃ protaṃ sūtre maṇi-gaṇā iva || 7 ||

There is nothing whatsoever higher than Me, O Arjuna. All this is strung on Me, as clusters of gems on a thread.


“I am absolutely superior to all things in two ways: (1) I am the cause of both the Natures (Prakṛtis) and I am also their Proprietor (śeṣin). The Jīvas exercise control over their bodies as they are the inner proprietors (śeṣin) and I am the Proprietor of all Jīvas. (2) I am also the Supreme Being because I possess knowledge, untiring strength, sovereignty, immutability, creative power and splendour in an infinite degree. The totality of all the sentient and insentient beings, whether in their [unmanifest] causal state or in their [manifest] state of effect, is strung on Me, who abide as their Self, as a cluster of gems on a thread — in other words they have their rest and support in Me.” And it is established that the entire Universe [of sentient and insentient entities] and Brahman (the Supreme Being) exist in the [symbiotic] relationship of body and spirit as declared by the Antaryami-Brahmana and other texts: — ‘He whose body is the earth’ (Br. Up., 3.7-3), ‘He whose body is the Self’ (Br. U. Madh., 3.7.22), ‘He is the Over-Self of all beings, immaculate, He is the Lord in the supreme heaven, He is the one Nārāyaṇa’ (Sub.Up., 7). Everything constitutes the “corporeality” and is an “expression” of the Supreme Being who is their Over-Self, thus the Supreme Being alone exists, and all [existing] things are only His modes [of expression]. Therefore all terms used in common parlance for different things denote Him only.

ye caiva sāttvikā bhāvā rājasāstāmasāśca ye | matta eveti tān-viddhi na tvahaṃ teṣu te mayi || 12 ||

Know that all those states of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas have their origin in Me alone. But I am not in them; they are in Me.


This Three modes of Illusion (Triguni Maya) is depended on Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu is not Depended on this Maya, Lord is not Indulge in this Samsara (Mortal World). like same-way soul is not indulge in body.

The one of the Best Sloka of Bhagvad Gita (Chapter 10 Sloka 41) which is summary of Visisthadvaita Philosophy

yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṃ śrīmad ūrjitam eva ca | tat tad evāvagaccha tvaṃ mama tejo’ṃśa saṃbhavam || 41 ||*£

Know for certain that whatever has sovereignty, splendour and brilliance is produced by a mere fraction of My potency.


Every Living and Non-Living elements is the body of the Lord and Lord is the Soul of that body, and this the Summary of Sri Visithadviata Philosophy.

Hence, We can say that we got the overall conclusion and Summary of the Ses-Seshi Relation, Soul-Body Relation, Master-Servant Relation, Ulitimate Form of Lord, Bhed and Abhed Sruthi As it is , from the Sri Visisthadviata Philosophy,

Sri-Ramanuja put very great effort to clear the all doubts and easily can reach to the supreme lord. You can also refer Sri-Bhasya, Visithadviata Philosophy of Sri-Ramanujacharya and also Vedarth-Sangraha for deepest Knowledge of the Visisthadvaita Philosophy & the Supreme Truth.

You can also refer,The Realtion theory of Visistadvaita,

Philosophical logic is based on the truths of determinate knowledge, savisesa-jnaana and the principle of samanadhikaranya. It throws light on the problem of external and internal relations.

In the theory of external relations, the relations are said to make no difference to the terms related. The objects are external to the relation, and one substance does not pass into and become another. What exists alone is cognized. Knowledge is the awareness of external objects by the knowing subject, and such experience makes no difference to the existing objects.The external objects are given not as things, but as objects to a subject. They form the ksetra. They do not depend on the self or ksetrajna for their existence. Cit, the percipient self, and acit, the perceived object, are externally connected, mutually exclusive and eternally real.

Knowledge presupposes not only the independence of the subject and the object, but also the existence of plurality of knowing subjects and knowable objects. The self is not always the subject of knowledge as, in social relations, each self is both subject and object. Inter-subjective intercourse and social concern for one another would be impossible if there is no subject-object relation among different persons.If the object is considered outside there, outside the mind, it cannot be known. Similarly if the subject is inside, it is shut up in itself. Thus, there is no way of escape from skepticism on the one hand and subjectivism on the other. To avoid these pitfalls, the theory of external relations and epistemological realism is to be restated in terms of the logic of aprthak-siddha-visesana, inseparable attributes and the theory of ontological non-dualism.

For example, the relation between the hand and the pen is external. But the relation between the hand and the fingers is internal and organic. Externality implies the reality of the eternal differences of the facts of cit and acit. But in relation to the whole, which is their inner essence, they become inseparable and correlative factors. As such they lose their independence and exclusiveness. Thus the plurality of cit and acit becomes acceptable while the pluralistic view is rejected. The cosmos is not subject or object, but is subject-object. Appropriately it is defined as universe, but not multi-verse. As parts, cit and acit are mutually exclusive and indifferent. But as parts of the all-pervasive consciousness of the inner-self, which sustains them, they are internally and organically related. Qualities and relations depend on the whole of reality as their background. Internal relations are grounded in the nature of the terms related not as separate terms as such, but as terms connoting the ultimate ground of existence and experience as visista and visesya. The visesana is an attribute of the visesya or adjective of the whole. It is vitally related to it as its mode or prakara, like the fragrance and the flower. It is also like the vowel related to the consonant, and the body to its self.

The visista is thus not a mechanical whole of indifferent parts. Nor is it the totality of attributes. The judgment ‘this rose is fragrant’ is not a unity of the substance and its quality,or the subject-object relation, as explained by the bheda-abheda theory of the identity and difference. Incidentally, this theory regards identity and difference as two moments of reality. In its philosophic aspect, this view expounds reality as the Absolute consisting of God and the finite centres.

Visistadvaita, however, holds that the Absolute is not God and the finite beings, but is God in the finite beings, as their sustaining ground. While the visesya or prakarin is one, the visesanas or prakaras are many. The Brahman and the world are not two, but one, the Brahaman in the world. The metaphysical view of Visistadavaita is opposed to the mathematical view of addition. Likewise, it is different from the adjectival theory of the Absolute, which explains the finite self as the essential quality of the Infinite and its connection of content. The finite self is an inseparable attribute of the Infinite as its aprthak-siddha-visesana or prakara. At the same time, it is a separate self, persevering in its own being.

The visesana is substance and quality, dravya-guna like light and its radiation. As quality or mode, it derives its substantiality from the self-effulgent atman. But as substance, it has its own monadic being. A quality is quality of a substance. But, when it is also a substance, it admits of relation.The connection between atman and Paramatman is not merely the logical view of substance and attribute, but the spiritual view of two selves that are eternally existent. They are not externally related, for Paramatman is defined as the inner self and the essence of the jiva, its antaryamin.

This view avoids the monadic exclusiveness on one hand and the modal inclusiveness on the other. The Visistadvaita insight of the Brahman as the antaryamin throws a flood of light even on logical problems, and provides a comprehensive view of reality.The self and the objects in nature are independent entities existentially, and are externally related. But they have their meaning and value in the Absolute as the All-self, and they are related to It internally as Its modes or prakaras. The Absolute is self-related and has Its own inner identity. At the same time, It is related to cit and acit, which are Its modes. This interpretation avoids the fallacies of skepticism and of infinite regress.

When Ramanuja says that all knowledge is of the real, sarvam vijnaana-jaatam yathartham, he does not accept the realistic contention that knowledge comes from the external object through the sense organ, and the mind passively receives the sense impressions like a blank sheet of paper. The self with its jnaana and its psychophysical changes is as real as the external objects or prakrti with all its tattvas.Knowledge is revelatory and not representative. As what exists alone is cognized, Ramanuja’s view is justified in its conclusion that the existence of a thing is independent of our experience of it. Further there is an external relation between an object and its awareness by the self. The thought of an object is not the object, but is about it. A thing is known as it exists and not otherwise. It is wrong to say that it exists because it is known.

Nature exists for consciousness, and not in consciousness as its idea. If realism, as a philosophy, insists on the primacy of matter over the self, and rules out the role of jnaana, it leads to pan-objectivism and lapses into materialism. Idealism is justified if it accepts dharmabhuta-jnaana as the presupposition of experience. But it is to be refuted if it ignores the reality of the external object given in sense perception, and explains it as a mental state or construction based on relations either internal or relevant. If the internal relation alone is accepted, then space, time and causality are a priori forms belonging to the very structure of thought superimposed on the manifold of the sense. According to this view, the world seems to be real, and yet is not real. In such a case, there is no difference between waking and dream consciousness. What we know is what we seem to know, and it is only an ‘as if’. Then thought cannot grasp reality, and the theory of knowledge becomes no theory of knowledge.

Sankaracharya is well aware of the defects of extreme idealism. He combats it by admitting the realistic view that the external object is not an idea or a projection of thought. It has an objective reality. The waking state is different in kind from the dream state.

Visistadvaita absolutism checks the extremes of realism and idealism. It points out the defects of the pure object philosophy and the pure subject philosophy by insisting on the reality of ksetrajna, the knowing subject and the ksetra, the knowable object. It also insists on the correlativity of the subject-object relation and the immanence of the atman in cit and acit. Atman enters into cit as itself, enters into the object and then becomes the self of the object.If the object alone is taken as the real, it leads to the realistic view ending in materialism. If manas and buddhi are alone considered reality, there is mentalism and rationalism. If the self alone is considered existent, it is monadism or personalism. If the Brahman alone is considered existent, it is a-cosmism. But Visistadvaita accepts all these existents, and assigns a place and value to each one of them. It explains all selves and objects of knowledge as the living embodiments of the inner self.

Visistadvaita thus affirms the duality of the subject-object relation within the unity of experience between the one experiencing and the thing experienced, but denies their dualism. It relies on the eternity of cit and acit as the one experiencing or the experienced, but abolishes their externality.

You can also refer my others answers for understanding this Philosophy here




Adiyen Ramanuja Dasen

Srimatey Ramanujaye Namah:

Jay Shreemanarayan

  • 3
    First of all, if you're quoting something you should provide a link or citation to what you're quoting. Second of all, pure copy-paste answers are not allowed on this site; at least part of your answer should be in your own words. So you should add at least a few sentences to the beginning of your answer summarizing what the quote says. – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 3 '16 at 8:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .