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From what I've understood, Moksha means attaining union with the Supreme Soul. But Dvaita philosophy says that the individual souls (jiivatma) are different from the Supreme Soul (paramatma).

If jiivatma and paramatma are different, how exactly does the Dvaita theory explains the attainment of moksha?

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Followers of Madhvacharya, the chief exponent of Dvaita, do not believe in Moksha as conventionally understood by other schools, where the jivatma acheives unity with paramatma. In Madhva's view, the jivatma will always remain distinct from paramatma; he believed that Mukti or salvation involved the Vishnu's elevation of the jivatma to an exalted state where you are almost (but not quite) equal to Vishnu himself, living in Vaikunta (the abode of Vishnu) and experiencing eternal bliss. Here is how the Muktas (those who have attained Mukti) are described in the Shrimadhvavijaya Mahakavya:

The liberated souls here [in Vaikunta] have four arms, lotus eyes, wear yellow golden dresses and wear superior ornaments. They have effulgence like the rising sun and the blue black colour of dark clouds (colour of Sri Narayana). They sport here with bliss.... It is not only that the bliss of those who obtain proximity with the Supreme Being is unmatched. The bliss of all those who, after Mukti have reached Vaikunta, which exceeds the great qualities of other worlds like that of Brahma etc. and cannot be secured by any one without completion of their Sadhana to earn the grace of the God, is unmatched (in accordance with their own worth).... There are no births, deaths or aging in this place. The three kinds of suffering (Adhyatmika, Adhibhautika and Adhidaivika) are not there. Thus, there can be no other kind of sorrow. There are no defects (of character) like jealousy etc., as the root causes of such defects – the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Thamas) are not there. Though the Mukta souls have their intrinsic gradation amongst themselves, they have great mutual love for each other. They have realised that Vishnu is their selfless benefactor (without any expectation of return) and have devotion to the souls superior to themselves. They enjoy bliss always (which is part of their own essential nature) up to the limits of their own complete satisfaction. The Mukta souls are very beautiful, eternally young and wear Harichandana paste with sweet scent on their bodies, which is red like the newly born moon. They are fanned with attractive Chamaras by servants.

And here is how Madhva's view of Mukti is described in the book "The Philosophy of Madhvacharya" by B.N.K Sharma (pages 473-475):

Madhva, therefore, lays, great stress on the survival of every individual personality, as such, in release. This is the corollary of his belief in the distinctiveness of the Svarupa of each Jiva. As release is the realisation of the intrinsic bliss of selfhood by each one of us, it must be a positive experience, to be felt and be realised by each and at the same time incommunicable to others....
The Lord is pleased to lift the veil of His 'Maya' and manifest the true and essential nature of the soul to it in full.... Madhva, therefore, regards Mukti as a complete self- expression, self-manifestation and self-realisation, in short, a complete unfolding of the self in all its promise and potency.... Madhva has left us in no doubt as to the manner of life led by the freed souls in release. Like the Lord, they are for ever contented.... Wisdom and enjoyment of perfect bliss are their own nature.

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Madhvacharya considers Jivas and God as eternally different. Thus an Advaita style moksha is not possible. (In fact Dvaitins regard the Advaita Moksha as destruction of the Jiva and thus to be avoided.)

Madhvacharya prefers Bimba-pratibimba (ray and its reflection) relation between God and Jiva, where God is the original ray and the Jiva is the reflection. The Jiva as a reflection of God is absolutely dependent on God and also has some characteristics of God. Thus Jiva also has a conscious and blissful nature which is masked by the oppressive influence of Karma but in liberation expands to full capacity. But even in liberation there is no equality between Brahman and Jiva. This is not the entire story.

Dvaita doctrine suggests that there are differences between the liberated Jivas, i.e., liberated Jivas are not only not equal to God and also not equal to each other.

REF:Bhakti Schools of Vedanta by Swami Tapasyananda

  • wasn't Madhava Advaitin? Your answer gives me a feel that he was a Dvaita. – Vineet Menon Jun 26 '14 at 15:29
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    I am talking about Madhva who was a Dvaitin and not Madhava who was Advaitin. – Pradip Gangopadhyay Jun 26 '14 at 15:30
  • oh, so there were two? I didn't know that. Thx. – Vineet Menon Jun 26 '14 at 15:32

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