As stated here the Mahavakyas are profound statements taken from the Upanishads. Now in Shankara’s Advaita philosophy one can understand why the Mahavakyas are called so, because the jiva realises his supposed oneness with Brahman, it’s a new realisation.

On the other hand, as stated here, in the case Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita the explanations are as follows:

  1. Vishishtadvaita associates the ‘aham’ with Brahman as the inner controller of all jivas. And the Mahavakya like Soham would mean something like He is (in) me. That is the same lord I worship is my inner controller too.

  2. Dvaita would say - I am not him, I’m separate from the lord I worship.

Now the question that arises is, in the case of these two, what is the great realisation about? Why are these two statements important?

Because before reading the Upanishads, as a layman, I may have not recognised but there is a subtle inner thing which controls you and which many people have felt (Vishishtadvaita). If I already know, then where’s the significance of this statement? Unless the statement is not about realising that the outside lord is within too and you solely realise that yayyy I’ve found him within me?

In the case of Dvaita, before reading Upanishadic statements to the effect, I anyway never considered myself same as god. What big thing do I accomplish by realising that I’m not god? I never thought myself as God.

What is the significance and important these statements carry in these two philosophies?

Q2. In non-Shankaradvaitic philosophies are these even Mahavakyas or just normal statements from the Upanishad.

1 Answer 1


For Vishishtadvaita, the immensely popular Srivaishnavite speaker Dushyanth Sridar says in this Tamil/Kannada discourse that

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwSWW9kY2es 9:43 Translation from the Tamil:

these Mahavakyas are of no special importance in the Vishishtadvaita tradition.

Since the core of traditions like Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita is a personal deity with infinite auspicious attributes - these Mahavakyas that omit mention of a deity are at best Purvapakshas to be reconciled with their core doctrines.

  • I don’t understand Tamil.
    – Adiyarkku
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:15
  • "these Mahavakyas are of no special importance in the Vishishtadvaita tradition." is my translation. it happens around 9:43 . from your handle, I thought you know Tamil :-) @Adiyarkku
    – S K
    Jul 14, 2023 at 15:18
  • Accha. Very basic very words. What reason does he give?
    – Adiyarkku
    Jul 14, 2023 at 18:04

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