From a purely philosophical standpoint, is there any any difference between Shuddhadvaita and Advaita philosophy? If yes, can anyone please point me to the changes between the two philosophies and references to them?

I have already searched a couple of forums including stackexchange and couldn't find what I was looking for.

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    – Pandya
    Sep 8, 2016 at 10:05

2 Answers 2


Shuddha-advaita is a school of Vaishnavism. The sect is known as Rudra or Rudza. It was founded by Vallabha (first half 16th century). It differs from the Advaita school followed today primarily known through Adi Sankara's teachings.

Hinduism Today magazine (July 2008 issue and available here - http://www.hinduismtoday.com/) states:

This valuable summary is drawn from The Sri-Krsna Temple at Udupi, by B. N. Hebbar, who notes that “all five schools [of Vaishnavism] are theistic and realistic reactions to the absolutistic idealism of Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta…. The first two are South Indian and follow the aishvarya bhakti-marga (Master-servant relationship between the Lord and His devotee), while the latter three [including the Rudra sect] are North Indian and adhere to the madhurya bhakti-marga (Lover-beloved relationship between the Lord and His devotee). Also, while the Lakshmi-Narayana concept predominates South Indian Vaishnavism, the Radha-Krishna element pervades the three North Indian Vaishnava sects.

Basically, being a Vaishnavite, Vallabha sees the universe as real and rejects the concept of Maya (or Vivarta Vada, apparent manifestation) of Sankara. Although Vallabha admits of spiritual union with Brahman, being a Vaishnava sect, it sees the love of Krishna and the mystical union with Krishna as the highest spiritual goal.

There are two articles in Hinduism Today. On their website do a search for 'shuddhadvaita'. There is also a 1 page summary of Vallabha and the Rudra sect in The Spiritual Heritage of India by Swami Prabhavananda. You might also try a Wikipedia search on 'Vallabha' although the info here is historical and not philosophical.

There is another very good source I remembered. Swami Vireswarananda's translation of the Brahma-Sutras Sri Bhasya has an excellent and long introduction (80 pages) where he goes into the different commentators (Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, Bhaskara) differences in their specific interpretations of Brahman, the Soul, and release from this world and how each commentator uses specific Sutras to support their individual positions. I do not know of a softcopy on the internet.

  • Do you know what the philosophical difference is between Shuddhadvaita and Visishtadvaita? Vallabha Sampradyam certainly has differences in terms of the nature of devotion (Madhurya Bhakti vs. Saranagati) and the object of devotion (Krishna vs. Vishnu), but are there any philosophical differences concerning the nature of Jivatma and Paramatma, the nature of the world, etc.? May 26, 2015 at 12:29
  • Agree that there is difference in methods of devotion, but my question is more from philosophical standpoint. I couldn't find the difference as both Jivatma and Paramatma merges here too to one.
    – abhishek
    May 27, 2015 at 4:41
  • As I said in my answer, they reject Sankara's vivarta vada and see the world as real. They also see see the mystical union with Krishna as the highest spiritual goal and not the merging with Brahman...pretty different philosophical standpoints... May 27, 2015 at 8:00
  • @KeshavSrinivasan yes I think there are differences. A proper answer with references will take more space that a comment field. May 27, 2015 at 8:03
  • I have edited my answer and added another source. I would also encourage you to read the articles on Hinduism Today as 1 was an interview with a devotee of the Rudra sect and he goes into quite a lot of detail as to their philosophical views and differences from Sankara. May 27, 2015 at 10:25

Shuddhadvaita Siddhant says that Advaita Siddhanta is not sufficiently non-dual. It also says that Maya is real and hence the universe is also real. According to Sankara , Avidya or ignorance makes Brahman appear as the world. Brahman has not actually changed and become the world but it appears to be so. This theory of Sankara is called Vivarta-vada. Shuddhadvaita Vedanta considers the world to be real and says that Brahman Himself has manifested as the universe but has not changed in any way. This theory is called Avikrta-parinama-vada.

The starting point of his (Sri Vallabcharya) philosophy, however, is not the systems associated with these teachers, but that of Sankara, which he considers to be not sufficiently non-dual or Advaitic. To explain the manifestation of the Non-dual Satcidananda as the world, Sankara he points out, has to invoke Maya. Maya must either be a power within Brahman or it must be external to Him. If it is within Him, it must be attributively related to Him, which will make Brahman a qualified entity (Savisesa). The thesis that Brahman is Nirvisesa (attributeless impersonality) will then have to be given up, and Sankara’s system will be basically indistinguishable from the other systems of Vedanta. If Maya is not within Brahman it will be something outside Him, in which case Maya will be just like the Prakrti of the Sankhyas, an independent substrate of evolution. Dualism will be the result. So Vallabha criticizes the Advaitic doctrines of Sankara as a kind of ‘Sankhya in disguise’ and propounds his theory of Advaita which he calls Suddhadvaita in contra-distinction to Sankara’s Advaita, which he designates as Kevaladvaita or Nirvisesadvaita.

The term Suddhadvaita means pure Non-dualism, purity consisting in that it does not accept Maya, a principle of illusion that has necessarily got to be conceived as outside Brahman. For Brahman, who is Satchidananda, is truth unalloyed, and therefore can be no touch of illusion or falsity in Him. Maya can therefore be only His real power, producing real effects and not false appearances. This eschewal of Maya, as a principle or category of falsity, either internal or extraneous to Brahman, is the most important feature of Suddhadvaita. According to the system, the term Maya means the real power if it is conceived as within Him. If on the other hand it is conceived as outside of Him, it becomes a dual category of falsity compromising the doctrine of non-duality.

Bhakti Schools of Vedanta by Swami Tapasyananda

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