Visistadvaita by Ramanuja
Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit
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Bhagavadgita Pages in English, Chapters 1 to 18
Reference: Ramanuja's Teachings in His Own Words.
Author: Ramanuja (1017ľ1137 CE)
Translation by: M. Yamunacharya, Professor of philosophy, University of Mysore, born late 19th Century.
Soul is a vassal of God.
The most essential characteristic of the soul, viz its allegiance or Leigeship to God (Seshatva) as the basis for the true religion was missed by merely apprehending the soul as that which is characterized by consciousness. The soulĺs true nature is its being the possession of the universal Soul, namely God. - P 30.
Three Types of Men: God-inclined; God-disinclined; God-indifferent.--Krishnaraj
Ramanuja had all his band of disciples and devotees remain by his side and gave them the quintessence of his teachings thus :-"Listen, beloved sons," he began, "Men are of three types, the Godward (anukūla), the anti-Gods (pratikūla) and those indifferent to God (anubhaya), If you meet the men of the first class, rejoice as if you found a flower and scents, as if the blush of moonshine spread about you and softly crept over you, as if you met your own most near and dear kith and kin. If you come across men of the second stamp dread them as if you faced a venomous reptile, fire and so forth. If you chance to meet men of the third description, mind them not as you would not mind the stocks and stones that lie on your way. If you discover willingness in them, teach them things of the spirit, if otherwise, treat them with pity. Why are these men turned away from God? It is because of their love for lust and lucre. If holy men allow themselves to be lured on account of wealth and so forth, vain is their wisdom, as they have not learnt to distinguish between gem and tinsel." Page 38.
The philosophy of Ramanuja has been termed Visistadvaita and the religious view presented by him goes by the name of Srivaisnavism. It indicates a philosophy of a personal God, who is One but characterized by certain attributes (Visista). The two entities which stand in an adjectival relation to Him are Nature and the individual souls. The Nature that is referred to here is non-sentient nature, The system of non-sentient nature (achit) is devoid of consciousness. The system of sentient nature (chit) consists of living beings, plants, animal and human beings. While achit is the realm of matter, chit is the realm of life, both conscious and self-conscious. Chit and achit are the two modes (prakāra) in which God manifests himself in the visible universe. So philosophical knowledge consists in clearly understanding the nature of the three entities: achit, chit and Isvara, their distinctness from one another and aim their relations to one another. These are the tatva traya of the three truths of Visistadvaita. The Yatīndramata Dīpikā a manual of Visistadvaita Vedanta succinctly explains the essence of Visistadvaita in the following words:
"In fact, the quintessence of Vedanta has as its purport the unity of Brahman qualified by the sentient and the non-sentient things. With the purpose of teaching, this Brahman as the only reality qualified by chit and achit the revered Bādarāyana began his enquiry into the nature of this Brahman and explained that Brahman as having modes. Thus Narayana, the Supreme Vasudeva known by the name of Visnu indicated by the term Brahman and qualified by chit and achit is the only reality. This is the philosophy of Visistadvaita "
The Iśvara of Ramanuja is presented as free from all defects (akhila heya pratyanīka) and as a storehouse of all beneficent attributes (samasta kalyāṇa guṇākara). At the same time Iśvara is looked upon as possessing a heavenly body (aprākṛta divya maṅgala vigraha) full of beauty and tenderness (saundarya and lāvaṇya). sweetness and charm (mādhūrya and gāmbhirya). God is easily accessible to the devotee (saulabhya and sauāīlya) and he is the veritable ocean of affection to those who resort to him (āśrita vātsalyaika Jaladhi). It is the conception of such a God (Saguṇeśvara) as this that has made Ramanuja a protagonist of a remarkable philosophy of theism in India which lent a metaphysical basis to the great Bhakti movement which stirred the hearts of millions and millions of people in India, He, derived his inspiration for his philosophy of Bhakti from the Alvārs and the technique of philosophical vindication from his training in the methods of argumentation which constituted an essential part of the Sanskritic philosophical discipline.
The main purpose of life, particularly human life, namely Mukti or liberation, is attained. The description of the means for achieving the end desired is subsumed under the term Hita. It is here that Ramanuja deals with the ways described in the Gita as Jnnna Mārga, Karma Mārga. Bhakti Mārga and Prapatti Mārga. The final goal of life, namely, liberation, is described under the category known as Purusārtha.
That we live in a world of inanimate matter is true. It is the presence of life in "the midst of non-life but closely associated with it that presents to us the riddle of existence. Like the philosophers "of other schools of thought or darsanas, Ramanuja discusses the nature of matter in the light of Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and Sāṅkhya-yoga philosophies giving his reasons for accepting certain of their views and rejecting others. For example, he accepts the Satkārya view of cause and effect of the Sāṅkhya and applies it to explain the world and its relation to God. Similarly. Ramanuja accepts the Sāṅkhyan conception of twenty-five principles and the yoga method of mental concentration. To Ramanuja, the problem of great importance is the association of an immaterial soul with a material body. The physico-chemical constituents of the body are just the same as those of the entire physical universe. He points out as against the Sāṅkhya that neither prakrti nor the puruṣas can be looked upon as constituting the cause of the world and he gradually prepares the ground for his own philosophical position wherein these two entities have an existence, subordinate to and dependent on īśvara or God (aśeṣa cidacid vastu śeṣi) the sole cause and ground of this universe (Janmādyasya yataḥ), is immanent in the souls (Jivāntaryāmī) and in the physical universe (acidantaryāmī).
Ramanuja puts forth powerful arguments to prove that the individual soul, called variously Puruṣa, Jīva, and Cetana is an entity distinct from nature and transcendent to it (Yāḥ paraḥ prakṛteḥ proktaḥ). Yet he is wrapped up in a material organism consisting of head, hand and feet and other cognitive (J˝ānendriya) and conative (Karmendriya) organs. This apparatus of the human body is partly psychological and partly physical. It is a living, breathing, moving body (Cetana). It is a sentient organism capable of thinking, (J˝āna), feeling (Iccha) and acting- (Krīyā). This organism that is termed body or Śarīra is an instrument (Karaṇa) by which the sprit in man seeks to express itself and establishes its contact with an external world consisting of sentient (Chit) and non-sentient beings (Achit);. Tile soul in invested (dattam Śarīram) with the psycho-physical organism as a necessary instrument by which the Individual soul can have its inherent perfection unfolded (Svasvarūpa āvirbhāva).
Ramanuja like the other Vedāntins, describes the soul as a reality which should not be identified with the body that it possesses (dehātma buddhi). The soul deprived of the body lies moribund or embryonic (Pinḍa) almost indistinguishable in that condition from inert bodies (Jaḍa). It lies motionless like a bird with wings not yet unfolded making it impossible for it to take its flight heavenward of which it is inherently capable.
The individual soul is lifted to God, out of its dormant condition (anādi māyāya suptaḥ) out of its tender regard for it and its ultimate destiny. It is lifted out of its inert condition and started on its career towards the goal of perfection. A sine quo non of manifestation of its perfection is its going through a bodily existence. The body is thus a necessary vehicle, the purpose of which is to serve the soul in this regard. Ramanuja defines the body (śarīra) as any substance which a sentient soul is capable of completely controlling and supporting for its own purpose and which stands to the soul in an entirely subordinate relation. pages 40-41-42-43
It is the souls association with the material body (acitsambandha) that is fraught with a double consequence, one of which is desirable and the other undesirable from the point of view of the ultimate destiny of the soul. The undesirable consequence is that of confounding one's soul with the material body (Jada dehe aham buddhiḥ) and ignoring its true nature as something different from inanimate nature and as having characteristics like knowledge, bliss and intended to be always subservient to God and to nothing else (ananyārha śeṣatva). It is necessary to know that the soul transcends the body (dehātirikta). In the absence of this cognition the individual soul is apt to fall into the delusion that it is complete in itself and that its only end in view is to enjoy to the full earthly joys and that it is licensed to do anything it likes. It is this false sense of egotism which generates the notion of I and Mine, and which deludes it to thinking that it exists as a lone entity and is independent of God. It follows the lure of the sense-life oblivious of the fact that there is an eternal life (nitya vibhūti) of which it is the true inheritor. So long as the consciousness that the soul is dependent on God for its existence endures, it is on a safe passage to the goal, If the snare and the delusion that it is independent of God and it is its own sole proprietor enters into its consciousness, then all the evil begins. The chief sin is the act of arrogating to oneself what belongs properly to God (ātmāpahāra). All other sins emanate from this original sin (akhila pāpa mūlam). This sin makes man run after petty (alpa) and impermanent (asthira) pleasures, the tainted pleasures of the senses (doṣa duṣta śabdādi bhoga) and the lusts or the flesh. End page 44.
Notwithstanding this abuse of the body when it is given over to the lusts of the flesh. oblivious of its high destiny,
one should not ignore the fact that this wonderfully constructed body with its limbs organs and is intended to be dedicated to the service of God (vicitrā deha sampattiḥ Īśvarāya niveditum). Deprived of this marvelous body (vicitrā deha sampattiḥ) man is deprived of both the enjoyment of life here and of life hereafter (bhoga-mokṣa śūnya). In other words, this very body is the means of both bondage (bandha) and liberation (mokṣa) of the soul. It all depends on how it is used.
The body was dowered on man by God out of a tenderness for him and concern for his welfare so that he may reach God and gain His presence. There can be no higher end than this to man. This is the summum bonum of human life. The body is a boat (pIava) given to man, by which he could cross the stream of worldly life (Samsāra nistaraṇa upāya). The goal to be reached is no doubt a distant one but it can be reached only by strenuous individual endeavor. As Spinoza says: all excellent things are as rare as they are difficult. As the Gita puts it, those who hunger for the attainment of God are few indeed (kaścidyātati siddhaye). And they are able to reach Him by endeavour (abhyāsa) and renunciation (vairāgya). The individual has the freedom to choose the way of life that leads him to God. This would involve moral responsibility for what he does. But hunger for God may germinate in man in one life or a series of lives may be required for the purpose. The individuals freedom is not absolute. Man has freedom given him (datta svātantrya) just sufficient for him to work out voluntarily his liberation from impediments and shackles (virodhi parihāra) with which he has bound himself by a chain of his own karma or accumulated deeds. The greatest problem for Ramanuja was to reconcile the perfection of God with freedom of man. He solves the problem by his doctrine of Datta Svātantrya or cowered freedom. End page 45.
By his own misdeeds and his forgetfulness of his final destiny of fellowship with God (sāyujya) the individual gets bogged in samsāra or the flux of becoming with its attendant sorrows and sufferings. Subject to the normal and natural fluctuation of individual existence, the embodied individual goes through the vicissitudes of boyhood, youth and old age which are affected and infected with tainted pleasures and inescapable pain. The sufferings and sorrows of life, however, act as cathartic agents and make the individual sad and forlorn and look for a means of escape which would be readily made available to him by Providence. He longs for freedom and becomes a Mumuksu, One of the ideas by which a true śrivaiṣnava bears the afflictions of life like loss of wealth, loss of near and dear ones and the like is that these afflictions too are the signs of the Lords inscrutable grace (anugraha), This is expressed in a verse as purporting to come from the Lord Himself which runs as follows: "Yasyānugraham icchāmi tasya vittam harāmyaham bāndhavaischa viyogena bhṛśam bhavati dukkhitaḥ tena dukkhena santapto yadi mām na parityajet tam prasādam kariṣyāmi yassurairapi durlabham". It may be translated thus: "This is what I do when I want a soul to become the recipient of my grace. I deprive him of his wealth and wean from him his near and dear ones. If even with this corroding sorrow he does not abandon Me and holds fast to Me, I shower on him a grace which even the Gods would envy." An English poet speaks of the afflictions that befall him in life as the shadow of the hand of God stretched out caressingly. "The very extent of the painfulness of life" says a woman philosopher, "is an earnest of the triumph that is to come". Man finally resorts to God as his only refuge after having been deprived of every other refuge which he discovers to be slippery (anyathā śaraṇam nāsti śvameva śaraṇam mama). End of page 46.
Weariness of a wandering life tosses him to Gods breast. God waits and watches patiently for the soul to come to Him. He goes in quest of guidance which will be provided for him by a kindly teacher who comes his way. And obtaining such a benefactor who will lift him from a slough of despondency which has been responsible for filling his mind with a corroding pain, he longs for liberation by the spontaneous Grace of God (nirhetuka kripā). Ramanuja describes God as a great commiserator (parama kāruṇika) and friend (suhṛit).
He describes the process of redemption by means of a parable. The process of redemption consists in the teacher bringing to the sorely afflicted individual a sense of his lost divine heritage which it is still open to him to recover by suitable means. Ramanuja's description of this human redemption runs thus "Take the case of a young prince, who, intent on some boyish play, leaves his father's place and losing his way does not return. The king thinks his son is lost; the boy himself is received by some good Brahmin, who brings him up and teaches him without knowing who the boys father is. When the boy has reached his sixteenth year and is accomplished in every way, some fully trustworthy person tells him, your father is the ruler of all these lands, famous for the possession of all noble qualities, wisdom, generosity, kindness, courage, valour and so on; and he stays in his capital, longing to see you, his lost child. On hearing who his father is, the boy's heart is filled with supreme joy: and the king also, learning that his son is alive, in good health, handsome and well-instructed, considers himself to have attained all a man can wish for. He then takes steps to recover his son, and finally the two are re-united." (Sri Bhaṣya).
The Good Brahmin stands for the teacher or Guru who mediates between God and man and brings the two together or shows the way by which this re-union could be accomplished. End Page 47.
In the Vaiṣṇavism of Ramanuja the role of the Guru or Acharya as an intercessor is extremely important for the redemption of man. Teachers of the right mind are described as those who are entirely free from egotism (nirahaṅkari), those who are always desirous of the welfare of others (para samriddhi priyaḥ) and those who are not swayed by love of fame or profit (khyāti lābha nirapekṣāṇām). The goal of man is to reach God (Bhagavat prāpti) and the compassionate Guru leads him by the hand to his goal, and takes upon himself the responsibility of commending him to God. The first among the Gurus is Sri or the Spouse of Viṣṇu who is mediator between God and man. She is the very embodiment of Grace or Mercy whose effort makes it possible for the contrite individual to be forgiven by the Lord for his sins. God's justice comes to be tempered by mercy.
The initiation of man into the path that leads him to God (Dikṣā) is described on the analogy of the marriage ceremony. This is a marriage between God and the individual soul (ātma vivāha) which is described thus, in a small vaisnava treatise by Nanjīyar "Śriyaḥ-pati (i.e. Narayana) is the cloud". A downpour of love fell from it. In the soil of compassion, the plant of life sprouted up. Thus to the Father of the longing and the Mother of Wisdom, a girl was born, which was baptised as the soul. She was fed with the food of taste for God. In due course Wisdom bloomed in the child, and time was ripe for marriage. Marriage is a sacrament which is performed in the presence of the sacred Fire (Agni Saksi). Fire is ignited, Godly men cluster together; and the bride-soul is handed over to the Spouse God with the oblation of soul-knowledge (Ātma J˝āna). The bride is vested in the robes of humility, and the thread of service is tied round the neck and decked with the jewels of Name and Form she is led to the seat of Faith, the Fire of All-consciousness is fanned, by the fuel of renunciation, and the final act of Surrender is offered into the Fire. End page 49.
The bride is then conducted into the nuptial chamber of Heaven, where on the bed of joy, marriage is consummated--one game won in the cosmic sport."
Knowledge of the scripture is also necessary so that man may have a clear notion of the nature of God, nature of the world and nature of himself. A knowledge of the three truths, cit, acit and Īśvara (Tattva Traya) is considered essential to anyone who would aspire for liberation.
Man must realize that he is a soul and a spirit distinct from the body, the senses, the mind, life and intellect. He is a conscious entity and is characterised by bliss and knowledge (J˝ānānandamayastvātmā). More than that, he is controlled (niyamya) and supported (dhārya) by God and dependent (śeṣam) on Him (śeṣhi paramātmanaḥ). While man's body is perishable, his soul is imperishable (akṣaram) and eternal (nitya). The real
man is the one who shines in the heart (hṛidayāntar Jyotiḥ puruṣaḥ). The soul in him is like a light that shines by itself (svasmai svayam prakāṣa) and does not need another light to show it. The immortal soul that is in man is neither born (aja) nor does it die (nitya). Birth and death are the accidents of the body. Birth is the association of the soul with a body (deha sambandha) and death is the dissociation of the soul from the body (deha viyogaḥ),
Man is a knower (j˝ātā), is a doer (kartā) and enjoyer (bhoktā), These capacities are due to the fact that he possesses a consciousness which expresses itself in such states as thinking (j˝āna), desiring (cikīrṣa) and striving (prayatna). That man is a free agent is proved by the fact that the scriptures lay down the moral injunctions (vidhi) and prohibitions (niṣedha) for him to be guided and he is left free to choose them or violate them. End page 50.
This truth is expressed by the Brahma Sūtra which declares that scriptural injunctions can have a meaning only when man has the power of moral choice [kartā śāṣtrārthavatvāt). This freedom on the part of man will not militate against God's perfection and omnipotence for the freedom conceded to him is the gift of God himself (īśvara data svātantrya) so that he may exercise it towards his own perfection. The exercise of freedom is a necessary condition of progress. When man puts forth earnest efforts for his own elevation. God makes him prosper in his endeavour and fills him with increasingly great relish in doing good deeds (kalyāṇeṣu karmasu rucim utpādayati).
The implications of Śeṣatva or dependence on God are that man must make himself fit for Gods acceptance. He must shape his life and conduct in such a way that he endears himself to God like the fragrance of sandal and flowers (śeṣatvam nāma candana kusuma tāmbūlādivat tasya īṣta vlniyogārhatvam). Man must become as sweet and selfless as a flower which emits fragrance for the enjoyment of others and not itself, and as a tree which yields fruit which it does not itself eat. This living for others and for God is the sign of a mature soul. Putting oneself entirely at the disposal of God is what is implied by Śeṣtva (Śeṣtvam viniyogārhatvam). The eight-syllabled mantra of which the first word is Om, the second is Nama and the third Nārāyaṇāyā (Om Namo Nārāyaṇāyā) is a pledge that man takes at his initiation into Sri Vaisnavism that henceforwardĚ he would live only for Nārāyaṇa and not himself. The Lord (Bhagavān) and those who belong to God the (the bhāgavatas) become the objects of his devotion and service. End page 50.
The individual souls are to be found at different levels of unfoldment. There are those that are still in bondage
(bandha), those that have liberated themselves from bondage (mukta) and celestials (nitya sūris) who are eternally free, but those who can, like God, incarnate into the world themselves at will for its good. Those that are still in bondage have in them the latent capacity for liberation which is obscured by the accumulated karma in life after life. (anādi karma pravāha). It is this obscuration that is the veil of Māyā, which means in this system avidyā or aj˝āna or ignorance of ones own true nature (svasvarūpa). The life of the body is confounded with the life of the soul due to this avidyā, It is said to obscure from our vision the true nature of God (Bhagavat svarūpa tirodhānakarīm) and to generate in us a distorted view of ourselves and our destiny (Viparīta J˝āna Jananīm). But the capacity to emancipate himself from bondage to Karma lies inherent and latent in man like oil which is latent in the sesamum seed or like heat which is latent in a log of wood (tila tailavat dāru vahnivat). The oil has to be pressed out of the oil seed in order that it may become manifest. And the log of wood must be ignited in order that it may begin to burn. Similarly, the individual soul has to be processed in order that its potentialities may be brought out. This is what is meant by Sadhana or spiritual endeavour. The light in man's soul comes to be lit up by another (dipādutpanna pradīpavat),
The auspicious sign that heralds a new life or a second life to man (dvitīyam janma) is the tender shoot of love of God germinating in his heart. This may happen at the end of many a peregrination of the soul in saṁsāra. (janmāntara). Austerity of life (tapas), uninterrupted contemplation of God and His excellences (dhyāna} which is likened to an uninterrupted stream of oil (taila dhārāvat avichinna santati dhārā) and communion with Him (samādhi) will help man to shed his burden of accumulated sins (janmantara sahasreṣu tapodhyāna samādhibhiḥ narāṇām kṣiṇa pāpānām kriṣṇe bhaktih prajāyate). end page 51.
The process of the burning up of sins by love of God is compared to a spark of fire consuming a heap of cotton (tulā rāśau agnivat). J˝āna (knowledge) finally finds consummation in love (bhakti),
When after his initial painful effort, the individual thus reaches the state of liberation by the spontaneous and irresistible grace of God (nirhetuka kripā), he will have attained Moksa or liberation which is the Parama puruṣārtha or the highest goal of man's existence. The ways that lead him to this are various and the way to be resorted to depends on the personal preference of the individuals. But the easiest and simplest of the roads open to man to reach God is the way of absolute unqualified self-surrender known as Prapatti. This is accomplished not by mere learning or by mortification of the flesh, but by a radical alteration in ones attitude to life. The one who follows this way is the prapanna, who is instantly put at ease with himself. He comes to lay the entire burden of his salvation on God himself (bharanyāsa lit, transfer or giving up of burden), and lives a tranquil life, when the activities of his life become consecrated to the service of God. The holiness he has attained by becoming the servitor of God expresses itself in service. To be the eternal servant or of God is the greatest vocation of man. He can become this only when he embodies in himself the auspicious qualities (kalyāna gunas) or excellences of God himself who is the very embodiment of Truth, Goodness and Beauty (Satya, Sauśīlya, Saundarya). The qualities of the votary of God who delights in his servitude to God (pāratantrya) which is his own real freedom (svātantrya) are enumerated in different ways. One of the verses in a Vaisnava work Prapanna Pārijāta speaks of the art of worshipping Him with eight kinds of flowers. Each flower symbolizes a virtue of the soul (ātmaguna) of a Prapanna. End page 52.
The verse reads "Ahimsā prathamam puṣpam puṣpam indriya nigrahah sarva bhūta dayā puṣpam kṣamā puṣpam viśeṣataḥ śānti puṣpam tapaḥ puṣpam, j˝āna puṣpam tathaivaca satyam aṣta vidham puṣpam Viṣnoḥ prītikaram bhavet." Non-injury is the prime of flowers dear to the Lord. The other flowers which are dear to Him are sell-restraint, compassion for all things that live, forgiveness, peace, austerity, knowledge and truthfulness. A small composition of Ramanuja called Nitya Grantha is devoted to the theory and art of worship of God (Bhagavadārādhanam).
A key-word in Ramanuja's Vaiṣṇava philosophy is kainkarya, which means service of God which fulfills itself in Bhāgavata kaiṅkarya or the service of those who belong to God. This is the highest end conceivable to man. The Vaiṣṇava teachers who preceded and followed Ramanuja had no hesitation in asserting that true liberation for the individual lay in obtaining the privilege to serve God ever and anon and to enjoy the bliss (kaiṅkarya rati) that comes out of service rendered to God and to all that belong to Him. Ramanuja went to the extent of defining Moksa as nothing but the privilege of service to God (nitya kaiṅkarya prāptireva moksaḥ). When this condition has been reached, man will have attained the highest goal of existence. Thus awakened from his dormant condition, man goes confidently through the vicissitudes of worldly life. Chastened by its trials and tribulations he turns Godward and finds the consummation and crown of life in the enjoyment of bliss of service of God. He reaches the presence of God (sānnidhya) becomes like unto Him (Sarūpya) and finally -becomes one with Him (sāyujya). To the saints of Vaiṣṇavavism the kingdom of God was here and now; they longed only for this Mokṣa and, were content to even remain on earth eternally if it meant living in God for God. To realize the bliss of paramapada or vaikunṭha (the kingdom of God) on the surface of the earth was their eternal dream. end page 53.
In fact, of the saints refused to barter away the intense felicity of being with God on earth for the infinite joys in heaven. This sustained them in their faith and in their persistent endeavours to realize God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (paramapada}. One of the Alvars (Tamil Vaisnava saints) sang iruppidam vaikundam vengadam -which means the kingdom of God and the holy land are there where you dwell: These ideas are beautifully brought out by Ramanuja in three of his prose poems known as Saraṇāgati Gadya, śrīraṅga Gadya and Vaikunṭha Gadya.
This section may be closed with giving Ramanuja's own summary of his teaching as given in one of his works Vedanta Dīpa.* "Of the three ultimate entities known to philosophy, the sentient individual soul is essentially different from non-sentient matter, and God, who forms the supreme soul of the universe is absolutely different from the individual soul by virtue of its being free from all imperfections (nikhila heya pratyanīkataya) and having the auspicious qualities (KalyaIṇa guṇaikatānatayā) as well as by its pervasion in all things that exist and by its being the support, the ground and substance of all existence (chid achid vyāpakatayā dhārakatayā niyantritayā śeṣitayācā). The essential difference thus existing between matter, soul and God are intrinsic and natural. God, who is the same as the supreme Brahman, is the cause of the Universe and the Universe, which is made up of matter and soul, is the effect produced by Him. Matter and soul from the body of God: and this body is capable of existing in a subtle as well as in a gross condition. God with his subtle body constitutes the universe in its causal condition: and with His gross body He forms the created universe itself. end page 54.
*The translation of the passage given here is by M. Rangacharya in his introduction to his English translation of Ramanuja's Srī Bhāsya.
The individual soul enters into matter and thereby makes it live: and similarly God enters into matter and souls and gives them their powers and their peculiar characteristics. The universe without God is exactly analogous to matter without soul, and in the world as we know it, all things are what they are, because God has penetrated into them and rules and guides them all from within, so much so that all things are representative of Him and all words denote Him in the main." end page 55.