Ontology of Ramanuja

Martin Gansten mgansten at SBBS.SE
Mon Feb 1 20:49:03 UTC 1999

(Posted to both Indology and RISA)

As a follow-up to my previous question on consciousness as the substance of
the jiva in Ramanuja's system of thought, here is a more general query: in
all the secondary literature I have seen so far, Ramanuja as well as later
vishishtadvaitins are depicted as ontological realists in a full, objective
sense; i.e., not only are they said to accept the world as real, but also as
independent of and external to (the jiva's) consciousness. For instance,
S.M.S. Chari writes (Fundamentals of Visistadvaita Vedanta, p. 158):

"According to Visistadvaita, there can be no knowledge which does not point
to a corresponding object outside it. [...] This theory presupposes above
all the reality of the external object and its existence independent of
knowledge. The Visistadvaitin, like other Realists, admits that the objects
exist even before they are known [...] It is the function of knowledge to
reveal the external world to the knowing subject."

1. Can anyone point me to a place in the writings of Ramanuja (or Yamuna)
which explicitly supports not only the reality of the world, but its
objective existence outside and independently of consciousness?

2. If not, has there ever been a scholarly attempt to scrutinize the
ontological position of Ramanuja, possibly calling his 'objective realist'
status into question?

Many thanks in advance,
Martin Gansten

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