Ontology of Ramanuja

Dan Lusthaus dlusthau at MAILER.FSU.EDU
Tue Feb 2 03:14:36 UTC 1999

>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?

Two places to look (also secondary literature, but containing citations and
references to primary sources) are

1. Anima Sen Gupta's _A Critical Study of the Philosophy of Ramanuja_
Varnasi: Chowkhamba Sanskrit Studies Series Vol. LV, 1967, esp. concerning
the notion of acit (pp. 78ff and passim); and

2. John Chethimattam's _Consciousness and Reality_ London: Geoffrey
Chapman, 1971, esp. ch. 5 (though drawing mostly on R's Sri Bhasya).

Gupta's treatment is much more thorough.

In short, the world as acit has reality apart from consciousnesses because
the  ultimate cause of materiality is Brahman, which is also the ultimate
cause of consciousness (cit). Both cit and acit are produced from the same
ultimate cause, while each operates within the causal dynamics of its own
sphere. The material world functions through its own causal operations.

Dan Lusthaus
Florida State University

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