Realism of RAmAnuja

Balaji Hebbar bhebbar at EROLS.COM
Sun Feb 7 00:35:41 UTC 1999

As a follow-up to my previous question on consciousness as the substance
the jiva in Ramanuja's system of thought, here is a more general query:
all the secondary literature I have seen so far, Ramanuja as well as
vishishtadvaitins are depicted as ontological realists in a full,
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
to a corresponding object outside it. [...] This theory presupposes
all the reality of the external object and its existence independent of
knowledge. The Visistadvaitin, like other Realists, admits that the
exist even before they are known [...] It is the function of knowledge
reveal the external world to the knowing subject."

1. Can anyone point me to a place in the writings of Ramanuja (or
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
status into question?

Many thanks in advance,
Martin Gansten

Mr. Gantsen:
Please  give  me  a  few  days  and  I  will  get  you  some  data  on
RAmAnuja's  Realism.  But  in  the  meanwhile  here  is  a  breakdown
of  the  Indian  Philosophical  systems  in  terms  of  Realism  (those
systems  that  posit  that  things  exist  outside  and  independent  of
consciousness)  and  Idealism  (those  systems  that  regard  that
things  do  not  exist  independently  of  consciousness).

Realistic  Systems  of  Indian  thought:
Most  schools  of  "HInayAna"  Buddhism
PrabhAkara  MImAmsA
KumArila  MImAmsA
RAmAnuja  VedAnta
Madhva  VedAnta

Idealistic  Systems  of  Indian  thought:
ShunyavAda  school  of  MahAyAna  Buddhism
VijNAnavAda  school  of  MahAyAna  Buddhism
Advaita  VedAnta  (hence  the  nomenclature  "pracchanna  Bauddha"  for
Shankara,  really  it  must  have  been  "pracchanna  MahAyAnika")

NB:  After  the  demise  of  the  NyAya-VaisheShika  and  the
SAnkhya-Yoga  systems,  their  "cause"  was  VedAnticized  and  revived
by  RAmAnuja  and  Madhva.  RAmAnuja  is  the  "heir-reviver"  of
SAnkhya-Yoga  and  Madhva  is  the  "heir-reviver"  of
NyAya-VaisheShika.  This  trend  can  be  clearly  seen  in  both  these


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