By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Dvaitadvaita, DvaitAdvaita, Dvaitaadvaita
Nimbārka is the author of Dvaitādvaita. He lived in the latter half of the 12th century. His Dvaitādvaita is very similar to the Bhedābheda of Bhāskara. He was a firm believer in Brahman with form and attributes and the path of devotion. His philosophy is more akin to that of Rāmānuja.
Nimbarka’s main work is Vedanta parijatasaurabha, which is his commentary on the Brahmasutras. It is brief but lucid, since he avoids the dialectical methods or a flowery style. According to him there are three equally real and co-eternal tattvas or principles. These principles are:
- Brahman - He is is the controller or niyantr.
- Cit - It is the enjoyer, bhoktr.
- Acit - It is is the enjoyed, bhogya
Classification of Acit
Acit is of three kinds:
- Prakrta or what is derived from prakrti or primal matter
- Aprakrta or what is not derived from prakrti, but derived from a non-material substance of which the world of Brahman is made
- Kala or time
They are different from one another in their svarupa or nature. But the cit and the acit are paratantra-tattvas, dependent realities.
Analogy in Bheda and Abheda
Nimbarka adopts the view that the bheda (difference) and the abheda (non- difference) are both equally real. They co-exist but do not contradict each other. It is like the relationship between the sea and its waves or the sun and its rays. Cit and acit, the souls and the universe, exist in Brahman from all eternity and never get separated from him whether in the causal state or when manifested. They retain their individuality even during salvation, or dissolution of the universe.
Characteristics of Brahman
Brahman is personal and possesses a celestial body full of exquisite beauty and race. Nimbarka identifies him with Krsna and posits Radha as his Śakti or consort just as Ramanuja accepts Laksmi as the consort of Viṣṇu-Nārayana.
Brahman is omniscient, the cause of the origin, sustenance and destruction of the universe. He is powerful, yet merciful. He is gracious to his devotees and helps them have a direct vision of himself.
The jivas are atomic and infinite in number. Each of them is a distinctive agent, a jnatr (knower), kartr (doer) and bhoktr (enjoyer) of the karmas he does. They animate the body they live in, even as a small lamp kept in a room lights up the whole room.
Destiny of Jivas
There are three destinies for the jivas:
- Naraka or hell for the sinners
- Svarga or heaven for the virtuous
- Apavarga or release for the enlightened ones. It is attaining the world of Brahman from which there is no return.
Modes of Attaining Brahman
Constant meditation on Brahman as the inmost self of the jiva or the individual soul is the means of attaining Brahman in Brahmaloka. There he has brahmasvarupa-labha. Jiva becomes similar to Brahman in nature. The only power that jiva is devoid of is the power of creation. The other sadhanas recommended are:
- Scripture-ordained work
- Devotion and surrender to God
- Strict obedience to the spiritual teacher
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore