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Madhva (1238?–1317?)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-F025-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved June 06, 2020, from

Article Summary

Madhva, Hindu theologian and ascetic, founded the philosophical school commonly called Dvaita Vedānta, but which Madhva and his followers termed tattvavāda, or realism. The name Dvaita refers to Madhva’s dualistic interpretation of the Hindu canonical texts known as the Upaniṣads, also known as Vedānta. In contrast to the monist and semi-monist systems of his two major Vedāntin predecessors, Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja, Madhva asserted the absolute difference between God (īśvara) and human souls (jīva), claiming that they were uncreated, eternal principles with fundamentally distinct natures. Madhva delineated the respective natures of God and souls so as to assert God’s complete transcendence of the world and to legitimate the practice of devotion as the principal means of attaining liberation from the cycle of rebirth (saṃsāra). Madhva’s realist epistemology served as the foundation for this ontological emphasis on difference (bheda).

Citing this article:
Stoker, Valerie. Madhva (1238?–1317?), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-F025-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2020 Routledge.

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