New Approach to Visistadvaita (With Special Reference to Svaminarayana Vedanta)

FREE Delivery
Express Shipping
(20% off)
Express Shipping: Guaranteed Dispatch in 24 hours
Delivery Ships in 1-3 days
Item Code: NAF628
Publisher: Bharatiya Kala Prakashan
Author: Dr. Suresh Vakil
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8180900118
Pages: 307
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 Inch X 6.0 Inch
Weight 530 gm
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
About The Book

This work presents certain basic principles of Svaminarayana’s philosophy of self. According to Svaminarayana, self is real. It is one of the five realities accepted by him. The other four realities are Parabrahman (God), Aksarabrahman (eternal abode and first servant of God), Maya (matter) and Isvara (cosmic God). It is neither before nor after God. T is co-eternal with God. It is different and distinct from God. It cannot be destroyed. It is imperishable. There are innumerable selves.

God dwell in self as Antarayami (indweller). God also dwells in it was Saksin (witness). God is the self of self is eternally dependent upon God, for its existence and activity. False identification of self with body constitutes bondage. Knowledge that self is different from body and God is real knowledge. Real knowledge liberates self from bondage. On attaining liberation self does not merge in God. It retains it identity in the state of liberation. On liberation self attains divine body. With this divine body the self cternally worships and serves God. Once self attains liberation, there is no return from it to the mundane existence.

About The Author

DR. Suresh Vakil, (born 1927) the author of this work, is an advocate, a scholar and a writer. He is a first class first with distinction in M. A. (Philosophy) and recipient of three gold medals and prizes from Gujarat University, Ahmadabad. He holds Ph.D. degree in philosophy of Gujarat University.

Dr. Suresh Vakil has written eighteen books in English, Urdu and Gujarati. He is the author of the internationally famous book “The concept of Akshar Brahman in the Philosophy of Shri Svaminarayana” (1985) published by internationally well known institution “Bochasanvasi Akshara Purushottam (Svaminarayana) Sanstha headsed by internationally well known institution “Bochasanvasi Akshara Purushottam (Svaminarayana) Sanstha headed by internationally acclaimed saint shri Pramukh Swami Maharaj. His book “Self in Law and Legality” was published in 1999, his book “Adalat” in Urdu (1997) is very popular. His popular books in Gujarati are “Satya” “ Foundations of Hinduism” (1990), “Dhyana Kumbha” (1991) and its second edition (1997)), “Punarajanma Prakahs” (1996) and others. He is the author of several research papers read at various philosophical conferences. He has contributed several articles in journals and daily papers. He is the President of “Tatwadarshana” a philosophical institution functioning in Ahmadabad.


I feel great pleasure in writing a foreword to ‘New Apprach ot Visistadvaita’, with special Reference to Svaminarayana Vedanta’ by Dr. Surehs Vakil. I had the occasion to go through this work carefully and certainly it is an erudite and scholarly work.

Dr. Suresh Vakil is well known advocate by profession and scholar of India and Western Philosophy. He holds M. A and Ph. D in Philosophy of Gujarat University. He is also president of Tattvadarshana, a philosophic al study group since three decades.

Sri Svaminarayana (1781-1830 AD) was a great religious and social reformer of Hindu society in the eighteenth century A.D. He was critic of casteist society and accepted people from all walks of life into his Sampradaya (sect) without making any distinction between caste or creed.

His philosophy stands almost similar to visistadvaita of Ramanuja. Infact Sri Svaminarayana himself described his philosophy as Visistadvaita only. Still he differs from Ramanuja in several respects His philosophy may be called as Neo-Visistadvaita school of Vedanta. Ramanuja accepts three realties, viz., Cit, Acit and Isvara (Brahman) while according to Svaminarayana there are five kinds of metaphysical entities, viz. parabrahman, Aksarabrahman, Isvara, Jiva and Maya. Only Parabrahman or God is independent, all others are dependent on Him.

Svaminarayana like other vaisnava philosopher believes that God is personal (Saguna) not Nirguna. He also emphasizes the intense love for God, which is ased on the real understanding of his greatness and glory. According to him, love of God (Bhakti) is the only means of attaining salvation. Complete surrender to God, is the most effective means of securing grace of the God. Just as a devoted wife loves her husband only, similarly the devotee of God should love God and only God ({ativratabhakit). This kind of love of God enables the spiritual aspirant to reach the state of Samadhi and have the mystical experience of God realization. This devotion must be supported and supplemented by Dharam, Janana and Vairagya.

Sri Svaminarayana’s works are mostly in Gujarati language except Siksapatri. His followers have written commentary on Brahmasutra, Upanisads and some other philosophical topics. But not much research work has been done to expose Sri Svaminarayana’s philosophy from all angles.

Dr. Suresh Vakil’s work is unique in its own way. He has studied Sri Svaminarayana’s works thoroughly, which enables him to produce this very good piece of research.

Philosophy ideas are scattered here and there in original works of Sri Svaminaryana, so systematic treatment of specific topic is very difficult task. Dr. Suresh vakil has done it most efficiently and successfully.

This is an exhaustive study on the concept of self in Svaminarayanism. The author deals with concept of self from various angles, such as metaphysical nature of self, empirical nature of self, self and God, self and Aksarabrahman, Law of karma and rebirth, Liberation and Jivanmukti. In the last chapter, Dr. Suresh vakil has compared Sri Svaminarayana’s view with great stalwarts like sankara, Ramanuja, Madhava, Vallabha and plato which is in itself remarkable and first of its kind.

I have no hesitation in recommending this scholarly work to the readers and I am sure it will get the due welcome, which it deserves.


The present work embodies my humble but sincere endeavor to understand Svaminarayana’s Philosophy in general and his philosophy of self in particular. From my studies I have felt that Svaminarayan’s philosophy s really a great heritage of mankind of which we can justly be proud. I have tried to grasp the basic principles of Svaminarayan in respect of the nature of self and to present the same in rational terms. My approach all throughout has been constructive.

I have divided my work into five parts. Each part consists of one or more chapters. Part one contains only one chapter (First Chapter). It purports to provide a general introduction to the subject of this work. Part two comprises four chapters (chapters two to five). It deals with the metaphysical nature of self. Part three consists of six chapters (Chapters Six to eleven). It is concerned with the empirical nature of the self. Part Four comprises four chapters (chapter twelve to fifteen).

It endeavours to describe the fundamental concepts of Svaminarayaniya Doctrine of Liberation and the means to attain liberation pointed out by Svamnarayana. Part five consists of one chapter (Chapter Sixteen). It attempts to compare Svaminarayan’s philosophy of self with that of Sankara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Vallabha and Plato.

From the studies I have made certain basic principles of Svaminarayan’s philosophy of self emerge. It would be worth wile to present here a brief statement of Svaminarayan’s philosophy of self. According to Svaminarayana, self (Jiva) is real. It is one of the five realities accepted by Svaminaraya. The other four realities are: Parabrahman(God), Aksarabrahman (eternal abode and the first servant of God,) Maya (matter) and Isvara (Cosmic God). Self is never created. It is eternal. It neither before nor after God. It is coeternal with God. It cannot be destroyed. It is imperishable. There are innumerable selves. Self is neither part of God nor appearance of God. It is different and distinct from God having its own individuality. It eternally exists in itself. Each self is different and distinct from the other selves. Self is formless. It has no gender. It is atomic in size. But, it pervades the entire body throughits consciousness. Self is knower (jnata). It is also doer (karta) and enjoyer (bhokta). It has three material bodies: causal (karana), subtle (suksma) and gross (sthula). Its consciousness has three states: waking (jagrata), dream (svapna) and deep sleep (suspti).

God dwells in self as antaryami (indweller). God also dwell in it as saksin (witness self). God is the self of self, without God self can do nothing. Self is eternally dependent upon God for its existence and activity. Self’s metaphysical dependence upon God has been explained by svaminarayan, souls are of three kinds: Nitya mukta, Mukta, and Baddha. Nitya Mukta souls are eternally liberated, like Narada. Mukta souls were once bound (Baddha ), but hey attained liberation by spiritual sadhan ad grace of God. Baddha souls are tied to the wheel of birth and death. They have yet to attain their liberation. Due to ignorance the self identifies itself with body. But self is not body. Self is distinct from body. The false identification of self is different from body as well as from God constitutes real knowledge which saves from the cycle of births and deaths. When by Sadhana and by grace of God the self gains this saving knowledge, it attains liberation. On attaining liberation the self does not merge in God. It retains its individuality even in the state of liberation. Devotee of God, on liberation, after leaving the body goes to Aksaradhaman. God eternally resides in Aksaradhaman, the devotee of God attains a divine body. Housed in this divine body the self eternally resides there. With this divine body, it eternally worships and serves God and enjoys His blissful communion. For self, having once attained that state, there is no return from it to the mundane existence. Svami-narayana believes that even in the state of liberation in Aks aradhaman the difference between selves continues to exist, and each self attains knowledge and bliss of God in proportion to its receiving capacity, i.e. the capacity to understand and appreciate the greatness and glory of God. Of course, Svaminarayana has admitted the eternal growth of this capacity. But the greatness and glory of God being infinite and unfathomable, the self will never be able to have complete knowledge of God and hence there will be no full stop to its growth.

For the attainment of liberation Svaminarayana has pointed out different kinds of means of liberation. Dharma, Jnana, Bhakti and Vairagya are principle means of liberation, lie has also pointed out auxiliary means of liberation. The principle four means are not exclusive of each but they are complementary to each other. In Svaminarayana's view religion at its highest must express a harmonious synthesis of dharma (morality), Jnana (understanding of the metaphysical nature of self, world and God), Bhakti (intense love for and devotion to God) and Vairagya (detachment towards sensuous objects of the world). Such a harmonious synthesis of these four means is found in the life of an Ekantika Bhakta. In Svaminarayana's view Ekantikapanuri is the highest form of religious life.

According to Svaminarayana although self is metaphysically dependent upon God, it has freedom to endeavour for its liberation. Self is free to love and worship God and adopt all or any of the means of liberation. All the same Svami-narayana has clarified that even if the self adopts all the means of liberation and worships God, it cannot attain liberation without the grace of God. Grace of God is sine qua non for the liberation of the self.

Svaminarayana has accepted the possibility of Jivanmukti. If a man intensely loves God and it firmly devoted to Him, it is possible for him to attain liberation here and now. Such a devotee of God attains liberation even while he is embodied.

Svaminarayana had found out a master principle for his life. This master principle was the stark reality of God. He was absolutely certain about God. The reality of God and his intimate relationship with God occupies the central place in his preaching and discourses. God was much more to Svaminarayana than a mere object of worship. The intimacy and report of communion with God in Prayer exceeded everything that he experienced in men. For him the ultimate fact giving religious value to everything in his world was God.

The age in which Svaminarayana lived and worked was an age of belief and universal faith in God. In Vacanamrta we do not find a single person asking, him whether God existed or not. The assemblies before whom he spoke were constituted of his disciples, his devotees, saints, members of royal families and laity. They never questioned the existence of God. What they desired to know was, what kind of God was He? What is His nature? Where does He reside? What does He do? What are His attributes and powers? On these questions Svaminarayana spoke with great authority and certitude. What he meant to convey to the persons sitting in assemblies was like this, please listen to me carefully. It is not I who speak. It is God who speaks through me. He spoke with great assurance from his profound and personal experience. In teaching his disciples to love and worship God, he communicated something of his mystic experience to them. But something remained in-communicable. His attempt to communicate the incommunicable caused great awe and wonder in his disciples.

For Svaminarayana God is sovereign moral personality ruling the universe. In his view God is primarily occupied with human redemption. Man is free to make his decisions. Though God allows men to make their own decisions, he continues to love him throughout the redemptive process in which the consequences of their actions inevitably follow. God of Svaminarayana does not condemn any man to eternal damnation. God wants that every self must attain final emancipation and get eternal life in Aksaradhaman. No person is to be excluded from endeavouring to reach Aksaradhaman. No self is unworthy of Cod's grace or attaining eternal fellowship with God.

These are some of the universal and fundamental elements in Svaminarayana's philosophy of self and its relationship with God. The conception of liberation and particularly the details of the state of liberation are, perhaps, in my humble opinion, the greatest contribution of Svaminarayana to world thought. Svaminarayana gives a daring promise to the suffering humanity that man can be free from all kinds of pains if he lives the life of an Ekantika. Today science and technology has advanced to a point where possibility of the annihilation of the entire human race cannot be ruled out. The root cause of the possibility and danger of annihilation and suffering of humanity lies in the grim fact that man is ignoring spiritual values. Man has become material minded. Materialist outlook dominates the world. Everywhere the cry of more goods and more comforts is heard. But when man comes in actual possession of the objects of worldly enjoyments, happiness remains away from him. Materialistic approach invariably brings pains and sufferings with it. Endeavours for removing pains and sufferings by acquisition of more and more material objects are just like endeavours to extinguish fire by petrol. And, therefore, the ideal of liberation (Moksa) as preached and pointed out by Svaminarayana become highly relevant and assumes great importance in the present context. An humble attempt, in the following pages, has been made to expound and explain that laudable ideal which is capable of inspiring hope in the hopeless and suffering humanity.

It would be quite in the fitness of things if I record here the points of originality which I have worked out in this thesis.


List of Abbreviationsxxii
Part one Introduction
Chapter 1 Introduction 3to 11
1Aim of the Present Work3
2Life of Svaminarayan4
5State of Philosophical Studied on Svaminarayanism7
6Method Employed10
Chapter 2 Concept of Self13to 33
1Five Reals15
2No Distinction Between Jiva, Jivatman and Atman16
3Svaminarayana Proves the Existence of Self16
4What is Self?18
5Self is not By-product of Matter20
6Self, Distinct from Body21
7Dimension of the self22
Self is Formless24
Self Neither Male nor Female25
Location of Self26
Classification of Selves27
Chapter 3Metaphysics of Self34to 51
1Plurality of Selves34
Metaphysical Nature of Self35
Metaphysical Status of Self37
Doctrine of Intrinsic Difference38
Self Pervades the Entire Body41
Metaphysical Dependence of Selves on God42
Self as Knower43
Knowledge of self45
Chapter 4Self and God52to 70
1Various Names of God52
Svaminaryana Proves the Existence of God52
Form and Personality of God55
Man in the Image of God56
The Doctrine of Double soul57
Relation between self and God59
Jiva, Law of karma and God61
God as the Goal62
Self's knowledge of God63
Jiva's Sadharmya with God64
Can Jiva become God?65
Chapter 5Jiva and Aksarabrahman71to 80
1Introductory Remark71
2Second in Rank71
3Personal Aspect of Aksarabrahman72
4Impersonal Aspect of Aksarabrahman73
5Jiva's Sadharmya with Aksaraabrahman74
6"Going to" and "Residing in" Aksaradhaman75
7Aksaradhaman as the Goal76
8Aksarabrahma of Svaminarayana and Brahman of Sankara77
Part Three Empirical Nature of Self
Chapter 6Dehatraya83to 98
1Introductory Remark83
2Doctrine of Dehatraya83
3Sthula Sarira84
4Suksma Sarira84
5Relation between sthula nd suksma sarira84
6Karan sarira86
7Creation and Destruction of Soul87
8Jiva in pralaya90
9Disembodied state of Jiva93
Chpater 7Antahkarana99to 106
1Nature of Antahkarna99
6Process of Decision-Making101
7Four Modes of Antahkarana102
8Relation between the mind and the self102
Chapter 8Doctrine of Avasthatraya107 to 118
1Introductory Remark107
2Jagrata Avastha107
Svapna Avastha108
Suspti Avastha111
Intermingling of Three States112
The Individual and The Cosmic Aspects of the Three states114
The Fourth State115
Chapter 9Jiva and Isvara119to 137
1Plurality of Isvaras119
2Metaphysical Nature of Isvara119
3Metaphysical Natural of Isvara120
4Three Bodies of Isvara121
5Three States of Isvara121
6Four Forms of Speech of Isvara123
7Parabrahman in Isvara123
8Birth, Death and Re-birth of Isvara124
9Liberation of Isvara124
10Similarities between Jiva and Isvara126
11Difference between Jiva and Isvara128
12Relation between Jiva and Isvara130
13Can Jiva become Isvara?131
14Isvara of Svaminarayana and the Over mind of Aurobindo131
Chapter 10Law of Karma138to 159
1What is Karma?138
2Kinds of Karma139
3What is Law of Karma?140
4Law of Karma and Human Freedom142
5Law o Karma and God145
6The Eight Principles147
7God and the Eight Principles150
8Law of Krma and Law of Nature150
9Area Where Law of Karma operates152
10Law of karma and social service153
11Law of Karma and Grace of God154
Chapter 11The Doctrine of Rebirth160 to 172
1Meaning of Rebirth160
2Idea of Rebirth Follows from Law of Karma160
3Rebirth Explained161
4Kinds of Gross Bodies162
5Life in Rebirth163
6Rebirth in Indian Philosophy163
7Radhakrishnan's Arguments for Rebirth163
8Rebirth in Gita166
9Rebirth in Western Philosophy167
10Rebirth in Bible167
11Rebirth in Quran168
12Rebirth as Moral Value170
Part Four Liberation 175to199
1Principle Means of Liberation175
2Auxiliary Means of liberation175
14God's Grace as Ultimate Means of Liberation189
15Relation of Auxiliary means to principal means192
16Social and moral significance of some of the auxiliary means193
Chapter 13Concept of Liberation200 to 211
1Concept of Liberation (Moksa)200
2Plurality of Liberated Souls200
3NO Sakama Mukti203
5Soul’s Entering into God207
Chapter 14State of Liberated Soul in Aksaradhaman212 to 232
1Stuff of Souls Body in Aksaradhaman212
2NO Merger in Release214
3Similarity with God215
4Distinction between God and Liberated Souls217
5Graded Knowledge of God218
6Activism of Liberated Soul220
7Svami-Sevaka Bhava221
8Bliss of Liberated Soul224
9No Fall From the Aksaradhaman225
10Future of the Liberated soul226
11Birth of the Released soul227
Chapter 15Mysticism and Jivanmukti233 to 245
1Concept of Jivanmukti233
2Jnani Mukta and Maha Mukta234
3Nature of Mystical Experience236
4Supernormal Powers238
5Jivanmukta and Morality239
6Jivanmukta and Society240
Part Five Some Comparisons
Chapter 16Some Comparisons249 to 275
1Introductory Remark278
2Svaminarayana Remark276
3Svaminarayana and Ramanuja267
4Svaminarayana and Madhva263
5Svaminarayana and Vallabha260
6Svaminarayana and Plato257
Frequently Asked Questions
  • Q. What locations do you deliver to ?
    A. Exotic India delivers orders to all countries having diplomatic relations with India.
  • Q. Do you offer free shipping ?
    A. Exotic India offers free shipping on all orders of value of $30 USD or more.
  • Q. Can I return the book?
    A. All returns must be postmarked within seven (7) days of the delivery date. All returned items must be in new and unused condition, with all original tags and labels attached. To know more please view our return policy
  • Q. Do you offer express shipping ?
    A. Yes, we do have a chargeable express shipping facility available. You can select express shipping while checking out on the website.
  • Q. I accidentally entered wrong delivery address, can I change the address ?
    A. Delivery addresses can only be changed only incase the order has not been shipped yet. Incase of an address change, you can reach us at [email protected]
  • Q. How do I track my order ?
    A. You can track your orders simply entering your order number through here or through your past orders if you are signed in on the website.
  • Q. How can I cancel an order ?
    A. An order can only be cancelled if it has not been shipped. To cancel an order, kindly reach out to us through [email protected].
Add a review
Have A Question

For privacy concerns, please view our Privacy Policy

Book Categories