By Swami Harshananda
Apṛthak-siddha literally means ‘inseparably existing’.
The relationship between God on the one hand, and the individual souls as the insentient nature on the other, is a point often discussed in the theistic schools of philosophy. Reality of the external world and plurality of the individual selves is a fact of experience. Maintaining the supreme independence of God is a logical and metaphysical necessity. Reconciling these two positions needs a correct statement of the relationship between God and his creation.
Viśiṣtādvaita Vedānta, systematized by Rāmānuja (A. D. 1017-1137) and others, has solved this problem by accepting the acit (insentient nature) and the cit (sentient souls) as being the body of īśvara (God), the former two being considered as ‘apṛthak-siddha-viśeṣaṇas’ of the latter.
In the sentence, ‘This is a white cow,’ the color whiteness depends upon the cow and cannot exist separately from the cow. Neither are the cow and the whiteness identical. Hence whiteness is an apṛthak-siddha-viśeṣaṇa, a viśeṣaṇa or attribute, which is siddha or existing, aprthak or inseparably.
Another example often stated is: the flower and its fragrance, the vowel and the consonant, the body and the self. This approach allows for internal plurality but rejects the pluralistic view. The ultimate Truth is thus posited as an organic whole, in spite of different organs or limbs.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore