By Swami Harshananda
Yatindramatadipikā is the only standard and popular prakaraṇagrantha or elementary textbook of Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy. Śrīnivāsadāsa, the author of this treatise, might have lived in the 15th or the 16th century. He was the son of Govindācārya and a disciple of Mahācārya. Being a staunch devotee of Lord Veṅkateśa, he lived in Tirupati. Apart from this treatise, he is said to have written a gloss on the Śrutaprakāśikā which itself is a commentary by Sudarśanasuri on the Śrībhāsya of Rāmānuja. He states that he consulted more than 20 standard books on this subject and has tried to present their summary in an elementary form in his Yatindramatadipikā.
Overview of Yatindramatadipikā
The Yatindramatadipikā is written in elegant prose and has ten avatāras or chapters. An overview of the contents is denoted in brief as follows:
This chapter enumerates the different padārthas or categories, first as pramāṇas and prameyas. It then gives their subdivisions. The theory of satkhyāti is established by rejecting other theories like akhyāti and anirvacanīya-khyāti. The concept of pratyakṣa is explained in detail.
The subject of the third chapter is śabda pramāṇa or verbal testimony. Apart from establishing that the Vedas are eternal and have no human author, an attempt is made to prove that all words convey the sense of Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Lord.
This is the longest of all the sections. Prakṛti or nature is the main subject matter in it. The categories of the Nyāya school of philosophy are refuted and of the Sāṅkhya school accepted.
The fifth chapter is concerned with kāla or time. It is eternal and all-pervasive. Other aspects of time described are:
- Four yugas
- Measurement of Brahmā’s time and life
- Periods of Manus and Indras
- Refutation of other views regarding time
This section enumerates the eternal, transcendental attributes of pure sattva which belongs both to īśvara and jīva. The bodies of īśvara, the muktas or liberated souls and the world known as Vaikuṇṭha are made of śuddhasattva. In the end of this chapter, there is a nice description of Vaikuṇṭha.
This chapter deals with dharmabhutajñāna or attributive consciousness. It is always eternal and all-pervasive in respect of īśvara and the nityas. With regard to the bound souls it is contracted or obscured. If and when they attain liberation, it expands to infinity. Apart from describing the three yogas of karma, jñāna and bhakti, the doctrines of bhakti and prapatti. are elaborated.
The subject of the eighth chapter is jīvas or individual souls. Common characteristics of the jīva and īśvara like self-consciousness are described first. The true nature of the jiva is then elaborated. There are infinite numbers of jīvas. They are unborn and eternal. They are monadic in size with consciousness as the essential nature. Different kinds of jīvas including the liberated ones and their characteristics are described in details. Views of other schools like that of the Cārvākas and Buddhism about the jiva are refuted.
This chapter is concerned with īśvara or God. He is described as:
- Upādānakāraṇa - material cause of the universe
- Nimittakāraṇa - efficient cause of the universe
- Sahakārikāraṇa - co-operative cause of the universe
The theory of māyā of the advaitins is refuted. Five-fold aspects of īśvara are elaborated. They are:
The tenth and the last chapter explains the adravyas which are ten.
Commentary on Yatindramatadipikā
This work has one modern commentary called Prakāśa by Vāsudevaśāstri Abhyaṅkar.
The work concludes by giving a long list of treatises, 31 in number, dealing with the Viśiṣṭādvaita philosophy from which the essence of this work has been prepared.
- It is situated in Chittor district of Andhra Pradesh.
- He lived in A. D. 1200-1275.
- He lived in A. D. 1017-1137.
- Pramāṇas means valid sources of knowledge.
- Prameyas means objects known through them.
- Satkhyāti means ‘what is real alone is apprehended’.
- Pratyakṣa means direct perception.
- Upamiti means analogy.
- Arthāpatti means implication.
- It is also called as śuddhasattva.
- Nityas means eternal souls never in bondage.
- Karma means action.
- Bhakti means devotion.
- Prapatti means self-surrender.
- Adravyas means non-substance.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore