The Soul According to Rāmānuja

Document Type: Research Paper


Associate Professor, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Rāmānuja was the founder of Visistādvaita Vedānta School, which is one of the three main schools of Vedānta. According to Rāmānuja, the soul (cit), Brahman, and matter (acit) constitute the three principal ontological realities. Rāmānuja provides some proofs for the existence of the soul, which are mostly based on self-consciousness. The relationship of the soul with the matter, on one hand, and with that of Brahman, on the other, is similar to that between the body and the soul. Therefore, He is the Soul of souls. Using this idea, Rāmānuja explains God’s action, which is the basis of the concept of God’s grace and favor within the man. The main traits of the soul according to Rāmānuja are eternity, knowledge, bliss, incomprehensibility, individuation, the distinction from Brahman and other souls, simplicity, and free-will. In its pure state, the soul has these attributes in an unadulterated manner. However, they get contaminated by ignorance and its negative consequences. The emancipation of the soul from samsara depends on the self-recognition and its differentiation from acit or matter.


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