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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Predestination in Madhva's thought

Predestination is admitted by the Theistic school of Dvaita Vedānta, founded by Madhva (see Zydenbos 1991). In his review of Zydenbos' article, V.N. Pandurangi (Pandurangi 2012) translates the three kinds of souls according to Dvaita Vedānta as 'eligible for liberation' (muktiyogya), 'ever returnee' (nityāvarta) and 'eligible for eternal hell' (tamoyogya). It is not clear —due to the ambiguous semantics of Sanskrit kṛtya suffixes such as yogya— whether the first and the last group of souls will necessarily attain liberation and hell or may attain them. This difference has a major impact on the issue of free will and it is possibly presupposed by Bhagavadgītā 16.19-20 referring to eternal hell and in several other short hints by various authors (including Vedānta Deśika, see, again, Pandurangi 2012). However, the latter examples only refer to the limit case of a few souls at the edge of the classification and authors are careful to explain that these marginal cases should not make people despair, thinking that they might be eternally bound souls.
Is, thus, predestination to eternal hell a real possibility for ordinary people? Or only the limit case of a classification? I am inclined to think that the former option applies to Madhva, and the latter to the rest of Indian philosophy. Do readers agree?

On predestination and free will see also this post and this one. On Madhva, see this post.

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