Madhva’s Philosophy of the Visnu Faith: An Old and Rare Book

Item Code: NAC414
Author: Helmuth Von Glasenapp
Publisher: Dvaita Vedanta Studies and Research Foundation
Language: English
Edition: 1992
Pages: 267
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8 Inch X 5.8 Inch
Weight 420 gm
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Book Description

We are glad to present to the students of Dvaita Vedanta, this volume on ‘Madhva’s Philosophy of Visnu Faith’ written by Dr. Von Glasenapp of Berlin University as long back as in 1922. Dr. Glasenapp wrote it in German as his doctorate thesis and later published it.

A copy of the original work in German was procured by late Sri Huchaha Rao Bengeri, a devoted Research Scholar in Dvaita Vedanta and Haridasad literature. Dr. Sridhar B Shrotri has translated it into English for the benefit of those who do not know German.

As this work was written long back by a foreign Scholar, it needed editing and addition of some foot notes to make details accurate and unto date. Prof. Pandurangi, who was requested to Edit and add necessary notes, has kindly done so. We are thankful to these scholars.

There are a few more works in German and French dealing with Dvaita Vedanta. We propose to publish these works also in due course. We also propose to bring together the Research papers on Dvaita Vedanta published in different research journals in the early part of this Century, in one or two volumes under the title viz., ‘Research in Dvaita Vedanta’ with a view to establish a link with the past research with our current and future research plans. We look forward to secure the co—operation of young scholars in this task.



The philosophical systems of Hindu—sects were made so far, only to a very small extent, the object of scientific inquity by the European research on India. This attitude is indeed quite wrong. For, if the occidental indology should make the West appreciate the culture of the Indian peoples, it should not restrict itself to the study of creations of the most ancient period of the History of Indian thought. It must also endeavour to understand and describe all the phenomena of cultural life of the land of the Ganga, right upto present day, and that top with equal devotion. In one’s admiration for the sacred monuments of a distant past, one should not neglect the study of a phenomenon which is still in force and which is very much alive in present—day India. It may be then that it appears to be of little interest and of less importance from the point of view of classical studies.

This work endeavours to portray for the first time the teachings of the Visnuite sect of the Madvas. This sect is quite common in South India today. This work, basing itself on the works of the founder of the sect, would like, for its part, to contribute to supplementing and expanding our knowledge of religious trends within the Hinduism of today. It treats accordingly, above all, the religious world of thought of Madhva. I have mentioned his exegetics, logic, epistemology, as also his polemics vis-à-vis the other schools only to the extent they appeared necessary for my purpose. I have not restricted myself in my portrayal to taking only or the other work of the master as a basis, but consulted all the 37 works ascribed to him, if not giving attention to all in the same degree. It goes, of course, without saying that only the most important could be emphasised, much other is only cursorally mentioned, in a book like this. This had to be in view of the voluminous works of Madhva. The edition used by me comprises 2350 pages in oblong big octave size. It includes also the texts of the Bhagvad—Gita and the 10 Upanishads. Yet, in order to be sure that no important point escapes my attention, I have thoroughly compared the best Indian summary of Madhva’s teachings, Padmanabha’s “Madhva—siddhanta—sara”. I am, however, aware of the fact that despite this, many an imperfection are inherent in my interpretation of Madhva’s philosophy; but the comparison between the original sources and all the European portrayals of the metaphysical systems of the Brahmanas teaches us that it is possible for us to do only a limited justice to the peculiar trains of thought of the Indian Scholastics in view of the great difference of thinking between us and the Hindus.

My work was begun in the summer of 1915 and it was brought to a provisional conclusion at the end of 1917. I was admitted on account of this work in May 1918 by the Philosophical Faculty of Bonn University as lecturer. The work was in a different form when I submitted it to the Philosophical Faculty of Berlin University two years later for my qualifying examination. Since then, I have considerably enlarged my work and also modified it. A great part of the introduction and several sections of the text have been written a new, and I have made many additions and improved individual sections.

In view of the difficulty of making Madhva’s works available under the prevalent conditions in Germany today, I have appended ,salient passages from them, very often in the original language, for those who are accustomed to reading philosophical texts in Sanskrit and for those whom the texts are not easily accessible. This would enable them at least to get an insight into Madhva’s diction and to enable them to verify my presentation.

This book, in its form and contents, is primarly addressed to Indologists. But I hope, it may also interest all those who are concerned with the history and problems of Indian religiosity. Madhva’s system offers indeed surprising analogies to many a philosophy of prominent church-teachers of the Christian Middle Ages.

I take this opportunity in thanking privy councilor Prof. H. Jacobi (Bonn), Prof. Dr. F.O. Schrader (Kiel) and Prof. Dr. S.N. Dasgupta (Chittagong) for their friendly information’s and advice. I thank Prof. Dr. R. Simon (Berlin) for his kind help in reading the proofs and the administration of the Prussian State Library at Berlin and particularly my colleague Dr. Nobel for their ready help in making available all the necessary works needed by me and allowing me to keep them for a long period.




  Explanation of Abbreviations  
  Part I
Madhva and His School
  1. The Mythical Pre-history of Madhva  
  2. The Legendary Life-History of Madhva  
  3. The Historical Madhva  
  4. Madhva’s works  
  5. The Origin’s Madhva’s Doctrine  
  6. Madhva’s Successors  
  7. Madhvas of Today  
  8. Friends and Opponents of Madhva  
  References 50
  Part II
Madhva’s Philosophy of the Visnu-Faith
  Chapter I: Epistemology  
  I. The Means of Knowledge  
  II. The Methods of Eliciting the Truth  
  References 82
  Chapter II: Metaphysics 86
  I. The Basic Principles  
  1. The Three Entities  
  2. The Five Distinctions (Pancabheda)  
  3. The Dvaita-Doctrine  
  II. God’s Nature 101
  1. Definition of God  
  2. God’s Existence cane be proved and His Nature can be examined  
  3. God is Visnu  
  4. Visnu’s Attributes  
  5. Visnu’s Body  
  6. Visnu’s Evolutions (vyuha)  
  7. Visnu’s Earthly Manifestations (avatara)  
  8. Other Manifestations of Visnu  
  9. Transcendence and Immanence of Visnu  
  IV. The Souls 117
  1. General  
  2. Souls and Bodies  
  3. God’s Relationship with the Souls  
  4. God’s Work in the Souls  
  5. The Classes of the Jivas  
  V. The Souls (Continuation): The Gods 147
  1. The Nature of Gods  
  2. The Individual Gods  
  References 157
  Chapter III: Doctrine of Salvation  
  I. Causes of Samsara 171
  II. The Means of Getting Salvation 175
  1. Good Works  
  2. Knowledge  
  3. Love of God  
  III. Meditation, the way to Perfection  
  IV. Seeing God  
  V. Behaviour of the One who is redeemed alive  
  References 198
  Chapter IV: Eschatology 204
  I. The Fate of Souls after Death  
  II. The Way of Samsarin to Rebirth  
  III. The Journey to the Hell of the Condemned  
  IV. The Path to Salvation  
  V. The Condition of the Redeemed  
  References 217
  a) Works of Madhva  
  i) Text Editions  
  ii) Translations  
  b) Works from Madhva’s School  
  c) Writings and Essays on Madhva in occidental Languages  
  Appendix 219

Sample Pages

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