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Achaarya Nimbarka (14th century CE?) is said to be the founder of this school of Vedanta which presents another variation of the bhedaabheda. Nimbarka was a Brahmin from Andhra and his school is identified as the Sanakasampradhaya of Vaishnavism. The works attributed to him are Vedantapaarijaatasaurabha - a short commentary on the Brahma Sutras, Dashashloki, Shrikrishnastavaraaja and Madhvamukavardhana.

Shrinivasa comments on Nimbarka's bhashyam in his Vedantakaustubha, on which Keshava Kashmiri has written his Kaustubhaprabhaa. Purushottama has written commentaries on Dashashloki and Stavaraaja called Vedaantaratnamanjushaa and Shrutyantasuradruma respectively. Maadhava Mukunda's Para-paksha-giri-vajra engages in polemics against Advaita.


Nimbarka revives the bhedaabheda of earlier Vedantins like Ashmarathya, Bhartrprapancha, Bhaskara and Yadhava Prakasha. He is also heavily indebted to Ramanuja from whom he seems to have borrowed wholesale, making significant enhancements and modifications here and there.

Nimbarka rejects Ramanuja's conception of souls and matter as qualities of God. The function of quality is either to differentiate a thing from other things or to make the object better known. Matter and souls as the qualities of God serve no such purpose. As there's nothing other than God what can they distinguish him from? Nor can they throw light on his true nature as they do not form his essence. Nimbarka also disputes Ramanuja's view that matter and souls constitute the body of God. It is wrong to distinguish between the body and soul of God. If so, then God being the soul would experience all the miseries and imperfections of the body. One part of God cannot present eternity and perfection, while the other part presents transience and imperfection.

Matter and souls are therefore not the body of God, but his powers. So the truth is not identity qualified by difference, but identity and difference. Both identity and difference are separately and equally real.

God, souls and matter are all real, but the last two are absolutely dependent on God.

The relation between God and universe is one of identity and difference. The universe cannot be absolutely identical with God, for then God himself will be bound and experience all the imperfections and miseries of samsaara. The universe cannot be absolutely different from God either - for then it would constitute a limit to God and he could not be its all pervading inner ruler and controller. Matter and souls do not have an independent existence of God and hence are not different from him. But since there are dependent and limited, they are different from God who is independent and unlimited. Even as the rays of the Sun and the Sun are both distinct and non-distinct, so is the relationship between the soul and God. In "tat tvam asi", 'tat' refers to the all pervading Brahman, 'tvam' refers to the dependant soul and 'asi' refers to the relation of difference cum non-difference between them.


Krishna is the highest Brahman who by his very nature is free from all defects and is filled with all perfections. He manifests himself in the four Vyuhas and in incarnations. He is the ruler of the universe and Radha is his consort. Souls and matter are his powers. He is the material as well as the efficient cause of the universe. He is the efficient cause because as the Lord of karma and the inner ruler of souls, he brings about creation in order to enable the souls reap the fruits of their karma. He is the material cause because creation means the manifestation of his powers of chit and achit. Creation is a real transformation (parinaama) of his powers.

Souls are essentially of the nature of knowledge (jnanasvarupa) and also form the substratum of knowledge. Quite like the Sun which is of the nature of light as well as substratum of light which is its attribute, the relation between soul and knowledge is like the one between the qualified and qualification - identity as well as difference. The soul which is atomic in size is the real knower, agent and enjoyer. It is dependent on God who pervades, supports and controls it from within. Though the soul is eternal, still it suffers the misery of samsara due to its embodiment which itself is due to karma and avidhya. Bhakti to God results in knowledge which brings about liberation.

The inanimate is of three kinds : 1. Apraakrta is the super matter out of which the divine body is made. 2. Praakrta which is derived from praakriti with its three gunas - sattva, rajas and tamas and 3. Kaala or time.