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I have great respect for the philosophies and teachings of Sri Ramanuja. Even when I subscribed completely to Advaitic views, I still held Sri Ramanuja and his vedantic works in highest regard. He was a leader who led from the front, his life and the way he lived were an example and illustration of his teachings. In this post, I want to share Sri Ramanuja's views on Vedanta, Brahman, Atman and certain Upanishads that I find very interesting. Not just Ramanuja, there are so many other greats from the Sri Vaishnava tradition that have contributed so much to Vedanta and to Hindu thoughts in general. So often their thoughts and views get completely neglected or overlooked because of the perception that Advaita is the only explanation to Vedanta in the west. Interestingly Sri Ramanuja himself studied Advaita Vedanta for several years with the teacher Yadava Prakasa, who was considered the most advanced Vendantin during that period. Rest assured Ramanuja knew and understood what he was talking about and found as different. Brahma Sutras authored by Veda Vyasa is considered as the foundation and authority of Vedanta by everyone. Ramanuja's commentaries on Brahma Sutras called Sri Bhashya is considered as one of his major contribution to Vedanta. We can get into how Ramanuja justifies his interpretation of Vedanta as accurate in a little bit. Let's first take a look at Brahman and Atman as explained by Sri Ramanuja. This quoted part above feels like the core difference in Ramanuja's philosophy from that of Advaita teachings. The Ultimate or universal is not the same as the parts it comprises. Sounds quite simple and nice. It is actually as simple as it sounds. All individual or local jivas constitute modes or are qualities of the universal body of Brahman. So there is the local body, mind and intellect collectively as 'jiva' which is not exactly the same as the universal collective body, mind and intellect of all, aka 'brahman'. Read further and he states that jiva or local is identical with the ultimate or universal self (paramatman). Identical does not mean they are essentially the same. Here lies the major difference in the views. The word 'self' can be also misleading in this context. Our likeness with Brahman does not imply we are that entirely. In Vaishnava tradition, one can become like or in the image of Vishnu, but not exactly as the same one exact Vishnu. To continue.... Edit: Forgot to mention that Ramanuja's teacher Yadava Prakasa later changed his views and become one of Ramanuja's disciples accepting his explanation of Vedanta.