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Concept Of Independence of Self – Datta Swatantrya Of Madhvacharya

Datta Swatantrya is the concept of the self having a measure of independence. The concept has been expounded by Madhvacharya (1238 – 1317 CE). He stresses that the soul is a real agent in regard to actions. This is established by such evidences as:

  1. The self conscious judgment (e.g – I Am the doer).
  2. The inference that such activity relating to the means of release must inhere in the same individual who actually attains that release.
  3. Scriptural texts such as: “the self, who is the doer, the knower, purusha” (Prashna Upanishad IV – 9). Unless the self is accepted as a real doer, the injunctions and prohibitions laid down in the scriptures in relation to the self will be futile.

The embodies soul’s actions are the result of the interaction of the mind, the reasoning faculty, and the senses. The self’s activity is brought into play by the unseen merit and demerit of karma. The Supreme Being is the casual agent of the ‘willing’ and ‘effort making’ by the self in regard to activities which generate their respective merits and demerits. The intrinsic agency of the self does not militate against the pronouncement in the scriptures that there is no agent other than God. This only denies that the self has any intrinsic agency independent of God.

The verse in the Bhagavad Gita, which sates – “deluded by egoism, man thinks he is the doer” (III-27),is intended to deny the independence of agency to the individual and not to negate the agency as such.