Principal school of Vedanta. Its seminal figure was Ramanuja, the first Vedanta thinker to establish as the cornerstone of his system the identification of a personal God with the Brahman of the Upanishads. For him, soul and matter depended on God for their existence. Exclusive devotion to God can elicit his grace, assisting the devotee in gaining release from the cycle of rebirth. After Ramanuja, a schism developed over the role of grace, giving rise to different schools. The spread of Visistadvaita was important in the devotional renaissance of Vaishnavism. In southern India the philosophy remains a major intellectual influence.
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