One of the four major Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas, a theistic school of Vedānta founded by Madhva. It is dualistic in so far as it maintains, in contrast to Śaṅkara's Advaita Vedānta and Rāmānuja's Viśiṣṭādvaita, an absolute and irreducible distinction between the world and Brahman, its creator and Lord (equated with Viṣṇu by Madhva). Madhva develops this further by positing a fundamental distinction—five differences, or pañcabheda—between Brahman and individual selves (cit or jīvas), Brahman and matter, matter and individual selves, individuals and other individuals, and one material object and another. Only Brahman can be regarded as independent (svatantra): all other entities, whether selves or material objects, are dependent upon omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent Brahman for their existence. Selves are entrapped in matter because of their actions (karma); liberation can only be attained by total devotion (bhakti) to God. See also Madhva.