anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 19 15:32:11 CST 1998
Ravi Mayavaram <msr at COMCO.COM> writes:
> If one can say mAyA is the door to this dualistic world, then Ishwara
> is the door, way and the means to liberation.
This brings up an interesting question. What is the stand of
advaita on bhakti (devotion)? There are at least two views among
adavitins. One is that bhakti makes the aspirant's mind pure and
makes him eligible for jnaana. The other view is that bhakti is
sufficient in itself to carry one to mokshha. So there seems to be
a contradiction here, especially in light of such emphatic comments
by Shankara as "vidyaiva ajnaanahaanaaya" (knowledge alone destroys
ignorance). But the two views have been reconciled by Madhusuudana
Saraswati, who was himself a great bhakta and a foremost advaitin.
According to him, bhakti by itself will lead one to Brahmaloka
eventually. While there, the jiiva will, without any effort, get the
knowledge of the upanishads and get liberated. Brahmaloka is that
region where the last vestige of maayaa still remains.
By putting forward this view, it can be seen that Madhusudana has
satisfied Shankara's criterion that only jnaana can destroy ajnaana.
At the same time, the jiiva who has reached Brahmaloka by being
devoted to God, has not had to go through the usual rigorous
discipline of sannyaasa, etc. to gain that jnaana. So it is
possible, according to this reconciliation by Madhusudana,
to be completely immersed in bhakti and still achieve the same end as
those who strive for jnaana.
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