Bhakti yoga

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Jun 10 22:37:54 CDT 2002

On Thu, 6 Jun 2002, K Kathirasan NCS wrote:

> That's the reason why the Vedanta tradition says that there are only two
> paths, and they are Jnana Yoga(Sannyasa Yoga) and Karma Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is
> indeed Karma Yoga 'cause there is still doership.

Typically this is true but Advaita Vedanta says Bhakti can be the means of
jnana too.  In the Bhashya on Brahmasutra 2.2.44, Shankaracharya refutes
the 4-vyuha theory of the Bhagavata (proto-Vaishnavas) but takes pains to
note it is only that theory not the general idea of Bhakti.  Here is a
translation (G. Thibauts's actually) of the relevant passage:

"Concerning this system we wish to remark that we do not intend to
controvert the doctrine that Narayana, who is higher than the avyakta
(pradhana or the prakriti of Samkhya in its unmanifest state) who is
the highest Self and the Self of all, reveals Himself by dividing Himself
in multiple ways; for various scriptural passages such as "He is onefold,
He is threefold" (Chandogyopanishad 7.26.2) teaches us the highest Self
appears in manifold forms.  Nor do we mean to object to the inculculation
of unceasing concentration of mind on the highest Being which appears in
the Bhagavata doctrine under the forms of reverential approach etc.; for
that we are to meditate on the Lord we know full well from Smrti and

Earlier in that same section Shankaracharya described the methods by which
these Bhagavatas worshipped ("reverential approach" etc.)

"The believer after having worshipped Vasudeva for a hundred years [i.e.
all his life] by means of reverential approach to the Temple (abhigamana),
procuring of things to be offered (upadana), oblation (ijya), recitation
of prayers etc. (svadhyaya), and devout meditation (yoga) passes beyond
all affliction and reaches the Highest Being.")

How can Bhakti become Jnana when there is duality there?  Even in worldly
love there is an element of selflessness.  When two people are in love
don't they think of nothing else but their beloved?  Doesn't a slight or
injury to one seem just as painful to the other?  For the bhakta by
recognizing the Lord as the ruler and creator of all and then ultimately
as none other than his own self he can get Mukti.

Swami Madhusudana Saraswati was the great thoretician of Bhakti in the
Advaita tradition and he has explained the subject well in works like
Gudarthadipika and Bhaktirasayana.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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