[Advaita-l] (Advaita) Bhakti vs. Jnana

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 12:12:09 CDT 2011

Thank you. After hijacking my thread and forcing me to talk about my
interests, can we now please move on to the topic I researching in to
"Bhakti in Advaita"? :)

Madhusudana is well aware of the jnana path that you espouse but stresses on
bhakti in its own right as a path and goal. Some scholars are of the opinion
that he was influenced by Sri Krishna Caitanya and Gosvamis. Others believe
that he was influenced by Sri Ramanuja. There are scholars who believe he
was influenced by Sridhara Swami and yet others ascribe his bhakti
philosophy to Muktiphala and commentary of Hemadri. Their view is that he
was a devotee at heart but was intellectually convinced of advaitam and was
loyal to the sampradaya which initiated him in to sannyasa. So he tried to
reconcile the two using nyaya but did not succeed completely in doing so by
his own admission.

I admit that philosophical expoistions are influenced by time and it is not
improbable that Madhusudana was influenced by the intellectual milieu of his
time. If we write a work today, we will focus on Science and Abrahamic
cults. We will also try to show how the good points of Science or Monotheism
are present in Advaita tradition minus their defects. Madhusudana was
probably forced to give more importance to bhakti because it was the most
prominent influence of his time due to Srimad Bhagavatham. However, I hold a
different hypothesis that his position is orthodox advaitam. I know that my
position needs a lot of research in to both history and philosophy to
validate. This is why I am trying pose questions on bhakti.

Let me state why I hold a different position that Madhusudana is orthodox

   1. Upanishads, Puranas and Itihasas talk about bhakti in super-excellent
   2. There are clear references to bhakti in the works of Gaudapada,
   Sankara and his immediate disciples.
   3. There were dualists at the time of Sankara also but we dont ascribe
   his expressionf of bhakti to dualist vaishnavas.
   4. There are bhaktas in the advaita tradition whose bhakti cannot be
   attributed to vaishnava traditions.
   5. Madhusudana critcizes vaishnava schools and does not claim positive
   influence from them. Of course, scholars say he took more from dualist
   vaishnavas than what he is willing to give credit to them for.

To validate my hypothesis, I need to clearly come out with the position on
bhakti and jnana as per Gaudapada, Sankara and his immediate disciples - all

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