[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti'
satisharigela at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 2 01:39:46 CST 2012
So we will first start with the questions Ravi and Vidyasankar & Anand raised:
bhakti - The popular term as understood when one says bhakti mArga. Why
is it called bhakti mArga? Because bhakti is an essential and the most
important component. What is bhakti - One may refer to the popular
explanation in the nArada bhakti sUtra-s or those of shANDilya. What
does a bhakta do among other things - mantra japa, nAma sankIrtana etc..
but mantra japa is not an essential component here. But by default most
bhakta-s have some or other mantra and they may perform daily japa for
example of kR^iShNa mantra. This every one knows. We also know that a
bhakta of a deity does bhajana, recites stotra-s etc.
Take another example, another usage: The shaiva mantra mArga or mantra
mArga shaiva-s. What do these mantra mArga shaiva-s do among other
things? They of-course recite stutis of one or many deities just like
the bhakta does. They might even say for example. shiva shiva.. i.e.
sort of nAma smaraNa. They also do namaskAra, pradakShiNa etc to deity
in a temple..just like the bhakta does.
As one can see there are many common elements, but why is it that they
are called mantra mArga shaiva-s? Why don't they call themselves
bhakta-s... or why don't academicians or others just call them bhakta-s.
Why this tag of mantra mArga or bhakti mArga? Any thoughts?
Now a vedAntin might harbor bhakti towards a deity, like wise someone
belonging to the line of chaitanya, as also a spiritual descendant of
any great shaiva AchArya of the mantra mArga shaiva-s. An element of
bhakti is there in all of them. Likewise all these people of the three
paths also likely have some mantra or the other or sometimes a couple of
mantra-s. A small difference though - a bhakta might usually have one
mantra. There are bhakta-s who definitely have more than one mantra.
Likewise a vedAntin needs only one mantra strictly speaking..or in
another view he may not need a mantra at all. A vedAntin can
theoretically achieve what he wants without having to do anything with
any mantra-s. mantra japa might help most people who chose the vedAnta
mArga but it is not strictly required. Though in practice, vedAntin-s
usually know [normal know as opposed to "know" - difference will be made
clear later] many mantra-s.
As you can see, I am not ignoring the common elements and I am well aware of these.
So everyone does mantra japa of some sort. Now we also know that mantra-s have a critical component called nyAsa.
Jaldhar: Yes of -course any one who receives a mantra typically receives
it with the nyAsa unless the instruction is bad. nyAsa is also there
usually for kavacha, hR^idaya, pa~njara, mAlA mantra, sahasranAma etc.
Now If one examines the endings of the a~Nga nyAsa and give it a thought
as to what they mean, they usually have ending which are meant for the
various ShaTkarma-s i.e. shAnti, vashIkaraNa, ucchATana, mAraNa etc. A
bhakta or a vedAntin typically does not think much about these endings. A
few bhakta-s and vedAntin-s might understand what those are and they
leave it at that... depending on their interest, they might or might not
do anything with this important component of mantra. But we noted that
most mantra-s have such endings and that this nyAsa with these endings
is very important. Also, bhakta or vedAntin does not need the elaborate
nyAsa-s specified in the mantra manual texts. They might perform them if
they are taught the same, or if it interests them and learn it...but
all these elaborate nyAsa-s have nothing to do with vedAnta nor does it
have to do anything with bhagavad-bhakti - [See nArada bhakti sUtra-s.]
So a proper upAsaka/mantrin's practice is quite different from both, in
the process and in the attitude with which they approach
mantra-s/deities. For a mantrin, the mantra is the deity and this mantra
= deity equation is quite important for him/her. A bhakta and a
vedAntin might not hold such a view and even if they do, it has nothing
to do with their respective paths. So they have a choice of holding a
wrong view here or not holding any particular view but that may or
may-not have a consequence. But their[a vedAntin or a bhakta] view or a
lack of view does not change what the deities are.
>From: Bhaskar YR <bhaskar.yr at in.abb.com>
>Do you mean to say here it is just a 'business-like' relationship between upAsaka & upAsya devata?? Without any
>bhAva/love/bhakti does he simply ask his upAsya devata, I've done
these things for you, just give me these things in >return !! IMHO,
upAsana can not be carried out without an element of love/bhakti
towards his/her upAsya devata,
>that >anyway, may be my limited understanding of 'upAsana' as you are insisting in your replies.
Business: The answer is an yes and a no. When an upAsaka/mantrin starts
the practice of a mantra. There is dedication to unfailingly and
meticulously perform his rituals and this is what matters. Nothing else.
This is not to deny that offerings are made to the deity. The deity is
offered, gandha, puShpa etc and it is done with respect or with some
liking to the attributes of the deity. The upAsaka might even say a
stuti at the end of the practice. So there are definitely elements of
bhakti but it is not the same as the one described by nArada or
shANDilya. It is no where close to that.
But look at this example: The practice of a particular mantra might
involve some rules, the non-adherence to which might have ill
consequences. The subject might have enormous love to the deity but
in-spite of the so much love/bhAva/bhakti, a big mistake or a lapse in
the practice can be as fatal to this subject as much as it is, to a
different subject.. who is filled with this love/bhAva whatever.
His overflowing love/bhAva whatever, or the lack thereof is no consequence here. The result could be bad either-way.
Now understand the implications of the above scenario. What does it tell you? Why did I bring this scenario?
>"If what they are telling falls outside the scope of veda/vedAntic
sAdhana/upAsana, then we dont have to scratch our >heads but we can
learn from them only from the academic point of view."
Another example: There is a certain mantra, the proper japa and ritual process of which activates the kuhU nADi.
Any malfunctioning of this nADi which can happen due to screwing up the
related ritual, or the mantra japa or the overall sAdhana procedure
related to this mantra can have very bad consequences.. in the worst
case the subject could end up as a mad man.
To add a little flavor..if any of our "shankara is a sarvaGYa knows
everything" kind of good and kind-hearted freinds are going to say... My
lineage is ....shankarAchArya madhyamAM..... Mwuhahaha and hold a
mAdhavIya shankara vijaya or the chaintanya charitAmR^ita or the nArada
bhakti sUtra, in the hands and say "The power of Adi shankarAchArya
compels you!!" Activate the hukU nADi or iDA instead of the kuhU nADi..
it is not going to work. :-))
The reason for saying this is only to illustrate that mantra/deities and
mantra shAstra is what it is. Just because you are a vedAntin or a
bhakta, the qualities and the good or bad effects of the mantra do not
change depending on your tradition's view.
One cannot say, I am vedAntin and I we don't hold these rules as very
important.. or one cannot say like for example, the chaintanya people..
love/bhAva to the supreme lord is all that matters and the rules etc are
not of importance[like the nArada bhakti sUtra says]
The mantra will burn the bhakta, the vedAntin and the mantrin alike if proper procedures are not followed.
>From: Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>
>Your description is matching the women in the temple dancing in front
>of the Deity like Durga. The Deity has entered into the body of the
>woman and she becomes that for some time. She will think she is not
>the woman but Durga only. But after some time the Deity will leave the
>body of the woman. Then she will say I don't remember what happened.
>But Deity entering into the body is common in many places. This is not
>same as Bhakti but something like Black magic.
Thank you for recongnizing this is not bhakti. This is Avesha and can
happen either because, the subject has an affinity for the deity or an
expert mantrin can invoke or make the deity come into a purified and
consecrated person by means of mantra-s.
This invoking the deity in a person and making the person as an oracle,
for example, as I understand it can be done only a proper upAsaka and
nit by somebody who is a bhakta or a vedAntin. One may note this as one
of the thousand ways in which proper study and practice of mantra
shAstra is different from the other two.
>Bhakti is better than Black Magic. Because Love of Paramatma is not
>temporary like the Black Magic. It is permanent. The feeling of Love
>is Permanent. It is not entering into the body and leaving after some
>time. Bhakti is Sattvika way of pleasing the Deity.
>From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
On Wed, 29 Feb 2012, Satish Arigela wrote:
>> These kind of things happen only in stories not in reality :) The results achieved by a technical upAsana are
>>repeatable to a great extent, like a Scientific Experiment unlike bhakti mArga.
>This smacks of prejudice on your part.
Good. Was wondering who would say this first and was a bit surprised when no one said it yesterday. :-))
Did you think I have not considered and criticised this statement of mine myself? :-)
A mantrin does not rely on stories that supposedly happened some long long time ago which no one can verify.
The claims of the mantra shAstra are something that can be verified here and now.
> Upasana of the type you are describing depends on faith just as much as
>bhakti does. Trying to invoke science in matters of faith just muddies the waters.
No. It does not depend on faith. But it must be admitted a certain
degree of conviction would be required at one point. One could retaliate
saying "those are just two words for the same thing" so you lost. There
is a difference between these two. I have seen two accomplished
mantravAdin-s use this word conviction and what they mean when they
used this word is "that thing" which comes after practicing consistently
for some time period eventhough there is some skepticism on the part
mantrin when he starts the practice. When he sees some results,
This is very different from blindly beleiving in some text because somebody said so.
And I do not invoke science... just like in the past, I was only
referring to how the results of the tAntrIka sAdhana is repeatable with
great accuracy like in science.
Now an observing person can retaliate saying there are shAbara mantra-s
which end like the following. "...mere bhakti guru ki shakti phuro mantr
I must admit you would have clean bowled me if you pointed this out
first. :-) I will get back to that... I think I have an answer to the
above structure of the mantra but it will take me time for the answer to
crystallize and present it in an understandable manner.
Also see this comment on reproducibility. This is the thick line between bhakti mArga and mantra shAstra.
"The tantra is like a science because it is reproducible in its real
form. The sAdhaka on the true path first gets a glimpse of “kaulika
existence” when he can grasp the the samvAda of manthAna bhairava and
tripura bhairavI. If he can go beyond, the bIja mantra activates the
apparatus of the chakras and the ever-sleeping kubjikA awakens and
courses on the “path”. The sAdhaka then experiences the awe as he
realizes the enfolded state of the vishva in the ‘hR^idaya‘. If the
sAdhAka can go beyond, then he is stationed at the the “mid-point”.
There he sees the oscillation of visarga moving in the two directions at
once. When he reaches there he has reproduced in totality the words of
manthAna bhairava. He reproduces the experience of the guru, he
reproduces the experience of the true tantrics of yore. This act of
reproducing the experience gives the sadhAka the experience of ecstasy.
This is like the feeling of doing real science the reproducibility of
the observation/ the experiment."
>Are you implying that only mantrins perform nyAsa?
>Advaita Vedanta is a complete mokshashastra and it gives a yardstick for evaluating the claims of other practices.
The later part seems unclear.. "it gives a yardstick for evaluating the claims of other practices"
How will evaluate for example, any claim of modern physics with advaita-vedAnta? Or something close, how
will evaluate for example, a claim of mantra shAstra let us say "that a
certain laxmI mantra could bring you wealth" How will you evaluate this
with the so called "yardstick" mentioned above.
You recognize that others can evaluate the claims of advaita vedAnta with their yardsticks and may or may not find it lacking?
More in the next mail.
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