Jnana and Bhakti

Vivek Anand Ganesan v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM
Wed Jan 23 13:57:37 CST 2002

Hello :
 First of all, a warm welcome to Smt. Oliviaji and all our
newcomers. Welcome to the list. I kindly request Oliviaji
to share her research with us - in bite size posts. :-)

  As for the topic of jnAna and bhakti, it has been
discussed many times on this list ( you can search the list
archives at http://www.advaita-vedanta.org and please do
check out the advaita home page there ). There is a *major*
mis-conception that advaita is antagonistic to bhakti,
largely due to some neo-vedanta schools. The same charge
has often been propogated by the various "bhakti" schools
of hinduism. This is simply not true.

 To address the former, neo-vedantins ( esp. Swami
Vivekanada, who is persona non-grata on this list ) were
merely enumerating the various paths in Hinduism. These
paths are not mutually exclusive and I don't think that
neo-vedantins claim that they are mutually exclusive. But,
some of their followers ( without understanding traditional
views ) have taken to the view that these are mutually
exclusive and antagonistic to each other.

  As to the second charge, bhagavatpada Himself has
numerous shlokas and hymns in praise of the various dieties
of Hinduism. And, the advaita tradtion holds bhagavatpada
to be the foremost jnAni. So, how come he is practising
bhakti? Also, most of our current acharyas in the various
maths are also ardent bhaktas despite having taken to the
jnAna path ( in advaitic tradtion, sannyasis are not
required to perfrom karma-s ). Why would they do that if
jnAna and bhakti are antagonistic to each other?

  Advaita is jnAna-centric i.e. it holds firmly to the view
that jnAna and jnAna alone would yield mukti ( to
this we need to understand the bondage and the cause of
bondage as per advaita ). But, bhakti is efficacious in
leading us to the jnAna path. How? bhakti - if engaged in
seriously and earnestly would perfrom chitta shuddhi i.e.
cleanse our minds of mundane thoughts and vasanas. Such a
serene mind is fertile ground to plant the jnAna seed.

  There is a second reason why bhakti is encouraged. As per
the traditional view, not all people are qualified to take
up the jnAna path ( again discussed ad nauseum on this
. Some people, even if qualified, may not have the
necessary pre-requisites, as mentioned by bhagavatpada.
For all such people, the bhakti path is highly recommended.
bhakti can be practiced by all, without restrictions of
caste, creed or gender and the bhakti literature is open to
all. The great saints of hinduism are also great bhaktas
whose works elevate the mind and fulfill the heart and
establishes it firmly in the path to God. IMHO, bhakti
**should** be practiced by all beginners ( and even adepts

Regards and best wishes,


PS : Many bhakti works have been discussed on this list.
     Also, if possible, listen to the vishnu sahasranamam
     CD/tape by Smt. M. S. Subbulakshmi. In the
     , Sri Rajaji ( a vishishtadvaitin ) praises shankara
     and expresses the long accpeted view that bhakti is
     against jnAna but is a stepping stone to jnAna.

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>From  Wed Jan 23 23:23:57 2002
Message-Id: <WED.23.JAN.2002.232357.0000.>
Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2002 23:23:57 +0000
Reply-To: mcadambi at yahoo.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Malolan=20Cadambi?= <mcadambi at YAHOO.COM>
Subject: Re: Poorna-Avatara
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 --- "Ravisankar S. Mayavaram" <miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM> wrote: > I
did not read this entire thread, I read only Malolan's post.
> Here I
> post what I read in devii bhagavatam - Book 4.
> kRShNa is a amsha avatara of Lord ViShNu.  It goes like this.
> arjuNa
> and kRShNa are respectively avatara-s of sages nara and nArAyaNa.

The same applies for the avatAras of Parashurama and Balarama.
BhagavAn invested some of his divine power into the brahmanA
parashurAma in-order to achieve specific goals. It is well observed
that the parashurAma avatara and the rama-avatara co-incide. This is
the juncture where bhagavAn completes the parashurAma avatara.
Similarly, balarama is consider the amsha avatara of bhagavan + the
avatara of Adi Shehsa.

In the same way, Krishna is the pUrnA-avatara of Bhagavaan. BhagavAn
takes the Krishna avatara which by itself also served the purpose for
rishi narAyana to give the giitopadesha to rishi narA in rishi narA's
avatara of Partha.

Hence the Krishna avatAra is a pUrnA-avatara which also served the
direct purpose of GiitOpadesham.


Malolan Cadambi

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