[Advaita-l] Bhakti, Bhagavata Purana & Sankara

Nagarjuna Siddhartha nagarjunasiddhartha at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 26 14:07:49 CDT 2003

>karmayoga, Bhakti, meditation etc. may be lower branches of Advaita
>Vedanta but they are still part of it nevertheless.  They too must be
>based on a firm shastraic foundation if they are to be followed 
Interesting that you say this. It seems Madhusudhana Saraswati considerd bhakti to be a primary way to achieve non-dualistic liberation. There seems to have been a strong influence of the Bhagavata Purana on him. Sankara also considers bhakti as a primary way, but for him bhakti is a completely different term. In vivekachudamani he defines it roughly as the sincere quest to know one's true nature(Atman), which makes bhakti synonymous with jnana. This idea is radically different from the idea of bhakti in the Bhagavata Purana which seems to have been adopted by Madhusudhana. Also, I know of no place where Sankara quotes the Bhagavata Purana in his works. Again, I remember no place where Sankara mentions the names of Siva, Devi or Ganesh in his upanishad commentaries. But the name of Vishnu as Ishwara, appears at some places.  This surprises me because my mother tells me that Sankara was a devotee of Devi and an incarnation of Siva. Did Sankara ever claim himself to be an incarnation
 of Siva?

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