[Advaita-l] Bhakti is necessary for all paths: Quote from Kanchi Mahaswamigal

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 21 14:10:03 CDT 2005


I have recently been translating Kanchi Mahaswamigal’s
Discourses on Advaita Saadhanaa for the ‘advaitin’ list.  I
found the following important passage on pages 278-279 of
Deivathin Kural, Vol.6,  in Tamil.  I think every Hindu
spiritual seeker should be aware of this.  Almost every
list (touching the subject of spirituality) has recurring
discussions on whether one on the karma path or the jnana
path has to be a devotee or not. So I am reproducing  here
this beautiful verdict of the Mahaswamigal  for the benefit
of all on this list. In the following, ‘Acharya’ refers to
Adi Shankaracharya.
Why did the Acharya, as well as Lord Krishna Himself,
demarcate only two classes of people: those who qualify for
karma yoga and those who qualify for jnAna yoga? Why did
they not make one more classification, namely, those who
qualify for bhakti?  [Note by VK: cf. B. G. III – 3]

This is because, both the karma yogi and the jnAna yogi
need to have bhakti. In both the classes, bhakti is an
important part and both have to do it. That is why it was
not separated into a class by itself. The karma pathfinder
has to show bhakti at a certain level while the jnAna
pathfinder has to do the same at a different level. Already
I have told you about two levels of shraddhA. Just as we
use the word bhakti-shraddhA, in bhakti also there are two
such levels! – as we have two levels of courses in
Shorthand and Typewriting!. 

The lower level – karma pathfinder has to do  bhakti in
order to recognise the thought that there is an Ishvara
above us who watches us  and gives punishment. He should
then progress in the same level and continue to do bhakti
now to focus the mind through Love. A further progress –
still in the same ‘lower’ level, not ‘higher’ – would make
him carry on bhakti with the attitude of surrender of all
fruits of action. 

And now at the higher level, the jnana pathfinder does his
bhakti with the thought: ‘The Brahman or the Atman for
which I am doing my saadhanaa, it is the same brahman that,
in its saguna, is the Ishvara; it is that Ishvara who has
granted me the taste in this path and it is only by His
Grace that I should obtain siddhi (success).

Above this --  above or below, higher or lower, none of
which is applicable now – is the bhakti of those ‘siddhas’
who have reached that experiential stage (of Brahman
Realisation). For them there is no reason why they do
bhakti but still they do, says Shukacharya , one such
realised soul. (Shrimad Bhagavatam I – 7 – 10).

Thus, at all levels, there is bhakti in both karma and
jnAna; that is why bhakti is not  separately mentioned.

PraNAms to all seekers of Truth.
PraNAms to Kanchi Mahaswamigal.

Prof. V. Krishnamurthy

Latest on my website:  A conversation on the Concept of God in Hinduism.

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