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

Shyam Venkataraman shyam.venkataraman at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 15:48:19 CDT 2005

Namaskarams to all,
 Swami Paramarthanandas has a beautiful discussion on "Bhakti Yoga" in his
lectures on Tattvabodha. Swamiji very nicely brings out the definitions of
Bhakti at three levels. I thought I can post it here:
 *First Meaning of Bhakti:*
Here bhakti is looked at as "intensity of love" in the field of spirituality
or God.
 (1) Manda Bhakti: In this form of bhakti, followed by majority of people,
God is looked upon as the *means* for fulfilling various wordly *ends*. So
they pray to God to fulfill various wordly ends. If God fulfills their
conditions, they have bhakti. If not, they reject God. This is the lowest
form of Bhakti.
 (2) Madhyama Bhakti:In this form of bhakti, God is looked upon as THE goal
of life or the end of life. This type of bhaktas know that God represents
security,peace and happiness. This is more intense form of bhakti.
 (3) Uttama Bhakti: This is the most intense form of bhakti. Here, God is
not the *means*, not even as the *end*, but God is not different from my own
 *Second Meaning of Bhakti:*
Bhakti as a course of discipline to accomplish spiritual goal/ultimate goal
of life. Since bhakti is a course of discipline, it becomes bhakti *yoga*.
Bhakti yoga is not an exclusive course of discipline, but it is imbibed in
karma yoga, upasana yoga and jnana yoga. So we have
 (1) Karma Yoga rupa Bhakti Yoga: In karma yoga, you dedicate all actions to
the Lord and accept without resistance all consequences as iswara prasadam.
So Karma Yoga necessarily is imbibed with bhakti *all the time*.
 (2) Upasana Yoga rupa Bhakti Yoga: Here also, bhakti is imbibed since one
meditates on the Lord for developing mental discipline and integration by
doing manasa puja/japa/parayana.
 (3) Jnana Yoga rupa Bhakti Yoga: This also involves Bhakti since before
going into any scripture, there is some form of prayer to the Lord. and Self
Realisation is nothing but God Realisation.
 *Third Meaning of Bhakti:*
Here, we have to understand the nature of God, before developing Bhakti. So
we have three levels of definitions depending on the maturity/intellectual
capacity of the devotee.
 (1) Eka Rupa Bhakti:
Here God is looked as the "creator of the world" or Jagat Karta Ishwara. So
God is looked as a person. So we have several personal Gods (Ishta Devatas).
(lowest form of bhakti)
 (2) Anaika Rupa Bhakti:
Here God is looked as the creator as well as the material out of which the
world is created. or Jagat Karanam Ishwara. So every form is God's form. So
God is no more a personal God only, but a universal God or Anaika rupa
Iswara or Vishwarupa Ishwara. This is a higher form of bhakti.
 (3) Arupa Bhakti:
This is the highest form of Bhakti where in God is seen as the very
substratum of all the forms which he transcends. So God is Adhistana Ishwara
or Arupa Ishwara or formless.
 And the beauty of all these definitions is that no stage of definition
displaces or replaces each other. It only adds another dimension. So Arupa
Ishwara includes Anaikarupa and Eka rupa ishwara.
 Hari Om!
Shyam Venkataraman

 On 9/21/05, V. Krishnamurthy <profvk at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Namaste
> 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.
> profvk
> Prof. V. Krishnamurthy
> Latest on my website: A conversation on the Concept of God in Hinduism.
> http://www.geocities.com/profvk/VK2/ConceptofGOD.html
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