[Advaita-l] Is bhakti necessary?

Anbu sivam2 anbesivam2 at gmail.com
Tue Jun 24 21:28:46 CDT 2008

For such of those who wish to discuss bhakthi emphirically, all I can say is
that Bhakthi is not an option to be considered necessary or unnecessary.
Bhakthi is Self-Realization!


On Tue, Jun 24, 2008 at 6:56 PM, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

> Sorry Suresh, I had written this earlier but never got around to posting
> it.
> On Fri, 23 May 2008, Suresh wrote:
> >
> > #1 Philosophically, it seems a little
> > self-contradictory, perhaps also redundant. If there's
> > jiva-brahma abhEda, one doesn't see the need for
> > bhakti.
> >
> In the definition of Brahman as sacchidananda, the ananda part is often
> overlooked but bhakti is ananda.
> > #2 Doesn't Sankara himself say that jnAna is the
> > highest? Doesn't he also define bhakti in terms of
> > jnAna, such as true bhakti is the love of atma-jnAna,
> > or something to that effect? The point I am trying to
> > stress is, none of the advaitins ever defined bhakti
> > the way vaishnavas and other devotional sects do,
> > namely singing, chanting, and other sentimental
> > activities.
> >
> On the contrary I posted this quote from brahmasutrabhshya vyuhadhikarana
> a few weeks back and it is worth repeating:
> "Concerning this system we remark that we do not intend to controvert the
> doctrine that Narayana who is higher than the avyakta, who is the
> paramatma and sarvatma, reveals Himself by dividing Himself in multiple
> forms...Nor do we mean to object to the inculculation of unceasing
> concentration of mind on the highest Being which appears in the Bhagavata
> shastra under the forms of abhigamana etc. [earlier it was mentioned that
> bhakti consists of abhigamana, upaadaana, ijyaa, svaadhyaaya, and yoga.]"
> Shankaracharya may consider jnana as the highest bhakti but he definitely
> does not belittle "sentimental activities" in the process.
> > They defined it as the love of the self, which is born
> > of viveka, the discrimination between the real and the
> > unreal. This definition of bhakti seems more logical,
> > and devoid of blind sentimentalism which often
> > characterizes bhakti. In short, bhakti in the advaiti
> > sense is simply the constant discernment of the real
> > amidst the unreal, constant dwelling in the self,
> > rather than activities like bhajans, puja-s etc.
> >
> This needn't be an either/or situation.  Remember the ahamkara/atma bheda
> also has to be overcome and this is a goal of bhajan etc.
> > I don't mean to offend anyone, but I just can't see
> > activities like these-baby Krishna eating butter, his
> > running around the house-as worthy of contemplation.
> > This is because I can't spot anything divine and out
> > of the ordinary, they just appear to be normal
> > activities that any kid might do.
> >
> Exactly!  And this is their importance.  Our first glimpses of advaita
> tattva are in love whether parent-child, husband-wife, patriot-homeland
> etc.  If you told the average person that what is plainly visible in
> front of their own faces is mithya they would think it highly strange
> indeed but all except the most sociopathic personality understands that
> love for another transcends love of ones own ego.  Bhakti extends the
> feeling of love from a limited sense to all that is.  As such it is a most
> effective sadhana for self-realization.
> Another thing occured to me.  It is possible that all the talk of mithya
> and maya might result in a weak-minded sadhaka developing contempt for the
> world.  Bhakti prevents this by showing how Bhagavan is "purna"
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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