[Advaita-l] (Advaita) Bhakti vs. Jnana

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Aug 9 14:33:40 CDT 2011

RV: It is a very nice post and agree that it is atma that one loves above
every thing else.

On Tue, Aug 9, 2011 at 5:01 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

Now, coming to bhakti, instead of listing out its various meanings,
conventional as well as unconventional, and then addressing each such usage,
the proponents of bhakti should just answer one question.

Is bhakti towards AtmA or towards anAtmA?

If it is towards AtmA, then it is no different from j~nAna (i.e. Atmaj~nAna)
and hence there is no question of bhakti being a distinct path.

If it is towards anAtmA, then such bhakti (like karma) is born out of avidyA
and cannot be a direct means to mukti. At best, it can be a temporary
RV: This is a very intelligent argument. Is Lord Krishna my Supreme Self or
not? Is He my Innermost Consciousness or not? In short, is He atma or
anAtmA? Madhusudana, following Sankara, says that He is the Self. How? Let
us do an analysis of His parts.

1. His body is maya rupam and aprakratam. This Maya is Vishnu's energy and
non-different from Him as Shakti and Shaktiman are non-different. So, we
cannot separate Him from His body.
2. His Self is Brahman and non-different from Him. It is not even right to
talk about His Self as if It is different from Him because like Rahu's head,
He is the Self.
3. His attributes, names and forms, are present in Him (the Brahman) as
4. He is devoid of limiting adjuncts though He is able to specially limit
Himself for our perception.

The only thing that is untrue about is our perception of Him as an external
entity when we admire His qualities. An atma rama does not admire Vishnu's
qualities as that of an external entity one by one like dualists do.

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