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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 15:31:38 CDT 2011

On Fri, Aug 19, 2011 at 7:59 AM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> I am not sure if you read one of my earlier posts where I wrote about
> arpaNabuddhi etc (the one just before the AtmA anAtmA post in this very
> thread). As I pointed out, if one uses the term bhakti in a broad sense to
> include all kinds of arpaNabuddhi, yaj~nabuddhi, etc there is no problem in
> even saying that bhakti is a pre-requisite to j~nAnayoga.
> The only hitch is that many diehard proponents of bhakti insist that bhakti
> must necessarily involve a personal relationship with a deity (sakhA bhAva,
> dAsya bhAva, etc), or that one must necessarily look at Ishvara as an
> entity
> with a personality. They are not willing to accept something like
> performing
> karma as an offering to the samaShTi, or performing karma in the spirit of
> manuShyayaj~na, bhUtayaj~na, etc.

You are talking about the effect of arpana buddhi as definition of bhakti
and citta suddhi as its effect but let us understand the cause of arpana
buddhi as well because it will help us understand what is bhakti. We will
sacrifice something if it

a) solves a problem (give money to get medicines)
b) we have been asked to by a higher authority (pay taxes to the government)
 c) gets a better result (invest in stocks to get richer)
d) we give a gift to some one we like
 e) we understand it is not ours (return a breifcase you wrongly picked up
in the train)

a) is like offering someething to god to solve a problem. b) is like doing
all the mandatory yajnas or sacrifices because vedas say so. c) is like
doing the non-mandatory yajnas because it is beneficial to us in this life
or after-life. d) is like giving doing some work for god because we like
divinity. e) is like offering everything to god because understand that
nothing belongs to us. This is jnana.

Now, consider this. A wife has offered herself to her husband at the time of
wedding. Then she buys him a gift out of love. Now, she and the money from
which the gift were bought both belong to her husband in the first place.
They are one entity but still there is happiness in this apparent exhange.
There is no real exchange because there is only one entity. This is bhakti,
non-different from jnana. It is not different from e) because it is also
based on the understanding that it does not belong to me but it appears to
be different because love is stressed in the second case. It makes it, well
lovely. This is what Madhusudana is trying to underline in Bhaktirasayana
and Gudartha Dipika when he stresses on bhakti / jnana treating them as two
sides of the same coin. I am really surprised that a traditionalist should
attack this position.

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