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

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 00:51:48 CDT 2011

There are two kinds of expertise both of which I respect. One is where a
person is a practitioner and has learnt from a traditional teacher. There
are many sincere practitioners such as yourself who may not have done
in-depth study of vyakharana, mimamsa etc. But still such asthikas are
respectable because they are important to keep the tradition alive. But it
is my wish that traditional scholars should become experts in chosen areas.
Example of this class are Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal and Sri Krishnamurthy
Sastrigal. Second is where a person is not a practitioner but approaches the
subject purely from a research perspective. In this I respect those who
approach the subject sincerely and without any malicious intent. Examples of
this are  Prof. Lance Nelson and Retd. Prof. Sanjukta Gupta Gombrich. I
recently met Dr. Sanjukta Gupta, who is 85, at Oxford and she
enthusiastically spoke on advaita Vedanta for 2 hours explaining the complex
subjects. Then she went on to proof read her latest book on the subject.

As far as I am concerned, I am interested in the history,  philosophy and
practices of our traditions each one of which are profound in their own
right. I am particularly interested in researching in to bhakti in advaita
just as you have learnt subjects that are of interest to you. I am learning
advaita from my parents, self-study, non-traditional scholars and to some
extent from traditional scholars. I am learning gaudiya siddhanta from a
scholarly sannyasi.

Just as you are interested in some topics and have learnt it, I am currently
interested primarily in "Bhakti in Advaita". Please note that I did not
challenge. You challenged me saying that I don't know the basics and
countered you with a question on Avidya.

Regarding my question on avidya, this is a poser from vyasatirtha in
nyayamrta which madhusudana addresses in advaita siddhi. Advaitins have
raised it earlier and answered it but not with nyaya rigour because that was
historically developed in that time period. Madhusudana agrees that prior
knowledge of the object of ignorance is necessary for revelation of ajnana.
But the knowledge is not normal cognitive knowledge (vrttti jnana) and hence
it is not a valid knowledge opposed to ajnana. Like ajnana (as in I am
ignorant of the cost of trip to Tiruvannamalai is 100Rs.), the object (The
cost of the trip to Tiruvannamalai is 100Rs.) is also revealed through
sakshi jnana. Whether the cognizer knows or not, sakshi jnana reveals both
the object and its ignorance. Though ignorance of the object requires prior
knowledge, this prior knowledge being sakshi jnana is compatible with ajnana
and jnana. Sakshi jnana, unlike vrtti jnana, reveals unknown objects as both
known and unknown, that is unknown to the individual and known to the

On Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 5:55 AM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> On 5 July 2011 00:23, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> > All I asked was a simple question about which marga is superior - bhakti
> or
> > jnana marga.
> >
> I am not talking about any particular question of yours and where it comes
> from, but your general history of participation on this list.
> Secondly, I don't claim to an expert. I have been studying under the
> guidance of some respected AchArya-s for a few years now and I have a good
> amount of clarity on the things that are relevant to me. Nevertheless there
> are many topics that I have not yet studied. As far as avidyA is concerned,
> I have already articulated (on the other thread) what I know (based on what
> I understood of your question), of which the most important is a proper
> appreciation of anirvAchyatva which itself renders most other questions
> irrelevant.
> Lastly, I am not particularly interested in answering any of your
> questions,
> or in any kind of "challenges". We are not trying to win medals here. I
> have
> already pointed out that the problem is with the framework(s) you use,
> including the way you seem to look at shaastra-s.
> After that, if you think you know better, good luck to you.
> _______________________________________________
> Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/
> http://blog.gmane.org/gmane.culture.religion.advaita
> To unsubscribe or change your options:
> http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/cgi-bin/listinfo/advaita-l
> For assistance, contact:
> listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list