[Advaita-l] Motivation for Advaitins

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Thu Jul 28 14:14:40 CDT 2011

For a materialist, the motivation is temporary results such as health,
wealth, relationship, entertainment etc. Though it is temporary, these goals
are anyway inevitable and living life with enthusiasm has an
intrinsic value. His utility for God is only as a benefactor who gives
peace, prosperity and happiness. For a dualist devotee, God is cause of
material welfare and liberation but more importantly, he is the ultimate
goal. As God is eternal and perfect in all respects, to have a relationship
with God in a chosen form and in a chosen mode as a friend or lover is
delightful. As the dualist devotee gets firmly established in his
relationship with God, he starts seeing everything in relation to God
including the dualties of this world. He enjoys every thing in this world as
a prasadam of the Lord and purified of base instincts relishes higher tastes
in the mode of pure goodness. At the height of his devotion, he does not
care even for liberation (rf. bhagavatam) especially if it means that he
will have to lose the loving relationship with the lord. Whatever bliss is
experienced as a devotee of the lord is brahmananda for him.

Now, what is the motivation for an advaitin to undertake sadhana? I am not
talking about intellectual pursuit but actual practice for becoming a jivan
mukta. Our innermost self is already existence, consciousness and bliss. The
state of brahman is not improved by the sadhana but only the mind is
conditioned through manana, nidhidhyasana etc. until the point of manonasa.
The ignorance associated with the jiva is destroyed or in other words the
very jivahood is sublated. Even if one does that, it only ends the cycle for
that particular jiva where as the Isvara and other jivas continue in
material or spiritual realms. It is almost as if one pops out the eternal
play once and for all. Gaudiya Vaishnavas call it suicide, which may not be
the right thing to say because advaitins view it as atma nivedhanam but they
say atma nivedhanam where one retains his jivatvam to have a loving exchange
with the lord is superior because the highest possible achievement of
consciousness is unconditional love. In "mukti neri", sringeri periyava says
that even in the presence of Ishvara, there is fear when there duality and
quotes the upanishads. But I didn't why would one fear when there is the
direct experice of and protection by the lord?

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