[Advaita-l] Was Madhusudana Saraswati Influenced by Gaudiya Vaishnavas?

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Jun 11 14:21:19 CDT 2011


Dear Rajaramji,

Yes. Madhusudana Saraswati was a bengali by birth and at the time of his
birth, Bengal was under the influence of Krishna Chaitanya's Madhura Bhakti
Marga. He adopted that.

BTW, the Bhakti in Advaita is defined as "sva-svarUpa anusandhAnaM
bhaktiritabhidhIyatE" (vide reference Vivekachudamani).  Further Sankara
says that
"svAtma tattvAnusandhAnaM bhaktiritiaparE jaguH".

Shri Chandrasekhara Bharati while commenting this above sentence emphasizes
on the word "aparE jaguH".  (Vide reference "bhEda buddhi purassarAyAH
bhrAnti rUpAyA asyAH mukhyabhakti tvaM nAstIti sUchitaM").  HH Shri
Chandrasekhara Bharati Ji says that the sense of difference that Jivatma &
Paramatma are different a Delusion which is not mukhya bhakti.  His Holiness
purport is that the culmination of sravaNa & manana that results in
Nidhidhyasana is the ONLY Bhakti as per the Sankara Advaita.


Dear Sriram, I dont know if other scholars will share your opinion that
Madhusudana, "a stalwart advaitin", was profoundly influenced by Gaudiya
Vaishnavas in writing his commentaries. But that seems to be the case going
by evidence. Madhusudana not only classified bhakti as karma-misra, suddha
bhakti and jnana-misra bhakti like Gaudiya Vaishnavas do. He even concludes
that bhakti is the ultimate fruit as Gaudiya Vaishnavas do. In fact, he goes
on to differ respeectfully from Sankara in his commentary to BG 18.66 out of
this conviction that bhakti is the ultimate fruit. His words, "However,
since *steadfastness in devotion to God* is the means to both (steadfastness
in action and in knowledge) and* is* also the *fruit of both, *therefore it
has been summed up last in (the text), "Abandoning all forms of rites and
duties, take refuge in Me alone". *But* the commentator (Sankara) has said
that, through a renunciation of all actions in, 'Abandoning all the rites
and duties', *steadfastness in knowledge *has been summed up in, 'take
refuge in Me alone'.

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