[Advaita-l] Was Madhusudana Sarswati influenced by Gaudiya Vaishnavas?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jun 13 00:33:56 CDT 2011

On Thu, 9 Jun 2011, Rajaram Venkataramani wrote:

> Hare Krishna. Madhusudana Saraswati defines three classifications of bhakti
> - karma misra bhakti, pure bhakti and jnana misra bhakti. He says in his
> commentary to Gudartha Dipika that the three sections of Gita refer to these
> three types of bhakti. This is exactly the same classification that Sri Jiva
> Gosvami defines in Bhakti Sandarbha. Was Madhusudana Saraswati influenced by
> Gaudiya Vaishnavas?

According to the accounts of his life, the young Kamalanayana Mishra who 
came from a village in what is now Bangladesh, heard of the fame of 
Chaitanya and at the age of 10 decided to travel to Navadvipa to meet him. 
But in those years Chaitanya was travelling abroad and they never met. 
While waiting in Navadwipa, he studied tarkashastra Navadwipas 
specialty with Mathuranatha Tarkavagisha the leading Nayayika of the time.

Now there is a problem with this account.  The teacher of Mathuranatha in 
Nyaya was Raghunatha Tarkashiromani who was a pupil along with Chaitanya 
of Vasudeva Sarvabhauma.   So Chaitanyas life would have to span two 
generations of Nyaya scholars.  As it is known that he lived for only 48 
years this is rather unlikely though not altogether out of the question.

I don't believe M.S. ever quotes any Vaishnava thinker in his works. 
However similar ideas were floating around in the intellectual milieu in 
those times.  Chaitanya and his followers, Vallabhacharya, Nimbarka, and 
MS all shared a similar outlook that was a new development in Indian 
philosophical history.

> I would like to know if there is any reference to such
> classification of bhakti by an advaita acharya prior to Madhususdana
> Saraswati.

I don't think so.  If Shridharacharya is counted as an Advaitin (and he is 
one despite what some Gaudiyas think) than his commentary on the Bhagavata 
might be a source as this threefold definition comes from the Bhagavata 
itself.  Though his commentary on the Gita doesn't seem to mention it as 
far as I can see (haven't checked in detail.)

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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