[Advaita-l] Is this list's position on bhakti correct?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 14 07:46:16 CDT 2011

What you quote is list policy, as determined at the time of setting up the list.
There is NO one general position on any topic that is maintained by this list.
There are many individual subscribers to this list, and for any given topic, 
there are potentially as many positions as there are members on this list.

Advaita-L is meant to be a a forum to share thoughts, opinions and analyses,
to aid the philosophical ruminations of every single member. The wording of
the list policy is targeted towards bhakti *as commonly understood* by most
people, not as redefined by AcArya-s such as madhusUdana sarasvatI pAda. 
The policy is meant as a guideline to facilitate harmonious discussion; it is
by no means interpretable as a siddhAnta that anyone is required to accept.

> A "traditional" advaitin would argue that atma jnana is the only path. All
> others, including bhakti, will lead to citta suddhi and culminate in jnana.
> Madhusudana Saraswati argues that bhakti is an independent spiritual path
> with no quest for liberation through jnana!

Citation please. Original Sanskrit if possible; not filtered through somebody's
translation. Where exactly does Madhusudana Sarasvati divorce bhakti from
jnAna and talk of the former as an independent path/goal that is mutually
exclusive of (or independent of?) jnAna.** 
> A "traditional" advaitin would argue that jivan mukti is the highest stage
> attainable before videha mukti but for Madhusudana Saraswati there are
> stages of bhakti rasa after attaining jivan mukti!

Au contraire, all traditional advaitin-s, with the exception of a few in recent
times, talk of jIvanmukti as a varied and multi-faceted phenomenon. I would 
disagree with the words "highest stage attainable before videhamukti", because
unlike videhamukti, which is defined by the event of physical death, jIvanmukti
is not a specific event in time.
I believe a rethinking of whom you mean by "traditional advaitin" is required on
your part! I would suggest beginning with a good and detailed reading of some
of the biographical accounts of the recent Sankaracharyas, who are traditional
advaitins par excellence, *by definition*. Your ideas about what the traditional
advaitin would say about bhakti and jIvanmukti may just receive a challenge.

** I am using the terms "mutually exclusive of" and "independent of" in their
rigorous contemporary mathematical meanings (see for example, 

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