[Advaita-l] Was Madhusudana Sarswati influenced by Gaudiya Vaishnavas and position of bhakti in advaita

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Thu Jun 16 00:53:15 CDT 2011

I wish Kumarila Bhatta had a similar option of taking sannyasa instead
of self-immolation! IMO, we should make sure stories are right and
based on reasonable evidence. In Gudartha Dipika, he refers to his
sannyasa guru but whether it is because of diksha or siksha is hard to
say. Also, he clearly gives reason for his writing. We have no reason
to speculate otherwise.  Muni technically refers to a thinker and not
necessarily a sannyasi.

If someone says madhusudana was influenced, one should cite
references. You can be a contemporary but not learn the other school
or learn but stay unimpressed.

Jnanadev, an advaitin, says bhakti is a paramapurushartha well ahead
of Madhusudana and Gaudiyas.  But we can't say Jnanadev influenced
them because they don't talk about him. Nor do they it is hearsay that
bhakti is paramapurushartha. They give strong evidence for their
position - strongest reasons from madhusudana.

Bhakti, as you rightly pointed, is integral to Vedas themselves and we
find a lot of it Sankara's recognized works. Even if the stotras are
not Sankara's, it still belongs to the tradition.

I'd like to know if there is statistical evidence to there was indeed
a bhakti movement. If there were great devotees in the previous
millennium as well, then we can't say there was a new bhakti movement
- may be new philosophies or refinement of old ones. There were
devotees of vasudeva, siva, sakti, ganesha, surya etc. all through
history who had no goal other than devotion.

On 16/06/2011, Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com> wrote:
> No doubt, Bhakti is found in the Vedas themselves, and yes, in Shankara's
> Gita Bhashya and other works attributed to him such as the shivAnanda
> laharI, SaundaryalaharI, and the prabodha sudhAkara. However, it is also
> common knowledge that from the late 13th century to the 17th century, there
> was a strong bhakti movement in the country. This period witnessed the
> emergence of great saints such as Sant Jnaneshvar, Sant Namdev, Shri
> Chaitanya, Gosvami Tulsidas, Sant Surdas, Meera Bai, Vallabhacharya, Sant
> Tukaram, and many others. Madhusudana Sarasvati belonged to the same era and
> given the strong inclination towards Bhakti found in his works, and it is
> likely that he was influenced by the Bhakti movement in general. Note that
> some of the Bhakti movement saints, such as Sant Jnaneshvar, actually
> embraced advaita. Sant Jnaneshvar's work Amrutanubhav is an advaitic work.
> Some sources mention a different view. Madhusudana, early in his life in
> Navadvipa,  was influenced by Vaishnavism to such an extent that he sought
> to refute advaita. But he had to learn advaita first in order to refute it.
> He came to Kashi and studied under Rama Tirtha. Having studied advaita
> deeply, he became convinced it was the flawless philosophy of the
> upanishads. He now sought to perform a "prAyashchitta" for the "aparAdha" of
> resolving to refute it earlier! His Guru told him, "The PrAyashchitta for
> this is that you must accept sannyAsa." Accordingly, he decided to seek
> sannyAsa dIkShA from Vishveshvara Sarasvati. But the latter asked
> Madhusudana to write an advaitic grantha first to prove himself worthy of
> sannyAsa, and even suggested that he write a commentary on the gItA. This is
> how Madhusudana came to write the gUDhArtha dIpikA. In the advaita siddhi,
> we find that Madhusudana has described himself as "shraddhAdhanena muninA
> madhusUdanena", where the word "muni" indicates that he was a sannyAsin when
> he wrote the work. But we do not find a similar description in the gUDhArtha
> dIpikA which makes it plausible that he was not yet a sannyAsin when wrote
> it.
> Anand
>>* What is quite likely is that Madhusudana was influenced by the Bhakti*>*
>> movement in a general sense, but his philosophical views were clearly
>> in*>* line with the other AchAryas of the advaita school.*>**>***RV:
>> madhusudana does not talk about any influence by vaishnava acharyas.
> without positive evidence, there is no basis to such statements. in fact, I
> increasingly tend to think that he was a south Indian and hence spent a lot
> of time in polemics with Madhwas. *
> Also, Bhaskar wrote:
>> prabhuji, IMHO, to advocate 'bhakti mArga' in his upadesha, madhusUdana
>>might have found abundant 'bhakti rasa' in his mUlAchArya bhAshya itself.
>>I think there is no need for him to get influenced by bhakti movement as
>>propagated by vaishnavaites,  who are hard core dualists.  IMO, in
>>Shankara's geeta bhAshya, 'bhakti rasa' is Ota prOta.  This one work
>>itself  is more than enough for Acharya-s in advaita saMpradAya  to
>>advocate bhakti in their svatantra grantha-s.
>>PS :  Kindly let us know whether Sri Madhusudana agrees with 'dvaita vidha
>>bedha bhakti' anywhere in his works??  Is there any reference with regard
>>to this in his works such as 'bhakti rasAyana' or 'advaita siddhi'??
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