[Advaita-l] Did Madhusudana Saraswati Reconcile Bhakti and Advaita?

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 3 10:17:19 CST 2012

On Fri, Feb 3, 2012 at 7:05 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com
> wrote:

> As you know, Sringeri etc. are regarded as traditional because the line of
> teachers trace back to Sankara, which is not the case with RK Mutt.

I have myself heard more than once Swami Harshananda, President, Sri
Ramakrishna Mutt, Bangalore, say "Sringeri is our mUla peeTham.  Sri Totha
puri who initiated Sri Ramakrishna into Nirvikalpa samadhi belongs to the
Shankara sampradaya.".  Even in the recently released DVD on the present
Jagadguru Sri Bharati Tirtha SwaminaH of Sringeri, Swami Harshananda has
reiterated the above view.

> The risk with non-traditional mutts is that their teaching does not align
> to the tradition. Having said that, traditional scholars *may, I am not
> saying they do, * argue that Krishna and His form are different or that
> Bhakti is not an ultimate goal, without studying Madhusudana, who closely
> follows Sankara.

This line of argument is indeed risky.  One's 'closely following' Shankara
need not necessarily guarantee that what all he says is to be 'authentic'
or acceptable.  For example, the just delivered talk by Sri Mani Dravid
Sastrigal which I have summarized into English makes this point clear.  Sri
Nagesha Bhatta, a grammarian, does closely follow Shankara and he is an
Advaitin,  giving expression to Advaitic tenets wherever occasion arises.
 Yet his adhering to the views of Vijnana Bhikshu who is not an advaitin
and who is opposed to Shankara and Advaita is also to be seen in his works.

Now, they pose a greater risk because the blind followers
> will tend to believe that their view as authentic.

People are at their own risk by blindly following any path.  That is why
there is the need for  a sampradaya and Shankara's words: सर्वशास्त्रविदपि
असम्प्रदायवित् मूर्खवदेव उपेक्षणीयः (Gita Bhashya)

This is where the neutral contribution of academic scholars such as Prof.
> Lance Nelson is
> important. Through objective study, he has made the views of Madhusudana
> public.

I had occasion to raise the topic of 'studies in/on Madhusudana Saraswati'
with a knowledgeable person  and the reply I got is: There are people who
have done a lot in this field but how accurate the information they give is
again a question.


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