[Advaita-l] Bhakti and Jnana

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Feb 11 17:54:52 CST 2012

On Sat, Feb 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM, V Subrahmanian
<v.subrahmanian at gmail.com>wrote:

>   And by 'limitation as to body and sense organs' MS  means those
> situations in a Bhakta's life where the body is not enjoying good health
> and the sense organs are not functioning well as for example a person who
> has lost his eye sight can perfectly be a bhakta.  Someone who is hard of
> hearing can surely contemplate on God.  And most importantly MS, as far as
> I see from the presented portions of his book, is NOT saying that bhakti is
> something that will continue in the videha kaivalya state.

Rajaram: A body whether healthy or not will perish. If bhakti is dependent
on the body and mind for its existence, it will perish. Here Madhusudana is
saying that bhakti does not perish.

If as Venkata Sriram pointed out, MS is saying, rather equating, bhakti
rasa to ’raso vai saH' of Brahman, then there would be no problem; the
meaning of bhakti rasa will get changed, rather merged, into the epithet of
Brahman.  Then, too, there is no problem since Brahman is niratishaya
Ananda svarUpa and Advaita accepts that the one who realizes Brahman, after
the body falls, will remain as the (Ananda) Brahman itself.

Rajaram: I agree. To make sure the understanding is the same, Madhusudana
is not arguing that the meaning of Bhakti Rasa will change in to some thing
else as it would mean it is perishable. He argues that Bhakti Rasa is
Brahman / Ishwara itself being the reflection. He explicitly says that
bhakti is the supreme bliss, the Lord. "Reflected in the mind, the Lord,
who is the supreme bliss, becomes *sthayi bhava* and reaches the state of
being a *rasa*; hence it is beyond question that the *bhakti rasa* is of
the nature of supreme bliss"

This is the highest position accorded to Bhakti in any of the vaidhika
traditions. Even according to Gaudiya Vaishnavam, Bhakti is the Hladini
Shakti of Ishwara not Ishwara Himself.

In any case there will be no room for the thinking: the bhakta/jnani will
be experiencing Brahman/Ananda just as he would while alive.  To reiterate,
there is a requirement of two entities for bhakti to flow from the bhakta
to Bhagavan.  That presupposes the mind-instrument.  This is possible only
while there is life.  When there is no life and no mind in death, there is
no way for bhakti to 'flow'.

Rajaram: Yes.  However, if one has attained supreme bliss, bhakti rasa,
non-different from the Lord, will he aspire for anything else? How will he
develop mumukshutva? This is what an opponent asks. Madhusudana agrees that
a bhakta will not develop mumukshutva but asks what is the calamity in it?
(Rf. BhR 1 Sec XI).

The answer to this is in Gudartha Dipika 12.6 - 7, "A bhakta will attain
the supreme liberation even *without the need for instruction by guru*,
manana and nidhidhyasana". Lest one think that Madhusudana has changed the
stand that Bhakti is *an* *ultimate goal to supreme liberation as the
ultimate goal. In Gudartha Dipika 18.66, he says that bhakti is means of
both karma (naishkamya karma etc.) and jnana (sravana etc.) as well as
their *end*".

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