[Advaita-l] Bhakti and Jnana

rajaramvenk at gmail.com rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Mon Feb 13 01:46:53 CST 2012

Thanks for the article
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-----Original Message-----
From: Anand Hudli <anandhudli at hotmail.com>
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Date: Mon, 13 Feb 2012 09:55:42 
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Subject: [Advaita-l] Bhakti and Jnana

Rajaram: Dr. Sanjukta's view, "Neither bhakti nor jnanam are sublated in
Brahman. What we see (or experience) is a reflection of pure bliss which is
the svarupa of bhakti and jnana. And the reflection is non-different from
the original as per the bimba-pratibimba vada. Now, Bhakti is integral to
even early Advaita. However, the theoretical formulation of bhakti in
precise philsophical terms was preceded by the rise of heterodoxy, bhakti
cults and the alankara sastras which taught secular rasa. Liberalism
ushered in by Emperor Akbar contributed to bold deviations within the Hindu
traditions as there was less fear of social censure.

I had written earlier on the topic of Madhusudana and his views on
bhakti and jnAna:

What is to be noted is "Madhusudana does not deny but acknowledges,
without compromise, that Parama Kaivalya is through jnAna of vedAnta
vAkyas alone."
He says that the worshipper gains this Kaivalya through the vedAnta
vAkyas but without upadesha from a Guru (vinA gurUpadeshaM) and that
the vedAnta vAkyas become
revealed to him themselves.

This being the case, I would say that MadhusUdana has reconciled the
fact that liberation is through jnAna alone with the path of bhakti.
And he has clearly not deviated from
the advaita principle that the highest reality is the nirguNa brahma
and the highest vidyA is nirguNavidyA.

It is not correct to say neither bhakti nor jnAna is sublated in
Brahman, unless one were to define bhakti and jnAna as Brahman! I
presume that Dr. Gupta is taking both
bhakti and jnAna as identical with Brahman.

MadhusUdana has also discussed this topic in his commentary on Gita
8.5, beginning with "mAmeva bhagavantaM vAsudevamadhiyajnaM saguNaM
vA paramamakSharaM brahma...". Again, the gist is that the worshiper
of saguNa Brahman goes to hiraNyagarbhaloka and finally attains the
nirguNa brahman alone.

However, it is to be also noted that MadhusUdana has not conceded the
view that Moksha means an eternal life in the company of Vishnu in
Vaikuntha. He is quite
clear that Moksha means the attainment of nirguNa Brahman alone.

Coming to the topic of rasa, the term is used in different senses in
the upaniShads and Sanskrit literary works. The  sense used in
literary works is mostly one
of "aesthetic pleasure." For example, when a person sees a work of
art, he/she enjoys this "aesthetic pleasure." However, in the
upanishads, rasa is used in the sense of
"essence", "source of Bliss", or even the highest reality (raso vai
saH). In the vedas, it is also used in the sense of "juice" of plants
and herbs. In ancient medical literature,
for example the charaka saMhitA, it is used to indicate "taste" as in
sweet, salty, sour, pungent, stringent, and bitter (six in number).

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