[Advaita-l] Nelson's position on the Advaitasiddhi and Bhaktirasayana

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 21 21:25:04 CST 2012

Bhakti is no doubt the driving force and it acts like in the examples given by Adi Sankara in that verse. Bhakti does help in the Sayujya Mukti of the Advaita too. Bhakti like the magnetic force takes the Bhakta to Bhagavan. However the question remains as to does the Bhakti, without the proper knowledge (the knowledge of Advaita), make the Bhakta one with the Bhagavan. Bhakti leads the Bhakta to the portals.  At that stage, of course, an very ardent Bhakta can have the right Jnana through Lord's grace. Bhakti without Jnana cannot complete the job. All Bhaktas have their sankalpa depending on what they think they need from the Bhagavan, whether it is the nearness to the Lord or friendship with the lord or in any of the nine ways of bhakti mentioned in the Bhagavata purana.


Sunil KB

 From: D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ <dvnsarma at gmail.com>
To: Sunil Bhattacharjya <sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Sent: Tuesday, February 21, 2012 6:56 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Nelson's position on the Advaitasiddhi and Bhaktirasayana

What about this sloka of Sankara from Sivanandalahari?

अंकोलं निजबीजसंततिरयस्कांतोपलं सूचिका 
साध्वी नैजविभुं लता क्षितिरुहं सिंधुस्रिसरिद्वल्लभम्
प्राप्नोतीह यथा तथा पशुपतेः पादारविंदद्वयम् 
चेतोवृत्तिरुपेत्य तिष्टति सदा सा भक्तिरित्युच्यते।।


On Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 4:40 AM, Sunil Bhattacharjya <sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com> wrote:

>Dear friends,
>For your kind perusal I give below  the abstract of Nelson's PhD dissertation, "Bhakti in Advaita Vedanta: A translation and study of Madhusudana Sarasvati's Bhaktirasayana"
>(January  1, 1987),  where Nelson says that the Bhaktirasayana (BR) has borrowed the thesis from the Vaishnava devotionalists. This abstract appears at the beginning of his dissertation.
>Secondly, Nelson mentions the Gudarthadipika and Advaitassiddhi as later works, where Madhusudana abandons the idea that
>bhakti is an independent spiritual path and itself the parampurusartha.
>Bhakti in Advaita Vedanta: A translation and study of Madhusudana Sarasvati's Bhaktirasayana
>Lance Edward Nelson,McMaster University
>Madhusudana Sarasvat i (16th century), one of the greatest and most
>vigorous exponents of post-Samkara Advaita, was simultaneously, and
>somewhat paradoxically, a great devotee of Krsna. He authored several
>works in which he sought to give bhakti a more prominent place within
>Advaita, a system traditionally regarded as hostile to devotional
>spirituality.  The Bhaktirasayana (BR), the most important of these, is
>an independent composition which attempts a theoretical integration of
>non-dualist metaphysics and the ecstatic devotionalism of the Bhagavata
>Purana.The work's main thesis, borrowed from the Vaisnava
>devotionalists, is that bhakti is highest goal of life
>(paramapurusartha).To establish this in the face of the orthodox
>Advaita doctrine that liberation alone is the highest aim, Madhusudana
>argues (1) that bhakti is God (bhagavat) appearing in the melted mind of the devotee, (2) that, since bhagavat is supreme bliss, so is bhakti,
>and (3) that bhakti includes knowledge of the atman and is a more
>blissful experience than moksa.  While the argument for the experiential superiority of bhakti in the state of j ivanmukti ("liberation in
>life") is plausible, Madhusudana does not show, in Advaitic terms, how
>it can be experienced eternally after death. Moreover, he fails to
>establish that bhagavat is ontologically equal to Brahman, which makes
>it difficult to see how bhakti, as identified with bhagavat, can be
>ontologically superior, or even equal, to moksa. In short, he does not
>present a convincing argument for bhakti 's being the paramapurusartha.In later works such as the Gudarthadipika and Advaitassiddhi,
>Madhusudana abandons the idea that bhakti is an independent spiritual
>path and itself the paramapurusartha.The commonly accepted view that
>he was a champion of the cause of bhakti who successfully integrated
>devotion and Advaita cannot therefore be accepted without serious
>Friends, you must have now seen that Rajaram does not really know the views of Nelson.
>Sunil KB
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