[Advaita-l] Madhusudhana Saraswathi and Advaita.

Srikanta Narayanaswami srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 23 08:20:23 CST 2012

It is to be noted that Shankara or Gaudapada do not deny that the upAsaka
will be ultimately liberated.  From this 'nindA', criticism, of the upAsaka
it is to be known that Shankara's emphasis is on the effort to obtain
nirguNa brahma jnAnam.  This is called 'नहिनिन्दान्यायः’ - न हि निन्दा
निन्द्यं निन्दितुं प्रवर्तते, अपि च विधेयं स्तोतुम्’ - the criticism is not
aimed at really disparaging the one who is criticized but to extoll the
main teaching that the Shruti is giving out. The Kenopanishat says: if one
does not realize the Supreme now, in this life itself, the loss is immense:
महती विनष्टिः. We can be assured of this by seeing Shankara's and
Gaudapada's views in verse 16 where Shankara says: the Veda has prescribed
upAsana and karma out of compassion.

In fact there is evidence that even Gaudapada was a bhakta:  in the very
first verse of the fourth chapter he pays obeisance to the Lord.  The word
is not directly telling us that it is the Lord but Shankara brings out the
meaning: nArAyaNAkhyam.  So, we can see the fact of Jnanis having been
bhaktas too from this tradition. The case of Jagadguru Sri Abhinava
VidyAteertha SwaminaH is very instructive:  He had attained realization of
the Supreme निर्गुणब्रह्मन्, even before He was 20.  He was an adept in
Nirvikalpa Samadhi.  At the same time His saguNa Ishwara Bhakti was also
something unimaginable.  His iShTa devatA was Lord Narasimha.  His Guru
used to make innocent fun of Him saying: You are a VaishNava.  The Acharya
would often be seen engaged in a conversation with SharadAmbA.  He could
have the vision of these Deities at will. Someone who has had the fortune
of seeing Him and hearing His discourses will not miss this extraordinary
saguNabhakti manifestation in Him.

The main crux of my posting is that there is a marked departure by introducing the concept of Bhakthi prominently by Madhusudhana saraswathi through his books from Gaudapada and shankara.Gaudapada and shankara had been more rational in their concept of Advaita than Madhusudhana saraswathi.That is all.

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