[Advaita-l] Madhusudhana Saraswathi and Advaita.

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sun Feb 26 04:52:26 CST 2012

On Sun, Feb 26, 2012 at 3:50 PM, Srikanta Narayanaswami <
srikanta.narayanaswami at yahoo.com> wrote:

> By Upasana,Gaudapada means the "Hiranyagarbha"which is referred as 'Jate
> Brahmani vartate".What we ordinarly understand as "Bhakthi" to a Murti
> should not be understood here.There is no mention of "Bhakthi" which is
> said in the Upanishads.
> N.Srikanta.


In fact in that kArikA bhashya there is no clear-cut indication that it is
'HIraNyagarbhaa ONLY' that is meant by GaudapAda by the word 'upAsanA'.  At
the end of the bhAshya for this kArikA shankarAchArya quotes a kenopaniShad
mantra: 1.1.4: yadvAchAnabhyuditam.......nedam yadidam upAsate.   And in
that upanishad bhashyam Shankara says: नेदं ब्रह्म यत् ’इदम्’ इति
उपाधिभेदविशिष्टम् अनात्मा ईश्वरादि उपासते ध्यायन्ति ।  Here both the mantra
and Shankara emphasize that the Ultimate Brahman is NOT anything that is
meditated upon as something that is 'this'.  In other words the upAsanA of
anything other than the Self, Brahman, is always as 'this' and not as 'I
myself'.  So Shankara/and the Upanishad / seeks to characterize this upAsya
as anAtman itself.  Note the word 'IshvarAdi' in Shankara's bhashyam.  This
shows that by the term 'upAsanA' GaudapAda is not restricting the meaning
to just Hiranyagarbha, it could be anything, an avatAra mUrti, like
Krishna, Rama, Narasimha, etc. that could be meditated upon.  These also
fall under the category of 'idam' and therefore anAtmA in Advaita.

Of course, bhakti to these is not prohibited and it is only encouraged in
order to to enable karma yoga and chitta ekAgratA.  What GaudapAda and
Shankara and this Kenopanishad mantra quoted are saying is: this is not the

As I was completing this post, I saw these words of Sri Ramesh Krishnamurty:

//bhakti..but by no means essential for karma-yoga. For example, one might
dedicate one's actions to the samaShTi, or for loka-kalyANa.//

Even these, like the samaShTi, which is the Hiranyagarbha in the terms of
Vedanta and by extension even loka kalyANa will come under this category
(of 'IshwarAdi' of shankara's bhashya), for when we wish 'let there be loka
kalyAna' what is implied, whether we know or not, is the Ishwara who is
responsible for bringing about the loka kalyANa. In fact 'bhakti' itself is
held to be the manifestation of icchA shakti which when taken to its
ultimate is icchA, love, bhakti, for one's own Self (Atmanastu kAmAya
sarvam priyam bhavati).  So even the 'wish', icchaa, that let there be loka
kalyANam, is a manifestation of bhakti alone.


> _

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