[Advaita-l] Madhusudhana Saraswathi and Advaita.

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 27 00:35:42 CST 2012


>An adept in the shaiva mantra-shAstra, for example, is qualitatively different from a

this is a very important point. The same can be said for other mAntrika traditions. Like for example, an adept in vaiShNava mantra shAstra like pA~ncharAtra  is like-wise different from a viShNu-bhakta.

A few years back, I remember, asking one of my teachers innocently and ignorantly, in a somewhat complaining tone, why is it that a certain bhakta of a certain deity is not given that deity's mantra...?  My teacher maintained silence on the matter at that time and did not answer my question... and I understood the why of it, only after a few years of study and observation of accomplished upAsaka-s.

No genuine upAsaka or mantravAdin will ever give upadesha of a mantra to a person simply because the person who asked is a bhakta of that deity...and typically accomplished upAsaka-s/mantravAdin-s are very very careful about who they give mantra-s to. 

This is not to say that there are no parallels. It is quite possible and there have been many cases where a person who deserved upadesha of the mantra of a certain deity also happens to be a bhakta of that deity. This is not uncommon.

In my own case, I am quite fond of a certain deity which I will  not name, but many years of acts of devotion to that deity and hundreds of times of pArAyaNa of sahasranAma and other stotra-s of that deity somewhat earned the grace(this is a bad word... I am using this because I am not sure how to explain this thing.. it is quite complex) and seemed to show some signs of being pleased(well again not so sure..but it looked like that quite consistently though, for several years), but, the mantra of that particular deity is still off limits to me. This is how these things are.

On the other hand, there are ample examples of people, who do not have any special bhakti towards a deity, but the mantra of the deity reaches the person either in dreams or through any mantravAdin/upAsaka that they know or acquainted with. 

Do remember that they say "mantra" is the "deity".

 From: Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> 
Sent: Sunday, February 26, 2012 8:08 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Madhusudhana Saraswathi and Advaita.
On 26 February 2012 16:22, V Subrahmanian <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:

> << 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.>>

Agree entirely with the above. However, upAsana is not necessarily
synonymous with bhakti. Of course, both are broad terms and are sometimes
used interchangeably, but technically they are not equivalent. An adept in
the shaiva mantra-shAstra, for example, is qualitatively different from a

bhakti, in the strictest sense of the term, is purely a bhAva; whereas
mantra-based upAsana is all about correct process.

<< 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.>>

The point that all prema is a manifestation of Atma-prema, as implied by
"Atmanastu kAmAya sarvam priyam bhavati" is well-taken. I have myself
mentioned this earlier on the forum. However, if one looks at Rajaram's
questions on the list, they come from a totally different angle. His
questions show a heavy vaiShNava orientation, with an emphasis on bhakti as
a **personal relationship with the deity**. Moreover, he often presents
this as an indispensable sAdhana or even as a sAdhya.

My limited point is that while the idea of bhakti involving a personal
relationship with a deity is quite acceptable to most advaitins as a means
to chittashuddhi, the advaita saMpradAya in general would not regard it as
an indispensable sAdhana and certainly NOT as a sAdhya.

For example, practising karmayoga by offering one's actions to the
samaShTi, or emphasizing "process-oriented" mantra-based upAsana, are quite
different from the typical vaiShNava emphasis on the cultivation of an
intensely emotional personal relationship with viShNu or kR^iShNa. The
difference in outlook is quite obvious and stark. In vaiShNava traditions,
the tendency is to emphasize the latter (personal relationship with the
deity) as both sAdhana and sAdhya. In advaita-vedAnta, the latter is
definitely not a sAdhya and merely one (albeit fairly common) of several
possible sAdhana-s for chittashuddhi.
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