[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti'

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 2 06:45:24 CST 2012

>  Upasana of the type you are describing depends on faith just as much as 
>bhakti does. Trying to invoke science in matters of faith just muddies the waters.

It is wrong to say it depends on faith. Traditionally mantra shAstra is clubbed and compared with two more.

1)  A reference to maNi, mantra and auShadha.

2) A reference to jyotiSha[astrology], mantra shAstra and auShadha.

Why do you think mantra shAstra is clubbed with auShadha i.e. medicine?

This is because for a medicine to work, you do not need to believe it.. one can drink poison, beleiving
it is amR^ita, but the result everyone knows is death. 

Just as the belief that one is taking good medicine does not cure a roga... but only actual medicine cures the roga, likewise, belief in bhakti mArga is different from properly invoking a deity like a mantrin does. Now this is a gross over-simplification and does not completely represent reality... I must admit. The lines are not as clearly marked. There is always some overlap. The simplification is only to illustrate the difference.

It is exactly for this reason that it is usually clubbed and referred with the other two i.e. medicine and astrology.

This is not my own imagination. You can find references to mani, mantra & auShadha in some ancient works.

The tAntrika scholar varadAkAnta majumdar I think explains the same thing in probably the preface to Principle of Tantra by Arthur Avalon.

Another question :

How do you or how does one become a bhakta of a certain deity? What is the requirement for one to become a bhkata or to enter the bhakti mArga? Please answer this.

How do you think one becomes an exclusive upAsaka[i.e. they have a main patron deity...apart from other deities] of a certain deity in the mantra-shAstra traditions?. Or in other words,how does an expert shaiva mantravAdin or a pA~ncharAtrika--vaikhAnasa/ vaiShNava mAntrika or a smArta [but not a vedAntin] mantravAdin determine, which deity's mantra should be given to the shiShya he decides to initiate and teach.

Please tell how do you think it happens in both traditions and highlight the differences. Consider it a week-end homework. :)

More later...

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