[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti'

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Fri Mar 2 07:02:45 CST 2012

On Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 5:42 PM, Ramesh Krishnamurthy <rkmurthy at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste Subbu-ji,
> Thanks for your detailed response. As far as I can see there are
> broadly 2 issues that you have raised in your post.
> 1. << A 'process' without the attendant 'bhAva' will not be efficacious.>>
> You have mentioned this point at various places in your post. Now,
> this is actually a moot point because any activity, even a laukika
> one, requires an attendant bhAva. Surely, a mantravAdin requires
> sincerity/dedication towards his practice; a certain level of shraddhA
> in guru, shAstra and mantra, and so forth. If he thinks that his guru
> isn't knowledgeable, or that mantra-s are mumbo-jumbo, he isn't going
> to be successful in his upAsana. One may refer to all these bhAva-s as
> "bhakti" and can even find instances in the shAstra of such usage.
> But this boils down to the issue of "fluid usage of terms" that I had
> brought up earlier, and this becomes clear if one sees the difference
> in emphasis.

Dear Rameshji,

The very thrust of my posts is this 'fluidity' in the usage of the two
terms in Vedanta.  That is the reason why, upon Vidyasankar ji asking for a
definition of the terms while using these, I did not go to make any. All
that i have said, including the latest article by RajammaL  that I cited,
is based on this usage 'upAsana or bhakti'.  So, I am not making a case
either  for an upAsaka of the mantra tradition and a bhakta of a bhakti
tradition.  The statement of mine equating upasana and bhakti is in the
context of Vedanta alone.  The seed for this lies in the GK verse that Sri
Srikanta Narayanaswamy had cited. To show that bhakti is not something that
has been imported from non-vedantic schools/traditions into Vedanta I
started showing instances from within Vedanta.  I am only talking of how
these terms are used interchangeably in Vedanta shastra.  With this I think
there is no need for me to address the various points raised by you or

I join Sada ji in appreciating the distinction you have brought out between
the two terms.


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