[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti'

Ravisankar Mayavaram abhayambika at gmail.com
Wed Mar 7 21:22:37 CST 2012

Swami Gambhirananda discusses upAsana and bhakti at length in his
introduction to chaandogyopanishad (RK Math). Some points from that

* upAsana means sitting near or mentally approaching an ideal

* upAsana is sometimes referred to as upaniShad, darshana, veda,
laying emphasis on different aspects of upaniShadic meditation

* vedAnta sAra defines upAsana as a mental process relating to qualified brahman

* Sankara defines that in bRhadAraNyaka as "mentally approaching the
form of the deity or alike, as it is presented by the eulogistic
portions of the vedas relating to the objects of meditation and
concentrating on it, excluding conventional notions, till one is
completely identified with it, as with one's own body, conventionally
regarded as one's own self."

* upAsana is not j~nAna pa~nchadashi brings it out clearly -- "
knowledge is determined by the object, but upAsana is dependent on the

* upAsana is an excellent means to nidhidhyAsana. Latter is NOT
meditation.  Not only that, nidhidhyAsana is preceded by vichAra. But
upAsana is not.

* bhakti is a type of upAsana. bhakti is directed towards a deity or
brahman. But upAsana can be performed on things other than these

* Sankara takes them both to be more or less the same thing

* bhakti is mostly used by dualists and upAsana by non-dualists

* both bhakti and upAsana do not require vichara

* Even things like nyAsa and dictums such as one should deify oneself
before worhsipping do not imply non-dualism

. . .

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