[Advaita-l] ’upAsana' and 'bhakti' part 2

Satish Arigela satisharigela at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 13 05:27:10 CDT 2012

Here is the second part of that post.

Subrahmanian ji:

said all the above, in mantravAda, experienced teachers will confirm that,
dwelling on the phala that a mantra gives >>will not achieve the result, because
the mind is focused on the phala, when actually it should merge with the
mantra. So this >>should act as a caution against the extreme position of
performing >>a mantra only for some desired object.
>This is true
in Vedanta too.  योगिनः कर्म कुर्वन्ति संगं
त्यक्त्वा आत्मशुद्धये says the Gita.

We are talking about two very different things here and they are not related. 

Perhaps I was unclear. i was not implying that mantrin-s resort to mantra-s with a niShkAma
bhAva..but that they recommend being in control by not letting the mind
excessively dwell on the phala and ruin the mantra practice. This is what I
intended to say. So here we have a difference
"love for the devata" again is specific for people influenced by
bhakti traditions. 
>As pointed out
earlier,  the undeniable love for one's
own goal only gets transferred to the devatA that 
>promises one
the fulfillment of the desire . Influence or no influence of bhakti traditions,
this fundamental >desire/love for some >thing, whether a devatA or the
goal/purpose, is to be admitted: prayojanam 
>anuddishya na
mando'pi pravartate. 
Here I sense a
jump and I see lots of speculation. Let us take the example of a mantra vidhi. The goal of this is to know a
certain devata i.e. attain mantra siddhi. When a mantrin sits in to perform the
japa, before the japa he, deploys yogic techmiques to cleanse the mind of any
thoughts and only when the mind is clear i.e. to an extent devoid of any
thoughts, does one start the japa of the mantra. There is no element called
love. Depending on the sAdhana there is a visualization of either a form, or
sometimes only a light/color/disc or a certain yantra along with the locations
and forms of many AvaraNa devata-s in it etc before one starts the japa. But
one does not feel any love.. as I said the mind is completely cleared of
thoughts to some extent and the focus is completely on the mantra-shabda/artha.
If during this process one is overcome with love or anything else, then the
focus on the mantra-sphoTa is lost and it is no longer a mantra practice.
What I sense here
is a projection of bhakti related practices, assuming that one on the path of
mantra-s also does the same. To clear this, I have provided the example of a
vidhi above. If the mantra that is being practiced is one's favorite deity,
then it is possible that some devotional elements seep in and play out and but
that is definitely not a necessary part of the game.

In a sense this is like a shrI vaiShNava repeatedly insisting that AchArya shankara is a vaiShNava because he is a viShNu bhakta. It takes time 
and effort with some openness for the regular vaiShNava, if interested 
to understand the smArta position. This is primarily because he/she is 
raised to understand like that and there is no exposure to a different 
view. I see the same thing happening here.

this is not the spirit with which rituals were performed by the shrauti-s of
yore. The concept of >>bhakti is unknown >>at that time. The word bhakti
itself does not appear. 
>This is not
true.  We just saw that Shankara says:
Ishvara praNidhAna is 'quite popular' in the 
The word 'bhakti' does appear for example in the Shvetashvataropanishad famous
>यस्य देवे  परा भक्ति: यथा देवे तथा गुरौ।
>तस्यैते कथिता ह्यर्था:
प्रकाशन्ते महात्मन:।। (श्वेत० उप०, ६.२३).
>This Upanishad
is quoted by Shankara several times.
>As I stated
earlier, it is only the deep commitment/attachment/desire for one's goal that
gets translated 
>into the
devotion/love for the mantra/devatA which is accepted to have the capability to
fulfill the desire 
>of either
acquiring or avoiding something. 
Previous comments
may be referred to on the ritual process translated into devotion. If such a
thing happens, focus on the ritual is lost and what is one indulging in, then
is a bhakti related practice but not mantra sAdhana.
Of -course 
one can
find upaniShad-s where the word bhakti might occur. When I say shrauta
ritualists, I am referring to people who perform somayAga-s maintain 
agni etc.
Here is a question: Have you ever encountered a somayAjin who feels for 
a love for Indra? It is keeping this in mind and since I could visualize the
discussion eventually leading here, I posted the following before:Please see last... I am pasting the traditional vaidika ritualist's position 
here again.

>  It is only Ishwara that gives
the karma phalam, even if one thinks that it is the particular mantra/devatA
that gives the >phalam. 

The preta-mata [Christians]  & the rAkShasa mata could similarly say 
something on these lines quoting their respective books...it is only 
that they cannot prove/verify  it.. other than quoting a text

>Even in shrauta-s
they admit of 'devatA stuti' which is nothing but hymnal praises of the devatA.
So, it is incorrect to say that >the concept of bhakti is absent in the

Same thing. Projection of one's upbringing in a bhakti like environment 
incorrectly onto ancients ritualists. Please refer the same extract to 
the end.

>As I stated
earlier, it is only the deep commitment/attachment/desire for one's goal that
gets translated into the devotion/love for >the mantra/devatA which is accepted
to have the capability to fulfill the desire of either acquiring or avoiding

Too much speculation. Please see above detail on how a mantra is practiced 
in the tAntrika traditions. The element of love or any emotion is 
specific to a different tradition. A tAntrika is not devoid of emotions 
but is he finds a use for it he uses it in a  controlled manner. This is entirely different from the way of the bhakta. 

The extract is below: 


But a careful look at the sacrificial ritual shows that the Hindus 
come in at least two fundamentally distinct categories. The nature of 
this distinction is suggested by the tradition of mImAmasa in sutra 
” api vA shabda-pUrvatvAdyaGYana-karma pradhAnaM syAd-guNatve devatA-shrutiH “ 
The great ritualist-scholar shabara svamin explains this sUtra:
 deity and the offering are both accomplished entities, while the act of
 ritual is what is to be accomplished. The deity, therefore, cannot be 
the prompter…The view of the opponet makes it necessary to admit of 
deities having material bodies and actually eating and drinking the 
substances offered; and this idea is utterly repugnant to the shrutI, 
which does not lend support to any such idea regarding deities.
The text quoted by the opponent regarding the right hand of the great god indra(“we have taken hold of what is indra’s right hand”) does not 
mean that indra possesses a right hand. Moreover, even if he did, it 
would be impossible for any human to ‘take hold’ of it… The texts that 
speak of the “arms” of indra being hairy or his “eyes” as tawny-all the 
are purely eulogistic. Nor is there actual feedng or eating at rituals; 
in fact, the deity never eats …”
[this is based on the Sanskrit text, translation and summary of shabara svamin's mImAmsa bhAShya by Ganganatha Jha]
Furthermore, the mImAmsakas, who are in continuity with the tradition of the brAhmaNa texts clarify that the mantras and gAnaMs recited in 
the vedic ritual are themselves the embodiment of the deity. This 
remarkable concept, not easily grasped by outsiders to the mantra 
tradition, is actually also at the heart of the tantric rites. These 
despite their superficial differences from the vedic rite are based on 
the same principle of the mantra embodying the deity. Thus, rites stress what Frits Staal termed, orthopraxy- practice approximating an ideal 
process with increasing accuracy as against orthodoxy- opinion 
approximating an ideal ideology.
The vedic and tantric rite stress the deity lying embedded in the 
mantra and this manifests in the form of structures that the mantras 
possess. Thus the vedic seer composing his hymn or a sAman song and the 
tantric revealing a mantra with its bIjas was not like the later day 
saint merely composing a devotional outpouring. The deity was 
manifesting in the chant with a deep link to is structure: a striking 
example of this the organization of the sAmidhenI chant with its 
structure bearing an equivalence to the year with the 365+x elements. At the junction of the veda and the tantra the hymn being an embodiment of the deity spawn new deities by virtue of its structure:
oM hoM / 
ishAna sarvavidyAnAm [shashinyai] /urdhvamUrdhni /oM hoM /ishvaraH 
sarvabhUtAnAM [a~ngadAyai] pUrvamUrdhni / oM hoM / brahmAdhipatir 
brahmaNo.adhipatir brahmA [ishTAyai] / dakShiNamUrdhni/oM hoM /shivo me 
astu [marIchyai] uttaramUrdhni /om hoM / sadAshivoM / [jvAlinyai namaH] /
 paschimamUrdhni /
[from the shiva nyAsa compiled by rAja bhoja]
 this way from the expanded expression of great rudra embodied in the 
chant from the taittiriya brAhmaNa  emerged the five goddess of the 
head: shashinI, a~ngadA, iShTA, marIchI and jvAlinI.
Thus the hindus are of two types :1) those who follow the path of 
ritual, for whom the deity manifests in the mantra. 2) those who follow 
the path of devotion, the deity is anthropomorphic and really “something else” from what the ritualist perceives. The fundamental division is 
not between the tantra and veda. I term the former the path of the 
brAhmaNa. The latter is the path of the shUdra. But the interesting part is that both have co-existed since the earliest reconstructions of the 
Indo-European society 

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