[Advaita-l] How many margas for mukti

Kripa Shankar kripa.shankar.0294 at gmail.com
Mon Sep 19 04:50:34 CDT 2016

Namaste Venkatraghavan,

There are two paths owing to the two kinds of conviction (jnana nishtha and karma nishta). This is supported by the scriptures. For both types, jnana is necessary. In jnana, there are two types paroksha and aparoksha. Only those who have aparoksha jnana are said to be jnanis (jnana nishtas). ‎That is why the Upanishads emphasize this - yeah, one who really knows or in other words satya sankalpa. In that sense, jnana is the only path. Because without the study of scriptures there can neither be karma nor jnana nishta. 

I agree with rest of your points. My confusion arose because some Advaitins (or neo advaitins?) seemed to ‎prioritize bhakti and completely disregard the study of scriptures. 

And as Sujal mentioned, the poorly defined bhakti marga of the Vaishnava movement got superimposed on the Vedic view. Similarly neo advaitins are generally mistaken to be Vaidiks. 


‎Vyasaya Vishnu roopaya Vyasa roopaya Vishnave
Namo vai Brahma nidhaye Vasishtaya namo namaha‎
  Original Message  
From: Venkatraghavan S
Sent: Monday 19 September 2016 1:27 PM
To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta; Kripa Shankar
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] How many margas for mukti

There is only path and that is jnAna. Even that is not a path per se, as there is no distance to be traversed, only wrong notions to be refuted with right knowledge.

Karma is not an alternative to jnAna, but a preparatory step in the journey. By karma both the ritualistic aspects (karma) as well as the meditative aspects (upAsana) are included.

I noticed that another member mentioned karma yoga as a hybrid - to clarify, this means doing karma giving up the desire for results as an offering to the Lord and with a mindset to accept any outcome as His blessing. Such a performance of karma serves to purify the organs of knowledge to enable one to gain knowledge and enjoy it's benefit.

It should not be understood that what Shankara was talking about is any different from what Krishna and VyasAchArya spoke in the Gita. It is very much the same message.

In advaita, bhakti is the attitude with which one performs the karma. What the target of bhakti is, depends on the maturity of the worshipper. It can be an ishTa devata, vishvarUpa Ishvara or the self.

The Gita talks of four kinds of bhaktas - Arta, arthArthi, jijnAsu and jnAni. The first worships God to protect them from distress, the second to gain something materially, the third to gain self-knowledge and the last, having gained knowledge, worships the self as God.

Bhakti is therefore not an alternative to karma, it is a key component for the first three categories of bhakta. For the last category of jnAni bhakta, bhakti is not allied to karma, but is sva-svarUpa anusandhAnam, it is jnAna itself. 


On 18 Sep 2016 6:57 p.m., "Kripa Shankar via Advaita-l" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:


Delighted to be part of the group. I have many doubts regarding Advaita not because I couldn't comprehend the philosophy taught by Adi Shankaracharya but because there are apparent contradictions in the current practice. Because of whatever dosha, there is ignorance in abundance in the form of samshaya. Hence my query. 

I had the fortune of studying the siddhanta in detail from a relatively old book called samyagdarshana (in Kannada lang). In it, there was an introduction by an eminent author Narasimha Sharma. He was a courtesan of the Mysore Maharaja and was associated with Sringeri Mutt. He writes that there are only two margas to mukti, one is jnana and the other is Karma. There is not a third one. Even Krishna says - Lokesmin Dvividha Nishta pura prokta mayanagha, jnana yogena sankhyanam karma yogena yoginam.

But we have a third one which is quite popular these days and supposedly the easiest route! It is called the bhakti marga. Neither Shankara nor any other scriptures mention this. ‎What entails bhakti marga? Is it listening to carnatic (or hindustani) music on YouTube or anything more? What is the means and end goal of this marga? Or is it another departure from the tradition? Is it again, viewed as a Renaissance against the Vedic hierarchy? If it is, do you see it as an assault against the Vedas? Because bhakti marga emphasises more on regional language and Sanskrit is mostly neglected. 


Vyasaya Vishnu roopaya Vyasa roopaya Vishnave
Namo vai Brahma nidhaye Vasishtaya namo namaha
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list