ADVAITA-L Digest - 26 Jan 1997 to 27 Jan 1997

Giri gmadras at ENGR.UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Jan 27 13:28:32 CST 1997

Namaste and thanks to Sadananda and Anand for their excellent comments.

Jaldhar Vyas wrote:

>I don't know Ramana, I don't know which Jagadguru endorsed or didn't
>endorse his views.  All I have to go by is the quality of his
>self-professed disciples which is in general rather low.

        Don't you think that is wrong since these disciples are,
as you rightly point out, "self-professed." Ramana did not appoint
any disciples. Now, if i call myself a disciple of Shankara, you
cannot define the quality of Shankara by my actions. One can be
called a disciple of X, only if X accepts him to be a disciple
(there are few exceptions, of course).  imho, the teachings of Ramana
Maharshi are no different from the teachings of Shankara, and i even find
the former easier to understand (though the concepts are the same).
However, that is irrelevant to the issue we are discussing.

>However the conventional definition of bhakti, what the average man in the
>street would understand by the term is loving service to a God who is
>seperate from the worshipper.  That is a kind of attachment which is an
>obstacle to moksha and can only lead to the krama mukti mentioned above.


>> While it is agreed that attachment to maya in any form is an obstacle to
>> moksha (as defined by advaita), as pointed out to Jaldhar, I say that
>> mukti (freedom from rebirths) is attainable thro' bhakti.

>Then we agree.


>> After the  attainment of krama-mukti, moksa follows eventually.

>Providing jnana is achieved.  And while this is more likely in Brahmaloka
>and their is much less chance of falling from such an exalted position it
>is by no means a foregone conclusion that moksha will be achieved.

        I differ. There is no falling from Brahmaloka. In Shankara's
commentary on Brahma-sutra-bhashya 4.3.9, the opponent says 'The upanishads
shows that the aspirant who goes along the path of Ishvara does not return
[to the physical world] and quotes the Ch. U. as "those going by
the path never return to the cycle of birth and deaths." and gives a
couple of more quotes from the upanishads.' Shankara agrees and says
in 4.3.10 that 'On the final dissolution of the world of the conditioned
Brahman, they and the lord of that world, attain the unconditioned Brahman
which is higher than the Conditioned Brahman. and so on...'

        For example in vedanta paribhasa, VIII, it is mentioned that when
the minds are brought under control by the meditation on Saguna, Nirguna
directly manifests Itself. Whatever may be the case, there is no rebirth
in this physical world after attaining Brahmaloka (Shankara also emphasises
this in his bhashya on the brahma suutra, especially in the last verse
(isn't it 4.4.22 ?). Besides the brahma sutra bhashya, in the vedanta
paribhasa, VII, it is mentioned that one who attains Brahmaloka stays there
for many years, and attains moksa with Hiranyagarbha, the diety of Brahmaloka,
at the cosmic dissolution.

        There is no issue of "falling" and moksha is inevitable in
the long run, after attaining Brahmaloka. Do you have a reference where it
is explicity mentioned that a person attaining Brahmaloka *has a chance of
falling down from grace and has return to the mortal physical plane. [There
are many such instances in Saiva Siddhanta philosophy, but I am interested
in Vedanta.]

[Please note that i am at work and saying verse no. from memory, so correct me
if i am wrong.]

>> Thus, bhakti is
>> infinitely useful in attaining mukti.

>Yes.  but it cannot be considered a cause of moksha except in an indirect

        No question about that. Concur completely. As Anandagiri in his
gloss on Shankara's commentary of Bhagavad gita says 'The knowledge of
the Saguna Brahman is the doorway to the knowledge of the Nirguna.'

        Further, Madhusudana Sarasvati, in his introduction to the
commentary of Bhagavad Gita, says that reciting Hari's name and keeping
Him in thought, word and deed is superior to even actions done with
detachment and surrender. Since eventual moksa is automatic in Brahmaloka
(according to Madhusudana Sarasvati), therefore sharangati to Hari is a
supreme path.

>It is not just attachment to the senses but attachment to any kind of maya
>which prevents mukti.

        Prevents only moksa as defined by advaita. If mukti is freedom
from rebirths, therefore Krama-mukti is mukti, nevertheless. I, of course,
agree with you that Ishvara is only in the realm of maya. Despite, being
in the realm of maya, attachment to Ishvara *cannot be compared* with the
attachment to senses. The first leads to mukti, and the second only keeps
one in the samsara.

        Further, even if there is only a partial surrender to Ishvara, the
aspirant has a chance of attaining future rebirths which would be
helpful to the attainment of jnana. No sadhana, whether it be to Ishvara
or Nirguna, is ever lost ! All 'sadhana' in catering to the needs of the
physical body/mind and senses is completely lost !


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