Bhakti and advaita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU
Mon Jan 27 19:35:08 CST 1997

On Mon, 27 Jan 1997, Anand Hudli wrote:


>    Madhusudana Sarasvati does say that bhakti to Saguna Brahman will
>    lead to mukti. Worshippers of the Saguna Brahman will reach Brahmaloka,
>    where the truth of the upanishhad sayings such as, "tattvam asi", etc.,
>    will automatically dawn on them. They will then attain moksha.
>    So Madhusudana has reconciled his position with that of classical
>    Shankaran advaita, which holds that moksha is through jnaana alone,
>    obtained from the upanishhads.

True. Actually, there is no great contradiction between Sankara and
Madhusudana Saraswati. In the Brahmasutra-bhashya, Sankara clearly says,
"saguNaSaraNAnAmapi anAvr.tti: siddhi:" - there is no return for those
also, who take refuge in saguNa brahman. Why? Because, Sruti says, "te
brahmaloke tu parAntakAle parAmr.tAt parimucyanti sarve" - they (in the
brahmaloka), at the end of creation will all be released.

A large portion of this debate between moksha (as defined in advaita) and
krama-mukti is quite pointless. All that Sankara says is that moksha is
possible even when living as a human being on earth. This is the condition
of the jIvanmukta, which is attained through jnAna. Madhusudana Saraswati
does not say otherwise. Conversely, all that Madhusudana Saraswati says is
that krama-mukti, which is the path of the bhakta, is also moksha in some
sense. Sankara does not say otherwise.


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