Those with avidyA cannot understand shruti directly

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Apr 22 10:24:26 CDT 1998

 Jonathan wrote:

>Anand, Is there not a big difference, perhaps of special relevance
>between "purport" and "sayings" ?

 What I meant by "sayings" is "essence of the sayings" or the
 purport. There is no need to take every Vedic statement at its
 literal meaning level. Shankara himself agrees that even a hundred
 shruti statements cannot make fire cold. So nobody in the vedantic
 tradition really can support the view that we should accept the
 superficial meaning of a shruti sentence even when it is against
 common-sense. This introduces then the problem of correctly
 interpreting Vedic statements and ascertaining their purport. This
 is one of the most important tasks of a vedantin. That is why it
 is always necessary to learn what the purport is through a commentary
 of a Guru who follows a particular tradition of interpretation or
 exegesis, in this case, advaita.

>Sankara's commentary, as you have explained it, seems to be emphasizing
>result over the process.  Does he anywhere say that the devotee who
>realizes could have realized no other way than by being a devotee?

 If the devotion (bhakti) is really pure and without any ulterior
 motives, it should lead the devotee to the stage of jnAna. This is
 my understanding of Shankara and also MadhusUdana SaraswatI who
 wrote extensively on bhakti within the advaitic system. Madhusudana
 says there are three stages of bhakti. In the first, the devotee
 has the feeling "I am His" with respect to God. In the second, the
 devotee feels, "He is mine" with respect to God. To explain, in the
 first stage, the devotee thinks he is a servitor of God. In the
 second, he thinks he is actually taking care of God with affection,
 just as, for example,  a parent would take care of his/her child.
 In the last stage, the devotee feels "I am He." This is the stage
 when the devotee's devotion is ripe and he is ready for jnAna, as
 explained in GItA 18.55.


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