Those with avidyA cannot understand shruti directly
sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Wed Apr 22 11:58:31 CDT 1998
> 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.
Just to add to Anand's mail on Bhakti, Shankara himself provided answers to
the Jonathan's query:
Shankara defines what is true Bhakti in VivekachuuDaamaNi.
mokshasaadhana saamagryaam bhaktireva gariiyasii|
swaatma tatvaanusandhaanam bhaktirityapare jaguH||
Among all means for liberation, Bhakti is the most supreme path|
(with that statement he got all the non-advaitins attention!)
swaswaruupa anusandhaanam - realization or oneself firmly established in
ones own self is called the Bhakti - as Krishna points out - atmanyeva
atmanaa tushTaha- oneself who contended with one self). Shankara continues:
the other way defining what Bhakti truly is what others say (apare jaguH)-
swaatma tatva anusandhaanam - one firmly contemplating in the truth of
oneself is Bhakti.
This echoes Krishna's statement in the 6th Chapter:
yatra cha eva aatmanaa aatmaanam pasyan aatmani tushyati||
Where by oneself sees oneself in oneself and be contended with oneself - is
the means and the goal of the meditation - here the seer himself is the
seen - the meditator himself is the meditated - trying to see that is the
meditation or essentially Bhakti; and seeing that is the culmination of
the meditation and hence Bhakti.
In that sense - Bhakti and JNaana are inseparable. Bhakti on an object
other than oneself should evolve into Bhakti onto the nature of self and
that is JNaana since there nothing other than oneself. Hence Bhagavaan
Ramana's declaration in Upadeshasaara:
bhaavanaabhidaa paavanii mataa||
bedhabhaavanaa - that He is indeed separate from me that notion and Soham
iti - He is indeed is I am - asou - among these two bhavanaas - stream of
meditative thoughts - abhidaabhaavana - adviata bhaavanaa is indeed the
supreme (paavani) in (my) opinion (mataa) or in the opinion of the Shruti.
Bhakti into the nature of any object should lead to the knowledge of the
object - provided proper teaching about the object occurs through a
teacher. I am devoted to Chemistry and my devotion to Chemistry can lead
to the knowledge of Chemistry if have a proper teacher - the law of nature
is that if in fact I am truly devoted, I will discover a proper teacher in
course of time that teaches me Chemistry.
If the root cause for bondage is the self-ignorance then self-knowledge
alone can remove self-ignorance - for that self need to be invoked.
There is no use of invoking Physics when what I want to learn is Chemistry
- Physics teacher will be useless for teaching Chemistry unless he knows
Chemistry too. The teacher who can teach self-knowledge should have the
knowledge of his self or himself. But that is also no use unless the self
he knows is the self in all.
Bakti towards a Lord (although appears to be objective) should lead me to
understand the nature of the Lord who is not different from the nature of
the Self - abhidaa bhaavana or saH aham iti - He is I. If I completely
surrender to the Lord, then it is His responsibility to provide me a proper
teacher that can teach me the truth - As in Ramakrishana parama hamsa's
case - as the story goes - Tota Puri went himself to teach what need to be
Unless one wants to argue endlessly - Bhakti and JNaana are in separable in
terms of self-realization. Bhakti manifests are mumukshutvam - an intense
desire to learn or to realize. Without that no realization is possible.
Hence Shankaras quotations above that Bhakti is the supreme among all
paths. Bhakti leads to JNaana and both culminate in self-knowledge. That is
the true surrenderence in Bhakti and self-realization in JNaana. Till then
the pursuit goes on.
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
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