Jnana and Bhakti

Chandran, Nanda (NBC) Nanda.Chandran at NBC.COM
Thu Apr 23 09:26:03 CDT 1998

Ravi, in Advaitam the Atman and Brahman are identical. The Atman is
inside you. So your path to liberation is only through meditation on the
Atman inside you. Shankara in Vivekachoodamani explicitly states that
liberation cannot be attained by rituals or works (even if it's
dedicated to Ishvara), but only by divine contemplation. (And there's no
doubt what Shankara means by divine - the Atman).

>how you define "physical
For a serious sadhaka, probably the Mother Theresa way. Social Service
without expecting the results of the works - karma yoga.

>Doing the duty with the sense of dedication to Ishvara is also bhakti.
The lines of distinction between bhakti and karma begin to blur :-)

>by doing the duties with sense of dedication to IshvAra, without
longing for fruits is far superior.
Superior to what? Meditating on the Self? I'm not sure that's the
Advaitic view.

>One who obeys the commands of the Master
True. But in Advaitam the 'One' and the Master are but the same.

>bhakti is a God given gift and it will come only from within.
God? Within? So the God is within. Exactly. Meditate on the God within -
the Atman. This alone will lead to liberation.

>bhakti  through chitta shuddhi leads to this jnAnam which is liberation
by itself
True. But this level of bhakti thru chitta suddhi will not be meditating
on an external Brahman (Ishta Deivam), but the Brahman within.
Meditating on an external Brahman can lead to chitta suddhi, but from
then on one should evolve towards meditating on the Self, which alone
will lead to liberation.

>But this jnAnam is distinctly different from "intellectual reasoning"
where the triad "known" "knower" >and knowledge" is inherent.
I think crux of our argument lies here. While (I think) you believe that
an external 'God' will remove the illusion of the triad, I believe that
only by 'intellectual reasoning' and meditating on the Self can this
illusion be removed. So for me Bhakti is to meditate on the Self within.

But if bhakti towards an external 'God' or ishta deivam can remove this
illusion, why Advaitam at all? Why bother about Maya or Creation
Theories or Non-Dualism etc When Advaitam means Non-Dualism how can your
argument be justified from the standpoint of Advaitam. And reading
standard texts of Advaitam leaves one with little doubt that from the
standpoint of Advaita Vedanta the other two paths, bhakti and karma, as
they're commonly interpreted, are lesser forms of sadhana.

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