The greater bhakti

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Sun Apr 16 23:08:18 CDT 2000

With reference to the recent discussion about the antogonism exhibited
towards Atvaita by followers of bhakti mArga, I would like to point out

The source of the antogonism towards Advaita by bhakti followers stems from
the belief that Advaita teaches the man is god. Since Advaita teaches that
the Atman is the same and non-dual with Brahman, it seems to support such a
belief. But is the Atman the same as the empirical Self - we in relation to
our normal life?

No. Advaita is clear that the empirical individual is the Jiva. Atman is the
divine essence in the Jiva. With Atman there's no individuality, while the
basic feature of the jiva is its individuality. Without individuality, the
Atman has absolutely no relation to the empirical individual (except as its
impersonal essence). So the common belief that Advaita equates man with God
is unfounded.

If you take the bhakti schools of VedAnta, all of them insist that at the
state of moksha, the individual Self still retaining its individuality,
basks in the Glory of the lord. IMO, here the bhakti is half hearted since
the followers of this mArga still do not want to let go of their
individuality even at the highest level. Though they say that they bask in
the Lords presence, they still want to be themselves. No great sacrifice

Contrast this with Advaita, where there's no trace of man at the highest
level. There's only Brahman - God - at the highest level. Man ceases to
exist. This is bhakti - sacrifice - par excellence!
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