Ravi Mayavaram ravi at AMBAA.ORG
Sun Feb 2 12:19:29 CST 2003

On Sat, 1 Feb 2003 01:54:43 +0000, nanda chandran <vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>On devotion :
>31. Among all means to liberation devotion is supreme. To seek to know
>real nature – this is said to be devotion.
>32. In other words, devotion can be defined as the search for the reality
>one’s own Atman. The seeker after reality of the atman, who possesses the
>necessary qualifications, should approach an illumined teacher from whom he
>can learn the way to liberation.

It is better to translate "anusandhaana" here as "constant contemplation"
and not as search/enquiry. Even though latter is a dictionary meaning, it
misses the point.

In sringeri achaarya's commentary that is how it is translated and further
identified with nididhyaasana. Even elsewhere shankara's definition of
bhakti is "constant flow of thoughts towards bhagavan". In the commentary
for this vivekachuuDamaNi verse, aacharya further adds  that is is a
*continuous flow of accordant thoughts*.

This definition of bhakti adopted by a-v makes bhakti maarga it [almost]
identical to jnAna mArga.

The other popular definition of bhakti as parama prema ruupa (naarada
bhakti suutra-s) is more a subjective definition, brings out the innate
qualities such as aananda, dayaa etc. into it. Subjectivity is there
because, even though love is understood by all, it cannot be defined very
precisely. Even in love, there is an element of constant contemplation, as
the lover always thinks of his beloved no matter what he is doing outwardly.

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list