[Advaita-l] RE: Advaita-l Digest, Vol 9, Issue 24

venkat ramanan krishnan krish_venks at hotmail.com
Wed Jan 28 17:33:15 CST 2004


Thank you, Sri Sanjay, for your elaborate mail. I must confess though that 
my doubt still remains. I have a few more now after your mail.

1)The brahmaloka doesn't really exist, does it? Its only our Maya which 
makes us think of all that. Neither do the deities(starting from Vishnu and 
downwards) (as soon as a person has the knowledge that there is no duality )

2)That being the case, can we say that Bhakti is more like a psychological 
effect on the soul? with no actual changes taking place anywhere. Favour of 
deities, boons and demons can be metaphoraically compared to a person who 
thinks something is wrong with him, conjures up a doctor mentally, thinks he 
is being cured by the doctor(a deity if the doctor gives a sweet medicine, a 
demon if the doctor gives him a sour medicine, but both for his own good), 
and finally realizing that there was nothing wrong in him, that there was no 
doctor, that everything was a hallucination(maya)
  Or, can we say that the soul starts from the point of veneration of some 
deities which possess some ideals (that the soul thinks is not in itself), 
and then proceeds to higher ideals(deities) till finally reaching a point of 
saturation, where it has everything and realizes that there is nothing more, 
and that it had everything in it all along.( knowledge, truth and infinity). 
All this is essentially psychological for the soul, since the soul has been 
in that state(brahman) all along and only doesnt think so.

3)If so, my question as to wether great Acharyas like Shankara, Padmapada 
etc followed bhakti only as an example for the masses to follow, and not for 
themselves still remains?
( Since, knowledge (of the soul's nonduality) itself is mukti, they should 
have already realized identity with Brahman. And if they have realized 
Brahman, there is no further question of action(bhakti, in this case). )

Finally, what is meant by pralaya? How does Advaita explain the creation and 
destruction of the universe philosophically?  Why does the Brahman delude 
itself into thinking that it is many, time and again, and that its many 
parts are imperfect each trying for perfection ?

If all these are points which have discussed previously in this list, please 
do let me know.



>Reply-To: sanjay1297 at yahoo.com, A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
>	<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
>Pranam... Namaste,
>Adi Shankaracharya states that upasana (worship of Saguna Brahman or using 
>other symbols) is to be employed by the Advaitin for the purpose of 
>increasing concentration -- but not to accept the presupposition of duality 
>that is implied therein. If it is employed as a means to an end, then it 
>verily leads one on toward jivanmukti. However, if upasana is an end in 
>itself (as in the bhakti traditions) then we have the situation as 
>previously discussed with reference to BG 8:24 where the sadhaka goes first 
>to Brahmaloka (via the path of the gods) and is completely liberated only 
>at the dissolution of the material universe.
>In the BS IV.i.4 (and the sutras immediately before and after it), Adi 
>Shankaracharya clearly encourages meditations on symbols so long as one 
>does not identify oneself with that symbol (which is the goal of the bhakti 
>traditions -- identification with Saguna Brahman).
>However, with that said, paying homage to the various deities has an 
>important role in one's spiritual growth. In the Acharya's commentary of 
>the first verse of the Taittiriya Upanishad ("Om Shanno Mitrah sham 
>Varunah...") he states:
>"These are the deities in the context of the body. The expression, may he 
>be blissful to us, is to be connected with all. Since the comprehension, 
>retention, and communication of the knowledge of Brahman can proceed 
>without hindrance when the gods are benevolent, their benignity is being 
>prayed for by saying, Sam nah bhatu, etc.".
>Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

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