[Advaita-l] Which is better: Devotion or Self-realisation

Aditya Varun Chadha adichad at gmail.com
Mon Jan 16 22:13:49 CST 2006

On 1/16/06, Karthik Subramanian <karthikvathula at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Which is better? Devotion or Self-realisation?

As I understand, the entire bhagvadgItA is about the fact that
realization does not come from inaction, but from desireless righteous
action. So devotion to a deity or even teacher is not in contradiction
with realization. The desire for some fruit as the motivation for
devotion would be a violation, not the devotion itself. So much for
devotion BEFORE realisation.

Even as a jIvanmukta, devotion does not contradict the principle of
realization. After all, a jIvanmukta has no desires, and devotion is
meant to be desireless in the first place. You can ask the question
"but why is it necessary?" It isn't, just like breathing isn't
necessary for a jIvanmukta, but we don't see people stopping to breath
upon realization.

Devotion is just another karma like breathing. Just as breathing keeps
us alive to work towards Self realization, so does devotion help us in
the same cause. Upon realization mAyA does not cease to exist in the
global sense. Only the jIvanmukta's earlier ego (illusion of a self
seperate from brahman) is extinguished. What happens is that upon
realization, devotion (just like breathing) becomes a mechanical
karma, and the jIvanmukta may continue it or stop it, yet there is no
good reason to stop devotion (or breathing), so its continuance is a
form of inertia (what is in motion stays in motion).

Aditya Varun Chadha
adichad AT gmail.com

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