[Advaita-l] BHAKTHI AND SRI SANKARA : A MISCONCEPTION??
hvyvhn at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 18 11:59:45 CDT 2006
my pranams to all the respected members.
i am very grateful to all the members for their invaluable suggestions regarding the the steps to be taken for the study of vedanta.
my special thanks to sri abhishekji,and sri sadanandaji and sri lakshmi ji for the information they provided with regard to the places of learning,and also to sri jaldhar prabhu for the step wise treatment of my questions.
I recently read some articles on visishtadwaita in some websites as also in some books on the concerned subject.Apart from speaking about the greatness of their system and parampara,they(the authors of the above mentioned books and articles)in order to defend their system,or rather to condemn others(read advaita tattva)have spoken about the futility in the practice of jnana marga "only".Asserting the importance bhakthi and prapatti,as equally important entities as jnana,they have have stressed on the greatness of sri ramanuja over sri sankara as being a theologian cum philosopher,and in establishing a theist sect as opposed to sri sankara whom they indirectly accuse of being quite anti-godhead.they have as part of their arguments in this regard,along with the dvaitins(in this case they find an ally in them)the opposition to the concept of mayavada of sri sankara.But i believe that mayavada, its relevance in advaita,the opposition to it by dvaitins and visishtadvaitins
all can give rise to an independent debate involving the core points of these above mentioned philosophies.
it may be noted that i started with the idea of equal importance of bhakti and jnana and then moved on to the opposition to the concept of mayavada and before that the opposition to the nirgunatva of the bramhan[(sri sankara accused of being 'quite anti godhead'.) since the accusers in picture embrace a saguna bramhan brimming with kalyana gunas, sri sankara's idea of the parabramhan being completely nirguna has made them feel that sri sankara is either refuting godhead or is improperly describing him,or contradicting himself when he says saguna bramhan is a product of maya,(for they claim that maya is being a given a greater position than godhead due to the fact that it is able to alter the actual truth about the godhead) ]
When we try to link the above topics,i think one may end up as follows.for the anti-advaitin,when a nirguna bramhan and mayavada
comes in, he is not able to focus,admire,appreciate,and meditate upon the godhead with supreme and the best qualities,of which the material world is a part [whose existence is unquestionable(.Everybody holds ,that there is a parabrahmam or sat.(Ekam sat, viprah bahudaa vadanthi-Truth is one,The learned speak of it in many ways)],which precisely is bhakthi.so for him, these things being eternally interrelated, finds faults in the strict non dualism of sri sankara.
I am sure and believe that strong answers and unanswerable counter questions are readily available in response to the claims of such anti-advaitins,courtesy sri sankara bhagavatpadacharya and his admirable successors and other great advaitins like vachaspati misra,sri madhava vidyaranya,and many others.
However what i would like to point out and emphasize through this mail is that the great sri sankara,the author of several hymns to many gods,author of highly poetic and devotional hymns like soundarya lahari[after the first 41 verses the rest of the 59 verses are written in highly poetic and devotion-filled manner and its contents are more devotional than technical and deal with the devi's splendour unlike the former which deal with the importance of the mantras,yantras and tantras,and their object(the tripurasundari herself) and are believed to have divine authorship],had a lot to say other than just preach about nirguna bramhan.I believe he had definitely thought about the layman to whom he has done a great favour by composing these hymns overflowing with bhakthi.The great master would have been well aware of the common mans inability to take up the pure jnana marga and his incapability to realise the truth about the self all at once.though many of his hymns contain a
nondualistic import,many are famous for the sheer bhavana of bhakthi in them.they initiate and take a man through what i would like to call the first phase of the journey undertaken to "know".it is only after he has developed this kind of mindset he will be ready to grasp the heavy but subtle realities of the self. In short, i would like to point
out that sri sankara and his methods are not lacking in theology and bhakthi as is believed by some.it has the same importance as that given to jnana,if not more.
i request the respected members to please verify whether my ideas are correct or not as also to shed some more light on the above subject.
I have a message to convey to all the members .
It has pained me very much to see some sections of soceity talking in bad taste about philosophers and their philosophies,or slighting it.
when during the ancient times philosophers and their respective disciples wrote books which severely condemned one philosophy to establish its superiority over others,it was acceptable due to the fact that it was their dialectic abilities and force of reasoning that
helped their philoisophies to flourish and get established in the world.
but today,when there are neither such compulsions as different tattvas have found their feet and have their followers,nor are there people capable of such extraordinary intellectual prowess,to speak sparingly of one at the cost of another is a grave mistake.such people are either unaware of the real picture or have their minds clouded by prejudice. I believe that the members of this list dont indulge in such practices and I make an appeal this ethic should be maintained henceforth too.
Any mistakes,conceptual or otherwise in my writing is regretted.and i would be grateful if you can tell me about them.
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