[Advaita-l] Examples of bhakti rasa realization by Advaitins

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sat Oct 29 04:38:01 CDT 2011

These are excellent points. The earliest extant commentary on Bhagavatham,
which is the source of the concepts of Bhakti is by Shridharacharya, an
advaitn. According to Shri Jaladhar Vyas, Shridharacharya refers to a
commentary by Chitshukacharya, who is indisputably an advaitin. I have not
checked the reference to Chitshukacharya in my own commentary. The other
sources such as Narada Bhakti Sutra and Sandilya Bhakti Sutra have also
been commented by Advaitins before any one else. Muktiphala and its
commentary by Hemadri are also more likely to be advaitic works because no
dualist tradition lays claim to them. Harivamsa, which narrates the
pastimes of Hari while stressing that Hari and Hara are one, is definitely
of advaitic disposition. Madhusudana talks about Hari bahkti being natural
and spontaneous to a jivan mukta. It is interesting that Ramana Maharishi
also expressed spontaneous madhura bhakti in his own composition and that
of Manickavachagar. It is also quite true that tantra shastras are full of
bhakti rasa and are not unique to any particular vedantic tradition. Even
Radha Krishna Bhakti is well expressed by Shri Jayadev, who lived long
before Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Now, it is clear that while living there
is no difference in the accomplishment of Bhakti Rasa. Prof. Lance Nelson
has done a thesis on Bhakti Rasayana and has clearly established that
Madhusudana's views on Bhakti Rasa are original and cannot be said to be
influenced by others to a great extent though there are others who claim
that he was influenced by Gaudiya Vaishnavas during his alleged stay at
Navadvipa. I dont even think that he was a Bengali to start with but think
he was a Tamilian or Kannadiga because of his preoccupation with Shri
Ramanuja. I have to check the records at Shringeri and Kanchipuram when
time permits to ascertain if they record him. Anyway, the biggest problem
that remains is that a bhakta is less interested in moksha but more
interested in his loving relationship with the Lord. Madhusudana Saraswati
leaves it open as to what happens to a jivan mukta bhakta after death. He
does not say that the bhakti rasa ceases to exist because bhakti rasa is
Ishwara Himself according Madhusudana. And he cannot say that Ishwara
ceases to exist. Prof. Lance Nelson says that he is unable to resolve his
inclination towards bhakti and conviction in advaita. A jivan mukta bhakta
continues to relish bhakti rasa as an adhikara purusha taking appropriate
forms like Narada, Vyasa etc. In my view, Brahman is a respository of all
qualties in an undifferentiated form, which is what makes It attributeless.
If a person is tall and short, he cannot be called either or both or
neither. So, bhakti rasa that we see in this world is a particularized
expression of Brahman and is present in a generalized state of
non-expression in Brahman. I would like to know what the scholars on this
forum think.
 On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 9:52 AM, Raghav Kumar <raghavkumar00 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste
> The akSharamAnamAlai says - "O Arunachala! Embrace me closely so that
> the I-Thou distinction ceases, and grant me the state of eternal joy."
> Such and other verses are clearly indicative of mAdhurya bhakti but
> laden with advaitic import as well. The interesting part is that Sri
> Ramana Maharshi composed them *after* attaining brahmabhAva,
> indicating that such and other bhAva towards Arunachala, for Bhagavan
> was an end in itself. He clearly says that "I did not think while I
> was composing it; I wrote it as it came." (i.e., the underlying
> emotion was genuine and spontaneous.) although the composition was
> borne of the devotees' importunate request.
> Sri Ramana Maharshi's responses of "feeling choked with emotion" when
> hearing Manickavachakar (whose compositions have plenty of
> madhura-bhakti) is also well-known. It would seem that the natural
> brahmabhAva of the jn~AnI expressed through the residual mind takes
> the various bhAva-s like shAnta, dAsya, mAdhurya etc. The same bhAva-s
> may be cultivated deliberately during the sadhana-phase; they become
> spontaneous expressions for the jn~AnI.
> As for madhurya-bhAva being the unique contribution of gaudIya
> vaishnavism and its absence in other traditions - I am unable to
> recollect the exact reference - but bhAskararAya in one commentary
> (either LSN or saundarya laharI) says that the overflowing bhakti for
> Devi, the Divine Feminine principle, includes all bhAva-s from sAnta
> to mAdhurya; and it cannot be limited to or strait-jacketed in to the
> "Divine Mother" idea alone.  In other words, at least the tantra
> traditions which are allied to vedanta, would lay claim to possess the
> full spectrum of bhAva-s.
> Om
> Raghav
> On Sat, Oct 29, 2011 at 7:39 AM, V Subrahmanian
> <v.subrahmanian at gmail.com> wrote:
> > See this:
> >
> >
> http://arunachala-ramana.blogspot.com/2007/09/composing-of-aksharamanamalai.html
> >
> > // All the pain of longing and all the bliss of fulfilment are mirrored
> in
> > its glowing symbolism. The perfection of Knowledge is combined with the
> > ecstasy of devotion. And yet this most heartfelt of poems was composed
> from
> > the standpoint of the devotee, of one who is still seeking.//
> >
> >
> > http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/nevada/1061/Gopikas.htm
> >
> > //Only Brahmacharis of the most ardent nature and ascetic people like
> Suka
> > Maharshi, who described it to Parikshit and in the recent years
> Ramakrishna
> > Paramahamsa can appreciate that relationship and pronounce upon its
> > uniqueness. //
> >
> > http://www.indianetzone.com/37/vaishnava_bhakti_ramakrishna.htm
> >
> > On Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 11:44 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
> > rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >> Is there any response to the following? Let me explain the context of
> this
> >> question. According to Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Buddhism and Jainism teach
> >> people to reject this material world which is full of sorrow as the
> limited
> >> happiness is also temporary. But they take the follower only to state of
> >> emptiness. Advaitam gives the follower a experience of being the
> >> experiencer
> >> (*kaivalya* *and santa rasa*) but ultimately denies the experience of
> >> Ishwara. All the monotheistic world religions such as Christianity,
> Islam,
> >> Judaism, Shaivam, Saktam, Sauram etc. allow one to experience an aspect
> of
> >> Ishwara in *dasya bhava. *Even vaishanava sects such as that of
> Ramanuja,
> >> Madhwa, Vallabha and Nimbharka give *dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and to a
> >> limited extent madhurya bhavas*. They limit madhurya bhava to within the
> >> confines of marriage or *svakiya madhurya bhava*. The speciality of
> gaudiya
> >> vaishnavam is that it gives all others from *santa to madhurya bhava
> *but
> >> most importantly gives the experience of *parakiya madhurya bhava,
> *which
> >> is
> >> possible only in the worship of Lord Krishna in the mood of Gopis of
> >> Vrindavana. Their condemnation of other schools of thought is on the
> basis
> >> that the followers are denied the experience of *parakiya madhurya
> >> bhava, *which is the purpose of brahman or pure consciousness. I would
> like
> >> to know if there are any references to advaitins experiencing madhurya
> rasa.
> >> Madhusudana is said to have experienced dasya and vatsalya rasas. And
> Bhakta
> >> Meera is said to have
> >> experienced Madhurya Rasa. But both of them can be said to be
> influenced by
> >> Gaudiya Vaishnavam. As Hari Vamsa and Bhagavatam were both well known to
> >> many advaita acharyas, I would be surprised if they did not experience
> >> these
> >> rasas. However, I have not seen evidence thereof. Can someone please
> point
> >> to one?
> >> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 6:21 PM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
> >> rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> > If we see the legends of vaishnavas, shaivas and saktas, we see that
> they
> >> > experience direct relationship with the Lord in different bhakti rasas
> >> such
> >> > as madhurya, vatsalya, sakhya, dasya etc. Does advaita tradition
> record
> >> > anything similar more than bhagavat sakshatkaram?
> >>
> >
> > Any 'bhAva' is only induced.  BrahmabhAva is alone natural to a being.
>  All
> > such induced bhAva-s only aim at some or the other level in the
> > recognition/realization of one's natural BrahmabhAva.  And it is only the
> > latter that obtains for ever.  Advaita does not recognize or postulate
> any
> > 'loka' after the death for the Jnani where one or several of these
> > cultivated bhAva-s persist.  For all non-advaitic schools the survival of
> > duality compels the postulation of loka-s like Vaikuntha, Goloka, etc.
> > Advaita has no such compulsion.  Brahmavid Brahmaiva bhavati.  The
> knower of
> > Brahman remains as Brahman.
> >
> > Regards,
> > subrahmanian.v
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