[Advaita-l] Gudharthadipika of Madhusudana Sarasvati

Rajaram Venkataramani rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Sun Aug 19 08:56:13 CDT 2012

IMO, with due respects Prof. Nelson got it wrong. Not his fault because
many talk about incompatibility of Bhakti and Advaita. The first contention
of these people, which includes advaitins, is that Bhakti needs two
entities. But according to Madhusudana, the highest bhakta is one who
realises "I am He" not one who thinks "I am His" or even "He is mine". At
this third level, there are no two entities but there is bhakti. The second
contention is that Ishwara, Jiva and Jagat are mithya. But for Madhusudana,
the particular conceptions of Ishwara are vyavahara but Ishwara Himself is
not. You dont transcend Ishwara but realise oneness with Him in His
svarupa, when He is non-different from your own innermost Self. Bhakti is
non-different from Ishwara and hence eternal. It is like Gaudiya Vaishnava
position where Bhakti is considered to be Radha and non-different from
Ishwara or Krishna.The third contention is that Brahman is not an
experiencer and hence there can be no bhakti rasa in moksha. But Brahman is
also not a non-experiencer. Madhusudana says that the bliss of Brahman is
non-different from the ananda of bhakti rasa.

Sringeri Acharya says that bhakti and Ishwaranugraha are required even for
Advaita Vasana. If that is so, what level of Ishwaranugraha is required for
advaya jnanam / uttama bhakti. All acharyas are great devotees and continue
to be so even aftet jivan mukti. Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal said the
acharyas have knowledge of bhakti rasas through direct experience long
before it was codified by Madhusudana. He did not off-hand remember any
reference to bhakti rasa in the upanishads but even if it is not it is
implied by reference to bhakti.

There is definitely a reference to bhakti rasa in Hari Vamsa known to

You need to do a critical study of the position of bhakti in the
upanishads. Sri Subrahmanian, Sri Vidyasankar, Sri Jaldhar Vyas and other
scholars on this forum may help. Sri Jaldhar Vyas seems to be aware of
Krishna Bhakti traditions specifically. But if you get the necessary help,
I suggest you make a trip to Sringeri to learn from the traditional
scholars there. Or meet Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in Chennai. Otherwise,
your thesis may document erroneous notions such as incompatibility of
bhakti and advaita. I dont think you will find that to be the case because
Sridhara, the first ever commentator of Bhagavatham, was also an advaitin
and bhakta like Madhusudana.

On Saturday, August 18, 2012, saha niranjan wrote:

>   Yes, this is one of the places which needs to be viewed critically, as
> Professor Lance E. Nelson says in his thesis on the Bhaktirasayana of MS
> (available online on Mcmaster Univ. digital thesis) MS's position cannot be
> accepted just because of common notion that MS was both a bhakta and an
> Advaitin.
> --- On *Sun, 19/8/12, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>*wrote:
> From: Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Gudharthadipika of Madhusudana Sarasvati
> To: "saha niranjan" <sahaniranjan at yahoo.co.in>
> Cc: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Sunday, 19 August, 2012, 12:52 AM
> I think Sri Subrahmanian's quotes establish that ths tripartite division
> is there in the Vedas. But from a research point of view, you cannot only
> quote Srimad Bhagavatham. In addition to this, you may want to find what
> Sridhara and Sayana say. Though we accept smrti and bhashyam, from a
> scholarly perspective SBh is 1000 years old. The clincher will be to find a
> reference in the sruti texts to show that Madhusudana's view is Vedic. I
> think it will not be easy. You will find reference to pravrtti and nivrtti
> margas. You will find reference to purva and uttara mimamsa. All this will
> point to a two fold division - one preparatory and the other direct
> mokshopaya. You have to find out the positioning of Bhakti / Upasana in
> sruti. Is it distinct from karma and jnana? Can a bhakta absorbed in
> bhagavad bhakti but not a sannyasi give up nitya karma?
> On Saturday, August 18, 2012, saha niranjan wrote:
>   Yes, Ramanuja does divide the Gita into three parts. But none of them,
> like MS, say that the tripartite Gita corresponds to the tripartite Vedas
> which have karma, upasana/bhakti and jnana kands.Is it MS's own approach to
> divide the Vedas this way explicitly and then show Gita's division
> accordingly?
> --- On *Sat, 18/8/12, rajaramvenk at gmail.com <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>*wrote:
> From: rajaramvenk at gmail.com <rajaramvenk at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Gudharthadipika of Madhusudana Sarasvati
> To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <
> advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Saturday, 18 August, 2012, 2:39 PM
> Madhusudana says that he gets the idea of dividing Gita in to three parts
> from the Vedas. So, it is fair to say that it is based on tripartite Vedas.
> It is also in line with the advaita tradition. Debatable but Sankara also
> treats bhakti as a separate path bordering on karma at sadhana stage and
> jnana at the sadhya stage. Both Sankara and Madhusudana treat bhakti as the
> prime mover for performing karma and acquiring jnana. You may want to look
> at Sridhara's position also in this regard. He had a big influence on all
> though Madhusudana maintained his originality.
> The gaudiya vaishnavas were inspired by Madhusudana's idea as it gave
> bhakti a central position. Both Visvanath and Baladev follow this scheme.
> Baladev even verbatim uses Madhusudana differing only on specifics.
> Do Ramanuja and Madhwa use tripartite division of Gita? I thought they mix
> all three in to one integrated process.
> Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device
> -----Original Message-----
> From: saha niranjan <sahaniranjan at yahoo.co.in<http://mc/compose?to=sahaniranjan@yahoo.co.in>
> >
> Sender: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org<http://mc/compose?to=advaita-l-bounces@lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2012 15:35:24
> To: <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org<http://mc/compose?to=advaita-l@lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> >
> Reply-To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
>     <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org<http://mc/compose?to=advaita-l@lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
> >
> Subject: [Advaita-l] Gudharthadipika of Madhusudana Sarasvati
> Dear Scholars,
> Namaskaram! Could any one get me clarified the following.
> In the introductory verse  4 of the Gudharthadipika, Madhusudana has
> termed the Vedas tripartite having karma, upasana, and jnana kandas
> respectively and mentioned the Gita too as having three kandas in 18
> chapters
> accordingly. It is said that Sayanacarya in his Vedabhasya has also
> divided the
> Vedas into three parts , though the division into karma and jnana kands may
> seem to be explicit and bhakti or upasana kanda may be the corollary of the
> jnana kanda there. And it has been a tradition to consider the Vedas as
> having
> three parts even before the advent of Sankara.
> Yamuna, Ramanuja, Keshavakashmiribhatta (1510 CE. Like Sankara, he
> describes
> the Gita as the essence of the entire Vedic lore), Nilakantha (16th
> century CE)
> etc. too have divided the Gita into three parts, though none of them have
> mentioned that the tripartite Gita coressponds to the tripartite Vedas.
> So, can it be said that Madhusudana has borrowed the idea of tripartite
> Vedas
> from the tradition or from Sayana in order to make the Gita tripartite?
> or, it
> is Madhusudana's noble approach to the Gita?

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