[Advaita-l] Talks on Advaita Bhakti by Prof. VK

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 2 01:46:05 CDT 2013

PraNAms to all.
Just now, after talking to Prof. VK on phone, I listened to the first of the three talks on Advaita Bhakti by Prof. VK. One can access the talks at http://advaita-academy.org/Live/advaita-bhakti.ashx. Professor who is author, commentator and prolific writer on Advaita Vedanta and who has written extensively explaining the works of his own father on Advaita, talks about advaita Bhakti in these series.  There is always a misunderstanding that advaita has no place for Bhakti since it emphasizes non-duality as the absolute truth where the duality of devotee and deity gets dissolved. In the Vaitatya prakarana, Goudapadas declares that one who is involved in Upaasana as means of solvation for moksha will be eternally bound to duality since in the very saadhana the reality to the duality forms the very basis. These statements that involves the advaitic truth – Brahman satyam, jagat mithyaa, jeevo brahmaiva na aparaH – the Brahman is the absolute truth, the
 world is mithyaa and jeeva is none other than Brahman is either misunderstood or misinterpreted that the world is an illusion and no reality whatsoever. Mithyaa, Prof. VK points out is mistranslated as illusion and therefore causes much confusion for many who have no patience to study the scriptures in detail or get carried away with the false interpretation of advaita by dvaitins or vishiShTaadvaitins. 
Mithyaa is not illusions but it is defined as sat asat vilakshaNam – that is which is neither sat nor asat.  As per dvaita or even vishiShTaadvaita, if something is sat it can only be asat and if something is not asat, it can only be sat. There is nothing like sat-asat vilakshaNam that which is not sat and not asat.  We need to understand the scriptural statements and advaitic analysis based on that. The scriptures again and again declare – sat or pure existence alone was there before creation and it is one without a second. That existence is of the nature of pure consciousness. Hence what was there before creation is pure sat-chit which is limitless and limitless is ananda swaruupam since any limitations cause unhappiness. Scriptures saying there is nothing other than sat-chit-ananda before creation, it negates any reality to creation since real is defined that which is present all the time, and in fact present even before space-time itself
 originated. Hence what was there which is real is that which is infinite, Brahman of the nature of sat-chit-ananda. That alone, by definition, is real. 
That which is infinite cannot undergo modification, since it is infinite. Hence there cannot be any real creation from Brahman or starting from Brahman. However Scriptures declare that That Brahman decided to become many. Hence the creation is nothing but Brahman itself appearing as many since the transformation into many is transformation-less transformation, like gold appearing as many. These statements are from the scriptures only. Hence creation, scriptures declare is vaachaarambhanam vikaarao naamadheyam – it is – namkevaste creation and not real creation.  Hence it is Brahman as adhiShTaanam or substratum on which the whole creation appears and disappears.
Prof. VK rightly points out the dream example and says the perhaps the Lord has provided an example that everyone experiences dream and still know that it is not real. Hence as Goudapaada points out using the same dream example that reality of an object is not established not by its perceptibility, its experienceability or its utility. The absolute reality is that which is eternal and unchanging. Jagat or the world is continuously changing; hence it cannot be absolutely real or sat. It cannot be unreal as in the case of son of a barren woman, since everybody experiences the world of plurality. Hence we cannot say the world is real or unreal – hence we can only say it is sat-asat vilakshaNam. Prof. VK provides an interesting example in his talk. He says after videotaping the lectures, and one listens to his own talk on the yu-tube, now we have two Prof. Vks – one talking on the yu-tube and the one who is listening to the talk. Now which of the two is
 real? From the relative point, we say the one who is listening to the talk is more real than the one who is talking on the screen, since the one who is listening to the talk can always close the yu-tube thus the prof VK on the tube while the listener Prof. VK can satisfactorily declare that the talk went fine. From the Vedanta point all are unreal from the absolute point since anything that changes will not be real. If something is changing there has to be changeless entity supporting that changes.  If jagat is changing, then Prof. VK says there has to be an adhiShTaanam or substratum that is changeless which Brahman is. To recognize that changeless in the changing requires an advaitin vision, says Prof. VK and quoting the Avadhuta Geeta says – to have that advaitic vision one needs grace of god – Iswaraanugraat eva pumsaam advaita vaasanaas. To acquire that advaita vaasanaas only or to have that grace of God one needs Bhakti. Hence Prof. VK
 declares Shankara who is the very proponent of Advaita has written many many bhakti slokas on every conceivable god form that we are familiar. Prof. VK declares with that vision an advaitin should see – antarbahischa tat sarvam vyaapya narayaanaH sthitaH- One should see the Lord Narayana inside and outside everywhere – which Krishna also says – yo  mam pasyati sarvatra sarvancha mayi pasyati – tasyaaham na praNasyaami sa cha me na praNasyati. One who sees Me everywhere and everything in Me, he is never away from Me and I am never away from Him. That deity and devotee have become one. That is the supreme bhakti and that is supreme jnaanam and such a bhakta is the most supreme of all bhaktas – declare Krishna. Prof. VK says these aspects of Bhakti are discussed further in the other talks. 
Hari Om!

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