[Advaita-l] Debunking Drishti-Srishti Vada and Eka Jiva Vada - part 1

Aditya Kumar kumaraditya22 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 25 10:47:32 EDT 2017

>  Sri MS deviates from shankara  at some places ( though not Advaita hAni from it) is also the observation made by Sri Vidyashankara Sundareshan prabhuji.  So, it is not new to the advaitins here in this list atleast :-)
A : Yes, that's the point - MS deviates from Shankara. Hence in the context of DSV, it may be said that Shankara's Advaita did not advocate/accommodate  DSV. It's probably a post Vidyaranya/16th century development as there is no direct evidence for it as we have in the later works. 

>  Will it be possible to quote these differences with exact references..Hearing about this 3rd alternative mArga I remember the 4th rAja yOga mArga as well :-) BTW, don’t you think geetaachArya himself is clear in this issue??  Lokesmin dvividhA nishTA,,jnana yOgena sAkkhyAnAM, karmayOgena yOginaam :-) Four types of bhaktA-s can be accommodated in these two mArga-s without taking bhakti as separate sAdhana for mukti.  
A : This is because many feel that MS was actually a Vaishnava before he became or claimed that he was Advaitin. All this reflects in his works and the fact that he didn't hesitate to disagree with Shankara, wherever he couldn't interpret as per his preference. I am providing two references here. One from P M Modi's and another from Lance Nelson's 'Theological Politics and Paradoxical Spirituality in the Life of Madhusudana Sarasvati'.
>From the book Siddhantabindu, Eng translation :
Till the time of MadhnsUdana, the followers ot S'ankara Vedanta continued in some way or other to uphold the main tenet of Shankara, viz. '' Knowledge and knowledge alone is the Path to Salvation.

S' ankara himself did not emphasise the importance of Devotion ( =Bhakti) as a means to Moksha. If we examine the interpretations of S'ankara and Madhusudana of the word Bhakti in the Bharavad Gita, we can easily appreciate the significance of the contradiction of the latter to the Shankara Vedanta.
The Word ' Bhakti ' occurs about thirteen times in the Bhagvad Gita. In eight of these places, S' ankara does not try to interpret ' Bhakti, , whereas in all these verses Madhusudana finds it convenient to explain the word as " the most ardent love for God( Paraws't~aril parah premi ). " We feel that the silence of Shankara here lends ample scope to Madhusud.ana for thorough exposition of tbe term '' Bbakti". But in, four other verses S'ankara explains' Bhakti' as ' Jnana '. In tow of these places Madhusudana does not adhere to this interpretation and understands the word in the sense of 'Love for God', while in the remaining two p1aoes Madahnsndana had to accept S'ankara's interpretation. In the thirteenth place, S'ankaraand Madhusudana both understand the word ' Bhakti ' as service of god. '
In order to show the glaring difference between S'ankara's and Madhusudana's interpretations ofvverses of Bhakti, We might note their explanation of each verses of the'BG. In 26th verse of Adh. IX S'ri Krishna says to A.rjuna: " He who offers to me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit. water, that I eat of him with the purified mind he offers it with devotion. This verse is passed over by S'ankara without noticing the great importance it has in the development of the doctrine of Bhakti. But this silence of Sankara has offered Madhusudana an opportunity to freely explain his view of the verse. According to Madusndana, 'devotion' means 'love for God implying the knowledge that there is nothing higher than :Vasudeva' ( na ViBudtvat param asti kincnst ), 'offers' means 'offers a leaf etc. as a servant offers the master's own things to his master' , ( 3)' I eat ' may be understood not only in the implied sense of 'I accept, ' supported by the S'riti that ' Gods neither eat nor drink but they are satisfied only by seeing whatever is offered to them', but even literal sense .If' I eat 'is not objected to by Madhusudana so that it also means ' I eat ' personally a leaf, a flower ete. offered to me by my devotee and I do not mind the l'nle of injunction and prohibition of eating, just as I ate the grains of rice brought to me by the Brahmin S' ridiman. ( 4 ) The repetition of the word ' devotion ' in the latter half of the verse, is explained as suggesting that neither the birth as a Brahmin nor the performance of severe penance is the cause of my acceptance ofthe offerings made to Me, but devotion and devotion alone can attract me. ( 5 ) The words 'a leaf', 'a flower' etc. point out that devotion alone satisfies Me_and not the rich and plenteous offerings presented with great pomp and \)ageantry as is the case with other deities.
Another verse shedding a greater light on the dissension undertaken is:- '' Abandoning all dharmas surrender thyself unto Me. Be not sorry, I will liberate thee from all sins.'' (B. G. XVIII. 66J. S'ri S'ankara has written a very long commentary on this verse, a summary whreof here would be out of place. Suffice it to say that he makes much -of the word 'abandoning' , neglects the importance of 'Surrender thyself' and draws the conclusion that " the Path of Knowledge accompanied by the abandonment of all actions, '' is the purport of this verse and that of the whole of the Bhagavad Gita, ( sarvadharmin parltraifa=eannyasya sarvakarminityetat •..••. ). Madhusudana explains ' surrender thyself ' as ' think of Me with ardent love uninterrupted]y '. He says " This verse does not lay stress upon the abandonment of actions but on the self-surrender unto God with indifference to the fruit of works ( which may be even continued ), by all the four Aasramas the student, the householder, the forest anchorite and the religious mendicant in general". According to Madhusudana the highest aim of all Scriptures is to teach the self-eurrender Unto God and therefore God K'dshna concluded the Gita sastra with the same, because without self-surrender even abandonment of actions will not bring about the result which it is expected to do. Madhusudana says tbat the teaching of sanyasa could not be imparted to Arjuna and therefore sanyasa as Shankara understands it cannot be the sense of the verse because if it were so, the pronouns 'thyself ' and 'thee' will not be applicable to Arjuna whom they are meant to refer to. In this Gita s'astra three Paths inter-related as means and aims have been taught. The Path ot Action reaching the abandonment of all actions is summed up in " ••••••••• by worshipping Him in his own actions a man wins perfection' ( Adh. XVIII. 4S. ). The Path of Knowledge, accompanied by the three processes of 'hearing' etc. completely operated upon aud preceeded by abandonment of actions, is wounded up in " •••••••• having thus known Me in essence he forthwith enters into the Supreme " ( Adh. XVUI. 56 ), The third Path, the Path of Devotion to God is the means to and also the end of the Path of Actions.and the Path of Knowledge and is finally described in 'abandoning all dharmas surrender thyself unto Me ...... ' ( Adh. XVlJI. 61 ).
From 'Theological Politics and Paradoxical Spirituality in the Life of Madhusudana Sarasvati'. :-
The most important of Madhusudana' s works on bhakti are his Gudarthadipika ("Illuminator of Hidden Meaning"), a vastly significant commentary on the Bhagavadgita, and his Bhaktirasayana ("Elixir of Devotion"), the only independent treatise on the subject ever written by one of the great masters of classical Advaita. In the Gudartadipika, Madhusudana rejects Sankara's emphasis on renunciation as the key teaching of the Gita, asserting instead that the central message of the text is surrender to God (bhagavadekaSarattalii). He also explicitly recognizes the possibility of bhakti in the state of jivanmukti: "For those in the state of living liberation, bhakti is an end in itself; their worship of Hari, like their complete lack of ill-will, is spontaneous." In the Bhaktirasiiyana, he goes further, describing bhakti as an independent means to Moksha, along with Jnana, which it includes and (experientially, if not ontologically) surpasses.


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