[Advaita-l] SrividyA and advaita vedAnta

Praveen R. Bhat bhatpraveen at gmail.com
Thu Oct 5 11:05:07 EDT 2017

Namaste Venkatraghavanji,

On Mon, Oct 2, 2017 at 1:07 AM, Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Given that we are discussing the topic of SrividyA, could you (or anyone
> familiar with the matter) please elaborate a little bit on how SrividyA
> upAsana fits within advaita vedAnta?

​I will ​share what I can (although I am not sure how much will be seen as
*okay to be shared*) with the hope that it will not be confused with
upAsanA leading to mokSha being refuted by Bhashyakara. Surely, upAsana
cannot result in mokSha, but it can lead one there. In fact, as I remember,
Vidyaranyacharya defines an uttamAdhikArI as one who is a kRtopAsti (kRtA
upAsti =upAsanA yena saH), one who has performed upAsanA, meaning, one who
has attained the result of upAsanA (iShTadevatAdarshana). Technically,
upAsanA is that which is prescribed with devatA, dhyAna, etc, and this is
how nidhidhyAsana is explained as being different. Yet, there is an
overlap. With this background, I shall delve into the questions below. It
may kindly be noted that what I state is from the perspective of
kuNDalinisAdhana which is the main content of all three branches of
shrIvidyA (SV) (samayAchAra, kaula and mishra) although the latter is much
wider. I particularly do not think there is a difference in implication
w.r.t. the questions raised (especially if shaktipAt variety of Kundalini
practice is not compared with).

> 1) Is it a sAdhana for chitta shuddhi, ultimately requiring / leading to
> guru prApti, shravaNa-manana-nidhidhyAsana, jnAna and moksha? i.e., does
> SrividyA hold that one would need to transition from SrividyA upAsana to
> jnAna sAdhana for moksha?
​As a Vedantin, especially, as​ in vivaraNa, it may be said that it causes
chittashuddhi of such an extent in its culmination that a slight tinge of
knowledge of oneness from any source can result in mokSha. However, for a
practitioner of upAsana, that itself is most likely to appear as leading to
aikyajnAna as to how the parokShajnAna gets converted into
aparokShAnubhUti/ anubhava will not be clear. This is akin to niddidhyAsana
appearing to result in mokSha for a follower of bhAmatI. For some, there
could be be a doubt here as to how would the upAsaka not know as to what
the source of mokSha is? This is answered by Panchadashikara in the 9th
chapter with an example of a vedapAThI student who is unable to remember
the sUkta even after many tries during the day, but *something happens*
during the sleep that he wakes up chanting it completely! This is an
experience of many, maybe w.r.t. to different fields of *knowledge*. What
happens there cannot be pointed as idam ittham, but the example is
pratyakShanubhava. Ergo, no *specific* transition is mentioned to

> 2) Or, does SrividyA shAstra hold that jnAna is not a requirement for
> mokshA and upAsana itself is sufficient? Is the nature of mokshA different
> in SrividyA and advaita?
​... SV itself is inclusive of the highest vidyA, also known as
jnAnakunDalinI.​ The nature of mokSha is not different. It is
advaitakaivalyam. The Divine Mother Herself can be said to directly
instruct the upAsaka, when ready beyond ajnA.

> 3) Or, are these elements incorporated within the ambit of the upAsana
> itself - i.e. the word upAsana in this context includes both upAsana and
> jnAna sAdhana? If so, how?

​I think this question​ also stands answered IMO with above.

Now, SV upAsanA itself is quite involved, with strict rules to follow with
siddhis associated at each level/ mantra. The siddhi should be used to
further in the path. Yet, it poses risks of one getting lost under the
influence of siddhis. This is what was mentioned as bhoga earlier in this
thread. I had asked a good satsangi friend of mine about all of the SV
upAsakAs known to him as to who pursues for mokShaphala and he had said
that although some starts so, he had seen even those getting lost in
siddhis, if not forever, for a good while.

Yet, the results are guaranteed and being dRShTaphala, one is quite certain
of progress oneself. There is another benefit to even a single siddhi as I
see, though not encouraged to be used, that it gives a doubtless conviction
that there is a possibility that I am the creator of this world. I know
this has been disputed by many SDV followers, but I thought its worth a
mention that those who have doubts as to how a jIva can be anything but
limited, any considerable siddhi gives a conviction beyond dispute. Another
point worth mentioning is about the fact that gunA guNeshu vartante becomes
clear, especially by witnessing the kriyAs that are quite certainly a
happening than a performance.

In the end, the questions that help resolve conflicting opinions for those
who have shraddhA on the subject matter are:

   - Whether SV helps one towards moksha? Undoubtedly.
   - Is it risky? Quite so, unless one is in constant touch with the Guru.
   - Is it necessary? Definitely not.

--Praveen R. Bhat
/* येनेदं सर्वं विजानाति, तं केन विजानीयात्। Through what should one know
That owing to which all this is known! [Br.Up. 4.5.15] */

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