Author Topic: Soundaryalahari: Jnana and Bhakti - by Mahaswamigal  (Read 2300 times)


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Soundaryalahari: Jnana and Bhakti - by Mahaswamigal
« on: November 04, 2010, 04:52:31 PM »
From discourses of Kanchi Mahaswamigal on Soundaryalahari:

How could Adi Shankara, who preached the jnAna mArga, have promoted this work (Soundaryalahari) of bhakti? It cannot be his, say some who profess Philosophy. But our Acharya was not a professor who isolated philosophy as a separate discipline. Having written very profoundly on advaita and its deepest implications in his several commentaries and the other works of his, he promoted the spiritual pursuit of the common man by writing and talking about the need to follow one's swadharma by Karma and Bhakti. His intent was to raise the common man from his own level. For this purpose he went from one pilgrim centre to another all his life and composed hymns after hymns and also established yantras in temples.

The philosophers argue: JnAni says everything is One. But Bhakti can happen only when there is the duality of the devotee and the deity. Therefore, they say, the jnAni can never be a bhakta. These philosophers cannot themselves claim to have the Enlightenment of advaita! But there have been those who could have so claimed, like the sage Suka, Madhusudana Saraswati or Sadasiva-brahmam. If we carefully study their lives we will know that they had been devotees of God in the fullest sense of the word and have themselves written works of Bhakti. Even in our own times Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has been a great devotee of Mother Goddess. Ramana Maharishi has done works of devotion on God Arunachalesvara. Again, on the other side, great devotees like Manikka-vasagar, Nammazhvar, Arunagiri-nathar, Tayumanavar, etc. have themselves been convinced advaitins, and this is reflected in innumerable flashes in their compositions.

If a jnAni should not do a Bhakti composition, then I would say that he should not also do a work of jnAna. Why am I saying this? Let us go back to the definition of a jnAni. The world is all mAyA; the thinking of people as if they were separate separate jIvAtmAs is nothing but Ignorance - with such a conviction through personal experience, they have thrown away that Ignorance as well as its basic locus, the mind, and they live in the non-dualistic state of  "I am everything" -  such should be the status of the jnAni; shouldn't it be so? Such a person preaching, or writing a book, even if it be about the subject of jnAna - is it not a contradiction? Unless such a person thinks there is a world outside of him and there are jIvAtmAs outside, how can he think of 'teaching'? Teaching whom? And when we look at it this way, all those great teachers of jnAna should really not be jnAnis! What power will there be for such a teaching about jnAna from teachers who are not jnAnis themselves?

On the other hand what do we observe in our experience? Whether it is the teaching about jnAna in the Gita, or the Viveka Chudamani of our Acharya, or the Avadhuta Gita of Sri Dattatreya or the teaching in the Yoga-vASiShTa, or a song of Tayumanavar, even as we just read these we feel we are being taken beyond the curtain created by mAyA to some distant peaceful state of Calm. Just by reading, in one's spiritually ripe stage, such teachings, there have been people who have renounced the world and reached the state of Bliss-in-one-Self! If these teachings had not been written from that spiritual apex of Experiential Excellence, how could such things have ever happened?

Therefore, however much by our intellectual logic, we may argue whether a jnAni can get bhakti, how the jnAni can do any preaching and so such possibilities cannot exist and so on, these are certainly happening, by the Will of the Lord which is beyond the Possible and the Impossible. It is only the Play of the Lord that, the jnAni, who is non-dualistic internally, appears to do things in the dualistic world. His mind may have vanished, mAyA might have been transcended by him; but that does not mean the outside world of jIvAtmAs has disintegrated. What do we gather from this? There is a Super-Mind which does all this and in some mysterious way is compering and directing the entire universe. And it also means it is the same Supra-Mind that is making the minds of men revolve in the illusion of mAyA. It is that Power which is known in advaita scriptures as saguNa-brahman or Ishvara. In the scriptures devoted to Shakti or Shiva , whenever they call the Actionless nirguNa-Brahman as 'ShivaM' they call this saguNa-brahman as 'Shakti', 'parAshakti' or 'ambAL'. Just as that nirguNa-Brahman exhibits itself and acts as the saguNa-brahman, so also, it must be presumed, that the enlightened jnAni also does his external actions and that again, is the work of the saguNa-brahman!

What is the path of jnAna? It is the effort through self-enquiry and meditation for the eradication of the mind and vanquishing of mAyA. But the other path is to dedicate oneself and all one's thoughts and actions to that very parA-shakti (who produced this mAyA on us) with an attitude of devotion. It is like giving the house-key to the thief himself! However much the parA-shakti may play with you and toss you and your mind hither and thither, Her infinite compassion cannot be negated. Only when we separate and rejoin, we realise the value of that union. To pray to Her for that reunion and for Her to get us back to Her in answer to our prayers - this is the great LeelA of Duality wherein She exhibits Her Infinite Compassion! So when one prays with Bhakti for such release She releases Him by giving Him that Wisdom of Enlightenment.

It is wrong to think that the goal of Bhakti lies in the dualistic attitude of being separate from God. It is by this wrong assumption that people ask the question: How can a jnAni exhibit Bhakti? In the very path of Bhakti wherein it appears there is an embedded duality, the same Bhakti would lead the practitioner to the stage where he will ask: Oh God! May I be one with You! This is the subtle point which the questioning people miss. When that stage comes to the devotee, the very parA-shakti known as kArya-brahman or saguNa-brahman will bless him with that jnAna that takes him to the non-dual kAraNa-brahman or nirguNa-brahman.

Not everybody can practise the path of jnAna that brings the realisation of the mahA-vAkyas by sravaNa (hearing), manana (thinking and recalling) and nididhyAsana (contemplating). Only when the mind vanishes one can realise the Self as the Absolute Brahman. If that is so, the real question is: How to kill the truant mind, which refuses to be subdued, much less vanquished? The very effort of vanquishing the mind has to be done by the mind only. How can it kill itself? The palm can slap another; but it cannot slap itself. Though we are thus brought to a dilemma, there is a supreme power which has created all these minds. So instead of self-effort to kill our minds, we should leave it to the parA-shakti and surrender to Her. Instead of falling at the feet of the witness for the prosecution we fall at the feet of the prosecutor.


Either She might totally eradicate your mind and give you the peaceful state of "I am shiva" (shivoham) or She might tell you from within:
"Look, after all, all this is My Play. The Play appears real to you because of mAyA. I shall totally erase that mAyA-view for you. Then you can also be like me, with that calm non-dual bliss inside and having on the outside a mind which is untouched by mAyA. Thereby you can also be a witness to all this worldly Dance. You will thus see yourself in Me and see Me in all the worldly multiplicities. In other words instead of making the mind non-existent, your mind will then be full of Me?"

And She might make you just exactly that way. But I know your worry. You constantly worry about the impossibility of transcending mAyA, of eradicationg this worldly vision and of vanquishing the mind. You keep worrying to the extent of almost weeping over it.

To such a wailing seeker She replies:
"Why do you worry and weep like this? You are worrying that you cannot discard the world from your view. But you forget that the world was not your making. This Sun and Moon, mountains, trees, oceans, animal kingdom, and the millions of living beings and categories - all this
was not created by you.
When that is so, you are worrying about the little 'you' that you are, and you forget that this little 'you' also was not your creation. Instead of thinking all this is not only one but one with Me, your mAyA clouded view makes you think they are all different and distinct. And even that mAyA-view that clouds you, again was not your making!
My dear child, you are caught up in the web of the world, a mind and a MAyA-cloud -- all this is My making. Did I not make Krishna say to you: mama mAyA duratyayA - (My mAyA is intranscendable). I have also told you there that it is 'daivI' (made by the Power of God). If you had made it all, then you could have overcome them. But it was all made by Me in the fullness of Power.
You jIvas have only little fragments of that Power. So if you cannot eradicate the world, the mind and the MAyA that I have made, you don't have to cry over it. It is not in your Power. It has to take place only by My Grace. Come nearer to Me through Devotion! I shall do the eradication in proper doses for you.
That somebody is able to control his mind and is able to walk on the path of jnAna - that again is My own Grace. It is I who have granted that privilege to him. What appears as many and different must be seen as one. To crave for that view is what is called 'advaita-vAsanA'. One gets it only by My Grace".
Homage to the Universal Being...Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ... Om Shanti ...


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Re: Soundaryalahari: Jnana and Bhakti - by Mahaswamigal
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2010, 10:54:54 AM »

Dear silentgreen,

Very nice. Mother should guide us to Father.  Bhagavan Ramana used
to say:  Bhakti is Jnana Mata, devotion is the mother of wisdom.
Jnanis are not dry, they are full of melting love to all creatures in
this world and also to Mother.  Bhagavan Ramana gave the highest
benefit that could be imagined by a Jnani to his mother.  Mother
Azhagamma was guided to the gates of liberation, with Bhagavan's
personal touch.

Sri Soundarya Lahari starts with saying:

Without you, even Brahma cannot even move his little finger.  How
can he create these worlds?

She is Pancha preda manjathi saayini.  She is sitting on a cot,
for which the plank is Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Indra are
the four legs......

Arunachala Siva.