Author Topic: Jnana Versus Bhakti:  (Read 1955 times)

Subramanian.R

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Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« on: January 04, 2013, 05:48:04 PM »
Author Niall Angilin:

(Mountain Path, July- Sept. 2009)

The title of this article is intentionally flawed as the word 'versus' indicates a competition between two rival parties, one against
the other. I have used this title to catch the eye two rival parties, one against the other.  I have used this title to catch the eye
of two kinds of readers, first, the discerning aspirant, who will instantly see the flaw in the supposition that Jnana and Bhakti could
be opposed to one another; and second, the eye of the aspirant, who recognizes the problem he may have encountered in spiritual
life, that of being unable to to reconcile the differences between the path of Jnana and the path of Bhakti and who therefore doubts
both can be followed simultaneously without them being mutually exclusive. This apparent conflict between the paths of bhakti and
jnana is one of the dilemmas that some seekers may face on the spiritual path. Some sadhakas are proud that they follow only the
path of Jnana while others feel that they cannot comprehend the subtleties of Jnana philosophy and they stick with the so called
easy option of devotion, or they fear that they are required to give up their devotion in order to practice self inquiry. and they cannot
give up their cherished love for God.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 03:51:25 PM »
Jnana Versus Bhakti:

continues.....

A misapprehension can come about from Advaita texts which seem to imply that it must be one or the other, and that we
have to make a choice, and follow Jnana or we must stop our dualistic thinking and discontinue our devotion to God. This
misapprehension happened in many cases and I suspect that this mistaken conflict must occur to many. Yet it is seldom discussed
as an expanded topic of discussion. The crux of the dilemma is the question: 'If we undertake Self Enquiry, are we being counselled
to forget about our personal god because He does not really exist and is only an illusion? Is it wrong to practice Self Enquiry while
remaining the devotee of a personal god?' And yet during Sri Bhagavan's lifetime, His devotees worshipped Him and they were not
discouraged from doing so.

This dilemma came to me when reading the Ribhu Gita. It is a pure Advaitic text that asserts in a long series of eloquent statements
the nature of non duality. It is a favorite among those who enjoy chanting it both for its pungency of expression and its direct
approach to the highest Advaitic teachings. It was much recommended by Sri Bhagavan and there are many stories about its chanting
in the Asramam, especially in the early days. For some devotees, the regular chanting of the Ribhu Gita was their main sadhana. (See N.R. Krishnamoorthi Iyer's The Essence of Ribhu Gita). Getting immersed in the Ribhu Gita, can one feel like one is in a dream, in which
God is whispering to us his secret nature, which is our secret nature. Its simplicity leaves no room for intellectual struggles to figure out
what it means. The total inclusiveness of the Reality it presents is awe inspiring.  It drums inspiring statements about the Being of the
Self into the mind, so that finally the mind is unable to think anymore, and one is left with in an intense but thought free awareness,
the essence of Being and Consciousness without limitation, a state that includes all. In fact, Sri Bhagavan indicated that reading
the Ribhu Gita can lead to samadhi. For sadhakas not released from  samsara the rapture may not last and when we finish our reading
and our absorption in it, the tumultuous world reappears with our bodies and names, and our pains and pleasures and our likes and
dislikes. What to do then? Lord, what to do?

continued....

Arunachala Siva.   

Subramanian.R

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 01:46:12 PM »
Continued...

I agree wholeheartedly that this type of approach, following the absolute Oneness of pure Advaita Vedanta, which rejects even
the gods with their implied dualism, is inspiring, and there are times when I read the sacred Advaitic scriptures with the fullest faith
in Sri Bhagavan for such inspiration and insight. But for many of us, who live in a world where we are engaged with what, to us, seems
an all-too-real dualism, it is a major adjustment to the arrangement of our minds and to make the whole-hearted declaration "I am
the absolutely non dual Self". Life is often hard and challenging and we mortals, with our weaknesses, take great comfort in calling
upon our Lord for support, guidance, protection, intervention and spiritual blessings.

For those of us who are all still battling with doubts and the intrusive demands of the world, where we have to support ourselves
in the market place, there is invariably a niggling doubt. Are we fooling ourselves by chanting these absolute verities? Is this just a
blind faith and merely a way to allay our pesky reservations?

The glorious words of the Ribhu Gita resonate inside me, but their power is such that I have in the past sometimes been afraid to
follow their admonitions to give up my old way of thinking for fear that they will radically upset that carefully organized trolley of
ideas and attitudes accumulated over the years, and force me to give up what is most precious to me. devotion to my Lord.

The Ribhu Gita declares in the most concise words the basic tenets of Advaita Vedanta: 'I am Brahman" and "All is Brahman only".
As in all the teachings of Advaita, the world and our thoughts are declared to be illusory, and the extreme position is taken that
the Guru and Lord Siva are also illusions. The context of this extreme position should always be understood as coming from the
state of the absolute unmanifest pure non dual Being which is our goal is Self Inquiry but not to be comprehended by the mind.
These are essential matters of faith as we strive towards our goal, but for the daily living in the manifest world with our ego and
our involvements with other separate individuals, and daily decisions to be made in our material lives, the attitude 'All is One' does
not provide us with the help we need. For the JNANI, A CONSTANT FLOW OF GUIDANCE FOR EVERYTHING COMES FROM WITHIN
but the Jiva has to reach out for such guidance.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.       


           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 02:48:29 PM »
continues....

As long as we are stuck in this dualistic world, if we can ask our friend to help us to lift a heavy box or to lend us a cup of sugar,
then can we not ask God for His blessings and support when we need it? We have to have the right perspective on what it means
to say that God and the world are illusory. He is not more illusory than our neighbor. A primary difference between bhakti and jnana
is this: in devotion we approach the Lord carrying out our burdens, our minds, our bodies, and the world along with us, but in
Self Inquiry, we attempt to shed all these things and realize our true nature as pure awareness without adjuncts. While practicing
Self Inquiry we must relinquish all thoughts including thoughts of God and concentrate on the pure awareness of 'I'. In this our
goal is to vanquish the menacing mind, the trouble maker.

There are intense challenges in moving from the traditional dualistic forms of religion where there is a loving and nurturing God
and we are His children, to Advaita Vedanta that declares I AM THAT.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.   
   

Ravi.N

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 03:56:42 PM »
udai,
Jnana and Bhakti cannot be modelled.All these classifications are the mind's groping only.Mind wants to make sense of something that is beyond it and in doing so comes up with statements like the Blind men and the Elephant in Sri Ramakrishna's Parable.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 04:12:15 PM »
udai,
Quote
atma-anatma model is still bhakti ... when its just Atma, its parabhakti

Bhakti cannot be modelled-we may say that Bhakti it is when Jivatma communes with Paramatma,of which it is part and parcel.

Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 04:24:21 PM »
udai,
No modelling is involved in the jivatma paramatma communion.Only the one who has the communion will understand.Intellect can only think in terms of Model and not the Real thing.Sadhana is required to understand beyond modelling.
Namaskar.

Ravi.N

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 06:47:14 PM »
udai,
I am stopping the discussion as I do not see that there is any seriousness here.
Namaskar.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Jnana Versus Bhakti:
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2013, 01:39:19 PM »
continues...

In life's worst moments, we can feel like poor helpless souls, and it is more than consoling to have a God to call upon, to lift
our spirits and help and guide us through our trials and tribulations, our doubts and ignorance. Until and unless our mind comes
under control, and we find the inner peace to realize the Divine as Pure Consciousness in our heart, we cannot go about declaring
'I am not the body' and yet still remain vulnerable to every vicissitude this tricky world sends our way. 'I am not the body' is a final
truth, a realization, the ultimate release from bondage. It should not be adopted as a way of living, when we still have not realized
exactly who we are, though faith in the idea, 'I am not the body' as absolute truth is essential for a sadhaka.

Can we practice Self Inquiry and still remain devoted to God and worship Him? Why not? As long as we retain the I am the body
notion, we should continue to worship and pray to God. Saying I am not the body because we believe it by faith certainly does not
mean we are rid of the notion that we are the body.

Many of us have heard something similar to the following verses from Ribhu Gita: 'I, indeed, am the Supreme Brahman - Bliss ever.
I. indeed, am the supreme Brahman-Bliss, which is changeless." (Ch 16. 2, of SAT version.) From my reading, understanding and faith in Bhagavan's teaching, I accept the truth of these statements because Bhagavan says that they are true and because in his secret
way He blesses us all and awakens our hearts to His call so that we might gain a glimmer of understanding of these truths.

Intellectuals who have been dissatisfied with the traditional religion because they just can't accept what they have been
taught, and who have perhaps adopted a somewhat atheistic outlook often find the teachings of Sri Bhagavan very appealing
as they search for a higher meaning of life, but I would claim that the devotee of God has a head start on the path of Self
Realization.

continued.....

Arunachala Siva.