Posted by: adbhutam | July 23, 2017

SHANKARA AND MADHUSUDANA SARASWATI ON ‘BHAKTI’ IN THE BHAGAVADGITA

Shankara and Madhusudana Saraswati on ‘Bhakti’ in the Bhagavadgita

A sample of the stance that Shankara and Madhusudana take with respect to ‘Bhakti’ in the BG:

BG 12.20: [This chapter itself is called Bhaktiyoga]:

ये तु धर्म्यामृतमिदं यथोक्तं पर्युपासते।
श्रद्दधाना मत्परमा भक्तास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः।।12.20।।

Shankara:   मद्भक्ताः च उत्तमां परमार्थज्ञानलक्षणां भक्तिमाश्रिताः ते अतीव मे प्रियाः।

Madhusudana ते मत्परमा भक्ता मां निरुपाधिकं ब्रह्म भजमानास्तेऽतीव मे प्रियाः।प्रियो हि ज्ञानिनोऽत्यर्थमहं स च मम प्रियः इति पूर्वसूचितस्यायमुपसंहारः।

Both Shankara and MS agree that the ‘Bhakta’ of this verse refers to the Advaita Jnani. His Bhakti is Jnaana lakshanaa bhakti.

BG 18.54:

ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न काङ्क्षति।
समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्भक्तिं लभते पराम्।।18.54।।

S:
मद्भक्तिं मयि परमेश्वरे भक्तिं भजनं पराम् उत्तमां ज्ञानलक्षणां चतुर्थीं लभते चतुर्विधा भजन्ते माम् (गीता 7।16) इति हि उक्तम्।

MS:
एवंभूतो ज्ञाननिष्ठो यतिर्मद्भक्तिं मयि भगवति शुद्धे परमात्मनि भक्तिमुपासनां मदाकारचित्तवृत्त्यावृत्तिरूपां परिपाकनिदिध्यासनाख्यां श्रवणमननाभ्यासफलभूतां लभते परां श्रेष्ठामव्यवधानेन साक्षात्कारफलां चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मामित्यत्रोक्तस्य भक्तिचतुष्टयस्यान्त्यां ज्ञानलक्षणमिति वा।

In the verse too both the commentators hold the same view of bhakti:
Jnaana lakshanaa bhakti.
 

BG 18.55:

S: अतः ज्ञाननिष्ठालक्षणतया भक्त्या माम् अभिजानातीति

MS: भक्त्या निदिध्यासनात्मिकया ज्ञाननिष्ठया मामद्वितीयमात्मानमभिजानाति साक्षात्करोति।

Here, the verse itself says:
भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान्यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः।
ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम्।।18.55।।

Through ‘Bhakti’ one realizes Brahman completely, actually. Both the commentators hold the same view: the bhakti that results in the Brahman-realization is Jnānaniṣṭhā lakṣaṇā.

In all these places the Supreme Bhakti is spoken of in the BG. For Shankara and Madhusudana such a bhakti is non-different from Parājnāna lakshaṇā/niṣṭhā. One can recall the famous verse of the Vivekachudamani:

मोक्षसाधनसामग्र्यां भक्तिरेव गरीयसी ।
स्वस्वरूपानुसंधानं भक्तिरित्य भिधीयते ।।

Among the means to Moksha, Bhakti is the supreme. Contemplation of one’s true Self is admitted to be ‘Bhakti’. This is actually the sādhya bhakti.

Even with reference to sādhana bhakti involving one-pointed supreme devotion specific deities Shankara and Madhusudana do not differ.

Madhusudana writes this verse in BG commentary at the end of a chapter:

शैवाः सौराश्च गाणेशा वैष्णवाः शक्तिपूजकाः। भवन्ति यन्मयाः सर्वे सोहमस्मि परः शिवः।।3।
‘I am that Supreme Śiva which is what the Śaivas, Sauras, Gāṇeśas, Vaiśṇavas, Śāktas meditate upon.’

Shankara, in his Prapanchasāra has specified various deities such as Shiva/Dakshinamurty, Surya, Agni, Vinayaka, Saraswati, Vishnu, etc. as means to attain moksha.

http://www.mediafire.com/view/hohmqulb63qkqel/The_Papanchasara_of_Shankaracharya_-_A_brief_introduction._AB.pdf
The ‘Prapancha Sāra’ of Shankaracharya is a vast book with 33 Chapters.  The thrust of the teaching of the work is: All deities, pitrus, grahas, etc.’ when worshiped appropriately with devotion can confer all that is desired and even moksha.’

Thus, there is absolutely no truth in the erroneous idea that ‘Madhusudana Saraswati differed from Shankara and proposed a distinct bhakti marga’.
Om Tat Sat
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