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RE: [SriRangaSri] Idol/Icon/Vigraha - Discussions in SrI Ranga

From: bindinganavale suresh (suresh_b_n_at_yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Jun 08 2001 - 00:29:04 PDT

Dear member,
            You wrote :-

Dear learned members,

I need an answer to the following question.


As per gita,

Is atmasakshataram absolutely necessary for one to
start bhakti yoga?  
If
not why not - prove using slokas from gita +
commentaries.

As per upanisads can it be established unmistakably,
that 
atmasakshatkaram
is absolutely needed for bhakti yoga? If so provide
detailed quotes and
these quotes should be unmistakable and generally
agreeable to wider
audience, (in the sense strongly provable.)

I am having the time of my life discussing gita with
sri SMS chari who 
is
writing a new book on Gita.  His book will be
something very unique.  I
don't think a similar book has been written before.

Adiyen krishna

*******************************************************

I will try to answer this question from the Gita
Bhashya of Bhagavad Ramanujaacharya.Please refer the
book as you read through the mail.

>From the point of view of the saadhaka,the answer to
the above question is "Yes,Atma sakshatkaara or self
realization is an essential requirement for attainment
of Devotion to the Lord in the true sense".I will
present my understanding in the sentences below.

The Transition of the mental state of an aspirant
after the Highest Good from atmaavalokana or self
realization to Devotion to the supreme God Sri.Krishna
is mentioned in the following places in the Gita. 

Chapter 6 :- slokha 29,30 and 31.
Chapter 12:- slokha 9 to 12.
chapter 18:- slokha 54.

For the above question,i feel chapter 12,slokha 9 to
12
is straight to the point.Infact the slokhas 11 and 12
bring out the importance of Self realization for the
attainment of Bhakti to the Lord,So i will try to
concentrate on these two particular slokhas.

In slokha 11,Sri Krishna tells arjuna(i.e us)that if
he is incapable of doing his Yoga i.e working for him
or serving him exclusively,then he should practise
Karma yoga(akshara yoga taught in the first six
chapters)so that he becomes a person of controlled
self i.e mind.Sri.Krishna makes this point more clear
in the next slokha when he says "Better is Knowledge
of the self when compared to repeated rememberence of
the Lord devoid of love or devotion to him for the
self is more at peace in itself than an imperfect
devotion to the Lord,Better is meditation on the
nature of self compared to improper knowledge of self,
Better is selfless action(Karma yoga) compared to
improper meditation on the self(jnana Yoga) for by
such
selfless action the person attains peace of mind".

Sri.Ramanuja in his Geetha Bhashya says that Bhakti
which is a state of mind is itself an attainment which
can be understood from the above slokhas and Karma
yoga and/or jnana yoga is useful to the extent of the
self realizing its true nature both in itself and as
related to the supreme Brahman or Sri.Krishna as his
shesha(part completley dependent and for Sri.Krishna).
The peace of mind mentioned in the above slokha is the
state of mind,when the mind goes easily and
effortlessly with Love only to Lord Sri.Krishna as the
person of self realization views all the other selves
as similar to his own self and the only entity
transcendental to himself(Individual self) and
prakriti deserving adoration is the supreme Brahman
himself.Further Bhakti,a unique state of mind is not
only an achievement in itself but also a means for
further attainment i.e attainment of the supreme
Brahman itself.This is mentioned in the last portions
of chapter 11 and chapter 18 slokha 54.

Now all that has been mentioned above regarding the
cause of Bhakti is from the point of view of the
saadhana of the saadhaka himself.But,in the charma
slokha 66 of the Gita in chapter 18,Lord Sri krishna
says that if a person surrenders himself to the
Lord,then the Lord himself becomes the means for the
cause of Bhakti if the aspirant wants that or he
becomes an independent means to attain the Lord
himself.

So,Atma sakshaatkara is not necessary if one adopts
prappathi towards the Lord.But,this does not mean that
knowledge of self has no place in prappathi
marga,because even a prappana has to atleast have a
theoretical knowledge of his true self and try to
abide in it to his best for it helps him in his
conduct in this world as a prappana though he might
not have a complete practical experience of the same
as the Bhakti yogi does.

Hope the above helps.Any errors above are mine and
feel free to write to me.Meanwhile i will try to bring
pramanas on the same from upanishads.

Sri.Krishnaarpanamasthu
Suresh B.N.



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