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Re: Jnana and bhakti

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Tue Nov 05 1996 - 11:29:58 PST

Dear Martin and others,

The relationship between jnAna and bhakti is a
very important issue in the process of sAdhana.
Krishna has addressed the issue of whether 
self-knowledge to the point of the experience
of the bliss of the self is a necessary prerequisite
to jnAna.

Mohan from Colorado has also addressed one part
of this question. However, I think some of his
points may be misunderstood if taken literally.

For the prapanna (one who has surrendered everything
to the Lord), there is no *need* for meditation as
a means to liberation, but meditation can still
be performed as a natural expression of devotion
and is certainly beneficial to one's well-being.
One must be careful in performing this meditation
not out of an egoistic attitude but as an outgrowth
of love and service.

That being said, meditation in the Upanishadic
sense can always (and probably should always)
be a part of the devotional process.  Nammalvar,
whose life and poetry furnishes the finest example
of self-surrender for followers of the Vedas, 
was involved in deep meditation of the Lord 
nearly all his life.  The panca-kAla-prAkriya
(five-fold division of daily duties) of the
Sri Vaishnavas includes yoga as an integral
element.

At the very minimum, a basic knowledge of the
nature of the self is requisite for the prapanna.
Our acharyas hold that knowledge of the nature
of the self, if not of the self itself, is 
necessary for the surrender to truly be complete.
This may be termed 'sesatva-jnAna', or the 
understanding that the individual exists solely
for the purpose of the glory of the Lord and 
merely operates as His mode.

Mani