RLG205- FINAL: LECTURE:
1. Although BHAKTI YOGA does not fit the situation in which ARJUNA finds himself in the BHAGAVAD
GITA, in Chapter 9 Bhakti Yoga is described by KRISHNA. What is the essence of BHAKTI YOGA in
the Bhagavad Gita?
- bhakti yoga is discipline of divine love (devotion). It is from Bhagavata Purana 800 C.E.
- it is to make first act of faith and love to chosen deity, but ultimately release (moksha) is dependent upon
god/goddesss grace and love.
- it consists of kama which is desire and human love.
- bhakti is divine love. The love of the devotee of god and goddesses. The love of the god/godess of the devotee.
-The content of the Gita is the conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield before the start
of the Kurukshetra war. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins, Krishna
explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince and elaborates on different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies.
- bhaghavad gita consists of an symbolic representation of good and evil within oneself. The Bhagavad-Gita consists of
18 chapters. Each chapter is called a yoga.
- The knowledge found within the Bhagavad-Gita is incomparable as it gives specific information regarding the purpose
of human existence, the immortality of the soul and our eternal relationship with God.
-The middle six chapters have been designated as the Bhakti Yoga section as they principally are pertaining with the
science of the individual consciousness attaining communion with the Ultimate Consciousness by the path of devotion.
- bhakti yoga is important of Hindu aspects over time
-anyone whatever their rank/ jarna with devotion can make an offering out of love and can receive gods love and
- anyone can receive moksha through worshipping god.
- bhakti yoga is open to everyone even those of low castes.
- the deities of Vishnu/ shiva/ kali are worshipped or just aspects of them.
- the bhakta (devotee) makes the first offering out of faith and love.
-Ishvara / Devi returns the act of devotion with love and grace.
- at death, Ishvara/Devi pulls soul out right at the death of the body, our of samsara (never to be reborn again).
- Bhakti Yoga means the Discipline of Divine Love and when it comes to Bhakti vs Kama, Kama is human love
(horizontal) while Bhakti (vertical) is love for god chosen by the individual devotee. According to Krishna in the gita,
bhakti yoga is worshiping to a chosen god. Krishna says that those whoever worships me and offers to me with
devotion (bhakti), a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water- that offering of the love of the pure heart (faith), I accept Who are
calm and happy of what they have (sacrifice) are dear to him. This verse is not directly related to the battle but it is
about the battle, the personal battle within an individual. Keywords: devotion, love and faith. If in bhakti you direct your
thoughts in me, become one with me and bring all the thoughts of me, then those are the ones whom will live with me.
Follow my rules and make sacrifices (the true Brahman) is the one who will reach me. Thus thou shall be freed
(moksha) from good and evil results (rebirth and karma) which are the bonds of action (karma) Keywords: grace of
God Even if a man of most vile conduct (low caste) worships me with undistracted devotion (bhakti) he/she also gains
moksha. This breaks the caste system which was somewhat present in Karma Yoga This is related to the battle
because Arjuna was Kshatriya and his caste dictated his action to fight. (Fighting for the greater good no matter what
the result is)
2. (NOT ON EXAM)
3. How had SHANKARA realized the state of ADVAITA (NON-DUAL) BRAHMAN and what are the
PRESUPPOSITIONS that he makes in writing his COMMENTARY on THE VEDANTA SUTRA?
- Advaita Vedanta is the system founded by Shankara.
- advaita means non dual and Vedanta means the end or end of Upanishads.
- shankara had an experience through Raja Yoga in which he experience jnana (experience of absolute oneness).
- shankara had experienced through raja yoga and instinctively realized by Jnana the state of non dual (advaita)
- through realizing this state of non dual (advaita) Brahman, he realized this is not the theistic Brahman (Ishvara) but it
is beyond Ishvara.
- he is the Brahman that has to be experienced. The presuppositions that he makes:
-after he had this experience he could make commentaries on other mystics who had the same experience.
- his commentary reflects upon the experiences of the authors of the Upanishads.
- the mystical utterances of the Upanishads (vedanta) are cited as the final authority in matters of right knowledge.
-shankara seeks to create an understanding objectively.
- he objectively seeks to summarize the set ups/ philosophies of his opponent.
- Sabda verbal knowledge is superior to: perception (senses), reason, and inference. Sankara stresses that Sabda is
the ultimate source of knowledge. 2
- Shankara meets his guru govinda and attains Jnana, the mystical knowledge of hir-guna Brahman. He realizes the
state of adviita Brahman (non-dual) through raja yoga. Shankara emphasizes that shabda is the ultimate source of
knowledge. Shankara quotes in shruti scripture that everything is that self meaning atman. Shankara also states that
knowing yourself (atman) cannot be doubted because everyone is conscience of their own existence.
4. How might the analogies of LIGHT/PRISM and RAINBOW/SKY help explain what Daniel H.H.
INGALLS calls, a logical dilemma: if AVIDYA is a real entity, then monism ends; to say that AVIDYA
is unreal is to destroy the doctrine of AVIDYA?
- if duality exists, then monoism ends. Sat is the absolute truth. Something that has or over will come into existence is
not real. Nir guna Brahman is absolute real.
As long as the person preceieved the snake, as soon as the person discovers it is not real. It exists in time when does
- the experience that Shankara had in meditation was of oneness. When he came back to the world of duality.
-philosophers explained the apparent diversity of the world (subject to object, I and others multiplicity)
- the truth is one indivisible reality (Nir-guna-brahman) -> Brahman without quality, Brahman which is one (advaita
- Ingall argues what individuals see (subject /object duality) is a product of ignorance.
-if it is true that there is duality, monoism ends which is not a problem if avidya (ignorance) is totally imaginative, its a
dream and of no importance.
-the problem arises of avidya is a real entity because it negates the ultimate reality of Brahman.
-Ingalls solution to the problem -> a new truth value (Anir Vacani) that which cant be either true or false (middle
-new multivalue system of logic: - that which is true refers to Brahman ( one) also avaita Brahman (non dual
Brahman). That which is false (A-Satya) is a logical contradiction or something that has never come and will never
come into existence for example, a child of a barren women, a hare with horns, or a round square.
- ANIRvacaniyatva: not describable as absolutely true / absolutely false (the middle category)
- light/ prism analogy: if you put a glass prism through a window and light comes through and hits the prism, you see a
multi spectrum of colours (if youre ignorant, you will treat this as real).
- if you see the colours, you are in ignorance. The prism is like the mind. The break the mind to realize the oneness.
-if you remove the prism/ break it, the spectrum of colours disappears.
-the prism is similar to the mind. The mind is full of ignorance, you read to break the mind to realize the oneness of all
reality, otherwise you see reality which you perceive as real.
-breaking the mind is accomplished through raja yoga: you then see that everything is one, when you come back to the
world of multiplicity (analogies are analogies, you have to go through raja yoga to have the experience).
5. At age 29, when NANAK, the founder of SIKH tradition, was bathing, he disappeared for three
days. When NANAK reappeared, he began his mission with the words: There is no HINDU; there is
no MUSLIM. What did NANAK mean by these words and what major concepts or teachings did he
take from MUSLIM and HINDU traditions?
- Nanak had a mystical experience while bathing he was summoned by god and charged with gods mission.
Confrontation between god and Nanak.
-similar to Moses/ Mohammed where Nanak is called by god to go preach.
-he appeared and began his mission with there is no hindu, there is no muslim. Signifying all individuals despite
religion are equal. No diff between Islam and Hinduism, that is why he borrowed concepts from each religion.
- and the concept of monotheism is touched upon.
- Vishnu was the one god in Hinduism while Allah was the one god in muslim tradition.
- a concept taken from muslim tradition was similar to Islamic shahaddh -> one god, prophet (guru), and sacred
scripture (Adi Ganth)
-Hindu influences into Sikhism: Nanak like many Hindu gurus who had prophetic experiences went on pilgrimages to all
parts of India -> east, south, north and westward to as far as Mecca.
-he adopted Hindu concepts of Samsara, creation/ destruction cycles, human rebirth and moksha (release) and without
the guide of a guru no one could attain moksha.
- Nanak Ji was the first Guru who started the Sikh tradition. At the age of 29, he had an experience. Khushwant Singh
states that it was a mystical experience (like Shankara), for he disappeared while bathing. Others say that it was a
prophetic experience (like Moses and Muhammad) for God summoned him for His mission: Nanak, I am with theego
in the world to pray and teach mankind how to pray. Let your life be one of praise of the word (Nam).
After third day of his disappearance, he came back with his mission and the words: There is no HINDU, there is no
MUSLIM. What Nanak meant