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Bhakti- A Critical Appraisal Of Madhusudana Sarasvati

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Item Code: AZB971
Author: Krishnajee Ayyagari
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publications, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2021
ISBN: 9788194815877
Pages: 360
Other Details 9.00 x 6.00 inches
Weight 592 gm
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Book Description

Madhusudana Sarasvati (1540-1647), was one of the greatest exponents of Advaitism in the Post-Sankara era. He made valuable contribution to the knowledge of Advaitism with his works like Siddhantabindu, Advaitasiddhi, and Vedāntakalpalatikā etc. The most famous among them is Advaitasiddhi, in which he has upheld the Advaita and forcefully refuted the criticism by Sri Vyasatīrtha in his work Nyamrṛta. He flourished during the period when the Bhakti movement is gaining widespread popularity throughout the country which influenced scholars as well as laymen. The Interreligious rivalry and wrangles were at peak. He was an ardent devotee of Śrī Kṛṣṇa since his childhood and continued the worship of his Ista, even after resorting to Sannyāsa. He wrote an exclusive treatise on Bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa called Bhakti-Rasayana, based on Bhagavatapurāṇa, in which he asserted that Bhakti is an independent path for liberation. Bhakti is the highest goal of life, and it is not a mere path but an end itself and Kṛṣṇa is none else than Parabrahman.

The Advaitic system has Mokṣa as the highest goal and only through Jñana one can achieve that goal. Brahman is the only realty. The above assertion of Madhusudana, who is an exponent of Advaita, is considered as a paradox and intriguing.

A review of the literature we find that there are only few studies on the subject and there is no unanimity.


The present work is a slightly modified version of the doc toral research thesis of Krishnajee Ayyagari, which was completed under my supervision. As such, I have been an active witness to the entire course of its formulation and it is a matter of immense pleasure and satisfaction to see it being presented before the world in the form of a book, dealing with a subject matter which is of immense significance and value for both the advaitic tradition as well as the bhakti tradition.

Madhusudana Saraswati represents the full bloom of the atavistic school and he was unique in his effort to work out a synthesis of the advaitic philosophy and the devotional philosophy. The primary introduction to the nature of Brahman in the Brahmasūtra (I-i-2) clearly refers to the saguna aspect of Brahman, which is sufficient to indicate its significance in the advaitic framework. Despite this, it is not so uncommon to come across advaitic scholars who think that the pure ontological nature of Brahman refers to its nirguna aspect alone, as the saguna aspect involves an epistemic element of ignorance and illusion. This misunderstanding has been vehemently challenged, criticized and rectified by Madhusudana Saraswati in his works. His early life had been exclusively devoted to the bhakti tradition and he shifted to the advaitic tradition later on after much reflection and critique.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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