JNANESVAR'S THEOLOGY OF THE THREE PATHS TO LIBERATION (BHAKTI, MYSTICISM, HINDUISM, DIALOGUE, INDIA)

FELIX ANTHONY MACHADO, Fordham University

Abstract

Santa Jnanesvar, also known as Jnandeva, wrote the first commentary in Marathi on the Bhagavad G(')ita. It is called Bhavarthadipika, also known as G(')itartha, or G(')itatika, or G(')itadevi, but is popularly referred to as the Jnanesvari. It is more than a mere reproduction of the Sanskrit Bhagavad G(')ita into Marathi. The use of Marathi in the Jnanesvari was by no means an accident or a conven- ience but an obligation felt by Jnanesvar inherent in the Scriptures themselves, in order that a farmer and a peasant, a brahmin and a sudra together with the learned and the simple would have the privilege of experiencing the highest truth in its entirety, regardless of the path one embarks on.^ The thesis asserts that the three paths to liberation in the Bhagavad G(')ita constitute one yoga. Although bhakti is the name of one of the three distinct traditional paths, Jnanesvar uses it as an integral name for the one yoga; by joining the bhakti movement with his own specific theology, Jnanesvar expounds his teaching in the Jnanesvari. Jnanesvar's bhakti marga is a synthesis of karma marga and jnana marga, and neither of them disappears in the mumuksu's (aspirant's) or the j(')ivan-mukta's life in the practice of bhakti marga, according to the Bhagavata Dharma of Maharastra. In expounding the uniqueness and the interconnectedness of the three paths to liberation, Jnanesvar left no room for the claim that one marga has primacy over the others. Jnanesvar's bhakti is pravrttipar (action oriented) rather than nivrttipar (total withdrawal from action). He harmonizes prapanca (social obligations) with paramartha (religious duties).^ The Bhagavata Dharma of Maharastra interprets the Varnasrmadharma (caste system) in light of the guna-karma theory of the Bhagavad G(')ita and thus rejects the hierarchical attitude that separates the member of one caste from the other. In substantiating this fact Jnanesvar truly advances the Hindu tradition in a positive manner. He also shows that the philosophy of advaita is compatible with the bhakti marga as a synthesis of karma marga and jnana marga.^ Jnanesvar's bhakti opens up possibilities for a mutually enriching dialogue between religions. By a treatment of Bonaventure and Eckhart in the final chapter the thesis shows that Jnanesvar provided an integral model to understand the typologies of different spiritual- ities. It also provides substance for reflection on today's problems of meaninglessness in rituals, frustration, with a dry learning and abuse of activism and devotion. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

MACHADO, FELIX ANTHONY, "JNANESVAR'S THEOLOGY OF THE THREE PATHS TO LIBERATION (BHAKTI, MYSTICISM, HINDUISM, DIALOGUE, INDIA)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8521394.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8521394

Share

COinS