Why is bhakti different than the other human purposes? Vīrarāghavācārya on Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra 1.1.2

Vīrarāghavācārya was a 20th c. Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedāntin whose editorial and commentarial contribution to his school will remain impressive for many generations to come. Personally, I am particularly pleased by his attempts to think along the tradition in a creative way.

Within his subcommentary on Vedānta Deśika’s Seśvaramīmāṃsā, Vīrarāghavācārya is at times closer to Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta than Vedānta Deśika’s pro-Mīmāṃsā attitudes. At other times, he just elaborates further on Vedānta Deśika’s hints. In one of such cases, he describes how the choice of words in Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra 1.1.2 (codanālakṣaṇo ‘rtho dharmaḥ ‘Dharma is that goal which is known through Vedic injunctions’) was not at all casual. Rather, each word had a direct meaning and also further suggested something more. For instance, codanālakṣaṇa is not just the same as codanāpramāṇa, but rather suggests that the Vedic injunction also defines what dharma is. dharma is also to be interpreted etymologically as ‘instrument of dhṛti‘, where dhṛti means prīti ‘happiness’. Similarly, artha indicates that bhakti is the result to be achieved, consisting in pleasing God. Then he sums up:

Through the word dharma, which means instrument for dhṛti, Jaimini also suggests that this ritual action devoid of desire which is a purpose in itself (svayamprayojana) is different than the instruments for the results consisting in the four human aims, which are expressed with reference to their own contents (svaviṣaya) [only]. [He suggests it] because through this [word dharma] also pleasing the Revered one (bhagavat) is communicated (uddeśya).

dharmapadena dhṛtisādhanavācinā caturvargaphalopāyāḥ ye svaviṣayāḥ vācyāḥ tais saha anlat svayaṃprayojanaṃ niṣkāmakarmāpy asūcayat bhagavatprītes tatroddeśyatvāt.

In other words, bhakti points beyond oneself, to God, whereas all other purposes remain confined to oneself.

About elisa freschi

My long-term program is to make "Indian Philosophy" part of "Philosophy". You can follow me also on my personal blog: elisafreschi.com, on Academia, on Amazon, etc.

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