Sankhya vs. Advaita Vedanta

Shrisha Rao shrao at NYX.NET
Sun Feb 14 19:31:47 CST 1999

On Sun, 14 Feb 1999, Vivekananda Centre wrote:

> Namaskars
> The following from Sri Shrisha Rao is not clear at all. Can the revered
> member kindly explain in simple English what is the main difference between
> the idea of Prakriti and Maya? Quoting Shruti or quoting Shankracharya
> cannot be a good enough reason to reject the similarities that Ashish
> chandra has noted!


To the extent that Advaita *is defined by* what Shankaracharya wrote,
quoting him is indeed sufficient, as Ramakrishnan observed.  The point to
be made is that Advaita is not what someone would like it to be, or what
someone else believes it to be, but is exactly what is written in the
original texts of the tradition.  It is easy to be misled by the writings
of Vivekananda, et al, but their relationship to the original Advaitic
tradition is quite tenuous, at best, and it is unclear why their opinions
should be considered binding on the authors of the doctrine.

Thus, while one may be inclined to give credence to any number of alleged
similarities between the sAN^khya and Advaita philosophies, one would do
as well to note that the latter, unlike the former, uses Shruti as a
source of support, and also claims that the same Shruti *cannot* be used
by the former at all.  To the extent that the Vedas are accepted to be the
foundation of one's philosophy, be what it may, this is a very significant
difference -- although perhaps many neo-Vedantins and the like have only
the foggiest notion of the significance of Shruti, and thus do not accept


Shrisha Rao

> pranams
> jay
> Vivekananda Centre London

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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