[Advaita-l] Re: Why Yoga is not a Pramana ??

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 30 14:42:13 CDT 2003

>We have so much to say about Sruthi being a Pramana.
>Pramana being that it can independently reveal the

On the one hand, the Self reveals itself, because it is sva-prakASa. Sruti 
tells us what the Self is and that it is self-revealing. That is why Sruti 
is pramANa.

>Why did Srikrishna say in Bhagavad Gita 'j~nana yogena
>sankhyanam karmayogena yoginam' ? He obviously means

Because these are paths meant for people of different capabilities, in order 
to prepare them for the Self-knowledge taught in Sruti.

>that both j~nana and Karmayoga are means of the same
>knowledge. In such case why is not Karma Yoga accepted
>as a Darsana ?

I don't get this. Technically, jnAna yoga is not a darSana either. It is 
called a mArga, i.e. a path. As hinted in this verse itself, this jnAna-yoga 
is also called sAMkhya-yoga in other contexts in the gItA. As for karmayoga, 
that mArga includes the performance of actions dictated by Sruti, with 
detachment and as an offering to bhagavAn, so that is also not a pramANa 
that is independent of Sruti.

>In the 6 th chapter Sri Krishna again does not refer
>to Karma Yoga, but discourses about Meditation or
>Dhyana. Does it mean that this Dhyana is independent
>or part of both J`nana and Karma Yoga ?

Not really. A careful reading of gItA verse 6.3 is required - Arurukshor 
muner yogaM karma kAraNam ucyate | yogArUDhasya tasyaiva SamaH kAraNam 
ucyate || The yoga referred to here is dhyAna yoga. In other words, there is 
a transition from karma to dhyAna. Also see the verse that says, "SanaiH 
Sanair uparamed buddhyA dhRtigRhItayA. All these references should also be 
read in conjunction with verse 13.24, where sAMkhya-yoga, dhyAna-yoga and 
karma-yoga are all integrated together.

Not to toot my own horn, but I have written up an extensive discussion of 
how Sankara and Suresvara weave this together with brahmasUtra and 
bRhadAraNyaka passages in their commentaries. This has now appeared as a 
chapter in a new book (2003) edited by Ian Whicher and David Carpenter, 
called "Yoga: The Indian Tradition" and published by Routledge Press. 
Briefly, the idea is this - karma yoga helps one cultivate citta-Suddhi and 
prepares one for the rigor of jnAna/dhyAna.

Finally, correlate all this with what Sankara says in his commentary on the 
sUtra, "etena yogaH pratyuktaH" - generally speaking, sAMkhya is jnAna and 
yoga is dhyAna that are in accordance with what is taught in the 
upanishad-s. The reason they are not given independent status as pramANa-s, 
is that one, they are smRti, and derive their pramANa status from Sruti, and 
two, the vision(s) and power(s) obtained through yoga have to be carefully 
monitored and interpreted under the guidance of a guru. Or else, it is easy 
to be led astray.


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