Samkhya and Vedanta (Was: Meaning of Kaul)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sat Dec 18 06:09:20 CST 1999

As we've moved on to a different topic I've changed the subject line.

On Tue, 14 Dec 1999, nanda chandran wrote:

> Though VijnAnabhikshu tries to reconcile the differences between
> SAmkhya and VedAnta, he is hardly in favour of Advaitam. According
> to him only the theistic VedAnta is the the true VedAnta and Advaitam
> is a modern falsification. He infact goes to the extent of claiming
> that not a  single Brahma SUtram states that knowledge is the cause
> of liberation. Aside from works on SAmkhya and Yoga he's also authored a
> commentary on the Brahma SUtram - it's called VijnAnAmrta. (Ofcourse
> by advocating the bhakti path, he's unfaithful to even the classical
> SAmkhya tradition of Ishvara Krishna, GaudapAda, Aniruddha et al, which
> advocates knowledge as the means to liberation).

This is very interesting as I haven't read Vijnanabhikshu in depth.  I
know he had a problem with the doctrine of Maya but I was under the
impression that he accepted most of the rest of Advaita Vedanta intact.

Other modern treatments of Samkhya do redefine it in Advaita terms.

> Though SAmkhya differs from Advaitam in its concept of the world, which it
> states as dual - prAkriti and innumerable Purushas - as against the single
> Brahman of Advaitam - still its vision of reality - the liberated Purusha is
> not very different from the ParamArtika level in Advaitam.
> For both, Reality is the Self - Purusha or Brahman - the changeless eternal.

A difference is that Brahman contains everything.  There is no independent
existence outside of Brahman.  Whereas in Samkhya Prakrti continues to
exist even after the Purush is liberated.

> Both consider liberation to be only phenomenal ie we're already liberated
> but only due to ignorance do we get deluded into thinking that we're in
> bondage.

If Vijnanbhikshu doesn't believe in Maya how does he explain this
ignorance.  The classical Samkhya reasoning is that the Purush has somehow
gotten embedded in Prakrti and taken on some of its (local)
characteristics including ignorance.

> For both, reality is of the nature of pure consciousness. But again for
> SAmkhya it's just consciousness, not bliss as advocated by Advaitam.
> Both give similar accounts of superimposition theories to account for
> the mechanism of knowledge with an unaffected Self underlying the
> changing individual existance.

Please post on this if you could.  Without Maya how can this
superimposition occur?  Is it just the delusive power of God?  That would
be quite close to the Dvaita explanaion I think.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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