Sankhya vs. Advaita Vedanta

Vivekananda Centre vivekananda at BTINTERNET.COM
Sun Feb 14 16:45:04 CST 1999

-----Original Message-----
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Date: 14 February 1999 21:46
Subject: Re: Sankhya vs. Advaita Vedanta

>Vivekananda Centre <vivekananda at BTINTERNET.COM> wrote:
>>Rama wrote>?!!! Sha.nkara ridicules this kind of sentimentalistic
>regard of
>>>kapila explicitly.  As a pUrva-paxa argument he states that kapila
>>>held as a revered sage in some smr^iti texts and hence sA.nkhya
>>>be incorrect. He basically laughs at this and says there is no proof
>>>that it could not have been some other person named kapila.
>>Shankara also rushed to his mother when she was on death bed.!!
>But advaitins do not use this as a means of some sentimentalistic
>regard for sha.nkara. As it so happened sha.nkara made a promise to
>his mother and went because of that. That's all. In sA.nkhya theory
>kapila-s word is "gospel", but for advaitins it is not.
>>Do not underestimate the contribution of Kapila to this evolution of
>>spiritual thinking of ancient India.
>>Love Shankara as much as you like but do not throw mud at others you
>>unable to understand.
>?! Not to sound churlish, but you seem to have not followed my mail at
>all. advaita does not say the same thing as sA.nkhya. How does this
>become "throwing mud" at kapila? Of course in your  world view, Newton
>said the same thing as Einstein and of course classical mechanics says
>the same thing as quantum mechanics I presume. So if someone says that
>Newtonian mechanics is inferior to QM, does it mean he is slinging mud
>at Newton?

If Einstein says Newton was a sentimentalist and his philosophy was based on
some sentimental concepts - yes then that would be slinging mud.

It is precisely Einstien's theories that are taking us  back to the finding
of Kapila.

Rama wrote> suggest that you read texts by sha.nkara and see what he
>says about sA.nkhya. I gave some references, why don't you look them
>up? Also see the bR^ihadAraNyaka vArttika, where Suresvara very
>carefully argues against sA.nkhya.

Mankind evolves. The concepts that we have of the past have to be
re-evaluated. Even the ideas of Vedanta have to be reinterpreted with the
findings of modern science.
The first major steps in Indian philosophic thinking were taken by Kapila.
Next came Vedanta and now the future comes with the re-interpretation of
these philosophies by the sage recent times.
If anyone thinks that the secrets of the universe are tied up in some
passages of ancient books - by Kapila or by Shankara -just static stuff -
they will be disappointed. There is constant evolution even in
interpretation. We are fortunate that the message of spirituality has always
been refreshed by real seers 'rishis' throughout the ages - we have to be
open to their teachings rather than stick with some slokas from some books
collecting dust.

The most rational presentation of Samkhya and Vedanta the modern world has
seen comes with Vivekananda. He is not holding on to some dogma or defending
some dogmas but talks from first hand experience of what Kapil or
Shankracharya are talking about.

We are talking a subject which every prophet says: is only understood by
first hand experience. Is there anyone on this mail list who can say he is
master of Vedanta?

If one is not established in 'Advaita' then one should show the humility of
listening to perhaps the most recent prophet of Advaita. - 'Vivekananda' -in
my humble opinion.

It is Vivekananda who says that all other schools of philosophy - specially
the Vedanta and Yoga schools owe much to Kapila who set up the ground work.

So we come back is there a real difference in the concept of maya and

Vivekananda Centre London

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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