SAmkhya and VedAnta

Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Sun Feb 21 21:16:52 CST 1999


                At the outset, samkhya and vedanta have lot of differences, as Nanda and
Jaldhar have pointed out. There are
differences between various schools of samkhya itself. For example,
samkhya can be of two types : nirishvara-samkhya and sesvara-samkhya,
depending on the theistic affliation. Further, one may note that the
sankhya-pravacana-sutra of Kapila, with subsequent bhashya by Vijnanabhiksu
and vritti by Aniruddha differs from Ishvara's Samkhya-Karika.

To make a SHORT list of differences:

1. Samkhya recognizes only three pramanas. Vedanta recognizes six.
2. For Satkarya-vada, Samkhya does not use vivarta vada at all. Vedanta does.
3. There are multiple Purushas (Self), according to Samkya. Vedanta
recognizes only
one Self.
4. Prakriti is real and apart from Purusha, says Samkhya. Prakriti when
apart from Brahman is mithya, according to Vedanta.
5. Purusha "causes" Prakriti in Samkhya. Self does not act to cause
something, in

What is Samkhya is dualistic realism
(dualistic, in the sense of multiple Purushas and a separate Prakriti).
Vedanta is

BTW, by vedanta, I mean only advaita vedanta.

Re: the analogy used: snake in rope. It is used to explain why we see various
names and forms in the world. If it is unreal, how do we see them ? There
are like the snake we see, though there is only the rope. The snake has
never existed, except in the subject's mind. Once he sees the rope, he is
not confused again.
                The snake-rope analogy is given to explain superimposition of the
world on Brahman. This is to make clear that the world as we see it (with
names and forms) are unreal and only the substratum (i.e., Brahman) is
real. Now, we should not carry this analogy too far by asking "Can
Brahman been seen as a object, like a rope ?" Brahman is not an object.
Every analogy has its limitations, but this analogy explains superimposition
very nicely.
                The reason Shankara is accepted as the authority of advaita vedanta
is because he almost explains everything there is about advaita vedanta and
a study of His works contains all the essentials that needs to be known
regarding the philosophy as well as its practice.

AUM shaantiH

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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Subject: Re: SAmkhya and VedAnta
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On Sun, 21 Feb 1999, Harsha (Dr. Harsh K. Luthar) wrote:

> Dear Jaldharji, you are right in what you say of course. Intellect is a most
> valuable tool available to us. What Ashishji was pointing to was that
> "practical experience" of Self-Realization is beyond the Intellect.

But reachable _through_ the intellect. That was my whole point.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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