SAmkhya and VedAnta

Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Mon Feb 22 23:50:07 CST 1999


>(1) The thread we have is called samkhya and vedanta not samkhya vs vedanta.
>Being so why is it that you have made a list of just the differences between
>the two darshanas? The fact that they belong to two separate darshana means
>that there are differences.

                Well, advaita vedanta and dvaita vedanta have lot of differences, but they
are not two separate darshanas !
                I think a statement that samkhya and vedanta were almost similar was
made. This list of differences was to state that the statement may not be

>(2) As you are so well versed in this subject may I request you to also make
>a list of any possible similarities between the two darshanas.

                Don't be under the wrong impression that I am well versed (in any subject).
I know very little, though it does not stop me from posting.
                There are some similarities, of course. First, both of them recognize a
Self. Samkhya claims multiple purusha-s, but still they do recognize something
which is apart from the body and mind. They atleast recognize three common

>(3) Do you think that these two darshanas are so far apart and have not had
>any influence on each other ever? Do you confirm that there is not any
>evidence that Samkhya which can be dated to pre-Vedanta period did not make
>the slightest (even one percent!) contribution towards the evolution of
>Vedantic philosophy? Did Vedanta philosophy begin on a Tabula rasa basis?

                I don't think we should be satirical about all this. There is a contribution
for everything but we don't revere that also. Shankara would not have been
but for His grandfather, but we don't say Shankara's grandfather
contributed to
advaita vedanta. (BTW, a similar example is provided by Sringeri Swamigal
with regard to previous contributions and influence).
                Many historians do recognize that Samkhya is one of the oldest schools.
But one should also remember Vedas have been timeless and Vedanta could
have existed from a long time. Let us also remember that Shankara was NOT
the person who _started_ advaita vedanta, He only revived a tradition which
was already there. Whether this tradition existed before Kapila is
something that
can not be answered by someone like me.
                And pointing out the fallacies about Samkhya, does not mean that
we are criticizing Kapila. People who have realized the Truth have always
said the same thing, but in different ways to suit the disciple's
Bhagavan Ramana has often made this clear.

>you have said he "almost" explains everything there is about adviata
>vedanta. So may I ask in all reverence how much do you think is possibly
>"left out"?  And how much is "almost"  would you say about 90 percent?

                Shankara did not answer an irrelevant (imho) question about avidya.
Shankara simply says that avidya is beginningless and that removal
of avidya constitutes self-realization. But, He does not explain why
avidya arose in the first place and where is its locus ? Is the locus
of avidya in the jiva or Brahman ? The differences resulted in two
later schools : vivarna and bhamati.

                This question of avidya (why, when, how did it arise etc.)
is irrelevant in some sense. To quote Bhagavan Ramana, when the
house is burning, we don't stop to ask who started the fire, but we put
out the fire first. Secondly, searching for the roots of avidya is itself an
avidyA that one is seeking to remove.
                That was the reason for "almost."

AUM shaantiH

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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