FW: SAmkhya and VedAnta

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue Feb 23 16:53:39 CST 1999

On Mon, 22 Feb 1999, Ashish Chandra wrote:

> Are we to say then that intellect alone can lead us to this realization ?
> What then of the various Bhakti margs and Kriya Yoga and Ashthanga Yoga ?

Yes, Jnana is the only path to Moksha.  Here Shankaracharyas views are in
sharp contrast to other Vedantic acharyas who hold that Karma (which
includes both meditation and rituals as far as Advaita Vedanta is
concerned) can be employed to a lesser or greater extent.

Nevertheless Bhakti and Karma are not considered useless in the Advaita
tradition.  Far from it they are of the utmost importance in purifying the
mind, restraining the senses etc.  They prepare one for comprehending the
meaning of non-duality.  Shankaracharya the able philosopher was also the
author of many stotras of great beauty and fervor.  So were other Advaita
acharyas.  In fact some like Swami Madhusudan Sarasvati or Appaya Dikshita
are probably more famous as saints than as philosophers.  The fact that
Yoga (and Samkhya) have been "Vedantized" to the degree that most people
can't tell the difference anymore also shows that they have a place in
Advaita sadhana.  But what they lead to is Jnana not something

As modern people we sometimes take it for ranted that faith and reason
must be opposed.  In fact this is a comparatively recent idea even in the
West.  It certainly wasn't what classical Hindu thinkers believed.

The mandir I usually go to is afiiliated with the Vaishnava Pushti Marga
sect.  They hold Bhakti to be of paramount importance and and have no
place for Advaita-style Jnana at all.  But even amongst the people there I
do not see the know-nothing attitude of todays pseudo-advaitins.  The
essence of Bhakti is that everything you have to offer, tan, man, and
dhan, must be offered to Bhagavan.  If intellect is humanity's greatest
talent, what sets us apart from other creatures, then that most of all
should be put into His service.  If you look at some of the Dvaita
classics, they are masterpieces of logical thought and suffused with
Bhakti throughout. I think a Vaishnava would object as strenuously as I do
that being "spiritual" requires being an idiot.

> Or maybe if you mean that intellect being the means of controlling one's
> senses :  then I think that is probably correct.

It is but In my opinion it is more than that.  Intellect is the basis of
Vivek, the ability to judge true and false, which is the cardinal virtue
of Vedanta.  The intellect doesn't just control the senses but determines
which of their experiences are valid, and which invalid.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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