Purush and Prakrti (Was New member introduction: Sri Graham McNamara)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Sep 20 14:44:15 CDT 2000

On Wed, 20 Sep 2000, Ravisankar S. Mayavaram wrote:

>  Currently I am
> Studying the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and reading the commentary by
> Sankara. I am extremely interested to learn all that I can about Advaita
> Vedanta because as far as my understanding goes, the Vedanta view, or
> Sankara's view, of the relationship between Purusa and Prakrti, as well as
> the relationship between Purusa as permanent detached "observer" and mind
> as changeable "observed,"

The Samkhya/Yoga and Vedanta views are quite different.  The situation is
complicated by the fact that Vedanta has more or less completely absorbed
Samkhya/Yoga notions and terminology.

This is the Samkhya view:

Purush --- Prakriti
         |       |     |
       sattva  rajas tamas

The advaita view is more like this:


         |       |     |
       sattva  rajas tamas

In Samkhya/Yoga the observer is completely detached as you say.  Hence
it is dualistic.  In Advaita Vedanta the observer at one livel *is* the
observed.   The relationship is normally masked by the delusion of Maya.
but can be discerned through contemplation.

But like I said if people know terms such as Purush, Prakrti etc. at all
nowadays it is through a Vedantic filter.  I don't think the
Yogasutrabhashya (actually a tika on the Vyasabhashya) is genuine but the
fact someone even tried to pass it off as genuine shows how entangled the
Samkhya/Yoga and Advaita traditions have become over the centuries.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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