[Advaita-l] Yoga and Advaita Vedanta

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Jun 9 08:22:29 CDT 2004

[Was:  New member introduction: Mayuresh Kulkarni]

On Mon, 31 May 2004, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> Hello,
> My name is Mayuresh Kulkarni. I have been interested in Patanjali's yoga
> philosophy for some time now. Via this list, I wish to understand the
> differences and similarities between yoga and advaita vedanta.

This has been covered on the list before.  Check the archives. But to
summarize briefly, the meaning of the term yoga has changed over time.  In
the earliest period as described in Mahabharata (including Gita) etc.
samkhya and yoga refer vaguely to "theory" and "practice."

In the second stage philosphers systemized these ideas into complete
darshans.  This is the age of Patanjali, Ishvarakrishna etc.  This classic
Samkhya/Yoga was dualistic.  The universe or prakrti just evolved and in
the process the purush got "stuck" like a fly in amber.  The supreme goal
is through samadhi (cessation of thought) to get unstuck but Purush and
Prakrti remain totally distinct.

These views came under attack from Vedanta.  Shankaracharya devotes a lot
of energy to refuting Samkhya/Yoga doctrines.  But he also approves of
yogic methods of meditation when done the "right" (i.e. Vedantic) way.
This sets the stage for the third phase in which Samkhya/Yoga is
reinterpreted and absorbed into Advaita and to a lesser extent other types
of Vedanta.  Nowadays people talk of "yogavedanta" without even realizing
they were once different.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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