[Advaita-l] unmanifested

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Jun 2 09:32:09 CDT 2006

On Thu, 1 Jun 2006, Sylvain wrote:

> In the Capeller's Sanskrit-English Dictionary, a search for the word 
> unmanifested result with - avyakta -.

avyakta is a technical term from another type of Indian philosophy called 
Samkhya (and Yoga which is closely related.)  Samkhya is dualistic.  The 
two primordial entities are purush (souls) and prakrti (nature.)  Prakrti 
is first in this avyakta state and from that it develops into the three 
gunas and from there to 25 tanmatras which then combine in various ways to 
form the physical universe.  The souls get trapped in it so liberation 
consists of returning prakrti to its balanced and inert state so the soul 
can escape.  This is done by samadhi or ceasing the activity of the mind.

Samkhya is based on the Vedas but prakrti is not like Brahman.  It is 
insentient and develops only automatically.  purush cannot be equated to 
Brahman either as it is only an eternal witness and not the creator of 
prakrti.  Thus Samkhya can be called atheistic.  (Yoga on the other hand 
is Samkhya + God though their conception of God is still somewhat 
different from Vedanta.)

For these reasons, Vedantins consider Samkhya/Yoga to be heretical.  (In 
the forms mentioned above.  Classical Samkhya/Yoga actually got 
reinterpreted and abosrbed into Vedanta.)  Shankaracharya spends a lot of 
time criticising Samkhya/Yoga ideas in the Brahmasutrabhashya.  He also 
often employs the phrase "Narayana who is higher than the avyakta" to show 
that Brahman is the cause of prakrti; it is not independent.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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