[Advaita-l] Yoga and Advaita Vedanta - 6

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Sun Oct 22 03:29:48 CDT 2006

Namaste Sri Vidyasankar,

My heartfelt thanks and congratulations to you for the ongoing series
on Yoga & Advaita-Vedanta.

I have a few suggestions/comments regarding the approach you have taken so far.

You have mentioned that the upaniShads (such as kaTha & svetAsvatara)
teach yogavidhAna in great detail, including breath control, samAdhi,
etc. In post-5, you also mentioned references to these in the
mahAbhArata. I will use the phrase "upaniShadic yogavidhAna" (UY) to
refer to these teachings.

All of us on this list will agree that there exists a darSana called
pAtanjala yoga (PY), which is commonly enumerated as one of the 6
classical vedic darSana-s.

Acronyms used in this post:
UY: upaniShadic yogavidhAna
PY: pAtanjala yoga
AV: advaita vedAnta

At the end of your series, one expects to be able to answer the
following questions:

1. What is the role of UY in AV? It is clear that UY cannot be
rejected (even partially) because it is taught by the upaniShad-s.
"paramatam apratishiddham anumatam
bhavati" does not apply to UY. However, its role & utility in the AV
system has to be understood properly, just as the role & utility of
myriad Sruti teachings such as mantra-s, karma-s, sannyAsa, etc have
to be understood properly.

As an example, consider the issue of samAdhi and its role in AV. As
the UY teachings include samAdhi, this is a question that an AV AcArya
would have to answer **even if PY had been non-existent**.

2. What is the role of PY in AV? As the role of PY is understood in
terms of its compatibility with the upaniShads (to be precise,
compatibility with AV's interpretation of the upaniShads), this leads
to the following sub-questions:

2a. It is well known that PY teaches certain yogavidhAna-s (among
other things). Are PY's yogavidhAna-s the same as UY?

2b. Apart from yogavidhAna-s, what are the teachings of PY? Which of
these teachings are compatible with AV and which are not? An example
of a non-yogavidhAna teaching from PY is puruSa-prakR^iti dualism,
which is obviously not compatible with AV. Another example is the
teaching that the puruSa is pure consciousness, which is compatible
with AV.

What I am trying to get at is that unless we provide clear answers to
the above questions, this will remain an endless debate. Therefore,
whenever we quote the shaastra-s in the context of yoga, we must be
clear about the implications of the said quote in terms of UY as well
as PY. When we just use the term "yoga", this distinction gets lost.
In your posts so far, you have often used the term yoga
interchangeably and this can cause confusion.

The relationship between PY and UY, and how AV views this
relationship, is the key to understanding this whole issue.

In this regard, here are a couple of questions that may be used to
guide our thoughts:

1. Can one distinguish between yoga-shAstra (the "science" of yoga)
and the specific darSana called PY, just as one distinguishes between
tarka-shaastra (the "science" of tarka) and the nyAya-darsana or
between mantra-shAstra & pUrva-mImAMsa?

2. Just as the nyAya-darSana is considered an authority on
tarka-shaastra, is PY considered an authority on yoga-shAstra?

3. What is the role of yoga-shAstra (as opposed to PY) in AV?

4. From the bhAShya references you have quoted, it appears that
Sa~nkara himself "jumps" between UY & PY by using the term "yoga"
interchangeably. From this can one infer that SrI Sa~Nkara considers
the PY school to be an authority on UY/yoga-shAstra? In other words,
is it SrI Sa~Nkara's opinion that PY is to be studied to understand UY
just as (say) his own BUBh can be studied to understand the
bR^ihadAraNyaka upaniShad?


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