[Advaita-l] Clarifications required

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 22 23:39:11 CDT 2006

In the set of recent posts on samAdhi and anubhava, I would request all participants to clarify clearly the following:

1. Is this discussion on our list a carry-over from another ongoing thread on the Advaitin list? If yes, providing the
correct context would help those members who do not receive mails from the other list.

2. What exactly does each participant in this discussion mean by the words yoga, dhyAna, samAdhi, anubhava,
nirvikalpa etc.? It seems to me that a lot of the conversation is going on at cross purposes with intrinsic
misunderstandings involved in it. There is a great deal of elasticity of meaning attached to these words in the
original Sanskrit texts and one needs to be careful not to misunderstand the texts and their authors.

For example, when Sankaracharya says that via the eye of knowledge, the jnAni sees the world in brahman and
brahman in all the world, he is clearly not referring to a temporary state of yogic perception. He is talking of the
jnAni knowing this truth all the time, no matter what state he or she is in at any given instant. This is not to decry
or deny the fact that some people do experience and have experienced samAdhi, whether nirvikalpa or otherwise,
and that in their own sAdhana, this experience has its own place. However, if the argument is that without this
experience, no moksha is possible, or if the argument is that this kind of experience is needed to verify the Sruti-
taught realization, "I am Brahman," that is quite wrong. Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha, the Sringeri Acharya, very
clearly states the full details in a very lucid fashion, in the book referred to by Abhishek.

Please note that even the brahmasUtra itself refers to samAdhi (samAdhy abhAvAc ca) in one place and that the
bhAshya refers to yoga and yogaSAstra in various other places in addition to the most well-known sUtra "etena
yogaH praty uktaH". In this context, I would also ask members to read Prof. VK's very timely set of posts containing
excerpts from speeches of Kanchi Acharya. Most of the necessary brahmasUtra bhAshya references and other
works are covered in them and need to be carefully assimilated, e.g. the post where the sUtra and its bhAshya
referring to samrAdhana, bhakti, praNidhAna etc. are covered. Clearly, Sankaracharya, the bhAshyakAra, exhibits
a significant amount of respect to and internalization of a lot of the teachings that are set out in the yoga school.


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