[Advaita-l] article by Coman

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 11 21:52:32 CDT 2007

>I don't get it - aren't you and a significant number of the members
>of this list later/contemporary Advaitins?  At best, Prof. Coman's
>article reads as play-by-play coverage of a non-existent dialectic between
>Adi Sankaracarya and Christopher Ishwerwood.  The unspecific use of the
>term, "modern Advaitins," seems wholly unwarranted here.
>   No scriptural support is adduced in Coman's work for the claim
>that samadhi is somehow an end in its own right in yoga either.  I
>certainly don't recall reading anything to that effect in the Patanjali
>Yogasutra or its traditional commentaries (pace Christopher Isherwood, I
>guess).  That the PYS preaches a "necessity for total thought suppression"
>(presumably a crude translation of cittavrtti nirodha) is also highly
>Gerald Penn

Dear Gerald,

The article on Samadhi in Advaita Vedanta by Michael Comans is primarily 
meant to address what is nowadays called neo-Vedanta. Specifically, it 
addresses the emphasis that is laid on the experience of brahman, following 
the time of Swami Vivekananda. So, in a sense you are right in bringing in 
Christopher Isherwood's name here, as he stands in the first generation of 
translators of Indian thought in modern America.

There is one point that is well-taken in Comans's paper, and that is the 
mistaken tendency to treat Vedanta as theory and Yoga as practice. There are 
numerous other points that we have covered in earlier discussions on the 
list. One of my goals in the Yoga and Advaita Vedanta series was to show how 
an intimate connection exists between these two schools even in Sankara's 
own works.


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