[Advaita-l] Meditation (dhyAna), knowledge (jnAna) etc. in Sankara's advaita

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Wed Jun 11 12:25:08 CDT 2008

Dear Bhaskar,

We are repeating the same things over and over again
in these discussions on Yoga. Yes, we all know that
the classical pAtanjala yoga darSana is dualistic. We
all know that Sankara bhagavatpAda also describes
the Yoga darSana as dualistic. Yet, he does have room
for yoga practice, as we have all seen here. Moreover,
my earlier series of posts pointed out numerous places
where he quotes yogasUtra and its bhAshya in his own
bhAshyas on the prasthAna trayI.

Let me just address the following couple of points here:

1. Yoga is "only" for citta-Suddhi.

It is easy, especially in an intellectual atmosphere, to
not give sufficient importance to citta-Suddhi. From my
personal experience, it strikes me that highly educated
and intelligent people do not necessarily have the requisite
citta-Suddhi that Sankara bhagavatpAda takes as a given.
I do not exclude myself from the above characterization.
We can all sit and talk or write about Atman and brahman
and we can intellectually appreciate the thrust of
"vijnAtAram are kena vijAnIyAt". But do we really grasp
it the way Sankara intends (anubhava-avasAna)? In other
words, are we indulging in an academic discussion of
philosophy or are we seeking liberation? Assuming the 
latter, I feel we do have to pay attention to yoga. And
given all the contradictory opinions there are about yoga
and its relationship to vedAnta, it behoves us to examine
the issue without prejudice. 

2. citta vRtti nirodha vis-a-vis moksha.

na hy Atma-vijnAna-tat-smRti-saMtAna vyatirekeNa citta
vRtti nirodhasya sAdhanam asti - don't you see how very
powerful a sentence that is, in the brhadAraNyaka bhAshya?

As I mentioned in an earlier post, everybody gets hung up on
the firm statement that an *injunction* for citta vRtti nirodha is
not required. However, what does this firm statement negate?
Does it throw aside citta vRtti nirodha itself or does it throw
aside the injunction?

The pUrvapakshin has argued that citta vRtti nirodha must
be enjoined as a means to moksha, which Sankara has just
rejected. Atma-vijnAna is the only means to moksha taught 
in vedAnta and this is not subject to an injunction. After having
said this, what is the reason for Sankara to then turn around
and inform the pUrvapakshin that the steady recollection of
Atma-vijnAna is the ONLY (ananya) *sAdhana* that culminates
in citta vRtti nirodha? This is what I mean by the higher level
of subtlety where the two coalesce.

>But here I am not able to understand how you are
>relating this issue with samAdhi (if you have specific
>pAtanjala yOga's samAdhi in mind!!) Where
>shankara talks about samAdhi here?? Since it is a
>long running bhAshya, I request you to give me the
>particular bhAshya portion.

This is exactly what I mean by getting hung up on terminology.
Sankara bhagavatpAda does not have to use the word samAdhi
in his discussion at bRhadAraNyaka 1.4.7 at all. However,
where do you think the term citta vRtti nirodha comes from
and what do you think is its relationship to samAdhi?

Regarding your quotation of a vyAkhyAna with respect to
samAdhi and saMyama, I will post separately.


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