[Advaita-l] Discussion on the role of yoga in vedanta

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Fri May 2 11:40:49 CDT 2008

>if our mind is cluttered up with this preoccupation and
>indulgence in the Yoga practices or dhyana practices that some people
>in contrast to shankara says,the sadyomukti(which is not different from
>the perfect exemplary life),will continue to be elusive.

I really do not wish to contribute to an atmosphere of animosity, but am
writing one last mail. A dialogue is not possible if each party does not
the effort to understand the other. I didn't think it was possible to be
thoroughly misunderstood. I am writing only to clear up any possible
misconceptions resulting from my previous post. As Sri Siva Senani
out, and I fully agree, there is no use in repeating the same things
over and
over again, just for the sake of having the last word.

Nowhere did I mean to convey an impression of preoccupation and
in yoga and dhyAna practices devoid of an orientation towards vedAntic
Quite to the contrary, I am talking of these only in the context of
jnAna. And I
believe I am representing the teaching of Sankara bhagavatpAda and the
sampradAya correctly.

Here are some quotations from the AcArya-s (with completely split
that will make clear how they view yoga. I will leave the translation
understanding of these passages to readers. For further understanding of
context, please refer to the complete passages in the original texts.

1. atra Atma-darSane bahavaH upAya-vikalpAH ime dhyAna-AdayaH ucyante -
bhAshya on gItA 13.25.

2. atha tattva-darSana-abhi-upAyaH yogaH iti ... upAyatvena eva yogaH
angIkriyate -
bhAshya on brahmasUtra 2.3.1

3. yogaH api aNimA-Adi aiSvarya-prApti-phalakaH smaryamANaH na Sakyate
sAhasa-mAtreNa pratyAkhyAtum | SrutiH ca yoga-mAhAtmyaM prakhyApayati
"pRthiv-ap-tejo-(a)nila-khe samutthite pancAtmake yogaguNe pravRtte | na
rogo na jarA na mRtyuH prAptasya yogAgnimayaM SarIram ||" iti - bhAshya
brahmasUtra 1.3.33. (The quoted verse is from SvetASvataropanishat.)

4. amanitvAdi gaNaM jnAna-sAdhanatvAt jnAna-Sabda-vAcyam | ... jnAtavyaM
kim iti AkAnkshAyAm Aha - jneyaM yat tad ityAdi | nanu yamAH niyamAH ca
amAnitva-AdayaH | na taiH jneyaM jnAyate | ... ... ... na esha doshaH |
nimittatvAt jnAnam ucyate iti hi avocAma | jnAna sahakAri-kAraNatvAt ca
| -
bhAshya on gItA 13.7-12.

5. dhyAna-yogaM saMyag-darSanasya antarangaM - bhAshya on gItA 5.27;
saMyag-darSanaM prati antarangasya ... dhyAna-yogasya bahirangaM karma
iti | yAvat dhyAna-yoga-ArohaNa-asamarthaH tAvat ... kartavyaM karma -
bhAshya on gItA 6.1. 

6.brahma-vijijnAsunA bAhya-antaH-karaNa samAdhana-lakshaNaM ... tapaH
sAdhanam anushTheyam - end of bhAshya on taittirIyopanishat bhRguvallI.

7. svAtantrya-arthaM yogadharma-anusevanaM parisaMkhyAbhyAsaS ca ...
kartavyaH iti - bhAshya on bRhadAraNyakopanishat 4.4.2

8. ... vairAgyaM; tato mumukshutvaM; tataH tad upAya paryeshaNaM; tataH
sarva-karma-tat-sAdhana-saMnyAsaH; tataH yogAbhyAsaH; tataH cittasya
pratyak-pravaNatA; tataH "tat tvam asi" Adi vAkya-artha parijnAnaM;
avidyA ucchedaH; tataH ca svAtmani eva avasthAnam - naishkarmyasiddhi

As one can readily see, Sankara bhagavatpAda and sureSvarAcArya engage
constructively with yoga and find a place for its practice in the route
to saMyag-
jnAna and the rarely achieved jnAna-nishThA. There is no knee-jerk
rejection of
anything, but a very thoughtful and insightful accommodation of what is
in consonance
with vedAnta. After all, it takes a lot of training in and practice of
dhyAna before the
mind can lose its preoccupation even with the practice of yoga.
Otherwise, the
mind will simply find something else for its preoccupations and
indulgences -
"parAnci khAni ... tasmAt parAN^ paSyati."

Best regards,

ps. Every link in my previous post is valid and every post is in the
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