[Advaita-l] The Evolution of Advaita from Sankara till Date

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu May 15 00:34:06 CDT 2008

On Wed, 14 May 2008, Krunal Makwana wrote:

> The past couple of posts have discussed Advaita and its history but is there
> a pattern of how Advaita has changed since the time of AdI AcArya till date.

I disagree with the premise.  Advaita Vedanta has not changed.

> When did the role of Yoga take place?

Vidyashankara gaves some references to yogic practice in the prasthana 

> When did Tantra take predominance?

Each of the four mathas Shankaracharya founded is centered around 
shrichakra and its upasana.  So it was there from the beginning.

> From the little I have studied, it seems that the traditional Advaita from
> Adi AcArya has changed considerably from the pure spiritual unflinching
> necessity of GYAna of AcArya to the vaishnava bhakti movement of madhUsUdana
> saraswatI.

Shankaracharya is as staunch a proponent of bhakti as anyone.  Even 
discounting the numerous stotras ascribed to him.  See for example the 
bhashya on BS 2.2.44 which is a refutation of the vyuhavada of the 
Bhagavatas.  But Shankaracharya takes pains to explain that it is only the 
philosophy of the Bhagavatas which is being criticized _not_ bhakti.

"Concerning this system we remark that we do not intend to controvert the 
doctrine that Narayana who is higher than the avyakta, who is the 
paramatma and sarvatma, reveals Himself by dividing Himself in multiple 
forms...Nor do we mean to object to the inculculation of unceasing 
concentration of mind on the highest Being which appears in the Bhagavata 
shastra under the forms of abhigamana etc. [earlier it was mentioned that 
bhakti consists of abhigamana, upaadaana, ijyaa, svaadhyaaya, and yoga.]"

> This then evolved to a scholarly approach to vedAnta (Swami
> Vivekananda)

I do not concider that an evolution of Vedanta nor is Vivekananda a 
scholar or IMO an advaitin (but now we're getting into the territory of 
that neo-vedanta thread.)

> and the avadhUta mentality of ramana maharishi.

The avadhuta marga is hardly an innovation of Ramana.  In fact one can 
make the case that it is older than systematic Vedanta altogether.

> Can the wise of the list shed light as to why the philosophical trend
> changes but still trying to keep advaita the aim? Another question also
> arises that does the 'new/neo/pseudo' vedAnta really lead one to
> chitta-Suddhi?

I don't think so.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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