[Advaita-l] Discussion on the role of Yoga in Adwaita

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Wed May 28 11:24:25 CDT 2008

>Here I think punch word is aMSena...shankara never ever rejects
>of other smruti texts that go in line with vEda-s...paramataM
>apratishiddham anumataM bhavati..is the assurance of Sankara..yOga is
>mata* and cannot be on par with vEda, however, shankara says here eka
>of these smruti texts (like sAnkhya, yOga) etc. are pramANa-s if it
goes in
>line with vEda-s..But prabhuji, importantly shankara in this sUtra
>(etEna yOgaH pratyuktaH) comments & declares that neither sAnkhya jnAna
>vEda viruddha yOga are the direct means to mOksha. As you know, in this
>sUtra shankara elaborately discusses how sAnkhya & yOga smruti texts
>against vEda with regard to jagatkAraNa vAda. If I am right here only
>shankara says *dvaitinO hi te sAnkhyAH yOgAscha na Atmaikatva

Bhaskar, my post is not for the sake of argumentation, but for
Indeed, you are right that the key word is aMSena and the ekadeSa.
of the fact that the sAMkhya and yoga traditions are dvaitin in nature,
bhagavatpAda does not hesitate to admit their closeness (pratyAsatti) to
advaita teaching of the upanishad-s. And inspite of the paramata nature
yoga, he does not hesitate to use it as an upAya towards Atma-darSana.
does he hesitate to commend it where appropriate. This attitude stands
sharp contrast to others in more recent times, whether they wish to
yoga with vedAnta or whether they wish to draw a sharper contrast
the two than necessary.

The question we must ask ourselves is this - whenever we see the word
yoga, used by say, some post-Sankaran vedAntin, should we come up with
an instinctive response of rejecting it and finding fault with that
author for
deviating from Sankara? Or should we investigate the context of the
to yoga and ask ourselves if it is to that aMSa of the yoga darSana that
*not* veda-viruddha? I prefer the latter approach.

Furthermore, in terms of yoga practice and techniques, why does it
what the texts of yoga say about the origin of the universe? I don't
have to
accept anything that a doctor says about anything outside of medicine. I
still take the medicine that he prescribes for a physical ailment. The
case with
yoga practice is similar. It is easy to harp upon the duality of
pAtanjala yoga
and the fact that its practice is dependent upon the individual -
purusha tantra.
Without actually practising it, it is much more difficult to see how
it is in preparing the antaHkaraNa for understanding the vastu-tantra
Practising yogic dhyAna is like learning to swim or practising music or
painting. One can talk a lot about it, but without actually going
through it, one
does not really know either its benefits or its limitations.

>But here the doer would have the control over the end result...he can
>the time to come back from nirvikalpa samAdhi (kindly refer recent
>on nirvikalpa samAdhi & its experience by HH Sri Sri Abhinava

I think you are missing the point of that reference. Has His Holiness
for that matter, any other traditional vedAntin who has mastered yoga)
described the state of nirvikalpa samAdhi as the ultimate end result to
desired? Also, pre-determining the time for which one is in a yogic
is quite different from the result of abiding in that state? E.g. A man
pre-determine the number of times he is going to gAyatrI japa or the
he is going to spend doing the japa, but does that mean he can modify
the end result of the japa?

>Yes prabhuji, IMHO it requires some kind of open mindedness & courage
>think out of the boundaries put by vyAkhyAnakAra-s to understand the
>teachings of bhagavatpAda & to maintain that clarity & prestine purity
>shankara's absolute non-dual advaita siddhAnta, there is noway for us
>to *goback* to mUla bhAshya. 

And it also takes a lot of open-mindedness and courage to go back to
the mUla bhAshya-s and discover that the later vyAkhyAna-kAra-s have
much more in common with Sankara bhagavatpAda than they are given
credit for by some! Personally, I have not paid attention to any of the
later vyAkhyAna-kAra-s. I have hardly any idea of the intricate details
the writings of prakASAtman or vimuktAtman or madhusUdana sarasvatI.
Every single statement I have made over the years, about the role and
place of yoga in advaita tradition, is based *only* on the SAnkara
bhAshya-s. Only, I choose to look also at the bhAshya-s on bhagavad
gItA and bRhadAraNyaka, chAndogya, muNDaka, kaTha upanishad-s etc,
in addition to brahmasUtra bhAshya.

What I find about Sankara bhagavatpAda's clear and pure teaching is
remarkably different from what is found by those who privilege the sUtra
bhAshya over all other texts. I find a lot more consistency across all
texts, rather than having to "explain away" some seeming difference as
something that does not harm the mUla siddhAnta. I also doubt if Sankara
bhagavatpAda thought in such terms in the first place. He did not go
saying, "this much is my mUla siddhAnta, as written down in my sUtra
bhAshya. In my other bhAshya-s, I will now say something that may not
directly follow from it, but also does not harm the mUla siddhAnta."
I think he investigated all there was to investigate in the three
and then said, "this is the siddhAnta of all these scriptures. I will
now explain
them by writing bhAshya-s on them."

Best regards,

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