[Advaita-l] Sankhya & Yoga

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon May 18 07:22:05 CDT 2009

On Wed, 13 May 2009, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:

> On Mon, 11 May 2009, Bhadraiah Mallampalli wrote:
>> nityo nityAnAm chetanaschetanAnAm eko bahUnAm yo vidadhAti kAmAn
>> tat kAraNam sAnkhyayogAdhigamyam jnAtvA devam muchyate sarva pAs'ou.
>> The word adhigamyam might be interesting to debate. gamyam is goal and 
>> adhigamyam
>> could mean chief of goals. The prefix adhi some times adds an extra level 
>> of command,
> The conventional dictionary meaning of adhigamya is that which is to be 
> acheived, a goal.  What does it mean to acheive samkhyayoga?  I don't have a 
> of copy of Shankaracharyas bhashya on this upanishad handy at the moment. 
> Let me find it and get back to you.

I finally had a chance this weekend to look at the text of the upanishad 
along with the bhashya of Shri Shankaracharya, the dipika of Swami 
Shankarananda, and the dipika of Swami Narayana Tirth.

Based on those I would translate the verse as,

"The Eternality of the eternals, the Awareness of the aware, One but
ordaining the desires of many that Cause, known by the means of gaining
knowledge, is the God who removes all fetters.

Shankaracharya doesn't really explain sAMkhyayogAdhigamyam.  He merely
repeats it without comment.

Swami Shankarananda (c. 14th century) is more descriptive:

sAMkhyayogadhigamyam | samyakhyAyate prakAshyata AtmatattvaM yena
viGYAnena tatsAMkhyaM yogo
vaidikakarmAnuShTAnAdirUpo va |

In other words the means of attaining knowledge is either the 8-fold
classical yoga or the Vedic karmakanda.  Practice of either results in the
knowledge of the unity of the jiva and paramatma.

Swami Narayana Tirth (c. 17th century) says

sAMkhyayogadhigamyam sAMkhyaM cha yogashcha sAMkhyayogau sAMkhyaM
vedAntamahAvAkyatAtparyajanyamahaMbrahmAsmIti samyagGYAnaM
yogastatsAdhanashravaNamanananidhidhyAsanAdistAbhyAM sAMkhyayogAdhigamyam
prApyam ...

Here samkhya is the study of the mahavakyas of Vedanta like aham brahmasmi 
along with their meaning.  Yoga is putting them into practice through 
shravana,  manana, and nidhidhyasana.


This text does not refer to the classical, capital-S Samkhya which does 
not believe in a God who is one but ordains the desires of many or is the 
first cause of the universe.  It could however be interpreted according to 
classical Yoga which adds the tattva (category) of Ishvara to those of 

The commentator Swami Shankarananda leaves room for such an interpretation 
as he says one of the kinds of samkhyayoga is the ashtanga yoga of 
Patanjali but even then the goal of this is the jnana of the oneness of 
jiva and paramatma -- a thoroughly Advaita Vedantic reading.  The Yoga 
sutras themselves only speak of samadhi.

The commentator Swami Narayana does not even grant this much and 
interprets in terms of purely vedantic concepts.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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