[Advaita-l] Sankhya & Yoga

Sunil Bhattacharjya sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Mon May 18 18:49:38 CDT 2009

Can we not say that classical Samkhya does not speak about God rather than saying that Samkhya does not belierve in God. To my understanding whether it is Classical Samkhya or Jainism or Buddhism none of them deny the "Cause and  Effect". 
Sunil K. Bhattacharjya

--- On Mon, 5/18/09, Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com> wrote:

From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sankhya & Yoga
To: "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Monday, May 18, 2009, 5:22 AM

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 Sankhya.

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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