[Advaita-l] sapta-mAtR^ika-s in ShAnkara GItA BhAShyam

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 8 10:50:47 CDT 2011

> As an aside, does shankara ever mention the topic of kuNDalinI or shaTchakra-s 
> anywhere in vedAntic works? I will imitate a response to this for fun :) :
> Is it appopriate to talk about Mathematics in a work on Grammar?   or some 
> similar question will be asked to counter this. :)

Sure, parallels may be drawn between some principles in grammar and
some in mathematics, but the appropriateness of a cross-talk need not
extend to every single detail of each discipline.
To address your question with a textual citation, you will not find the
words kuNDalinI or cakra in the bhAshya-s. However, you WILL find
references to sushumnA nADI (by name) or more generally, the
UrdhvagAminI nADI, in taittirIya, kaTha, chAndogya, bRhadAraNyaka
and brahmasUtra bhAshya-s, as also in the 8th chapter of the gItA-
bhAshya. The last text even has an additional reference to raising the
prANa through the upward rising nADI, stabilizing one's attention
between the eyebrows (bhruvor madhye AveSya), by mastering the
process in stages (bhUmijaya krameNa). Only the reference to fixing
the prANa between the eyebrows is from the gItA, the rest is provided
by the bhAshya. In the taittirIya upanishat and bhAshya, a meditation 
on brahman as manomaya focused on the throat is described. All of
this is part of saguNopAsana in advaita vedAntic terms.

The distance between Sankara bhagavatpAda's texts and tAntrika
descriptions is much narrower than usually imagined. Of course, if you
step out of the bhAshya-s and go to independent vedAntic texts, you
will find a lot of additional references, but you immediately land on
the tendentious issue of authenticity and textual attribution. And of
course, the mere presence of nADI or sushumnA in a prakaraNa text
will cause those who worry about these issues to raise their eyebrows,
if not to fix their attention between them! I for one, firmly believe that
this is only because they keep their eyes tightly shut to these references
in the bhAshya-s.
I have a few other comments on the gItAbhAshya references to the
sapta-mAtRkas etc., but will save them for another post.

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