[Advaita-l] vedAntins at the time of shankara

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Thu Sep 28 13:18:29 EDT 2017

On Thu, 28 Sep 2017, Kalyan wrote:

> I am not sure what and why you are disagreeing with. You yourself 
> mentioned that completely dualistic schools of vedanta are relatively 
> new, to which I just expressed my agreement. Now you want to argue that 
> they are not new? What is the reason for the sudden change of heart?

Sorry if it was unclear.  Dualistic schools existed previously but they 
were not considered astika (with the exception of Samkhya) let alone vedantic.

Also I should clarify that it is the philosophical views of those schools 
that were objected to, not necessarily the practices.  Again referring to 
the chaturvyuhadhikarana, Shankaracharya takes pains to note it is not 
namasmarana, murti parikrama etc that he is objecting to.

> Also, there is some contradiction in your statements. You want to argue 
> that pashupatha and pancaratra are unvedic and yet argue that early 
> vaishnavism and shaivism were vedic? You need to clarify.

All the various darshanas astika or nastika started out in the ideas and 
practices of various thinkers and went through a process of formalization 
before reaching their mature shapes.  In this process the trajectory of 
some tendencies took them into radical directions beyond the mainstream.
Vishnu and Rudra/Pashupati/Shiva are Vedic Gods.  Their worship is 
attested in many early sources but not necessarily in a systematic way. 
The earliest extant works on tantra and agama are dated considerably later 
by historians.

> The theism of samkhya and yoga is quite different from the highly devotional theism of later vedantic schools.
> //However it should be conceded that the Samkhya
> concept of Ishvara is not
> acceptable to
> Vedantins of any stripe.//
> This is interesting. You want to argue that theistic samkhya is found in 
> BG and Mahabharata and yet you want to say that it is unacceptable to 
> vedantins. So, your statements lead to the conclusion that BG and 
> Mahabharata are anti-vedantic!

No.  You are failing to consider that there have been historical phases in 
the development of darshanas that have led to reinterpretation of various 
texts.  Ishvara may be there in the theistic forms of Samkhya but He is 
inert and totally distinct from prakrti.  Shaivism, Vaishnavism and 
Vedanta (arguably even Buddhism and Jainism) all took this and other 
Samkhya ideas into different directions.  This is why the Gita is 
described in colophons as a samkhyayoga shastra yet is a pillar of Vedanta 
even though "yoga" and "samkhya" mean very different things to 
Shankaracharya and Ishvarakrishna.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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