Antiquity of Advaita Vedanta (was Re: An Open Letter to All)

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon May 22 09:24:21 CDT 2000

On Mon, 22 May 2000, nanda chandran wrote:

> To say that jivas are real is vastly different from saying one should submit
> to the power of Ishwara for salvation. All Astika schools - SAmkhya/Yoga,
> NyAya/Vaishesika and even Purva Miimaamsaa - before RAmanuja hold that
> salvation is to be obtained only by knowledge of one's Self.
>  Bhakti is OK,
> if it helps in acquiring knowledge of the Self. But nobody says that Ishwara
> himself can deliver one from bondage.

However what they meant by "knowledge of one's self" is often drastically
different from what Vedanta means by it.  In Samkhya/Yoga it is the Guru
with his special yogic insight who is able to impart the knowledge that
delivers one from bondage. In fact a lot of the discussion in the
Brahmasutras concerning the validity of the "Kapila smrti" or Samkhya
teachings as Pramana revolves around the omniescence of Maharshi Kapila.
Some schools took this further to even suggest that a Sadguru could
transmit liberation through touch.  (Viz the shaktipat of Kashmiri

For the Mimamsakas attaining heaven was the original goal.  Later they
adopted the idea of mukti but for them it just means ultimate freedom from
pain, there is not necessarily self-knowledge involved.  In any case the
means to this release are through the performance of Karma alone.

> The BhAgavatha and PancharAthra, though ShankarAchArya himself notes as
> being ancient, are not Vedic schools, as the commonly recognized six are. Or
> is there any difference of opinion in that?

The Pancharatra Agamas are outside the Vedic cannon but naturally the
Vaishnavas find ways to harmonize their teachings with the Vedas just as
the Shaivas do with the Shaivagamas, and the Shaktas with the Tantras.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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