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

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue May 23 07:42:23 CDT 2000

>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 the classical SAmkhya of Ishwara Krishna, GaudapAda and VAcaspati,
liberation is seperation of Purusha from PrAkriti. Purusha being pure
consciousness, it can liberate itself only by knowledge - knowledge of
itself as being distinct from prAkriti. Yoga since it concentrates more on
practice, also involves mind and body control along with the traditional
jnAna. But it's only the traditional jnAna of the Upanishads - knowledge of
the Self. The SAmkhya even has a super imposition theory similar to Advaita.

>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.

Are you sure about their view of mukti? The Miimaamsakaas have written
profound works on epistemology and I doubt if they were dogmatic enough to
say that mukti is attained through karma. Both KumArilla and PrabhAkara
incline towards the NyAya/Vaishesika view of the Self and the world. But
again KumArilla's view of the Atman actually angles more towards the JainA
view (an evolving Self), which goes well with his school's basic emphasis on
karma. PrabhAkara only insists that even after liberation one should perform
one's obligatory karmas since they have been enjoined by the shruti.

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