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

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed May 24 23:10:02 CDT 2000

On Tue, 23 May 2000, nanda chandran wrote:

> 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.

So here is an important difference.  Brahman is not distinct from
trigunatmaka prakrti but is it's most refined form.  The nearest Samkhya
equivalent would be avyakta or mula prakrti which is not the same as
purusha at all.

> 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 Samkhyakarikas use the word abhyasa to describe the analysis of the
seven modes of being.  These seven are properties of the
intellect.  Advaita Vedanta only admits of one type of being (Ok two if
you count non-being) and this is an innate property of the Self.

> The SAmkhya even has a super imposition theory similar to Advaita.

Really?  I'd like to know about that.  Purush is 100% seperate from
Prakrti in their system.  So it is dualist not non-dual.  This has
practical implications.  For instance omething like Jivanmukti would be
impossible in Samkhya.

> 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.

I don't see what being dogmatic or otherwise has to do with it.

>  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.

The differences with the Advaitin view should be readily apparent.

Both these darshans as they stand today have been "Vedantized" but in
their heyday they could not be reconciled to Advaita so easily.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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