[Advaita-l] chAndogya 8.6.6

Sundaresan, Vidyasankar (GE Infra, Water) vidyasankar.sundaresan at ge.com
Mon Apr 28 13:40:22 CDT 2008

>chAndogya 8.6.6 says: 
>......shatam ca eka ca hR^idayasya nADyaH tAsAM
mUrdhAnamabhiniHsR^itaikA I
>tayA Urdhvam Ayan amR^tatvameti
>i.e. the nerves of the heart are a hundred and one, one of them goes
>towards the crown of the head, going upwards through that one attains
>This appears to an early version of what later came to be systematized
>as kuNDalinI yoga, with its emphasis on the ascent of the kuNDalinI to
>the sahasrAra. However, the shA~Nkara bhAShya makes no mention
>of kuNDalinI yoga; in fact the bhAShya does not even provide a detailed
>explanation for 8.6.6. (going by Swami Gambhirananda's publication) 

The first thing to note is that the texts and practices indicated by
Sankara bhagavatpAda's
references to and quotations from yogaSAstra cover a much wider range
than the yoga
sUtras of patanjali and vyAsa's bhAshya on it. There were probably many
different streams
of yoga practices and theorization that did not get codified as
thoroughly as the pAtanjala
yoga system or whose texts have not been transmitted successfully across

The other references among Sankara bhagavatpAda's bhAshyas that one
should study
in this respect are

1. brahmasUtra bhAshya - 4th pada (various sUtras)
2. taittirIyopanishad bhAshya - 1.6 (on the text sa ya esho'ntar hRdaya
3. kaThopanishad bhAshya - 2.3.16 (same verse as in chAndogya - SataM
caikA ca ...)
4. bhagavadgItA bhAshya - 8.10 (prayANakAle manasAcalena ...)

The taittirIya bhAshya 1.6 refers to yogaSAstra and kaThopanishad. It
also gives a
name to the nADI that goes upward, namely sushumnA. So also in the
bhAshya and the brahmasUtra bhAshya. The gItA and chAndogya bhAshyas do
use the term sushumnA. In none of these texts does Sankara bhagavatpAda
use the
word kuNDalini. However, many relevant details of what is called
kuNDalini yoga seem
to be presumed, e.g. the ascent of the prANa by stages, fixing the
attention between
the eyebrows and the crown of the head, etc.

Ascent through the bodily nADI-s is correlated with the devayAna along
which the
saguNa brahmopAsaka goes after death from the current birth and does not
to further rebirths. So, my take on the historical development of all
this is that what
is now called kuNDalini yoga was born and developed in upanishadic and
circles, taking on a more independent identity only in later (perhaps

This is also why I think that people who insist on very stringent
criteria for textual
authenticity and influences of yoga/tantra on post-Sankaran vedAnta are
unaware of the surprising breadth of familiarity and room that Sankara
himself exhibits with many little understood aspects of yoga and other


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