[Advaita-l] waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 14 09:16:31 CDT 2009

> Swamiji is an example of a Vedantin who has fused the practices of Hatha
> Yoga which is part of the Shaiva Natha Sampradaya into Vedanta. It is very
> interesting to note how Vedanta and Tantra have merged in spite of its
> teachings being mutually exclusive during the times of Shankara and
> Matsyendranatha (the principal teacher of the Hatha Yoga School).

This opinion seems to be based altogether on the artificial boundaries created by a section of modern academic scholarship on Indian traditions. Can you tell me where haTha yoga begins and ends, whether it was exclusive to the Saiva Natha Sampradaya and whether it came to influence Advaita Vedanta from some external source at some point of time?


Please read the brahmasUtra bhAshya under the sUtras "AsInas sambhavAt"  etc, where Sankara bhagavatpAda concludes that the yoga SAstras teach many Asana-s, beginning with padmAsana, as a means to promote ease of concentration in brahmavicAra. I have had multiple occasions to point out the various references in the sUtrabhAshya, gItAbhAshya and the major upanishad bhAshyas, which exhibit an intimate familiarity with and even approval of yoga practices and traditions. I have also pointed out numerous times that this is not limited to pAtanjala yoga sUtras and the "official" yoga-darSana.


I will leave the question of Vedanta and Tantra and their fusion aside for the time being. Here is a parallel point to ponder. Take the taittirIya upanishat reference - sa ya esho'ntar hRdaya AkASaH | tasminn ayaM purusho ... vyapohya SIrshakapAle | ... Please read Sankara bhagavatpAda's commentary on this passage. What kind of upAsana do you think is being described here? What would you imagine are the physical correlates of the description in this source text of vedAnta? Is such upAsana then upanishadic-vedAntic or tAntric/haTha yogic? 


Suffice it to say that if you think you can identify boundaries based on textual references, you had better read the texts in the original in great depth and not rely on secondary or derivative scholarship. And don't you think someone like Swami Abhinava Vidyatirtha, the Sringeri Sankaracharya, had more knowledge of the various traditions to know what is mutually exclusive and therefore contradictory versus what is acceptable and traditionally part of the life of a genuine vedAntin?


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