[Advaita-l] Advaita vedanta or not? (was RE: waking, dreaming, sleeping, as mutually supportive)

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Thu Oct 15 12:06:10 CDT 2009

I've changed the subject line to better match this particular branch of this discussion.


> I would be very interested to know if Jalandhara, Uddiyana & mula bandhas
> were taught by shankara in his Bhasyas as a valid means to advaita atma
> darshana or citta shuddhi. Or was it that the acarya realised that the
> prasthana traya lacked teachings/practices to bring about mental
> tranquility?

I am going to quote only one brahmasUtra in reply - yatraikAgratA tatrAviSeshAt.


A particular yogAsana may be tremendously useful for improving one person's concentration and completely detrimental to another. It is a matter of personal experience and comfort. All currently known, forgotten from the past, and yet-to-be-discovered yoga practices are covered by the bhagavatpAda, when he applies the word Adi (et cetera) to the padmAsana, in his commentary on the immediately previous section of the brahmasUtra. 


Should Sankara bhagavatpAda have given a numerically exhaustive list of all "approved" meditation practices and pronounce "anything outside of this list is not vedAnta"? On the flip side, should he have specifically mentioned, "in the 21st century, an advaita vedAntin should not waste much time on Facebook and Twitter?" Isn't that something that we can legitimately infer from his teaching? With Ramesh, I fail to understand what you expect to find in the source texts and I fail to understand what you expect out of post-Sankaran advaita vedAntins. Should everyone be a parrot and repeat nothing more than whatever they have read/heard from the texts?


The reason I brought up one specific taittirIya upanishat reference is that this upAsana (to my mind at least) is the upanishadic source of what is called lambika yoga or khecarI mudra in haTha yoga texts. In the same way, the upanishadic references to the UrdhvagAminI nADi and Sankara's comments on them are the upanishadic correlates (I would even say, sources) of what was later on called kuNDalini yoga. Now, just because a later advaitin uses terms like kuNDalini and lambika, would you proclaim that this is all tantra/haTha yoga and label this as something in opposition to vedAnta or as a fusion of extrinsic concepts into advaita? Are you going to say that all this is a distortion of the true tradition? I guess yes, because that is what you have been implying so far, but I hope you see that the source of the distortion is only the lens through which you are looking at it.


In the hands of a true traditionalist, the prasthAna trayI and its bhAshyas are living texts in guiding the thought process towards brahman. The true value of a sampradAya lies not in a fossilized text and commentary but in how the texts speak to us in this day and age.


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