[Advaita-l] Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and Nirvikalpa

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Tue Aug 21 14:44:44 CDT 2012

The responses so far have gone into technical details of the word vikalpa and its derivatives
from various darSana-s. In the yoga system, vikalpa is only one of the five citta-vRttis, the
other four being pramANa, viparyaya, nidrA and smRti. And in the nyAya system, nirvikalpa
pratyaksha is a term used by some authors to simply mean indeterminate or nebulous
perception. As such, it refers to a state of cognition when one sees an object and doesn't
quite grasp what it is. This is not granted the same validity in nyAya thought as the savikalpa
pratyaksha where an object presented to the senses is known fully.

As far as vedAnta terminology is concerned, vikalpa is most simply understood as that function
of the mind that deals with choice and doubt. A state in which mental activity in the form of
vikalpa is present is sa-vikalpa, whereas a state devoid of that mental activity is nir-vikalpa.
In popular vedAnta discourse, as for example in the citation provided from sadAnanda's
vedAntasAra, the state of brahman realization, which is one of mental stillness, is often called
nirvikalpa samAdhi. From this view point, yes, savikalpa samAdhi is typically associated with
jnAna of saguNa brahman.
To satisfy those who ask where is the bhAshya support for such usage and protest that this is
too highly influenced by yoga discourse, please see gItAbhAshya 14.27. And please note the
point raised rhetorically by Kathirasan, that the terms savikalpa samAdhi and nirvikalpa samAdhi
are not to be found in the texts based on the yogasUtra and yogabhAshya. These terms are
predominantly vedAntic in origin and usage. 

> Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 09:22:39 -0400
> From: hschatra at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and Nirvikalpa
> Thank you members for your insightful replies. But the answers rendered me
> with one more question, i.e of Ishvara, and Brahman.
> What I want to know is does Savikalpa leads to Ishvara Jnana, and
> Nirvikalpa is a true Brahman Sakshatkara.
> Thank you again.
> Shriharsha

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