[Advaita-l] Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and Nirvikalpa

vinayaka ns brahmavadin at gmail.com
Fri Aug 24 00:19:19 CDT 2012

On Fri, Aug 24, 2012 at 1:51 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Suffice it to say that I do not think it is so easy to say that
> sureSvarAcArya's crucial
> positioning of yogAbhyAsa post-saMnyAsa has no connection whatsoever with
> what is
> traditionally understood as the practice of yoga and that it is nothing
> but the process
> of SravaNa_manana_nididhyAsana. Why, even the brahmasUtra has an adhikaraNa
> that begins, AsInas saMbhavAt, in the conclusion to which, Sankara
> bhagavatpAda
> unambiguously states that padmAsana and other postures are taught in the
> yoga
> SAstra as aids in the process of vicAra. And it is not just Asana there;
> dhyAna is also
> given its due place.


Swami SS also raises the similar objection.

In the scheme of  Sureshwara dhyana is different from nididhyAsana.

This is because nididhyAsana is defined as aparAyatra bOdhOtra nididhAsana
muchyate Br.V.

This means it is vastu trantra vAkya jnAna and can’t be practiced.

He clarifies:

dhyAnashankA nivruthyartham vijnAnEti bhaNyate|

nididhyAsana shabdEna dhyAnamAshankyate yataH|| Br.V.

Here the word nididhyAsana can be mistaken for dhyAna. To remove this doubt
it is termed as vijAna.

He places dhyAna before nididhyAsana:

vijnAnOtpatti hetutvam dhyAnAde pragavadisham Br.V. - We have told that
dhyAna etc., are the causes for vijAna.

So it is clear that what is called dhyAna here is different from

What is this dyAna or upAsanA? He defines:

upAsanam cha yatkinchitvidyAprakaraNe shrutam|

tadapyaikAtma vijnAna yOgyatvAyaiva kalpate|| Sambhanda Vr.

Whatever upAsanas mentioned in the vidyA section is for the purpose
facilitating or getting qualified for vijnAna .

Shankara says:

tAnyetAni upAsanAni sattvashuddikaratvEna tatvAvabhAsakatvAt advita
jnAnOpakariNi. Ch.Up.Bh.

These upAsanAs helps in the advaitic realization by purifying the intellect.

So, it shows that yogAbhyAsa is a dhyAna which is different from

> In its own way, a large amount of teaching from the yogasUtra
> and its bhAshya are thereby eased away from dualistic sAMkhya and adopted
> into
> non-dualistic vedAnta, by the very hands of Sankara bhagavatpAda himself.

Shankara is very clear. He refutes only those points which are opposed to

> I submit that the state of moksha that is desired by the jijnAsu is one
> that is beyond
> words, all words, even the words that constitute the vedAnta vAkya. As
> such, I
> find it amusingly surprising that many among those who say they understand
> this
> seem to have such an anathema for the terms samAdhi and nirvikalpa put
> together.
The following verse of the panchadashi and tr. note is of relavance:

yaH samAdhinirOdhAkyaH sOnAyAsena labhyatE|| Panchadashi IX 126.

When meditation on attributeless Brahman is mature it leads to samAdhi.
This state of intense concentration at ease leads on to the nirOdha state
in which the distinction between subject and object is eliminated.

Tr. Note:

Perhaps a note is necessary to remove the stigma on the word nirOdha. A
section of vEdAntins have cast it within yOga samAdhi. nirOdha they say, is
suppression, and all suppression makes the desires, etc., go under-ground
in the subliminal region, there to form complexes. Laya samAdhi is
desirable they say. Little do they see that the psychological process
involved in both is the same. Concentration on one thing is NOT suppression
of all the others. In fact the latter is an impossible feat; the more our
mind is diverted towards those others in its attempts at their suppression,
the more diffused and weakened it would be. The undesirable things are in
fact not suppressed but the naturally end, of course, gradually drop off,
the mind’s interest having been channelized towards another. Desires and
passions are strong or weak as the interest in them grows or lessens; and
when the interest in them grows or lessens; and when the interest is
completely switched off, desires and passions simply drop off, they cannot
be said to be suppressed.

And what is done in the so-called laya samAdhi or vichAra? While
discriminating, while arguing about the meaning of the vEdAntic notions or
philosophy with others or within oneself is not a switching off or
controlling the current of the undesirables? The psychological process
cannot be but one. Only in the yOga method there is greater emphasis on
direct attempt at guiding the vrittis scientifically to the desired end;
where as in the vEdAnta(which the author of this chapter and speaker of the
gIta have called sankya) method the emphasis is on vichAra, ratiocination.
But the psychological effect is the same viz., dropping off the false and
abiding stay of the True. It is not for nothing that our author and the
author of the gIta have warned us against making an invidious distinction
between the two.

Tr. By Swami Swahananda, Ramakrishna Math

Best Wishes,


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