[Advaita-l] Sankhya and Yoga can give Moksha?

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Mon May 7 16:31:09 CDT 2012

I composed and sent a lengthy answer to this point by point, but it seems
to have got lost in internet limbo as I lost my connection, so here is a short
summary answer.
I am hardly advanced enough in advaita sAdhana to be considered an authority
on this. For specific details, you must consult a qualified guru in person. What I
can give here are answers to the best of my ability, within some theoretical
parameters and limited personal experience of yoga and of the world and the
people in it.
Yoga practice, including all its angas, is always helpful for the vast majority
of us. For whom is it not a must? Only for that rare sAdhaka who has an
abundance of sAdhana-sampat right from birth. The rest of us have to acquire
that sampat, and yoga practice is a very important means to it. And we have
the testimony of jnAnIs and very advanced sAdhaka-s that such practice
remains helpful at all stages. So long as there is a bheda of sAdhaka-sAdhana
-sAdhya, the practice of yoga necessarily has a place. The goal is to achieve
the mental concentration (ekAgratA) that is necessary for vedAnta vicAra.
This is the traditional stance. There are many today who teach that none of
this is necessary from a sAdhana perspective and that all you have to do is to
just let go and just be. I would simply say to those who are attracted to such
a teacher, that they should try it and attempt to sit still, with no thought for
where the next meal or cup of coffee is going to come from, and see if they
succeed in really letting go. The mind that has not learned to control itself or
that is at least not learning how to control itself has a way of instantly getting
distracted and overpowering all its own good intentions to just let go and
just be.
Personally speaking, I would point not just to Asana and prANAyAma, but to
other parts of yoga too, such as yama, niyama, pratyAhara etc. These are
equally or perhaps more important than the physical regimen of Asana and
prANAyAma, in developing the sAdhana-sampat needed for jnAna mArga.

I would not restrict any of the above to Brahmins or to doing nityakarmA.
Yes, brAhmaNa ritual practice has its own place for yoga anga-s and they
are very useful and appropriate in that context, but yoga practice is open
to all, men and women, brAhmaNa and non-brAhmaNa, Hindu and non-
Hindu. If one is serious about it, one should take to yoga practice under
the guidance of a competent and well qualified yogI. And by the word yogI,
I don't mean the fashionable inhabitants of "yoga studios" everywhere in
the world, including in Indian cities today, which seek to become fake
imitations of New York or London. I mean the real traditional yogI, who
will be able to guide you as a sAdhaka in what regimen will work for you.
Keep in mind that the recipe for someone else could be quite different.
And of course, a real traditional yogI need not be an advaita vedAntin,
he or she could well be a dvaitin or even a tAntrika. Think of it as being
operated on by a specialist surgeon. You don't have to care whether the
surgeon believes in creationism or evolution, so long as he or she knows
what to do for that surgery.
I would also not bring prArabdha into the picture here, because it is not at
all necessary from the viewpoint of advaita sAdhana. Perhaps for one person,
what takes him or her to advaita jnAna mArga (or yoga practice as a part of
that mArga) is prArabdha. For another, it may seem like the anugraha of
ISvara and for yet another, it may seem like it is all free will. It does not
matter really. And I would not tie the beneficial effects of yoga to diet either.
Someone who eats and drinks very differently from what you or I eat or
drink could possibly experience positive results from yoga practice, for
any number of reasons. Indeed, yoga practice could even counter the
effects of diet. It is a combination of factors at work.
Of course, for a sAdhaka in the advaita jnAna mArga, it may be useful to
restrict one's dietary intake to sAttvika food as well, in addition to yoga
practice. However, an attachment to sAttvika food also needs to be given
up eventually. If a particular body needs some intake of what would
normally be considered rAjasika or tAmasika food, that is not necessarily
an insurmountable obstacle to progress in advaita jnAna sAdhana.

> Date: Mon, 7 May 2012 16:59:49 +0530
> From: vmurthy36 at gmail.com
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Sankhya and Yoga can give Moksha?
> Namaste Sri Vidyasankar
> One question about Yoga practice is bothering me very much. This is a
> practical question about Asanas, Pranayama, breath control. Kindly
> answer -

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