[Advaita-l] Vikalpa, Savikalpa, and Nirvikalpa

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Oct 10 09:52:49 CDT 2012

> > prabhuji do you mean to say here there is absolutely no difference 
> between yOgic method of nidhidhyAsana and vedAntic method of 
> nidhidhyAsana?? Kindly clarify what exactly is the meaning of 
> nidhidhyAsana according to pAtanjala yOga. for that matter I doubt whether 

Dear Bhaskar,
I am going to try and keep my response short and sweet. I was responding to a post
by Sri Sadananda, so I would request you to read that again and then my comments
in that context. 
As you yourself have rightly raised a doubt, there is no such thing as nididhyAsana
in pAtanjala yoga. Anybody who talks of nididhyAsana is talking of it only against the
background of vedAnta. That is precisely why I said that it is not possible to easily
distiinguish a "yogic method" from a "vedAntic method." What is often described as
a method unduly influenced by yoga is nothing but an authentic vedAntic method, as
acknowledged by the bhAshyakAra and vArttikakAra themselves. It is not for nothing
that "yogAbhyAsa" is prescribed by sureSvarAcArya in the mumukshu's process.
That said, I fail to see why the adjective "pAtanjala" is inferred by you every time
someone uses the word yoga. All I am saying is that it is not possible to separate out
a method of nididhyAsana that is somehow more "yogic" from a nididhyAsana that is
somehow more "vedAntic". A lot of what is called "yoga" in the context of nididhyAsana
is an acknowledged method of vedAnta sAdhana. There is nothing "pAtanjala" about it.

The most one can do is to differentiate between what are called "sAMkhya yoga" and
"dhyAna" in gItA and bhAshya 13.25. Please read the bhAshya very carefully. If your
response is going to be to raise an objection that this dhyAna has nothing to do with
(pAtanjala) yoga, my response will again ask, (a) who is talking about "pAtanjala" yoga?,
(b) what do you understand by the term dhyAna in pAtanjala yoga?, and (c) what do
you understand by the term dhyAna in vedAnta? The last two above go back to what I
once described as making a distinction without a difference, as far as the word dhyAna
is concerned.
> this nidhidhyAsana term used in patanjala yOga as an alternative to 
> 'dhyAna'. Here vedAntic nidhidhyAsana follows the vedAntic method of 
> shravaNa and manana. Is there any provision to this method of vedAntic 
> nidhidhyAsana in patanjala yOga?? 
> We also have to take into account the entire set of verses that follow the 
> question,
> "sthitaprajnasya kA bhAshA" in gItA chapter 2, which bhagavatpAda 
> explicitly describes
> as the saMyag-darSana-lakshaNa and as jnAna-nishThA. As part of manana and
> nididhyAsana, one has to really take to heart the teaching of "yadA 
> saMharate ...
> indriyANi indriyArthebhyaH" (gItA 2.58) etc. The reasons for why this is 
> extremely
> important are also given in those same set of verses. In similar vein, 
> kaThopanishad
> tells us, "parAnci khAni vyatRNat ... AvRtta-cakShuH" etc. Given the 
> highly ingrained
> tendency of the senses to dwell on the objects of the senses, unless and 
> until a 
> sAdhaka takes the trouble to master a degree of saMyama, there is no real 
> personal
> progress towards jnAna. 
> > I agree, but adhyAtma yOga outlined in kaTha (for example 1-2-12, 
> 1-3-13 etc.) is something different from orthodox patanjali ashtAnga yOga, 
> I failed to see any relevance here. nishchayena dhyAtavyaH is the 
> explanation given my bhagavatpAda for the nidhidhyAsitavyaH in 
> bruhadAraNyaka. Where as in patanjala yOga, it is dhyAna on the chakra-s. 

Sorry, there is really very little about cakra-s in pAtanjala yoga. The application of
the word dhyAna in yogaSAstra has a wide range. To restrict it to meditating on the
cakra-s is to be unduly influenced by later developments in tAntric traditions. All of
those also may have a value towards vedAntic nididhyAsana, but on a scholastic
level, in a passion to differentiate advaita vedAnta from pAtanjala yoga, you should
not misunderstand and misrepresent pAtanjala yoga. In my opinion, by doing so,
you also risk misunderstanding and misrepresenting advaita vedAnta. You will miss
 the core of what is said about dhyAna in the yogasUtra-s and bhAshya, as also how
this core is very, very close in spirit and practice to what a serious vedAntin needs
to incorporate in his or her personal nididhyAsana. 
It is all well and good to read and/or produce text after text and think that it is all part
of "niScayena dhyAtavyaH". Beyond a point, all that is just vAg vaikharI. The risk is that
it will become a mega SAstra vAsanA, as is being discussed in another current thread.
SAstra is absolutely important, but a serious jijnAsu has to realize, at some point of
time, that he or she has to act on the advice given in SAstra, rather than talking about
SAstra. One needs to concentrate on "om ity evaM dhyAyatha AtmAnam" and "anyA
vAco vimuncatha". Once this is started, all these doubts about where pAtanjala yoga
and advaita vedAnta stand with respect to each other will start vanishing.
Best regards,

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list