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Vedanta And Other Schools

by Swami Sivananda

According to Sankhya philosophy there is no Prana Tattva. Prana is combined function of all organs.

Proposition, reasoning, example, application, conclusion are the five Avayavas or members of a syllogism in Nyaya philosophy (Indian logic of Gautama Rishi).

There are three Vadas or doctrines viz., Parinama Vada of Sankhya Philosophers, e.g., like milk changing into curd, Vivarta Vada of Sri Sankaracharya, e.g., snake in the rope, and Ajati Vada, the theory of non-evolution of the universe of Sri Gaudapada. The first Vada is the lowest. Vivarta is in the middle. Ajati Vada is the highest.

Dravya (substance), Guna (attribute), Karma (action), Samanya (severality), Visesha (particularly) and Samavaya (co-inherence) are the six categories of Vaisheshika philosophy of Kanada Rishi.

There are no Pranas in Sankhya system. There is no Chitta also. That is the difference. Vedanta is only amplification and fulfilment of Sankhya. There are many Purushas in Sankhya, whereas there is only one infinite (Akhanda) indivisible Atman in Vedanta.

In some states, the Prime Minister is all-in-all. He can do and undo things. The Maharaja is in name only. Even so, the Purusha of Sankhya is a nominal head only. His presence only is necessary. Prakriti is all-in-all. She does the whole creation.

By the attributes, Sat-Chit-Ananda, you really understand that there is no Asat or untruth, Avidya or ignorance, Duhkha or pain in Brahman. The opposite attributes of Sat-Chit-Ananda cannot be found in Brahman. Similarly the attributes Ananta, Amritam, indicates that the opposites Anta (end), Mrityu (death) cannot be found in Brahman. This is known as Vyavritti in Vedanta.

Satta-Samanya is another name for Nirguna Brahman. Turiyatita is that state in which the individual soul merges himself in Para Brahman and becomes identical with the highest Self.

How can there be Parinama (modification) in Brahman? Brahman means the Great or Infinity or Absolute. Milk becomes curd. This is Parinama. There can be Parinama only in Saavayava substance. Saavayava means "with members" like the body of a man with hands, legs, feet, etc. Brahman is Niravayava (without parts or members). There cannot be any Parinama in Brahman. Understand this point well. You will be saved from many mental torments, anxieties and worries.

The Kalyana Gunas of the Savishesha Brahman of Sri Ramanuja are only an Amsa of the Atanta Gunas or Nirvisesha Brahman of Sri Sankara. By Nirguna it does not mean that the Suddha Brahman or Para Brahman is totally bereft of Gunas. It means that Nirguna Brahman is the storehouse. Some followers of Sri Ramanuja out of ignorance and spite pass a remark: "Sri Sankara's Nirguna Brahman is a mass of stone, a void. He is quite dry. There is no Rasa in such a Nirguna Brahman." This is ignorance only. Sri Sankara's Nirguna Brahman is 'Raso Vaisaha-Anando vai saha', full of Rasa and Ananda. He is not all-knowing. He is knowledge itself. He is not all-beautiful. He is Beauty itself. This is Svarupa. This is essence. He is an embodiment of all Rasas.

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