The question of the importance of Samadhi

in modern and classical Advaita Vedanta.

Comans, Michael

Philosophy East & West

Vol.43 No 1


Jan. 1993

Copyright by University of Hawaii Press


The word samadhi  [1] became  a part  of the vocabulary  of a
number of Western  intellectuals  toward the end of the first
half of this century.  Two well-known  writers, Aldous Huxley
and  Christopher  Isherwood, were  impressed  by Eastern  and
specifically  by  Indian  thought.   Huxley  made  a  popular
anthology  of Eastern and Western mystical  literature  under
the title  The Perennial  Philosophy  (1946), and in his last
novel, Island  (1962), words such as moksa and samadhi  occur
untranslated.  In both  these  works, Huxley  uses  the words
"false  samadhi, "  implying  that  the  reader  was  already
conversant with what samadhi actually is.  Isherwood wrote an
account of the life of the nineteenth-century  Bengali mystic
Sri Ramakrsna, Ramakrishna  and His Disciples  (1959), and he
published as the second part of his autobiographical  trilogy
an account  of the years  he spent  with  his own guru, Swami
Prabhavananda  of the  Ramakrsna  Order, in My Guru  and  His
Disciple (1980).  Why these writers were drawn toward Eastern
spiritual   thought,  and   to  the  Vedanta   teachings   in
particular, is not  the  subject  for  discussion  here.  But
perhaps  one significant  reason is that with the decline  in
organized  religion after World War I, these writers found in
the  Vedanta, as presented  to them  by the followers  of Sri
Ramakrsna  and his disciple Swami Vivekananda, a spirituality
which emphasized the authority of firsthand experience as the
only  way to verify  what  was  presented  as the Truth.  The
Vedanta, as they saw it, was a "minimum  working hypothesis,"
which could be validated  through cultivating  a certain type
of experience, and that experience was seen to be a mystical,
super-conscious state of awareness called samadhi.

Isherwood  edited a book of articles  titled Vedanta  for the
Western World (1948).  In his introduction  he emphasizes the
centrality   of  having  a  direct,  personal  experience  of
Reality, which, he says, the Christian  writers  call "mystic
union" and Vedantists  call "samadhi."  Isherwood  raises the
question as to how Reality can be experienced if it is beyond
sense  perception, and he answers  the question  in terms  of
samadhi experience:

    Samadhi  is said to be a fourth kind of consciousness: it
    is beyond  the states  of waking, dreaming  and dreamless
    sleep.  Those  who  have  witnessed  it  as  an  external
    phenomenon  report that the experience  appeared  to have
    fallen  into  a kind of trance.  The hair on the head and
    body  stood  erect.  The half-closed  eyes became  fixed.
    Sometimes  there  was an astonishing  loss  of weight, or
    even levitation  of the body  from the ground.  But these
    are mere symptoms, and tell us nothing. There is only one
    way to find  out what samadhi  is like: you must  have it

Huxley  and Isherwood  did not find  Indian  spirituality  by
journeying  to India--rather  it was India which  found them;
and  the variety  of Indian  spirituality  with  which  these
Englishmen came into contact in California  in the late 1930s
was that of the Vedanta Society, founded by Swami Vivekananda
and his followers, who were monks of the recently established
(1886) Order of Ramakrsna. If we seek to locate the source of
the orientation  of spiritual life around the cultivation  of
samadhi  experience, which  has become  one of the  principal
characteristics  of modern Vedanta, it must be traced  to Sri
Ramakrsna  himself.  Ramakrsna  was  not  a Vedantin  in  the
orthodox  sense of one who has received instruction  centered
on the  exegesis  of the  sacred  texts  (sastra), which  are
generally  in Sanskrit, from a teacher (acarya), and who then
consciously  locates  himself  within that  specific  body of
received teachings (sampradaya). Ramakrsna, as is well known,
affirmed that a variety of diverse disciplines and traditions
within Hinduism, and even outside  of Hinduism, were valid in
that  they  were  all  efficacious   means  toward  the  same
spiritual goal. However, as has been pointed out, it would be
most  correct  to  locate.  Ramakrsna's  teachings  within  a
Tantric    paradigm.    [3]    Tantra    is    an   expressly
experience-oriented   discipline  and  it  relies  upon  yoga
techniques, particularly  those  of Hatha  Yoga, [4] to bring
about a samadhi experience.  Ramakrsna  frequently  underwent
trance-like  states, which are referred  to in The Gospel  of
Sri Ramakrishna as samadhi experiences. A typical description
in the Gospel would be the following passage:

    At the mere mention of Krishna and Arjuna the Master went
    into samadhi.  In the twinkling of an eye his body became
    motionless   and  his  eyeballs   transfixed,  while  his
    breathing could scarcely be noticed. [5]

Ramakrsna  has himself linked the occurrence  of samadhi with
Kundalini  Yoga, which  is referred  to in the  treatises  on
Hatha  Yoga  and is fundamental  to Tantra  soteriology.  For
example, Ramakrsna is recorded as having remarked:

    A man's spiritual  consciousness  is not awakened  unless
    his Kundalini is aroused.

    The  Kundalini  dwells  in  the  Muladhara.  When  it  is
    aroused, it passes along the Sushumna nerve, goes through
    the centres  of Svadhisthana, Manipura, and so on, and at
    last reaches the head. This is called the movement of the
    Mahavayu,  the  Spiritual  Current.   It  culminates   in
    samadhi. [6]

From the above we should  be able to see the importance  that
the samadhi experience  had in the life and teachings  of Sri
Ramakrsna.  Such an experience-oriented  view of spirituality
was a legacy  which  passed  from  Ramakrsna  to Vivekananda.
Vivekananda  was receptive  to this  view, for  it seemed  to
agree  with  what  he had studied  of the British  empiricist
philosophers  and the positivist  Auguste  Comte, insofar  as
they  by  University   of  Hawaii  Press  had  stressed   the
centrality of empirical experience.  Vivekananda extended the
empiricist  epistemology  that all knowledge  is derived from
sense  experience  into  the  domain  of metaphysics, for  he
thought that since experience  is the basis of all knowledge,
then if a metaphysical  Reality  exists, it, too, ought to be
available  for  direct  experience? And from  his association
with Ramakrsna  he gathered  that samadhi  was the experience
required in order to know God. In his writings he placed much
emphasis on the necessity  of attaining  samadhi.  He loosely
translated samadhi as "super-consciousness,"[8] and he stated
in  his  work  Raja-Yoga, a  commentary  in  English  on  the
Yogasutras of Patanjali, that samadhi experience was the acme
of spiritual life:

    Samadhi is the property  of every human being--nay, every
    animal. From the lowest animal to the highest angel, some
    time or other, each one will  have to come to that state,
    and then, and then alone, will  real religion  begin  for
    him.  Until  then  we only struggle  towards  that stage.
    There is no difference  now between us and those who have
    no  religion, because  we  have  no experience.  What  is
    concentration   good  for,  save  to  bring  us  to  that
    experience? Each one of the steps to attain  samadhi  has
    been  reasoned  out,  properly  adjusted,  scientifically
    organized, and, when  faithfully  practised, will  surely
    lead us to the desired  end.  Then all sorrows cease, all
    miseries vanish;  the seeds of actions will be burnt, and
    the soul will be free for ever.[9]

Vivekananda  was attracted to Ramakrsna  for reasons somewhat
similar  to  those  that  initially   attracted   Huxley  and
Isherwood   to  the  Vedanta  taught  by  the  followers   of
Vivekananda:  they  all  sought   some  direct,  experiential
verification  of the propositions  of religious  metaphysics,
and  they   all  came  to  believe   that  the  key  to  such
verification   lay  in  the  attainment   of  a  samadhi   or
"super-conscious"  experience.  This legacy of Ramakrsna, the
search for an extra-ordinary  experience in order to validate
spiritual  life, not  only  extended  to  the  West  via  the
Ramakrsna  Order of monks that Vivekananda  helped  to found,
but   it   also   become   a   dominant   view   within   the
Western-educated  Indian  middle class through  the spread of
Ramakrsna-Vivekananda    literature.    The   modern   Indian
philosopher, Sarvepalli  Radhakrishnan, an eloquent  advocate
of the  importance  of experience  in religion, has described
samadhi  in the  following  manner: "In  samadhi  or enstatic
consciousness  we  have  a sense  of immediate  contact  with
ultimate reality.. It is a state of pure apprehension.. "[10]

At this  point  the reader  may  wonder  whether  we are  not
stating the obvious, for is it not precisely  because samadhi
is so important that modern Vedantins such as Vivekananda and
Radhakrishnan   gave   it  such  emphasis?  It  is  certainly
important   to  modern  Vedanta,  but  the  question  can  be
legitimately  raised  as to  what  importance  it has  in the
Upanisads, the  very  source  of  the  Vedanta,  and  in  the
classical  Vedanta  such as in the works of Sankara, the most
famous of all the Vedanta  teachers.  That is the topic which
we shall now address.

 The first point  to be noted  is that the word samadhi  does
not occur in the ten major Upanisads  upon which Sankara  has
commented.[11]  This  is not  a matter  to be lightly  passed
over, for  if the  attainment  of samadhi  is central  to the
experiential verification of the Vedanta, as we can gather it
is, judging by the statements  of some modern Vedantins  such
as those cited above, then one would legitimately  expect the
term  to appear  in the major  Upanisads  which  are the very
source  of the Vedanta.  Yet the  word  does  not occur.  The
closest  approximation  to  the  word  samadhi  in the  early
Upanisads  is the past  passive  participle  samahita  in the
Chandogya and  Brhadaranyaka Upanisads.[12] In both texts the
word samahita is not used in the technical meaning of samadhi
,that is, in the sense of a meditative absorption or enstasis
,although  the closest approximation  to this sense occurs in
the  Brhadaranyaka.  In  the  first  reference  (BU  4.2.1) ,
Yajnavalkya  tells Janaka: "You have fully equipped your mind
(samahitatma) with so many secret names [of Brahman, that is,
Upanisads]."[13]  Here the word samahita should be translated
as "concentrated, collected, brought together, or composed."

In  the  second  occurrence  (BU  4.4.23), Yajnavalkya  tells
Janaka  that  a knower  of  Brahman  becomes  "calm  (santa),
controlled (danta), withdrawn from sense pleasures (uparati),
forbearing (titiksu), and collected in mind (samahita).  This
reference  to samahita  is the closest  approximation  in the
Upanisads  to the term samadhi, which  is well  known  in the
later  yoga  literature.  However,  the  two  terms  are  not
synonyms,  for  in  the  Upanisad  the  word  samahita  means
"collectedness  of  mind," and  there  is no reference  to  a
meditation   practice  leading  to  the  suspension   of  the
faculties  such  as we find  in the literature  dealing  with
yoga.  The five mental qualities  mentioned in BU 4.4.3 later
formed, with the addition  of faith  (sraddha), a list of six
qualifications  required  of a Vedantic student, and they are
frequently   to  be  found  at  the  beginning   of  Vedantic
texts.[14]  In these texts, the past participles  used in the
Upanisads  are regularly  changed  into nominal  forms: santa
becomes  sama,  danta  becomes  dama,  and  samahita  becomes
samadhana, but not the cognate  noun samadhi.  It would  thus
appear that, while Vedanta authors  understood  samahita  and
samadhana  as equivalent  terms, they  did not wish to equate
them with the word samadhi;  otherwise  there would have been
no reason  why that term could not have been used instead  of
samadhana.  But it seems  to have been deliberately  avoided,
except in the case of the later Vedanta work, Vedantasara, to
which we shall have occasion to refer.  Thus we would suggest
that, in the Vedanta texts, samadhana  does not have the same
meaning  that  the word samadhi  has in yoga  texts.  This is
borne out when we look at how Vedanta  authors  describe  the
terms samahita  and samadhana.  Sankara, in BU 4.2.1, glosses
samahitatma  as samyuktama, "well equipped or connected."  In
BU  4.4.23,  he  explains  the  term  samahita  as  "becoming
one-pointed   (aikagrya)  through   dissociation   from   the
movements  of the sense-organs  and the mind."[15]  The  term
occurs  again in the Katha  Upanisad  1.2.24  in the negative
form asamahita, which Sankara  glosses  as "one whose mind is
not one-pointed (anekagra), whose mind is scattered."[16]  In
introductory  Vedanta manuals, samadhana is also explained by
the term "one-pointed"  (ekagra).[17] The word samadhana  can
thus  be understood  as having  the meaning  of "one-pointed"
(ekagra). In the Yogasutra, "one-pointed" (ekagra) is used to
define concentration (dharana),[18] which is the sixth of the
eight limbs  of Yoga and a preliminary  discipline  to dhyana
and samadhi.  We may see, then, that  the Vedantic  samadhana
means "one-pointedness"  and would be equivalent  to the yoga
dharana, but it is not equivalent to the yoga samadhi.

The word samadhi first appears in the Hindu scriptures in the
Maitrayni  Upanisad  (6.18, 34), a text which does not belong
to the strata  of the early Upanisads[19]  and which mentions
five of the eight  limbs  of classical  Yoga.  The word  also
occurs  in some  of the Yoga  and Sannyasa  Upanisads  of the
Atharvaveda.[20]  Samadhi  would  thus  seem  to be a part of
yogic  practice  which has entered  into the later Upanisadic
literature  through  such  texts  as the Yoga Upanisads  as a
result of what Eliade calls "the constant osmosis between the
Upanisadic  and yogic milieus."[21]  The diverse teachings of
yoga were systematized in Patanjali's Yogasutras, where it is
explained that the goal of yoga is to restrain completely all
mental fluctuations (vrtti) so as to bring about the state of
samadhi.  Samadhi itself has two stages, samprajana  samadhi,
or an enstasis where there is still object-consciousness, and
asamprajatasamadhi  or  nirbijasamadhi,  where  there  is  no
longer any object-consciousness.  Asamprajnatasamadhi  became
known in later Vedanta circles as nirvikalpasamadhi.[22]  The
point to be noted about yoga is that its whole soteriology is
based upon the suppression  of mental  fluctuations  so as to
pass firstly into samprajnatasamadhi  and from there, through
the  complete  suppression  of all mental  fluctuations, into
asamprajnatasamadhi, in which state  the Self remains  solely
in  and  as  itself   without   being  hidden   by  external,
conditioning factors imposed by the mind (citta).

When we examine the works of Sankara, however, we find a very
sparing use of the word samadhi.[23] In the Brahmasutrabhasya
he makes  three  references  to  samadhi  as  a condition  of
absorption  or  enstasis.[24]   In  the  first  (2.1.9) ,  he
implicitly  refutes  the idea that samadhi is, of itself, the
means for liberation, for he says:

    Though there is the natural eradication  of difference in
    deep sleep and in samadhi  etc., because  false knowledge
    has not been removed, differences  occur  once again upon
    waking just like before.[25]

What Sankara  says  is that  duality, such as the fundamental
distinction  between  subject  and object, is obliterated  in
deep  sleep  and in samadhi, as well  as in other  conditions
such as fainting, but duality is only temporarily obliterated
for  it reappears  when  one  awakes  from  sleep  or regains
consciousness  after fainting, and it also reappears when the
yoga arises from samadhi.  The reason why duality persists is
because false knowledge (mithyajana) has not been removed. It
is evident  from this brief statement  that Sankara  does not
consider the attainment  of samadhi to be a sufficient  cause
to  eradicate  false  knowledge, and, according  to  Sankara,
since false knowledge is the cause of bondage, samadhi cannot
therefore  be  the  cause  of  liberation.   The  only  other
significant  reference  to samadhi  in the  Brahmasatrabhasya
occurs in the context of a discussion as to whether agentship
is an essential property of the self.  According to Sankara's
interpretation,  sutras  2.3.33-39  accept  agentship   as  a
property   of  the  self,  but  sutra  2.3.40  presents   the
definitive  view that agentship  is not an intrinsic property
of the Self but is a superimposition. The word samadhi occurs
in  2.3.39  (samadhy-abhavacca),  and  here  Sankara  briefly
comments, "samadhi, whose purpose is the ascertainment of the
Self known from the Upanisads, is taught in the Vedanta texts
such as: 'The  Self, my dear, should  be seen;  it should  be
heard  about,  thought   about  and  meditated   upon'"   (BU
2.4.5)   .[26]     Sankara     shows     by    the     phrase
atmapratipattiprayojana  ("whose purpose is the ascertainment
of the  Self") that  he acknowledges  that  the  practice  of
samadhi has a role in Vedanta.  However, these two references
do  not  in  themselves  present  a  conclusive   picture  of
Sankara's  thought, for in the first reference  it is evident
that he does not consider  samadhi  to be a sufficient  means
for liberation, while in the second he has clearly given it a
more positive  place as a means  for liberation.  This second
reference,   however,   has   to   be   treated   with   some
circumspection  as it forms  the comment  upon a sutra  which
Sankara  does not consider  to present  the definitive  view.
Another reference  to samadhi, where it again seems to have a
more  positive  value, occurs  in  the  commentary  upon  the
Mandukyakarika  of Gaudapada, where  in verse  3.37  the word
samadhi is given as a synonym  for the Self.  Sankara glosses
the word samadhi  in two different  ways, and in the first he
says "samadhi  = because  [the Self] can be known through the
wisdom  arising  from  samadhi."[27]  Thus  we can see  that,
according  to Sankara, samadhi has a role to play in Vedanta,
but yet the first reference  (2.1.9) indicates that this role
is perhaps  more circumscribed  than the modern exponents  of
Vedanta would have us believe. We will attempt to resolve the
matter  through  a wider  examination  of Sankara's  thought,
particularly in regard to his use of yoga.

The first specific  mention of yoga is in the Katha Upanisad,
and there is a verse in this Upanisad which details a type of
yoga meditation:

    The discriminating  person should restrain  speech in the
    mind, he should restrain the mind in the cognizing  self,
    he should restrain the cognizing self in the 'great self'
    and restrain that 'great self' in the peaceful Self.[26]

Sankara  introduces  this  verse  with  the comment  that the
Upanisad here presents "a means for the ascertainment of that
[Self]."[29]   In  his  commentary  upon  Brahmasutra  1.4.1,
Sankara  refers  to this Katha verse with the remark that the
sruti"shows  yoga  as the means  for the apprehension  of the
Self."[30]  In his  commentary  upon  Brahmasutra  3.3.15, he
again refers  to this verse when he says that it is "just for
the sake  of the clear  understanding  of the Self  that  the
sruti  enjoins  meditation, viz.  'the discriminating  person
should restrain speech in the mind....  "[31] It is therefore
evident that Sankara considers  the verse above to present  a
method of yoga meditation  leading  to Self-knowledge.  As to
his understanding  of this Katha  verse, he has explained  it
succinctly in his commentary on Brahmasutra 1.4.1:

    This is what is said.  'He should restrain  speech in the
    mind'  means  that  by giving  up the  operations  of the
    extemal  senses  such as the organ of speech and so forth
    he should remain only as the mind.  And since the mind is
    inclined towards conjecturing about things, he should, by
    way  of  seeing  the  defect  involved   in  conjecturing
    restrain   it  in  the  intellect   whose  characteristic
    consists  in determining  and which  is said here  by the
    word 'cognizing self'. Then bringing about an increase in
    subtlety, he should restrain that intellect in the 'great
    self', i.e. the experience, or the one-pointed intellect.
    And he should establish  the 'great self' in the peaceful
    Self, i.e.  in that supreme Purusa who is the topic under
    consideration, who is the 'highest goal'.[32]

aranyaka Upanisad 2.4.11, which forms  part of the well known
Yajanavalkya-Maitreyi  dialogue, Sankara briefly describes  a
method of contemplation which is similar to the one mentioned
in the Katha 1.3.13.  It is as follows:

    [text] the skin is the one goal of all kinds of touch
    [commentary] such as soft or hard, rough or smooth.... By
    the word 'skin', touch  in general  that is perceived  by
    the skin, is meant;  in it different  kinds of touch  are
    merged, like different  kinds of water  in the ocean, and
    become nonentities  without  it, for they were merely its
    modifications.  Similarly, that touch in general, denoted
    by the word 'skin', is merged in the deliberation  of the
    Manas [mind], that is to say, in a general  consideration
    by it, just as different  kinds of touch are included  in
    touch  in general  perceived  by the skin;  without  this
    consideration  by the Manas it becomes a non-entity.  The
    consideration  by the Manas  also is merged  in a general
    cognition  by  the  intellect, and  becomes  non-existent
    without it.  Becoming mere consciousness, it is merged in
    Pure  Intelligence, the Supreme  Brahman, like  different
    kinds  of  water  in  the  ocean.   When,  through  these
    successive steps, sound and the rest, together with their
    receiving  organs, are merged in Pure Intelligence, there
    are no more limiting adjuncts, and only Brahman, which is
    Pure   Intelligence,  comparable   to  a  lump  of  salt,
    homogeneous, infinite, boundless  and  without  a  break,
    remains. Therefore the Self alone must be regarded as one
    without a second.[33]

We can see that the type of yoga which Sankara presents  here
is a method  of merging, as it were, the particular  (visesa)
into the general (samanya).  For example, diverse  sounds are
merged in the sense of hearing, which has greater  generality
insofar  as the sense of hearing  is the locus of all sounds.
The sense of hearing  is merged  into the mind, whose  nature
consists  of thinking  about  things, and the mind is in turn
merged  into the intellect, which  Sankara  then says is made
into 'mere cognition' (vijanamatra);  that is, all particular
cognitions  resolve  into their universal, which is cognition
as such, thought without any particular  object.  And that in
turn  is  merged   into  its  universal,  mere  Consciousness
(prajnana-ghana), upon which everything  previously  referred
to ultimately depends. There are two points which ought to be
noted concerning Sankara's presentation  of yoga which differ
from the model  we find in Patanjali's  Yogasutra.  The first
concerns method.  Sankara does not say that all thought forms
must be restrained in the manner of the cittavrttinirodha  of
the Yogasutras.  While in other places Sankara  has mentioned
that  meditation  involves  the withdrawal  of the mind  from
sense objects,[34] he has also made it clear that control  of
the  mind  (cittavrttinirodha) is "not  known  as a means  of
liberation."[35]  Rather, Sankara's method involves thinking,
although  it is thinking  of a certain type, leading from the
involvement in particulars to a contemplation of what is more
general  and finally  to the  contemplation  of what  is most
general, that  is, Consciousness.  Thus Sankara's  method  of
yoga  is  a  meditative   exercise  of  withdrawal  from  the
particular and identification  with the universal, leading to
contemplation  of  oneself  as  the  most  universal, namely,
Consciousness.  This approach is different from the classical
Yoga of complete thought suppression.

The second point is one of approach, for nowhere does Sankara
present  the Atman-Brahman  as a goal  to be reached.  On the
contrary, his  approach  is that  the  Atman-Brahman  is  not
something  to be acquired  since  it is one's own nature, and
one's own nature is not something that can be attained.  This
approach  has  its corollary  in his method  of negation: the
removal  of superimpositions  in order  to discover  what  is
already there, although concealed  as it were by all sorts of
false identifications  based ultimately upon the ignorance of
who we really are. Such an approach is different from that of
the  classical  Yoga  of  the  Yogasutras, where  a  goal  is
presented  in terms  of nirvikalpasamadhi, which  one  has to
achieve in order to gain liberation. That Sankara's method is
one of negation  in order  to "reveal  the ever revealed"  is
evident throughout his whole discussion of the role of action
in  the  matter  of  liberation.  In  Brahmasutra  1.1.4,  an
opponent argues that the role of scripture  is injunctive--it
is to enjoin a person  either  to do something  or to refrain
from  doing  something--and  the role  of the Upanisads, too,
after  presenting   the  nature  of  Brahman,  is  to  enjoin
meditation  upon Brahman  as a means of release.[36]  Sankara
replies that if liberation  is to be gained as a result of an
action, then  liberation  must  be impermanent.  He specifies
that actions can only be of four kinds: an action can produce
something, or it can  modify  a thing, or it can  be used  to
obtain something or to purify it.[37] He takes up each action
in turn and argues that liberation  is not something that can
be  either  produced, attained, modified, or purified  by any
action whether  physical, oral, or mental.  His main argument
is that  if liberation  is an effect  of some kind of action,
then  liberation   would  have  a  beginning   and  would  be
time-bound  and hence noneternal, and that such a consequence
would  go against  the  whole  tradition  that  teaches  that
liberation  is eternal.  Sankara's view is that liberation is
nothing  but  being  Brahman,  and  that  is  one's  inherent
condition, although it is obscured by ignorance. He says that
the whole purpose of the Upanisads is just to remove duality,
which  is a construct  of ignorance;[38]  there is no further
need to produce  oneness  with Brahman, because  that already
exists.  Sankara's  frequent  use  of  the  phrase  "na  heya
naupadeya"  (cannot  be rejected  or accepted)[39] along with
the word  Atman  indicates  that the Self cannot  be made the
object  of  any  kind  of  action  whatsoever.   Sankara  has
summarized all this in his commentary on the Brhadaranyaka:

    ...  liberation is not something that can be brought into
    being. For liberation is just the destruction of bondage,
    it is not the result  of an action.  And we have  already
    said  that  bondage  is ignorance  and it is not possible
    that ignorance can be destroyed by action. And action has
    its  capacity  in some  visible  sphere.  Action  has its
    capacity   in  the  sphere   of  production,  attainment,
    modification and purification. Action is able to produce,
    to make one attain, to modify or to purify.  The capacity
    of an action  has no other  scope  than  this, for in the
    world  it is not known  to have any other  capacity.  And
    liberation is not one of these. We have already said that
    it is hidden merely by ignorance.[40]

Thus  we  can  see  that  the  perspective   of  Sankara   is
fundamentally  different  from  that  of the  yoga  tradition
where, although the purusa is presented  as not something  to
be acquired, liberation  is nonetheless  a real  goal  to  be
attained  through  a  process  of  mental  discipline,  which
necessitates the complete suppression of all mental activity.

That there is a certain  ambivalence  toward yoga on the part
of the followers of Vedanta can be seen in Brahmasutra 2.1.3,
"Thereby  the Yoga is refuted," which offers  a rejection  of
yoga following upon the rejection of Sankhya philosophy.  The
problem  as Sankara sees it is that yoga practices  are found
in the Upanisads  themselves, so the  question  arises  as to
what it is about yoga that needs to be rejected. Sankara says
that the refutation  of yoga has to do with its claim to be a
means of liberation independent from the Vedic revelation. He
says, "...  the sruti rejects  the view that there is another
means for liberation  apart from the knowledge of the oneness
of the Self which is revealed in the Veda."[41] He then makes
the  point  that  "the  followers  of Sankhya  and  Yoga  are
dualists, they do not see the oneness  of the Self."[42]  The
point  that  "the  followers  of  Yoga  are  dualists"  is an
interesting  one, for if the yogins  are dualists  even while
they      are      exponents      of      asamprajnatasamadhi
(nirvi-kalpasamadhi), then  such samadhi  does  not of itself
give rise to the knowledge  of oneness as the modem exponents
of Vedanta  would  have  us believe.  For if it did, then  it
would not have been possible  for the yogins to be considered
dualists.  Clearly  the modem Vedantins, in their expectation
that  samadhi  is the  key  to the  liberating  oneness, have
revalued  the word and have given it a meaning  which it does
not bear in the yoga texts.  And, we suggest, they have given
it an importance  which it does not possess  in the classical
Vedanta, as we are  able  to discerm  it in the  writings  of

The matter  to be decided  is what place samadhi, and yoga in
general, holds  in Sankara's  thought.  We suggest  that  his
commentary    upon   the   Bhagavadgita    contains   certain
programmatic  statements  that are of general  assistance  in
determining  his views on the place  of samadhim  and yoga in
the Advaita  scheme of liberation.  In the Gita, Sankara very
frequently glosses the word yoga when it occurs in a verse by
the word samadhi, thereby  indicating  that on many occasions
he  understands  yoga  to  mean  the  practice  of  a certain
discipline  wherein  samadhi  is the  key factor, as in verse
6.19, "...for  one who engages  in yoga concerning  the Self"
(yunjato  yogam atmanah), which Sankara glosses as "practices
samadhi    concerning    the    Self"    (atmanah    samadhim
anutisthatah).[43] It is evident that he considers samadhi as
a state wherein  normal  distinctions  are obliterated, as is
evident from his statement in 18.66, "the evils of agent-ship
and enjoyership etc.  are not apprehended in deep sleep or in
samadhi  etc.  where there is discontinuation  of the flow of
the  erroneous  idea  that  the  Self  is  identical  to  the
body."[44] Here, as in his commentary upon Brahmasutra 2.1.9,
Sankara  links deep sleep and samadhi, and it is evident that
he recognizes samadhi to be a state wherein distinctions  are
temporarily resolved, as they are in deep sleep.

At the beginning  of his  commentary  upon  the Gita, Sankara
makes  a significant  statement  concerning  the relation  of
Sankhya to Yoga.[45]  He says that Sankhya means ascertaining
the truth about the Self as it really  is and that Krsna  has
done this in his teaching from verses 2.11 up until 2.31.  He
says  that sankhyabuddhi  is the understanding  which  arises
from ascertaining the meaning in its context, and it consists
in the understanding  that the Self is not an agent of action
because  the  Self  is free  from  the sixfold  modifications
beginning with coming into being. He states that those people
to whom  such  an understanding  becomes  natural  are called
Sankhyas.  He then says that Yoga is prior to the rise of the
understanding above.  Yoga consists of performing disciplines
(sadhana)  that  lead  to  liberation;   it  presupposes  the
discrimination  between  virtue  and  its  opposite,  and  it
depends  upon  the idea that the Self is other  than the body
and that it is an agent and an enjoyer. Such an understanding
is yogabuddhi, and the people  who have such an understanding
are  called  Yogins.  From  this  it  is clear  that  Sankara
relegates  Yoga to the sphere  of ignorance  (avidya) because
the Yogins are those who, unlike  the Sankhyas, take the Self
to be an agent  and an enjoyer  while  it is really  neither.
They  are, therefore, in Sankara's  eyes, not yet knowers  of
the truth.

Sankara  again  clearly  demarcates  Sankhya  and Yoga in his
comments  on verse  2.39, where  Krsna  says, "O Partha, this
understanding  about Sankhya  has been imparted  to you.  Now
listen  to this understanding  about Yoga....  "According  to
Sankara,  'Sankhya'  means  the  "discrimination   concerning
ultimate  truth, "  and  the  'understanding'  pertaining  to
Sankhya means a "knowledge  which is the direct cause for the
termination   of  the  defect   which  brings  about  samsara
consisting of sorrow and delusion and so forth." He then says
that Yoga is the "means  to that knowledge"  (tatpraptyupaya)
and  that  Yoga  consists  of  both  (a) karmayoga, that  is,
performing  rites and duties as an offering  to the Lord once
there has been a relinquishment  of opposites  (such  as like
and dislike) through detachment, and (b) samadhiyoga.[46]  In
4.38, Sankara again explains  the word yoga occurring  in the
verse as referring to both karmayoga and samadhiyoga.[47]  It
is evident that Sankara understands the word yoga in the Gita
to refer to both karmayoga and to the practice of meditation,
that is, samadhiyoga.  It is also  evident  that he considers
yoga to be a means leading  to Sankhya-knowledge  but that it
is not the same as Sankhya-knowledge.  In 6.20, Sankara  says
that one apprehends  the Self by means  of a "mind  which has
been purified through samadhi."[48]

From the evidence  of the above we suggest that according  to
Sankara the role of samadhi is supportive--or  purifying--and
is preliminary  to, but not necessarily  identical  with, the
rise of the liberating  knowledge.  As is well known, Sankara
considers  that knowledge  alone, the insight concerning  the
truth  of things, is what  liberates.  To this  end he places
great  emphasis  upon  words, specifically  the words  of the
Upanisads, as providing the necessary and even the sufficient
means  to  engender   this  liberating   knowledge.   Sankara
repeatedly  emphasizes  the  importance  of the  role  of the
teacher  (guru/acarya) and the sacred  texts  (sastra) in the
matter    of   liberation.    For   example    the   compound
sastracaryopadesa,  "the  instruction  on  the  part  of  the
teacher  and  the  scriptures," occurs  seven  times  in  his
commentary  on the Gita alone, along  with  other  variations
such  as vedantacaryopadesa, and it regularly  occurs  in his
other  works  as well.[49]  The modem  Vedantin, on the other
hand, has  overlooked, possibly  unknowingly, the  importance
which sacred language  and instruction  held in the classical
Vedanta  as a means  of knowledge  (pramana) and has  had  to
compensate  for this  by increasing  the importance  of yogic
samadhi  which  is then put forward  to be the necessary  and
sufficient condition for liberation.

The contrast  between the Vedanta  of Sankara and some of its
modem exponents is clear enough. But it should not be thought
that  the  modem  emphasis   on  yogic  samadhi   is  without
precedent.  As we have mentioned, there  is evidence  of yoga
techniques  in the principal Upanisads themselves although it
did not then have a dominant  emphasis, and this is reflected
in the approach  of Sankara in his commentaries.  However, in
the centuries  following Sankara, Advaitins  have exhibited a
gradual increase in their reliance upon yoga techniques. This
can   be   shown   by  examining   a  few   of  the   Advaita
Prakaranagranthas, noncom-mentarial  compositions  by Advaita

The only noncommentarial  work that is widely accepted as the
composition  of Sankara  is the Upadesasahasri.  In this work
the word samadhi rarely occurs.  The word samahita is used in
13.25,  and  we  have   previously   argued   that   samahita
(concentrated)  has  a  meaning   equivalent   to  the   word
samadhana, one-pointedness  of mind, but it does not have the
same  meaning  as  nirvikalpasamadhi.[50]   Sankara  mentions
samadhi  three  times  in the Upadeaasahasra,[51] but he does
not   extol   it;   on  the  contrary,  speaking   from   the
understanding  that  the  Self  is  nirvikalpa  by nature, he
contrasts the Self and the mind and says:

    As  I have  no  restlessness  (viksepa) I have  hence  no
    absorption (samadhi).  Restlessness  or absorption belong
    to the mind which is changeable.[52]

A similar  view  is expressed  in 13.17  and 14.35.  In 15.14
Sankara presents a critique  of meditation  as an essentially
dualistically   structured   activity.[53]   Furthermore,  in
16.39-40, Sankara implicitly criticizes the Sankhya-Yoga view
that  liberation  is dissociation  from  the  association  of
purusa and prakrti,[54] when he says:

    It is not at all reasonable  that liberation  is either a
    connection   [with  Brahman]  or  a  dissociation   [from
    prakrti].  For an association is non-eternal and the same
    is true for dissociation also.[55]

Thus it is evident  from  the above  that Sankara  implicitly
rejects both the soteriology of yoga, namely, that liberation
has to be accomplished  through the real dissociation  of the
purusa from prakrti, and the pursuit  towards  that end, that
is, the achievement of nirvikalpa or asamprajatasamadhi.

However  such  a view  became  blurred  in  the  writings  of
post-Sankara   Advaitins.   This  can  be  briefly  shown  by
examining some later Advaita prakarana texts. For example, in
the  popular  fourteenth-century  text  Pancadasi, we find  a
mixture of Vedantic  and Yogic ideas.  Towards the conclusion
of the  first  chapter  on the "Discrimination  of the  Real"
(tattvaviveka) ,  the  author  explains  the  Upanisad  terms
sravana,  manana,  and  nididhyasana  (vv.  53-54), and  then
proceeds to describe the cultivation  of samadhi as the means
whereby  the  mediate  verbal  knowledge   derived  from  the
Upanisads  is turned into immediate  experience  (vv.  5962).
However,  in   chapter   nine,  "The   Lamp   of  Meditation"
(dhyanadipa), meditation  is prescribed  for those who do not
have   the   intellectual    acuteness   to   undertake   the
Self-inquiry;  and  in chapter  seven  (v.  265), the  author
repeats  the verse of Sankara  from the Upadesasahasri("As  I
have no restlessness"), which was cited above.  Therefore  it
would  appear  that the Pancadasi  is an early  example  of a
Vedantic text which is consciously  making room for classical
Yoga   but   which   has   not   lost   sight   of  Sankara's

The Vivekacudamani  is a popular text in contemporary Vedanta
circles  and  is ascribed  to Sankara.  However, it is highly
unlikely  that it is a genuine  work of Sankara, for the fact
that there are no Sanskrit  commentaries  on this work by any
of the well-known commentators  on the works of Sankara would
indicate that the Vivekacudamani is either a late composition
or that  it was  not  regarded  as a work  of Sankara  by the
earlier  Advaitins.[57]  In this text, samadhi  comes  in for
considerable praise; for example:

    Reflection  should be considered a hundred times superior
    to  hearing, and  meditation  a  hundred  thousand  times
    superior even to reflection, but the Nirvikalpaka Samadhi
    is infinite in its results.[58]

We can observe  in this text  how samadhi  is treated  as the
indispensable  requirement  for liberation, and we can see in
the following  verse that samadhi  is advocated  for the same
reason  as is given in Yogasutra  1.1.4: "at other times [the
Self]  takes  the  same  form  as  the  mental  modifications

    By the  Nirvikalpaka  Samadhi  the  truth  of Brahman  is
    clearly  and definitely  realized, but not otherwise, for
    then  the  mind, being  unstable  by nature, is apt to be
    mixed up with other perceptions.[59]

As a final example of the use of samadhi in this work we cite
the following verse:

    Through  the  diversity  of  the  supervening  conditions
    (Upadhis), a man is apt to think of himself  as also full
    of diversity;  but with the removal  of these he is again
    his  own  Self, the  immutable.  Therefore  the wise  man
    should ever devote himself to the practice  of Nirvikalpa
    Samadhi for the dissolution of the Upadhis.[60]

If we compare the idea contained in this verse with the ideas
of  the  Upadesasahasri,  we  find   that   nowhere   in  the
Upadesasahasri  does San-kara advocate the dissolution of the
upadhi:  On  the  contrary,  his  attitude   throughout   the
Upadesasahasri  is to show  that  an upadhi  is to be negated
merely through the knowledge  that it is an object, for as an
object it cannot be identical with the perceiver; and because
an upadhi is essentially  unreal  (mithya), it cannot  negate
the nondual truth, and therefore no additional effort need be
expended for its removal.

As a final  example  of the increasing  tendency  to identify
Vedanta  and  Yoga, we  refer  to  a late  Vedanta  text, the
Vedantasara  of Sadananda (fifteenth century A.D.).  He, like
the author  of the Pancadasi, has added samadhi  to the triad
of  sravana, manana, and  nididhyasana.  What  is of interest
here is that he has reinterpreted  samadhi to make it conform
to Advaitic ideas; for example, nirvikalpa samadhi is said to
be the state  where the mind is without  the distinctions  of
knower, knowledge, and object  of knowledge  and  has  become
totally  merged  in the "nondual  reality."[61]  Furthermore,
this text lists the eight limbs of Yoga practice mentioned by
Patanjali (Yogasutra 2.29), suitably reinterpreted to conform
to the Vedanta.  There are other, later  Vedanta  texts which
also  do this.[62]  Thus  we see that  through  the centuries
Vedanta has increasingly accommodated itself to Yoga, leading
to the almost complete  absence of a distinction  between the
two in modem times.


Although the importance of concentration  is evident from the
early Upanisads  (BU 4.4.23), a form of yoga practice leading
to the absorptive state of samadhi is only in evidence in the
later texts.  We have seen that Sankara  does speak of a type
of concentration  upon the Self which is akin to yoga insofar
as there  is the withdrawal  of the mind from sense  objects,
but he does not advocate  more than  that and he does not put
forward  the view that we find  in classical  Yoga about  the
necessity of total thought suppression.  We have seen that he
has used the word  samadhi  very  sparingly, and when  he has
used  it, it was  not  always  in an unambiguously  favorable
context.  It should  be clear  that  Sankara  does not set up
nirvikalpasamadhi as a spiritual goal.  For if he had thought
it to be an indispensable requirement for liberation, then he
would have said so.  But he has not said so. Contemplation on
the Self is obviously  a part of Sankara's  teaching, but his
contemplation is directed toward seeing the ever present Self
as  free  from  all  conditionings  rather  than  toward  the
attainment  of  nirvikalpasamadhi.  This  is  in  significant
contrast to many modem Advaitins  for whom all of the Vedanta
amounts to "theory" which has its experimental counterpart in
yoga "practice."  I suggest  that their view of Vedanta  is a
departure  from Sankara's own position.  The modem Advaitins,
however, are not without  their forerunners, and I have tried
to  indicate  that  there  has  been  a gradual  increase  in
samadhi-oriented  practice in the centuries after Sankara, as
we can judge from the later Advaita texts.


Abbreviations are used in the notes below as follows:

BSBh   Brahmasutra-Sankarabhasyam    with  the   Commentaries
       Bhasyaratnaprabha    of   Govindananda,   Bhamati   of
       Vacaspatimisra and Nyaya-Nirnaya of Anandagiri. Edited
       by J. L. Sastri. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1980.

BU     Brhadaranyakopanisad.

ChU    Chandogyopanisad.

US     Upadesasahasri of Sankaracharya, A Thousand Teachings:
       in Two Parts--Prose  and  Poetry.  Translated by Swami
       Jagadananda. Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1979.

1.  When  the word samadhi  is used  in this  article, it
    refers  only  to the higher  stage  of samadhi  known  as
    nirvikalpasamadhi, which is an "enstasis  without thought

2.  Vedanta for the Western World, ed.  C.  Isherwood (London:
    Unwin Books, 1975), p. 15.

3.  The three years of continuous  Tantric sadhana  under the
    direction  of the Bhairava  Brahmani  was his longest and
    most   significant   training.   See   W.   Neevel,  "The
    Transformation  of Sri  Ramakrishna," in Hindu-ism.'  New
    Essays in the History of Religions, ed. B. Smith (Leiden:
    E. J. Brill, 1976). The time spent under the direction of
    Totapuri, who  was  said  to  be  an  Advaitin, was  much
    shorter  than  the time  spent  studying  Tantra, and the
    information  available  on Totapuri is very meager, so it
    is  difficult  to be sure  whether  he  was  actually  an
    Advaitin rather than a follower of yoga.

4.  M.  Eliade,  Yoga:  Immortality  and  Freedom,  Bollingen
    Series, no.  56 (New  York: Princeton  University  Press,
    1973) ,  pp.  227  ff.,  and  The  Hathayogapradapika  of
    Svatmarama (Madras: Adyar Library, 1984), p. 125.

5.  Ramakrishna, The Gospel  of Sri Ramakrishna, trans.  Swami
    Nikhi-lananda  (Madras: Sri  Ramakrishna  Math, 1974), p.

6.  Ibid., p. 814. Also cf. pp. 310, 576.

7.  Cf.  The Complete  Works of Swami Vivekananda  (Calcutta:
    Advaita  Ashrama, 1970), vol.  1, p.  470, "If there is a
    God, you ought  to be able  to see Him.  If not, let  Him
    go." Also cf. his introduction to Raja-Yoga, pp. 125 ff.,
    and vol.  2, p.  220, "Knowledge  can only  be got in one
    way, the way  of experience;  there  is no other  way  to

8.  Ibid., vol. 1, pp. 137, 180, 181,212, and vol. 5, p. 300.

9.  Ibid., vol. 1, p. 188.

10. S.  Radhakrishnan, Eastern Religions  and Western Thought
    (London: Allen and Unwin, 1940), p. 51.

11. G. A. Jacob, A Concordance to the Principal Upanisads and
    Bhagavadgita  (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1971);  G.  M.
    Kurulkar, Sasandarbhanighantusahita  Dasopanisadah (Pune:
    Tilak Maharastra Vidyapitha, 1973).

12. ChU 8.1.3, 4, 5; BU 4.2.1, 4.4.23.

13. The  Brhadaranyaka  Upanisad,  with  the  Commentary  of
    Sankaracarya,  trans.   Swami   Madhavananda   (Calcutta:
    Advaita Ashrama, 1975), p. 410.

14. Cf.  BSBh, p.  36;  Vivekacudamani  of Sri Sankaracarya,
    trans.  Swami  Madhavananda  (Calcutta: Advaita  Ashrama,
    1974), vv.  19-27; Aparoksanubhati or Self-realization of
    Sri Sankaracarya, trans.  Swami  Vimuktananda  (Calcutta:
    Advaita Ashrama, 1977), vv. 3-8.

15. Ten  Principal  Upanisads  with Sankarabhasya, Works  of
    Sankaracarya in Original Sanskrit, vol. 1 (Delhi: Motilal
    Banarsidass,    1978)   ,    p.    937,    "    samahitah
    indriyantahkaranacalanarupad    vyavrtya   aikagryarupena
    samahito  bhutva."  (Hereafter, all  Upanisad  references
    containing Sankara's commentary will be to this work).

16. Ibid., p. 78, "asamahitah-anekagramana viksiptacittah."

17. Tattva Bodha of Sankaracharya  (Bombay: Central Chinmaya
    Mission Trust, n.d.), p. 7; Aparoksanubhuti (cited n.  14
    above), v. 8.

18. Georg  Feuerstein,  The  Philosophy  of  Classical  Yoga
    (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1980), p. 84.

19. Paul  Deussen, The  Philosophy  of the  Upanishads  (New
    York: Dover,  1966),  pp.  23-26.  Also,  see  Winternitz
    quoted  in S.  Dasgupta, A History  of Indian  Philosophy
    (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1975), vol. 1, p. 39. Eliade
    considers the Maitrayani  to belong to the same period as
    the Bhagavadgita, i.e., between  the second century  B.C.
    and the second century A.D. (Eliade, Yoga, p. 124).

20. Amrtabindu  6, 16;  Aruneya  2.  It also  occurs  in the
    Bhagavadgita at 2.44, 53, 54.

21. Eliade, Yoga, p.  114, remarks: "It  is  true  that  the
    Upanisads   remain   in  the  line  of  metaphysics   and
    contemplation, whereas  yoga  employs  asceticism  and  a
    technique  of meditation.  But this is not enough to halt
    the constant  osmosis  between  the Upanisadic  and yogic

22. I  do  not  know  why  later  Vedantins  used  the  word
    nirvikalpa to characterize  what is essentially the yogic
    asamprajnatasamadhi.  Perhaps  they wished to distinguish
    their  practice  from that  of classical  Yoga.  The word
    nirvikalpaka   was  first  introduced   into  the  astika
    ("orthodox") tradition by Kumarila Bhatta, who used it in
    his explanation of perception, under the influence of the
    Buddhist  philosopher  Dignaga.  See D.  N.  Shastri, The
    Philosophy  of Nyaya-Vaisesika  and Its Conflict with the
    Buddhist   Dignaga   School   (Delhi:   Bharatiya   Vidya
    Prakashan, 1976), p. 438.

23. I  am assuming  that  Sankara  is not the author  of the
    Yogasutrabhas-yavivarana, as this issue  has not yet been
    settled.  See  W.  Halbfass,  Tradition  and  Reflection:
    Explorations   in  Indian   Thought   (New   York:  State
    University of New York Press, 1991), chap. 6.

24. BSBh  2.1.9 (p.  365, line 6), 2.3.39 (p.  545, line 10),
    2.3.40   (p.   551,  line   2) ;   Word   Index   to  the
    Brahma-Sutra-Bhasya of Sankara, T.M.P. Mahadevan, general
    ed., 2 vols. (Madras: University of Madras, 1973).

25. BSBh 2.1.9 (p. 365, line 6).

26. Ibid., 2.3.39 (p. 545, line 10).

27. Mandukya 3.37 (p. 224, line 3).

28. Katha  1.3.13.  Cf.  J.  Bader, Meditation  in Sankara's
    Vedanta (Delhi: Aditya Prakashan, 1990), chap. 3.

29. Katha 1.3.13 (p. 83, line 11).

30. BSBh 1.4.1 (p. 295, line 10).

31. Ibid., 3.3.15 (p. 694, line 12).

32. Ibid., 1.4.1 (p. 295, lines 12 ff.).

33. BU 2.4.11 (p. 764, lines 11 ff.).  See also Madhavananda,
    trans., Brha-daranyaka Upanisad (cited n.  13 above), pp.
    253 ff. I have cited Madhavananda's translation here as I
    cannot make any significant improvement on it.

34. Cf. commentary on Katha 1.2.12 and Bhagavadgita 16.1.

35. BU 1.4.7 (p. 663, line 9).

36. BSBh 1.1.4 (p. 69, line 6).

37. Ibid.,  1.1.4  (p.  79, lines  7  ff.).  Also,  for  the
    reference to action as consisting  of four types, cf.  BU
    3.3.1  (p.  798, lines 22 ff., and p.  801, lines 1 ff.),
    4.4.22 (p.  933, lines 21 ff.);  Mundaka 1.2.12 (p.  152,
    lines   25  ff.) ;   US  17.50;   Shri   Shankaracharya's
    Upadeshasahasri  with the Gloss Padayojanika, ed.  D.  V.
    Gokhale (Bombay: The Gujarati Printing Press, 1917); Shri
    Shankarabhagavatpada's  Upadeshasahasri  with the Tika of
    Shri   Anandagiri   Acharya,  ed.   S.   Subramanyasastri
    (Varanasi: Mahesh Research Institute, 1978).

38. BSBh  1.1.4 (p.  79, line 1);  also BU 2.1.20  (p.  739,
    lines 20 and 24).

39. BSBh 1.1.4 (p. 64, lines 2 and 4; p.  84, lines 3 ff.; p.
    85, lines 1 ff.; p. 87, lines 4 ff.).

40. BU 3.3.1 (p. 798, lines 19 ff.).

41. BSBh 2.1.3 (p. 354, lines 1 ff.).

42. Ibid., 2.1.3 (p. 354, line 3).

43. Bhagavadgita  with Sankarabhasya, Works  of Sankaracarya
    in   Original   Sanskrit,   vol.   11   (Delhi:   Motilal
    Banarsidass, 1978) 6.19 (p.  107, lines  9 ff.), and also
    5.21, 6.4, 8.10, 12.6, 13.10, 18.33.

44. Ibid., 18.66 (p. 296, lines 6 ff.).

45. Ibid., introd., 2.11 (p. 9, lines 14 ff.).

46. Ibid., 2.39 (p. 27, lines 13 ff.).

47. Ibid., 4. 38 (p. 80, line 18).

48. Ibid., 6.20 (p. 107, line 16 [my emphasis]).

49. Ibid., 2.21 (p. 20, line 12), 2.63 (p.  36, line 12), 8.8
    (p.  128, line 16), 13.30  (p.  215, line 23), 13.34  (p.
    217, line 19), 18.16 (p.  263, line 19), 18.17  (p.  264,
    line 4), 18.50 (p.  281, line 7), 18.55 (p. 284, line 9);
    Word-Index to Sankara's Gitabhasya, ed.  Francis X.  D'Sa
    (Pune: Institute  for the Study of Religion, 1985).  Also
    cf. BU 2.1.20 (p.  744, line 23), 2.4.2 (p. 767, line 5),
    2.5.15 (p.  776, line 12); ChU 6.15.2 (p.  537, line 12),
    8.1.6 (p.  571, line 2);  Katha 1.5.12  (p.  96, line 1);
    Mundaka 1.2.12 (p. 153, line 5), 2.2.7 (p. 162, line 22);
    US 17.51-52.

    In an otherwise interesting  and insightful article, "The
    Path  of No-path: Sankara  and  Dogen  on the Paradox  of
    Practice"  (Philosophy  East  and West  38, no.  2 [April
    1988]), David Loy has come to an erroneous conclusion (p.
    133) that  "there  can  be no means--not  even  sruti--to
    realize Brahman....  "But if that were the case, it would
    not be possible to explain Sankara's  concerted effort in
    meticulously  commenting  on sruti;  and such a statement
    also overlooks  the numerous  references  where he states
    that the sruti is the means of knowledge for Brahman.  It
    is precisely  because Sankara sees no other way to arrive
    at the knowledge  of the unconditioned  Absolute  that he
    resorts to the sacred words of the Upanisads as the means
    to dispel the ignorance  of the ever present Self.  Among
    Western scholars, Sankara's views on sruti have been well
    articulated by W.  Halbfass in his discussion of the role
    of sruti  in Sankara's  thought;  see  his Tradition  and
    Reflection (cited n. 23 above), chap. 5.

50. Samadhana  is mentioned in US 17.23-24.  Cf.  Tattvabodha
    (cited   n.   17   above) ,   p.   7:  "samadhanam   kim?

51. US 13.14, 17 and 14.35.

52. Ibid., 13.14.

53. Ibid., 15.14.

54. The Sankhyakarika  of Isvara Krsna, ed.  and trans.  S.S.
    Suryanarayana   Sastri  (Madras:  University  of  Madras,
    1973), vv. 20, 21, 66, 68.

55. US 16.39-40.

56. Cf.  Pancadsi  of  Sri  Vidyaranya  Swami, trans.  Swami
    Swahananda (Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1975).

57. There are two commentaries  on the Vivekacudamani: one is
    by a little  known  writer, Harinathabatta, and the other
    is a recent commentary by Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati, who
    was the Sankaracarya of Sriagiri Matha from 1912 to 1954.
    See   R.   Thangaswami,  Advaita-Vedanta   Literature:  A
    Bibliographical  Survey  (Madras: University  of  Madras,
    1980),  p.  218;  Advaita  Grantha  Kosa, prepared  by  a
    disciple  of Sri Ista Siddhindra  Saraswati  Swami of the
    Upanisad  Brahmendra  Mutt (Kancheepuram: n.n., n.d.), p.
    67. Perhaps the Vivekacudamani is itself a work of one of
    the Sringiri Sankaracaryas?

58. Vivekacudamani (cited n. 14 above), v. 364.

59. Ibid., v. 365.

60. Ibid., v. 357.

61. Vedantasara  or  the  Essence  of Vedanta  of  Sadananda
    Yogindra, trans.  Swami  Nikhilananda  (Calcutta: Advaita
    Ashrama, 1974), p. 110.

62. The Aparoksanubhuti  has been ascribed to Sankara but is
    unlikely to be a genuine work. See Encyclopedia of Indian
    Philosophies, ed. Karl Potter, vol. 3, Advaita Vedanta up
    to Samkara  and His Pupils  (Delhi: Motilal  Banarsidass,
    1981), p.  320.  The final forty-four verses (out of 144)
    describe   yoga.   Here,  however,  yoga  is  consciously
    reinterpreted  within  a Vedantic  manner: "The  complete
    forgetfulness   of  all  thought   by  first  making   it
    changeless and then identifying it with Brahman is called
    Samadhi known as knowledge" (Vimuktananda's trans., cited
    n.14 above, v.124) . The Sarvavedantasiddhantasarasangraha
    is another  work  which  is most  likely  not  a work  of
    Sankara.   See  Thangaswami,  Advaita-Vedanta  Literature
    (cited n.  57 above), p.  220; Potter, Advaita Vedanta up
    to Samkara, p.  339;  Advaita  Grantha Kosa (cited n.  57
    above), p. 68. In this work we again find the grafting of
    yogic nirvikalpasamadhi  onto Vedanta teachings;  see The
    Quintessence   of  Vedanta,  trans.   Swami   Tattwananda
    (Emakulam: Sri Rama-krishna  Advaita  Ashrama, 1960), pp.
    171 ff.