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Compare and Contrast the Philosophical Positions and Practices of Samkhya, Varieties of Yoga, and Advaita Vedanta

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Advaita Vedanta refers to the non-dualistic school of Hindu philosophy, which is derived mostly from the Upanishads and elaborated in detail by eminent scholars like Gaudapada and Sri Adishankaracharya. Dvaita means duality, and Advaita means nonduality. In simple terms, Advaita means absence of the duality between subject and object. In our wakeful consciousness we experience duality, but in deep sleep only nonduality.Advaita school believes that Brahman is the one and only reality and everything else is a mere appearance, projection, formation or illusion. One of the most common examples used to describe the state is momentarily seeing a snake in a rope when it is lying in the darkness

The snake is an illusion, and the rope is the reality. In the same manner the world appears in the mind as a formation over the Self.

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The Indian Subcontinent is home to some of the world’s largest religions. Some of the religions are Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism. The word “Hinduism” is not found anywhere in scriptures, and the term “Hindu” was introduced by foreigners who referred to people living across the Indus or Sindhu River, in the north of India, around which the Vedic religion is thought to have originated. Hinduism believes that there is only one absolute called Brahman. Nevertheless, it does not advocate the worship of one God. Hindu’s believe that one characteristic of God is human, and their different Deva’s are nothing but various characteristics of nature, each recognized and worshipped. Sanatana Dharma which also means everlasting religion is a label preferred today for Hinduism. Sanatana reflects the principle that these ways have always existed, while Dharma includes duty, natural law, social welfare, morals, wellbeing, as well as transcendental awareness. Dharma is then a holistic approach to the good of all, subsequent to order in the cosmos. The holy language of Sanatana Dharma ranges from great simplicity to extreme sensuality, from the heights of individual dedication to the heights of intangible beliefs, from metaphysical proclamations of oneness behind the physical world to adoration of images representing a variety of deities. The cultural influences that have made Hinduism essential to the region in which it originated is that thousands of years ago, the beliefs in the Vedas were broken into various schools of thought by philosophers. These values were brought forth experientially by methods of great spiritual discipline. Unlike many other religions, Hinduism is a way of life; Therefore people who practice the Hindu religion attempt to teach their religious values by passing the word to their children and others. There are many sacred teachings that relay the word of Hinduism; the first is called Samhitas, these were hymns of praise to the gods. Soon after there was the Brahmanas, this was a book of guidelines regarding ceremonial sacrifices to the deities, finally, the last of the sacred teachings was the Upanishads, and this was a collection of teachings from highly recognized divine masters

These teachings explained the transformation that results from psychic contribution to the rituals. The Sanatana Dharma honors the divine in numerous forms; As a result, there is a religious celebration in India almost every day. There are sixteen religious holidays that are recognized by the Indian Government. Most Hindu celebrations articulate theology in its happiest parts, these festivals keep the religion alive. Every individual that practices Hinduism typically finds a way in which to place him or herself to a “Guru”, also known as a saintly educator. The label “guru” is applied to admired holy guides. Gurus do not declare themselves as teachers; followers are drawn to them because they have achieved the spiritual status the seekers aspire. Gurus are frequently regarded as enlightened individuals. A guru does not provide scholarly training; they offer guidance, good examples, and encouragement to those in search of enlightenment or self-realization.

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The problem appears to have been first formulated by opponents in the Nyāya and Vedānta schools, and the author of the Yukti-dīpikā is also aware of it. The answer emerging, first in Vācaspati Miśra and then more elaborately in Vijñāna Bhikṣu, involves the innovation of the theory of “reflection”: as the image in the mirror has no effect on the object reflected and the mirror remains unchanged, but the image can be seen – so the unchanging puruṣa can reflect the external world, and the material psyche can react to this reflection. In responding to the problems brought about by the influence of Advaita Vedanta on Sāṅkhya, these authors appear to have responded by formulating a version of Sāṅkhya that comes fairly close to the superimposition theory of Advaita Vedānta, according to which an individual person is a cognitive construction that comes about by the error of mixing up the qualities of objects upon the quality of pure subjectivity. (For more on this issue, see Shiv Kumar pp. 39–43, 102–109, 250–253 and Shikan Murakami in Asiatische Studien 53, pp.645–665, who give insightful analyses of the problem in the classical schools.) In Īśvarakṛṣṇa’s Sāṅkhya–Kārikā, however, the inactivity of the puruṣa does not seem to involve absolute incapability for change: the same word (a-kriya, “without activity”) is used also for the unmanifest nature, the substrate of all material manifestations

Arguably, it means only inability to move in space or to have mechanical effect. As it is clear from the above arguments, puruṣa is the determinative factor of our actions – and that presupposes that it changes in time (otherwise we would always do the same thing). So it must be the locus either of volition or of some hidden motivation underlying it. And although it is “a lonely, uninterested spectator, a witness unable to act,” it does like or dislike what it sees: it can suffer (this is, after all, the existential starting point for Sāṅkhya). It cannot be the locus of our whole emotional life (passions are explicitly said to reside in the intellect), but it must be considered the final source of our conscious feelings. This is a controversial issue. Many modern scholars understand puruṣa as strictly unchanging; some of them (for example, A.B. Keith) are led by the inconsistencies following from this to consider Sāṅkhya as a hopeless bundle of contradictions. Larson (in Larson and Bhattacharya, pp. 79–83) translates “puruṣa” as “contentless consciousness;” it is not only unchanging but also timeless and outside the realm of causality (a somewhat Kantian concept). He tries to solve some of the difficulties by proposing that the multiplicity of puruṣa-s be understood as essentially epistemological in nature— and ontologically irrelevant.

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To summarize, Indian philosophy expounded the view that living in harmony with oneself, one’s innernature, and with those around us, are the desires of most people

Yoga offers a system ofpractices and exercises orientated to achieving release from the suffering of this world andfrom the cycle of rebirth. Samkhya establishes the theoretical foundations for this aim andyoga determines the desired outcome, namely the key to moksha is via knowledge of one’strue identity as soul instead of body or prakriti.

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Chakravarti, Pulinbihari: Origin and Development of the Sāmkhya System of Thought. Calcutta: Metropolitan Printing and Publishing House, 1951.
A detailed account giving due weight to the Yukti-dīpikā.

Chattopadhyaya, Debiprasad: Lokāyata. A Study in Ancient Indian Materialism. Delhi: People’s Publishing House, 1959. A highly unorthodox approach utilizing anthropological and even archeological sources to understand the origins of philosophical thought.

Kumar, Shiv: Sāmkhya Thought in the Brahmanical Systems of Indian Philosophy. Delhi: Eastern Book Linkers, 1983. Looks at Sāṅkhya tradition from the outside, especially as it appears in Nyāya and Vedānta.

Larson, Gerald James. Classical Sāmkhya. An Interpretation of its History and Meaning.Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1979. The standard book on the Kārikā and a useful summary of its antecedents.

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