My teacher Sri Krishnamacharya took considerable pains to teach the Yoga Sutras to his students. He also wanted his students to study and be familiar with other orthodox philosophies like Samkhya, and Vedanta. The several Upanishads, the Gita and Brahma sutra he taught to explain the rather tricky, involved vedanta philosophy, usually following the visishta-advaita approach, though he also was adept in advaita philosophy. He once said in the Brahma Sutra class to the effect that while Advaita could be intellectually stimulating it is visishta advaita that will be emotionally satisfying.
Perhaps the most widely read orthodox Indian Philosophy is Vedanta and especially the Advaita school. There are tons of material available on this philosophy and many people interested in vedic thought study this and gradually become lifelong students of Vedanta. Many long time Hata Yoga practitioners have taken up the study of Yoga as a philosophical system and considerable material is available from both old and contemporary writers in different languages especially English. And some among the the yoga practitioners have taken an interest in studying the vedanta philosophy also especially the advaitic interpretation. In this however, the published material on Advaita Vedanta available is so technical and involved that the difficult subject is made more inaccessible by several portions which are very technical.
Profound and daring, albeit very ancient, this philosophy stands out among all the vedic philosophies. I thought I could write very briefly on the basic tenets of this thought process. There are at least two things we need to have an experience, a subject and an object. When you and I sit at a table over a cup of coffee or a can of beer or a more yogic glass of goat’s or cow’s milk, I am the subject and you are the object and it is the other way from your point of view. We are two different entities and what does advaita say about our relationship? Advaita says that there is only one principle , the observer which is pure consciousness. It implies that there is only one principle or entity that is pure consciousness that can be termed as one having “Existence” (satya). Nothing else qualifies to be termed “It exists“. So the term advaita refers to that one principle that alone exists. Of course it appears to contradict our experience as we converse as you and I. [Read more…]