Difference between Vedanta and Sankhya

What is Sankhya, and what is Vedanta?

Sri Madhvacharya

Premananda das 20 November 2015

Hare Krishna prabhu

Please accept my humble obeisances
All Glories to Srila Gurudeva
All Glories to Srila Prabhupada

What is difference between Vedanta and Sankhya?

Are these different traditions mentioned in Vedas?

your servant
Premananda das

Sridhar Das, 20 November 2015

Hare Krishna Premananda Prabhu,
Please accept my humble obeisances!
Jai Srila Prabhupada!

From my limited understanding, I’ve always been able to connect Vedanta with Vedanta-sutras or the whole Vedic literature treasure. Sharing from what I recently had heard in a lecture from our founder acharya His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:

So actually the Vedanta-sutra, everything is bhakti. But unfortunately, people have taken Vedanta in a different way, after the Sariraka-bhaṣya. But all the acaryas, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, they have all, they have commentated on the Vedanta-sutra. So Vedantist does not mean simply the Mayavadis. Actually Vedantists are the devotees. Because veda anta. Veda means knowledge, and anta means the last word. The last word is bhagavan. That is Vedanta. Here it is said, brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. If you understand by studying Vedanta simply Brahman realization, that is not perfect. If you understand Paramatma realization by studying Vedanta, that is also not perfect. When you come to understand Bhagavan, that is perfect. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]. By studying Vedanta or all Vedic literatures, if you do not understand Krṣṇa, then srama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8].

(Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.12, Oct 23rd, ’72,Vrindavan)

Because the best I could remember of Sankhya was from 13th chapter of Bhagavad Gita, I searched that and am quoting that. Sankhya refers to authentic Sankhya philosophy as per Vedas:

The Sankhya philosophers analyze this material world into twenty-four elements, and they place the individual soul as the twenty-fifth item. When they are able to understand the nature of the individual soul to be transcendental to the material elements, they are able to understand also that above the individual soul there is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the twenty-sixth element. Thus gradually they also come to the standard of devotional service in Krishna consciousness. (BG 13.25 purport)

Conclusion: From my limited understanding based on above, both are aimed at Bhakti yoga. Both are Vedic ‘subjects’ but Vedanta covers the whole Absolute Truth just from its first verse – janmady asya yatah. Sankhya is a subset of Vedanta hence.

Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyante, after many many births such souls, who have adopted Sankhya philosophy, may come to the conclusion of the existence of even transcendental existence beyond matter. May.

I remember Srila Prabhupada quoting elsewhere the scientists of the modern world and comparing them with Sankhya philosophers. And we can see how many are able to conclude even the Brahman aspect what to speak of Bhagavan.

To even attain Brahman platform is an applaudable success of human birth although partial.

If the scientists succeed to conclude also, it will take mercy of a devotee to make them conclude the Bhagavan aspect of the Absolute Truth for they will be attracted and stuck in the gyana process which itself is impractical for this age of Kali but considerable for some spiritual progress.

your servant
Sridhar Das

Premananda das, 20 November 2015

Thank you Sridhar prabhu .The meaning of Vedanta is meaningful. Veda means knowledge and anta means last word that is Bhagavan

your servant
Premananda das

Mahabhagavat Das SDA, 20 November 2015

Hare Krishna!

Please take some time to read the various contexts in which the words Sankhya and Vedanta are used.

This may help:

your servant,
Mahabhagavat Das

Premananda das, 22 November 2015

Thank you Mahabhagavat prabhu indeed one word in sanksrit but different meaning and used in different contexts .

Indeed sanksrit language is a poetry and so beautiful.

your servant
Premananda das

Jayendran, 20 November 2015

Hare Krishna Premananda Prabhu,
Dandavat Pranams,

When Sankhya is spoken along with Vedanta, it refers to a different darsana. In earlier times, there were many darsanas. There were 6 in number namely, Nyaya, Purva Mimamsa, Yoga, Sankhya, Vaisesika and Vedanta(Uttara Mimamsa).

Nyaya, Purva Mimamsa, Vaisesika are all different varities of atheism as they do not believe in a Isvara who is in charge of this world . Vaishnavas have used these elements in their philsoophy to promote Vaishnava Siddhanta. Like we read Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as Nimai Pandit was a great Naiyayika. But they do not agree with the tenets of the Nyaya shastra in of itself. Purva Mimamsa believes by doing different sacrifices to devatas(demigods) one can attain a certain fruit. Many Asuras believe in Purva Mimamsa. In Srimad Bhagavatam, we see King Pracinabarhis who believes in this philosophy and then Narada convinces him of the futility of this philosophy.

The original sankhya is theistic as it was given by Kapiladeva, an incarnation of Krishna. The more popular one is the atheistic Sankhya. The atheistic Sankhya does not believe in an Isvara. It mentions that there are many Purushas(living entities) and Prakrti. By combination of Purusha and Prakrti the world is carried forward. Suffering is because the Purusha misidentifies with Prakrti. As soon as the Purusha understands it is spiritual, transcendental to the 24 elements, it attains liberation. The method to do this is through one’s buddhi. It does not bring Krishna into the picture.

Krishna talks about this in the latter part of the 2nd chapter. The version Krishna speaks is the theistic Sankhya. Usually, when we hear people talking outside the devotee circle about Sankhya, it refers to the atheistic one . Hope that helps prabhu! 🙂

your servant,

Premananda das, 22 November 2015

Thank you Jayendran prabhu it is interesting that 3 of 6 different traditions are atheistic but Sankhya originally was theistic.

your servant
Premananda das

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Author: Mahabhagavat Das SDA

I am a formally initiated disciple of His Grace Sriman Sankarshan Das Adhikari. My spiritual master was initiated by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1971. He is the author of the famous Ultimate Self Realization Course. Check it out at www.joincourse.com.

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