Dualism & Nondualism

Students of 21st Century Transnational Postural Yoga typically begin our study with little or no theory; practice is all.  As we deepen our practice, we are introduced to what we are told is “Yoga Philosophy.” Depending on the tradition we are studying, this is usually a pat genealogy; we are told that “Yoga Philosophy” is found in the Yoga Sūtras, and that the philosophy they contain is called स़ाम्ख्य, Sāmkhya, and that it is dualistic.  Because Yoga is supposedly Indian, we are also likely to be introduced to some Indian religious classics: the Vedas, Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gītā.  In the course of this, we may be told that some of these texts expound another acceptable Indian philosophical system, that of Non-Dualism (or “Monism”).  And there the matter is likely to be left.

I am suspicious of almost every aspect of this process, but today I want to explore one aspect in particular:  the Sāmkhya and Adva

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