According to the Wikipedia article on Yoga Sutras, the famous scholar Vijnanabhiksu was a Vaishnavite:

Vijnanabhiksu's Yogabhashyavarttika ("Explanation of the Commentary on the Yoga Sutras" of Vyasa). The writer was a Vaishnava philosopher and exegete who tried to harmonize Samkhya and Vedanta and held the Bhedabheda view.

However, the Wikipedia article on Vijnanabhiksu himself states:

His (Vijnanabhiksu's) scholarship stated that there is a unity between Vedānta, Yoga, and Samkhya philosophies, and he is considered a significant influence on Neo-Advaita movement of the modern era.

He wrote commentaries in the 15th century on three different schools of Indian philosophy, Vedānta, Sāṃkhya, and Yoga, and integrated them into a nondualism platform that belongs to both the Bhedabheda and Advaita (nondualism) sub-schools of Vedanta. According to Andrew Nicholson, this became the basis of Neo-Vedanta. His integration is known as Avibhaga Advaita ("indistinguishable non-dualism"). His sub-commentary on the Yoga Sutras, the Yoga commentary has been an influential work.

According to Andrew Fort, Vijnanabhiksu's commetary is Yogic Advaita, since his commentary is suffused with Advaita-influenced Samkhya-Yoga. Vijnanabhiksu discusses, adds Fort, a spiritually liberated person as a yogic jivanmukta.

As you can see, the article claims Vijnanabhiksu was a Neo-Advaitin. Now Vaishnavas are usually non-Advaitin and tend to be dualistic. In addition to this, Vijnanabhikshu is known to have also written a commentary named "Ishvaragitabhashya" on the Ishvara Gita (which Vaishnavites usually reject since it downplays the authority of the Bhagavad Gita)!

Are both the Wikipedia articles correct? If yes, which sect did he belong to?

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    He was neutral i suppose Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 14:05
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    Vijnanabhikshu considered Krishna to be supreme. And it's not the case that Vaishnavas are usually dualist, at least historically, but by Vijnanabhikshu's time it's true that there were very few Vaishnava Advaitins. But Vijnanabhikshu wasn't an Advaitin, he believed in Avibhagadvaita. And how he influenced the neo-Vedanta movement is not in their belief that all gods are equal, but in their belief that all religions are true. Though he didn't actually believe all religions are true; he believed all six Astika schools are true, but he was an important influence on "universalism" all the same. Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 15:02
  • @Keshav Can you explain me briefly the concept of Avibhaga Advaita?
    – user9969
    Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 15:08
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury Avibhagadvaita is the Vedantic philosophy invented by Vijnanabhikshu. It's similar to Bhaskara's philosophy of Aupadhika Bhedabheda, insofar as it says that the finiteness of the Jivatma is due to being constrained to an Upadhi. It also has some ideas in common with Advaita, like the notion of Saguna Brahman and Nirguna Brahman, and the notion of Vyavaharika Satyam and Paramarthika Satyam. But it considers the world to be fully real, and Vijnanabhikshu vehemently criticicized Advaita for that reason; he thought Advaita was effectively a Nastika philosophy. Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 15:23
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury And most importantly, it borrows heavily from Samkhya and Yoga philosophy, like the notion of Purushas, Prakriti, and its evolutes. In fact, Vijnanabhikshu believed that knowledge of the 24 Tattvas of the Samkhya school was absolutely essential for Moksha. But unlike the Samkhya and Yoga schools, Vijnanabhikshu saw Brahman as both the efficient cause and the material cause of the Universe. He thought that it's only from the Vyavaharika perspective that the Yoga school's view that God is only the efficient cause is correct. Commented Jan 28, 2018 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


Vijnanabhikshu was indeed a vaishnavite scholar.

Then why did he write a commentary on ishvara gita?

Well most of the medival-classical North India was not as secterian as some parts of South india

Furthermore the reason for vijnanabhikshu writing a commentary on ishvara geeta is because the philosophy of ishvara geeta or shaivaism is much more closer to yoga and samkhya, the schools of thought which he was trying to target.

From Wikipedia -

The Ishvara Gita (Devanagari: ईश्वर गीता, IAST: Īśvara Gītā) is a Sanskrit text composed in India. It contains the teachings of the god Shiva, also called Ishvara, and is influenced by the Samkhya and Yoga schools of Indian philosophy. Bhagavat Gita was influenced by the Shiva Gita which was much more ancient than the Bhagavat Gita. It makes up the first 11 chapters of the second section (uttara vibhaga) of the Kurma Purana.

Just like samkhya and yoga, shaivaism and philosophy of ishvara geeta also says that purusha-prakriti are distinct. You realize your soul as distinct from your body! God is only efficient cause of the universe.

Why did he think that yoga and samkhya have relation with vedanta? Well because Lord Krishna praises yoga and samkhya but the thought is more in relation to vedanta, in vedanta the purusha and prakriti is both brahman, God is both efficient and material cause of universe.

you use restricted yoga and samkhya to realize that you are not the body but soul, and you do niskam yoga, but you have to realize that this prakriti is brahman too.

Ishvara gita doesn't downplay the authority of bhagvat geeta as both are in line with different philosophy.

  • What's the downvote for? Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 2:15
  • Ishvara Gita declares Shiva supreme. Does that mean Vijnanabhiksu believed in Hari-Hara-abheda?
    – user9969
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 14:54
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    @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury probably! He most likely believed that Lord shiva is identical to formless aspect of Lord Vishnu. Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 14:56

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