Brahma Sutras criticises the Yoga school in Adhyaya 2, Pada 1, Sutras 1&2:

On the other hand, Swami Vivekananda advocated both schools.

So how does he interpret the Vyasa's criticism of the Yoga school? Is this issue addressed by Swamiji in the Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda?

Does Swamiji use Vijnanabhiksu's argument that Yoga speaks about Brahman being only the efficient cause of the universe in the Vyavaharika level whereas Vedanta talks about Brahman being both the efficient cause and the material cause of the universe in the Paramarthika level?

For those of you who do not who Vijnanabhiksu is, he was a sixteenth century Vaishnavite scholar who was famous for integrating Samkhya, Yoga and Vedanta into a philosophy called the Avibhagadvaita; and also for writing commentaries on the Brahma Sutras and Isvara Gita.

  • Write the text here Or give url link - to english/hindi translation of Brahma Sutra's Adhyaya 2, Pada 1, Sutras 1&2 ?
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 2:47

1 Answer 1


Swami Vivekananda argues that the Ishvara of the Yoga school is not the same as the God of the Vedas and thus agrees with the Brahma Sutra criticism.

क्लेशकर्मविपाकाशयैरपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः ॥२४॥

  1. Ishvara (the Supreme Ruler) is a special Purusha, untouched by misery, actions, their results, and desires.

We must again remember that the Pâtanjala Yoga philosophy is based upon the Sankhya philosophy; only in the latter there is no place for God, while with the Yogis God has a place. The Yogis, however, do not mention many ideas about God, such as creating. God as the Creator of the universe is not meant by the Ishvara of the Yogis. According to the Vedas, Ishvara is the Creator of the universe; because it is harmonious, it must be the manifestation of one will. The Yogis want to establish a God, but they arrive at Him in a peculiar fashion of their own. They say:

तत्र निरतिशयं सर्वज्ञत्वबीजम् ॥२५॥

  1. In Him becomes infinite that all-knowingness which in others is (only) a germ.

The mind must always travel between two extremes. You can think of limited space, but that very idea gives you also unlimited space. Close your eyes and think of a little space; at the same time that you perceive the little circle, you have a circle round it of unlimited dimensions. It is the same with time. Try to think of a second; you will have, with the same act of perception, to think of time which is unlimited. So with knowledge. Knowledge is only a germ in man, but you will have to think of infinite knowledge around it, so that the very constitution of our mind shows us that there is unlimited knowledge, and the Yogis call that unlimited knowledge God.

The complete works of Swami Vivekananda, volume 1, Raja Yoga, Patanjali's Yoga aphorisms, I.24-25

However, Swami Vivekananda thought that such differences do not matter much. He does not refute the Yoga school.

Whether you are an Advaitin, whether you are a qualified monist or dualist, it does not matter much. But let me draw your attention to one thing which unfortunately we always forget: that is - "O man, have faith in yourself." That is the way by which we have faith in God. Whether you are an Advaitist or a dualist, whether you are a believer in the system of Yoga or a believer in Shankaracharya, whether you are a follower of Vyasa or Vishvamitra, it does not matter much.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3, Lectures from Colombo to Almora, The influence of Indian spiritual thought in England

  • 2
    Very well researched answer.
    – user22253
    Commented May 7, 2021 at 14:33

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