Samkhya - the Upanishads?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Dec 3 01:19:11 CST 1997

On Tue, 2 Dec 1997, Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote:

> Authors in the Samkhya school contend that the origins lie in the
> upanishads, while Vedantins contend that this is not so.
> And, although Kapila is the legendary founder of Samkhya, the oldest text
> in this school is the Samkhyakarika of Isvarakrishna. However, various
> sub-traditions in Samkhya are referred to, in the Mahabharata and other
> Puranic texts. The dominant tradition among these, that has come to be
> identified as Samkhya, is a non-theistic school, in which purusha and
> prakriti are eternal, separate realities, and there is a multitude of
> purushas. Clearly, this is not supported fully in the Upanishads.
> What complicates this nomenclature is that the Gita itself often refers to
> Samkhya, but what it describes there as Samkhya is nothing but Vedanta.
> That is the reason for Radhakrishnan's statement. Sankara's bhashya says
> so too. What is called Samkhya in the Gita and what is called Samkhya in
> the scheme of the six traditional schools are not identical.
> Vidyasankar

Samkhya in the oldest sense of the word means "theory" and Yoga means
"practice"  it doesn't mean all references to these terms refer to
philosophical systems anymore than the Nyaya darshan has a monopoly on
logic just because it's name happens to mean logic.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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