SAmkhya and VedAnta

Ashish Chandra achandra at WNMAIL.WNDEV.ATT.COM
Mon Feb 15 09:44:08 CST 1999

nanda chandran wrote:

> I first remember seeing a translation of SAmkhya KArikA of Ishwara
> Krishna at the RAmakrishna Mutt in Madras. On the back cover it said
> it was on the basis of the doctrines of the SAmkhya that VedAnta was
> able to reach its ethreal heights!
> OK, let's first consider the basic position of SAmkhya and Vedanta.
> SAmkhya :
> The world is split up into PrAkriti (primal matter) and innumerable
> PurushAs (Souls).
> PrAkriti is matter in its most base form which is beyond description.
> The SAmkhya describes PrAkriti the same way Brahman is described in
> the shruti - beyond logical conception and the senses - literally
> indescribable.
> There's neither creation or destruction with respect to PrAkriti. It
> evolves into some form and later dissolves into itself. This evolution
> and dissolution is due to the three gunAs present in it - sattva, rajas
> and tamas.
> All the world that we see, the body, the senses and our mental faculties
> are prakriti.
> Purusha is the knower. It is the Self. It's unaffected by prAkriti. It's
> with the SAmkhya where the concept of superimposition, first arose. It's
> due to this that the Purusha is deluded into thinking that it is the
> doer.
> The seperation of PrAkriti from Purusha, brings about liberation.
> That to my knowledge sums up the basic philosophy of the SAmkhya.

If Prakriti cannot be known, how does one know through SAnkhya that Purusha
exists and can be realized ? As far as this post goes, again there seems to
be little difference between Maya and Prakriti. Only difference is that
Kapila says Prakriti is real but unknown whereas Shankara says it(Maya) is
unreal, mithya.

The issue seems to be with Purusha. Why should there be multiple wholes.
Which could lead us to asking whether there is an Antaryamin that pervades
all these Purushas. Is that Ishwara of Yoga ?

To my understanding so far, Shankara's Brahma can be taken to be the the
exposition of the non-necessity of multiple Purushas. Purusha or Soul/Self
is verily one, and one alone. It gets deluded and thinks itself a part of an
unreal Maya or real Prakriti. Truth is attained when this Supreme Purusha or
Brahma is known to be Self and all else as being unnecessary, whether one
thinks all else is real and existent, or unreal and non-existent. Would this
be a correct interpretation ?

> SAmkhya is acknowledged to be the oldest darshana in BhArath. So its
> possible
> that VedAnta represents a more vigorous and logically consistent form of
> SAmkhya.

Based on what I known so far, which is not much, that would be my first

Thanks a lot

"bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam"
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