(Last Updated on : 20/04/2011)
Samkhya philosophy or the school of enumeration is also known as Sankhya, the Sanskrit meaning of which is enumeration. It is one of the six schools of Indian orthodox philosophy and is believed that sage Kapila
was the original founder of this school of philosophy. Samkhya was one of the earliest Indian attempts towards a systematic philosophy. Samkhya has two schools of philosophy - the theist school and the atheist school of philosophy. Though presently there are no purely Samkhya schools existing in Hinduism
, yet its influence is felt in Yoga
and Vedanta schools.
Samkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two eternal realities: Purusha and Prakriti
is the centre of consciousness, whereas, Prakriti is the source of all material existence. Samkhya forms the philosophical basis for Yoga of Patanjali as well. The Samkhya system proposes the theory of evolution that is accepted by all other systems. Hence the Samkhya system is based on dualism wherein nature and conscious spirit are separate entities not derived from one another. Samkhya is essentially atheistic because it believes that the existence of god cannot be proved. Generally, the Samkhya system classifies all objects as falling under one of the two categories: Purusha and Prakriti. Metaphysically, Samkhya maintains a revolutionary duality between spirit and matter.
The Samkhya school of Philosophy says that the Purusha is an unrelated element and a state of pure consciousness which presides over every individual mind. According to the Samkhya philosophy, the Prakriti is the original matter and is composed of the three Gunas composed with the elements of truth and virtue. The Samkhya philosophy states that when an individual does not have the realisation of the true state of Purusha, he is easily misled by the physical entity or the Prakriti.
The two entities of existence are of prime importance according to the Samkhya philosophy. It emphasises on the single existence of the Prakriti and says that the purusha has multiple entities. The philosophy of Samkhya is based on Satkaryavada. According to Satkaryavada, the effect already exists in the cause. Cause and effect are considered as temporal aspects of the same thing.
The object of Sankhya is to show how the final emancipation of the soul from the bondage of pain is to be effected. An attempt is made to set forth the cause of this universal bondage. According to the Sankhya system, souls are innumerable, immaterial, unmixed, all-pervading and inactive. The Sankhya Philosophy does not recognize God`s existence. The Sankhya system discriminates between a subtle body and a gross body.
The Sankhya system is called by the name of Mrishwar or godless. Yet it is an offshoot of a system of superstition. Samkhya, like all other systems of Indian philosophy
, regards ignorance as the root cause of bondage and suffering. It emphasises on the fact that a pure mind is essential to make living in this universe worthwhile. Unless human mind gets rid of all gross elements it is not possible to achieve a state of eternal bliss.