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CLASSICAL SAMKHYA

AN INTERPRETATION OF ITS HISTORY AND


MEANING

GERALD JAMES LARSON, B.D.,

Assistant Professor of the ofPh.D.


Religions in the
Department of History Studies, University of
Religious Knoxville, U .S.A.
Tennessee,

MOTILAL
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Author

©
First
1969
Edition

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

I'REFACE viii
xii
INTRODUCTION 1.

CHAPTERS
ABBREVIATIONS
I. A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF INTERPRETATION$'
OF THE 7
Brief Exposition of the of 7
Critical Review of Interpretations .. . . 16
Richard Garbe SA?tt:KH. YA
. 17-
. . . .
Principles Classical S:Upkhya
J oseph Dahlmann .. . . .
Paul Oltramare .. . ..

Hermann Oldenberg . . .. .. 2!t


. 24",
A. B. Keith .. .. .. 32':
. 2 5"
Franklin Edger t on .. .. .. 37
Dasgupta .. .. 40
E. H. Johnston . . .. .. 46
Erich .. . . ..
Surendranath . . 59
J. A. B. van . .. ..

J. W. .. .. .. 65
Frauwallner 54
Mircea Eliade . . . . . . 68'.
Buitenen .
Other .. . .. 7l
Hauer
Conclusions . . . .. 72.:

Il. AN Contributions
INTERPRETATION OF THE HISTORICAL
. DEVELO PMENT
OF CLASSICAL
. SAl\'IKHY 77

Ancient Speculations

Proto-S:Upkhya Speculations 99
A
V
78
.
vi TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cla�sical Saq1khya .. . .. 143


Renaissance or Later Saq1khya 164

Jll. The Means


AN INTERPRETATION Knowledge
OF .
THE MEANING OF CLASSICAL 169
SAl':UHYA 166
of . ..
prakrti, gu7Jas and satkaryavadOJ . . . . 173
purufa .. .. . . 181
Discrimination
Association and of prakrti and puru�a
and Interaction .. 186
.
Emergence and Functioning of the tattvas . . 192
Release .. . 220
. .
Conclusions and Final Evaluation . . .. 225

EPILOGUE . ..
APPENDIX B. Further Interpretations
. ..
Saq1khya 228
APPENDIX A. Chronological Chart .. .. 241
of .. 245
APPENDIX C. The Silrrtkhyakiirikii of i'Svaraknl).a
BIBLIOGRAPHY .. .257 2"85
. . Saq1khyayoga .
APPENDIX D. A Modern Tradition of . 283
.. .. .
INDEX .. 3 07
This book PREFACE
a somewhat revised my
uoctoral dissertation, submitted to the of
represents New York City, Springversion The
Columbia University, of content
of the work is much Faculty Philosop l�y,
same as the dissertation,
although I have made number of 1967.
in �tyle,
present
etc. theto the
Also, I have added original
book the text
a
·of the Siirrtkhyakiirikii changes bibliography,
present Sanskrit
There was some in my mind to leave
'Chapter I in its entirety in published of the
The question a
deals whether
review of the history
Western scholarship the edition work.
Had the book been pub­
lChapter
ished with critical audience, I would
for a Western of
on Saq�khya.
out some sections of this rather long Chapter. the book
is primarily
being published in however, and willhave edited
be read
rily by and Asian Sincefelt that all of
the material India, I
Chapter prove prima­
useful.
Indian students generally, I
Since the completion of research for the dis­
of might especially
sertation, several studies on classical have
appeared. None my any
original
major changes in own
new
research or conclusions, but I have tried Saq�khya
to some
of these required
in my and my such
items, however, require specific mention. (1) porate
incor C.
new studies
critical notes
of the bibliography. Delhi:
(New Two
Banarsidass, 1967). It is a great R. Pandeya's
over the
edition
edition and re quires Yuktidipikii
study. Motilal
Yuktidipikii,
im
is a difficult Sanskrit text, and I provement to use it older
still
careful
until I have had more time to work The it. (2) however,
S. A. Sriniva­
san's Viicaspatimisras hesitate extensively
Beitrag zur
Textkritik bei kontaminierter with
De Gruyter Co., T1967)
attv akaumudi
. :
also Ein
is a
over all other of Dberlieferung (Hamburg:
and is an Cram,
important
and to Saq�khya This
contribution studies. great improvement
editions Tattvakaumudi,
I wish to my to the per­
sons at University, New York City, hel ped
acknowledge gratitude following
Columbia who me a
vii
viii PREFACE
chairman
great deal in my research while I was still a doctoral candidate :
perspectives
Professor Yoshito Hakeda, the myof subject; Professor
my dissertation com­
mittee, whose thoughtful suggestions enabled me to find new
insights and fresh on Horace
L. Friess, who aided me not only in my research but also
throughout my doctoral studies at Columbia; Professor Royaf
Weiler, now of the University of Pennsylvania, who helped me
presentation;
think through and, finally,
my methods and Pro­
and goals in this work; Professor
Ainslie Embree, who offeredwith
helpful suggestions concerning style
and Professor Robert Olson
fessor Alex Wayman, both of whom I had a number of
stimulating discussions concerning Thought
the history of Saq1khya. I
am also grateful to the members of the Columbia University· irr
work.
Faculty Seminar on Oriental whose helpful criticisms·
I wish enabled
and suggestions acknowledge gratitude
me to clarify some institutions
difficult points
this the
also to my to the Society
and foundations who have helped me since completion of a

my doctoral studies. First, I am most grateful to the


which
for Religion in Higher Education for having awarded me
grant for work. Second,
travel and studymy adminis­
in Asia in the academic year 1968-69,
officersof
during a portion time I have revised and expanded who·
University
this thanks to those academic and
trative of the of Tennessee, Knoxville,
not only graciously provided me with a leave of absence after
only the
one College Banaras;
and also supplemented my grant
year of teaching but who
in a Hindu University,
most generous manner. Third, my thanks to the staff of tO'
post-doctoral research
of Indology and of having
related departments
with pleasant
Varanasi, India, living
for having quarters
allowed me
work as a scholar for pro­
vided my family· and express
me my during;
individual�
our stay inhave
India. a great help
Ralph
Let me also thanks to the departmental
following chairman
who been colleag ue
in my recent and: a Professor
work
Head
V . Norman, Jr., not only my College of at
Tennessee but also an engaging Indian
good friend;
Professor A. with
K . N arain, of the stimulating Indology.
discussions on
BHU, who has been a great help in our adjustment to
life and whom I have had some
PREFACE ix

Indian history; Bhatt:;i.charya


and Pa�<;lit Ram Shankar of
Banaras Sanskrit University with
whom worked almost
I have
every day reading Sanskrit
the texts and
commentaries the
of
literature of S:iqlkhya. With Dr�
Bhattacharya's help
I have
learned some of the subtleties of Sanskrit impossible to learn
other than from
a traditional teacher. There are, of course,
numerous other friends and scholars to whom
I owe
much,
especially hereIndia,
in who have enabled meunderstand'
to
some of the issues of Indian
philosophy and religion with
greater depth.

I should also like to express my gratitude to Mrs.


Royal
manuscript
Weiler, who typed the original of this
work.

One final item I Because the


publisher kindly agreed to·
rush printing
the of this volume so that
could
I read
proofs
before leaving
India, printing errors
some remain
might the
in
edition.
final I hope
that the
reader will accept apology·
my
for all such errors.

Varanasi, (India) Author.


April, 1969.
ABBREVIATIONS

A. TEXTS
RV. Rig Veda

AV. Veda

Sata. Brah. ,�atapatha Briihma7Ja


.BA.Up. Atharva
Brhadiira7Jyaka

Chan. Up. Chiindogya


Katha Upani�ad
Katha Upani�ad

Svet. Up. Upani�ad


svetiisvatara upani�ad

Mbh. Mahiibhiirata

Mok�adh. Mok�adharma
Gitii Gitii

Kiirikii or Kiirikiis of 'i'Svaralq��a


Bhiirya Bhagavad of GaU<;lapada
STK Siir(l khyakiirikii of Vacaspati-
Bhii!}ya

YD Siif!!khyatattvakaumudi

Jaya. misra
]
Paramartha's Yuktidipikii
Paramartha's of
ayamaligalii
the Kiirikii and a
Chinese translation
PERIODICALS
B.Chinese version AND BOOKS IN SERIES
commentary
AJP American journal of Philology
BEFEO Bulletin de l' Ecole

d' (Hanoi)
BS OS franr;aise
Bulletin of the School of
(University of
Extreme-Orient
HOS Oriental SeriesOriental
IHQ Studies London)
Indian Historical Qua-rterly
Harvard

xi
xii ABBREVIATIONS

JAOS Journal of t.he American Oriental


Society

JRAS ]ournal of the Royal Asiatic Society


(London)
NGWG Nachrichten von der koniglichen
Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften
zu Gottingen
Books of
SBE Sacred the East
SBH Sacred Books of the Hindus

WZKM Wiener Zeitschrift fiir die Kunde


des Morgenlandes

WZKSO Wiener Zeit,5chrift fiir die Kunde


Siid-und Ostasiens

ZDMG Zeitschrift liindischen Gesellschaft


der deutschen morgen­
(Leipzig)
INTRODUCTION

PRELIMINARY CONCERNS

The Sarpkhya system represents one of the more interesting­


and fascinating phases of Indian religion and thought. Even
.
though the system is no longer a living force in contemporary
Indian culture, nevertheless it has exerted an important influ­
ence in the development of Indian religious thought, and'
many of its terms and notions have been and continue to be·
employed in other systems. Over the years many interpreters.
have attempted to trace the development of the Sarpkhya and:
to assess its meaning. Opinions have varied widely, and there
has been little attempt in recent years to bring together these:
varying lines of research.

A. Purpose of the Study

It is the purpose of this study to offer an interpretation of


t he history and meaning of classical Sarpkhya. This work
represents an attempt to take a fresh look at the texts relating.
to the Sarpkhya and to assess anew both the historical develop-·
ment of the system and its significance in the history of reli­
gious thought. An attempt is made to evaluate the importance
of Sarpkhya in the context of Indian religious thought and
to evaluate its importance with respect to some of the issues
of religion and thought in any age. Hopefully our analysis
will show that the Sarpkhya stands as an important and
interesting contribution in both areas.

The remainder of this brief Introduction is concerned with


preliminary considerations such as the meaning of the word,
"sarpkhya," the scope of this particular study of the Sarpkhya.
a general outline of the contents of the entire work, etc.
.2 CLASSICAL SA.¥KHYA

B. Meaning of the Word "Sarpkhya"


term, "Sarpkhya," appears

'The to be derived from the root,


khya, together with the prefix, sam,
meaning "reckoning,"
the
••summing up," "numeration," "calculation," etc. Garbe sees
the term primarily as a designation for notion of "num­
ber," from which the later ideas of "enumeration," "investi­
Sarpkhya i" system emphasizes
gation," and "analysis" were derived.t According to Garbe,
the that school or which the
enumeration of principles, evolutes or emergents. Oldenberg
cription enumeration Jacobi
prefers the idea of "examination," "calculation," or the "des­
by of constituents."2 has offered
two interpretations of the term.3 On the one hand,
setting or content. other
says Jacobi, "Saq1khya" refers to those who define a concept
analyze
by forth enumerating its On the
hand, "Siirpkhya" refers to those who investigate or
"sarpkhya"
the various categories of existence. Eliade goes beyond these
those who �eek the ultimate "discrimination" "discernment"
basic meanings and suggests that the term refers to
or
understands of ultimate
of the difference between prakrti and puru�a.4 In other words,
'Salvation emphasizing uses
.'Eliade the word in terms the goal of
of the system. Edgerton, the of
notion
the term in the older texts, suggests that "siil\lkhya" refers to the
Edgerton, "sii:q1khya" is technical designation
of "reasoning, ratiocination."5 In the older texts, says
the term not a
for a particular system of thought. It is, rather, a term which

pp. 189-191; Freedom Immortality,


I. Richard Garbe, Die Sllrrtkhya Philosophie (Leipzig : H. Haessel,
1917), cf. also M�rcea Eliade, Y�ga: and
trans. W. R. Trask (New York: Pantheon Books, 1958), pp. 367·368.
351, Eliade,
2. Hermann
Oldenberg, Die Lehre der Upanishaden (GOttingen:
Jacobi, Edition Siirrtkhya
Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1915), p. note 129; and lac. oit.
PhiltJsophie, gelehrte 1 8 1 Jahrgang 1919),
3. Hermann
28. Review of Second of Garbe's Die
in Gottingsche Anzeigen, (Berlin,
;p.
Franklin Edgerton, Beginnings of Indian (Cambridge:
4.
Eliade, Yoga: Freedom and Immortality, op. cit., p. 367.
Press, 1965), 35-37.
5. Philosophy
lHarvard University pp.
THE
INTERPRETATIONS OF SAl\fKHYA 3
n·fcrs thoce who seek salvation by knowledge. Occasionally,
Mnys
to Edgerton, one the term used reference to
mathematical meanings,
finds but this is
with the central various
of the word. Says not significance
Edgerton,
the· Saxpkhya must be
as the method
Accordingly, derivative on reason, understood it
the rationalizing,
'based reflective, ratiocination'; is
method. In my translation Gitii I
speculative, philosophical ren­
dered it 'reason-method.' of Itthe
seems a natural
have to
describe the method of salvationterm
by
ledge.'6 gaining 'know­

In Chapter II, however, the present writer that


Sinp.khya represents more than a of shows
salvation bythe
know­
ledge of content of the knowledge.
method other
words, it appears
regardless thethat the term has a more
In
meaning than Edgerton woul d allow.
"siiq1khya" technical

It is possible to concerning the


term from of in illumination
its further
gain the In Mbh. XII. 290,
for example,
some one uses
finds the phrase,
texts. "computing by 5,
the objects . .. . . . etc.)
" (jnanena parisaT(lkhyaya . knowledge This
would tend to support the idea that the term refers
sense .7

to the of Again, in XII. 294,


primarily
we notion
are told that the followers of Saq1khya
enumeration. Mbh. 42(pari­
twenty-four enumerate in
sa'T(lkhyaya) the LXIX one finds
khyakiirika the
principles. "expoundedSiior
Moreover, 'T(l­ enu­
merated by the great sage" phrase,
( ... samakhyiitam) .s
The reference is to of the doctrines which have
paramar�ir;u'i set
forth in the preceding
all verses, and thus been clearly
samiikhyiitam

6. Ibid., p. 36.

7. All references to the Mahiibhiirata are from the


For completereference, see infra, 11,Critical
Unless otherwise
Edition.
noted, the present writer uses Edgerton's
Chapter in
Beginnings of Indian Philosophy, op. cit., pp. translation found
English
8. translation of 255-358.
verse, see Appendix C.

For complete the infra,


4 SA�IKHY

CLASSICAL A
means "expounded"

or "enumerated." In Mbh. XII. 308, 79-


parts speech, seems clearly mean "reasoning"
80, however, the term "sarp.khya" appears as one of the five
of and to or
"rat iocination. "9

that term "sarp.khya" primarily "num­


The only reasonable conclusion in all of this is to suggest
the refers to the idea of
or analyze by of categories.
ber" or "enumeration" but that it also signifies those who rea­
mentioned
son means the enumeration of At
was probably and understood variety ways
the same time, however, it should be that the term
used in a of by
limit
different writers and traditions, thus making it impossible to
the term to any one technical meaning.
C. Meaning "Classical Sarpkhya"

of
The focus "classical
that formulation Sarpkhya
main in this study is on the Sarpkhya."
krgla's Siirrtkhyakiirikii.10 precise of text is
By this is meant of found in iSvara­
possible determine, terminus ad
The date the im­
Siirrtkhyakiirikii along commentary
to although a can be
quem time
Chinese by Paramartha
established. The with a
557-569,11 then, the
was translated into some between
known in the century, gets least general
A. D. Assuming, that text was well­
sixth one at a idea
Edgerton, Beginn ings of Indian Philosophy, !16.

Henry Colebrooke (ed. trans.), The Siinkhya Klirikli


9. op. cit., p.
. .. ls.wara Krishna (Ox ford :
. J. Valpy, 18!17); and Horace Hayman
10. Thomas trans.), Bhasand
hy a Commentary
by (Oxford: A. J. Valpy, 1837). A.He reafte r referred to Colebrooke-Wilson. Also,
Wilson Bechanarama
(ed. and The (ed.), or Siirikhyakiirikliof Gaurapada (sic)
Called Chandrikii Niiriiyana Tirtha, andasGaUij.apiidiichiirya's Commentary
(Be nar es: TheCo., 188!1; Benares with
Braj B. Das and
Tripathi an Series,
Sanskrit No. 9). For
Exposition
availabbyle S. Suryanarayana (ed.
and trans.), The Siirf!khyaklirikii of ISvara Kntta (Madras: University of
best Madras,newer
1948).edition complete
of Kiirikiis, see
English tS.
ranslation the Sastri by
present writer, infra, Appendix C.
'For of Litteratur the
Ki.irikiis :
see
C. F. Amelangs, 1920), Ill, 452.
IL. Moriz Wintemitz, Geschichte d er indischen L e ipzig'
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SA]\IKHYA 5

'
of its chronological place in i:he history of Indian literature.
Unlike many of the other classica l schools of Indian thought,
the Sarp.khya has no ancient philosophical Sutras. The extant
Sarr-khyapravacanasutra is a late work, perhaps as late as the
fourteenth or fifteenth century A.D.12 There were undoub­
tedly other texts dealing specifically with the Sarp.khya in the
classical period-i.e., A. D. 300-600-but no such texts are now
available. For the Siirrtkhyakiirikii w as the definitive
centuries
text of the Sarp.khya tradition, and was considered authori.
tative with respect to the content of classical S;irp.khya thought.1s
The Siirrtkhyakiirikii itself, therefore, functions in this study as
the normative definition for "classical S;irp.khya."

D. General Outline of the Study

Any analysis of the classical Sarp.khya must include a care­


ful examination of the history of the tradition along with a

careful treatment of the key classical doctrines. Moreover,


since a variety of interpreters have analyzed the classical S;irp.�
khya from varying perspectives, attention must also be given
to the history of research on the subject together with a critical
evaluation of the findings and interpretations. It seemed most
appropriate, therefore, to organize this study as follows. The
first part of Chapter I contains a brief summary of the key doc­
traines of the Siirrtkhyakiirikii for the purpose of giving the reader
a preliminary view of the normative content of classical Sarp..­
khya. The remainder of Chapter I is devoted to a critical
review of the history of the interpretations of the Sarp.khya,
emphasizing both the significant findings of other researchers
and those areas and problems requiring further research and
exploration. Chapter II contains an interpretation of the
historical development of classical Sarp.khya. Beginning with

12. Hermann Jacobi, "The Dates of the Philosophical Siitras of the


Brahmans," JAOS, XXXI (1911), p. 9; and cf. Winternitz, op. cit., Ill, 454.
13. Erich Frauwallner, Geschichte der indischen Philosophie (Salzburg:
Otto Muller, 1953), I, 286-287;
and A. B. Keith, The SiiT[!khya System
(Calcutta: YMCA Publ ishing House, 1949; second edition) , pp. 83 ff.
speculations,
tra­
6 CLASSICAL SA¥KHYA

basic classical
ancient Indian the present writer offers an ana­
lysis of the key texts relating to the development of the
dition. The history of the Satpkhya is broken down into four
Sa�khya. contains own view
periods, and an attempt is made to show how the
Sa�khya developed out of the older traditions. Some atten­
Siirrtkhyakiirikii
tion is also given to the development of later or Renaissance
is placed classical as human
Chapter III the writer's of the
system.
meaning of the classical Sa}p khya based upon an analysis of
offers
the and its important commentaries. Emphasis
contemporary Western
on the Sa�khya an analysis of
existence and as a soteriological In a concluding Epi­
addition
logue the writer a brief comparison of the classical Sa�­
Chapters, the present writer has included several
khya with a system of thought in an
attempt to show the possible relevance of some of the issues
raised in the classical Satpkhya analysis. In to these
to development the Sa�khya. Appendix B
also Appen­
interpretations Sa�khya.
dices. Appendix A includes a Chronological Chart dealing
the
with the history of Indian literature and culture as it relates
Siirrtkhyakiirikii, Sanskrit Appendix D
the of includes
some further secondary of the Appen­
dix C includes the present writer's English translation o[
together with the text.
contains a brief note on a modern tradition of Sa�khyayoga.
..
CHAPTER I

A THE OF
PRETATIONS OF THE SA.M:KHYA
CRITICAL REVIEW OF HISTORY INTER

Classical Siiq1khya cannot be interpreted


out giving some to of historical
adequately with­
ment. Such development not only the of
consideration problems develop­
Saq1khya in the Vedic also the history of the
includes emergence
interpretations of this development. Before to
tradition but
it appropriate to offer brief
proceeding these·
presentation of the content of found the
historical issues, however, seems a
this the contours of
classical Saq1khya as in.
system will be the historical
Siir[lkhyakiirika.1 In way the classicai
analysis.
available before undertaking

PART I

Bri ef Review of the of Classical

Main Principles Siiq1khya


I. "Because of the of the
(arises) the desire know means of removing
torment three-fold suffering,
it. If (it is said that) this inquiry) is
to the
because perceptible (means of removal are
(desire-i.e.,
(we say) since
useless
are not or abiding.
available), no, (perceptible means)
II. final
"The revealed (or Scriptural, of removing
the torment) like the perceptible (i.e., ultimately
means
ineffective), for they are with impurity,
are
destruction and excess; a different and
connected
is the discriminative of
superior
(manifest world), avyakta prakrti}
method knowledge vyakta
and jfia (knower-i.e.,
(unmanifest-i.e.,
puru$a).
1. For editions of Kiirikli itself including text English
translation see footnote 10 and bibliography.
San•krit with
Introduction, 7
8 " PrimorCLASSICAL
dial SAl'{IKHYA

111. nature is uncreated. The se ven- ma h a t,


etc.-are both created and creative. The sixteen are
created. Puru�a is neither created nor creative.2

In these opening verses of the Kiirikii) the purpose and


essence of the entire work is set forth. The first verse informs
the reader that t he purpose of the Sa�p.khya is the elimination
be "torment
<>f the removed
decisively of the threefold suffering." " percepti
either byHuman ble"
existence
in the world is characterized by suffering,s This suffering cannot
"revealed"
and finally means, as a
ie., drug s, medicine, etc., or by knowledgeor "Scriptural" means.
Only "discriminative knowledge" (vi-jiiana) is effective
spec i fica lly the
prakrti)
means, and of avyakta (the "unmani­
introductory
fest"), vyakta (the "manifest") (the characterizes
the and jiia then "knower") ; i.e.,
of and.jiia
of follows:
the manifest world, and of puru�a) respective ly.
In an way third verse avyakta)
1.1y akta as miilaprakrti

A. avyak ta - i . e., ("primal nature ") -is


vyakta-i. the manifest arising prakrti.
uncreated.
seven-i.e., ("intelligence"
B. e., world out of
aha171kiira ("self-consciousness/'
1. the buddhi or mahat
or .the �·great one")
"ego") five tanmiitras ("subtle elements") -these
the sixteen-i.e ., manas buddhin­
are created and creative.
("organs sense") karmendriyas
2. ( "mind ") five
driyas of five

2. avisuddhik�aylltis
dul;tkhatrayabhighiitiij jijnasli tadabhighiitake ayayuktal;t
hetau 1
dr$te tadviparital} vyaktavyaktajiia
saparthii cen naikantlityantato vijfiii
'bhiivll.t 11 niit
I
mulaprakrtiral;tavikrtir
dr$tavadiinusravik sa hy
$OIJasakassreylin no vikrtil;
11 11 11
3. suffering are
mahadiiyli/:t prakrtivikrtayal; sapta 1 opening
tu vikliro prakrtir na purU$a/:t Ill
The three kin:.ls of dealt with in the section
of Chapter Ill.
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SAl\fKHYA 9

(''organs of action") , five mahiibhutas ("gross


elements")--these are simply created.

C. jfia-i . e., puru�a-is neither created nor In


creative.
this third verse a preliminary summary of the basic Sarp.khya
dualism is given along with an enumeration of the basic princi­
ples of the system. The dualism is that between avyakta-vyakta,
on the one hand, and jfia, on the other. The avyakta-vyakta is
equivalent to prakrti and its modifications. jfia is equivalent
to puru�a. The vyakta or "manifest world" is made up of the
"seven" and the "sixteen."4 The "seven" are both created (or
"evolved") and creative (or "evolvent"). The "sixteen" are
simply created (or "evolved"). The avyakta is uncreated-i.e.,
prakrti or nature in its primordial condition. The "manifest
world" (vyakta) of created andjor creative products emerges,
emanates (or "evolves") from the uncreated avyakta or prakrti.
The "seven," the "sixteen," plus the uncreated avyakta equal
twenty-four principles. Over against these twenty-four stands
yet another principle . which is neither created nor creative.
This is the jiia or "knower" which is the puru�a and which is
unconnected in any way with the other twenty-four principles.
All together, then, twenty-five principles are set forth.

In these opening three verses, therefore, the basic postulates


of the classical Sarp.khya are presented: (1) human existence
means intense suffering; (2) the Sarp.khya system offers a way
of salvation from suffering; (3) the way of salvation is by
means of a kind of discriminative knowing; (4) the content of
saving knowledge is the discrimination of the difference be­
tween avyakta-vyakta (prakrti) and jfia (puru.�a) .

Following these introductory verses, i'Svaraknl).a then takes


up the problem of the means of knowledge.5 Three kinds of
knowledge are acceptable to the Sarp.khya: (I) perception;

4. For this standard enumeration, see any of the commentaries of


the Kiirikii : Gau<;lapada, Vacaspatimisra, ParamJ.rtha's translation, etc.
5. Kiirikiis IV-VIII.
lU CLASSICAL
immediate knowledge Sk¥KHYA

(2) inference ; and (3) reliable authority.6 Perception (dr.Jta)


is arising from the contact of sense organ
with an obj ect.7 Inference (anumiina) is mediate knowledge; is
of three kinds; and is distinguished in terms of a "mark" and
"that which bears the mark."S The Kiirikii itselfalso does not
state what the three
instructionkinds of inference
sages-e. are, and
Ka pila . lo the comm en­
means
taries differ in
knowledge covers their interpretation.9
particular area Reliable
knowledge.U authority
not only Scripture but
(iiptavacana) includes principles the trust­
wortp hy
rakrti, of g., Each of
a of Since most
of the Sarp.khya the are . g., puru�a,
imperceptible-eteachers.12
buddhi, tanmiitms, etc.-it is evident that the Sarp.khya
relies primarily on inference and
notions secondarily
classical ablenext
on reliare
authority, especially
taken up tradition of its
Kiirikiis IX-XVI: own
notion
the theory which asserts the effect pre­
Two fundamental
existent in cause;13 (2) of notion of Sarp.khya guQ.as
"stranin
ds"-sattva, rajas, m athe
ta(1) s-or of satkiiryavil
basic da or or
constituents
of causation
primordial that is
the the the three or any­
is theappearance
prakrti
Thus,or what nature.14
the According to the modification
merely theory of
causation,wathere
s is no material change in the make-up of
cause. no
thing.
effecThere
t which only change of
originally or modification.
produ ce appears in effect is "somaething " of
what there in the beginning in the There can be
did not exist, since "nothing" cannot
Kiirikli
something. This original or "ground"

6. IV.
See below, Chapter Ill .
7. Karikii V.
10. Kiirikli V.
8. Ibid.
ll. SiiryanarliyaQ.a, op. cit., Kiirikii, p. 11.
9.
12.· Karikiis VI-VIII.
Klirikii
14. Klirikiis XI-XIV.

13. IX.
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE
SAl\{KHYA n

or "stuff" from of
all products come is,course, prakrti.
which
this
As was said above, prakrti has two : avyakta"
dimensions
unmanifest; and vyakta, The manifest world is
manifest.
caused (hetumat), finite (anityam), active (sakriyam), diverse­
etc.15 The the
is opposite of this.t&­
(anekam), unmanifest
Both the avyakta and vyakta are made up or composed of the
gu'(tas:
sattva, is
rajas, tamas.11 Sattva associated with
three
as
such notionsgoodness, light, pleasure, thought, etc. Rajas·
is
related to
such notions
as passion,
pain, stimulation, motion,
etc. Tamas is
associated with
darkness, heaviness, indifference,
restraint, matter, etc.18 These gu'(tas or "strands" are the con­

tent of the idea of They


prakrti.
are continually in tension with
one another, and
by their
mutual interaction the world
as we
knowemerges.l9
it ·when these gurJ,as
are in a
condition of
or
balance equilibr ium, no creation
or modification occurs ..
When this equilibrium is disturbed, however, the manifest
world (vyakta) then emerges.2o
The process
of emergence or·
"evolution"
is determined by respective
the dominance
of each
the gut;as.
of three The
first emergent, for example, is buddhi
which is characterized by predominance
a of sattva.21
The­
emergence
of the tanmiitras or "subtle elements,"
which provide·
the
essence of the gross physical world, characterized
are by a
predominance of tamas.22 This process of emergence
which
depends upon
the modifications and changes iQ. mutual
the
interaction ofgut;as
the is technicallf known as gurJ,aparirJ,iima,2s;

15. Kariklf X.
16. !bid,
17. Kiirikli
XI.
18. Kiirikiis XII-XIII.
19. Kiirika XIII.
20. Kiirikii XII. The present writer has used the words
generally
"proce�s of rather than creative
emergence" "evolution." The mani­
festation of prakrti bears little resemblance to 'Vestern of
notions
evolution.

21. Kiirika
XXIII.
22. Ibid.
23. Kiirikaii. XXVII.
12 CLASSICAL SAl')fKHYA

The doctrines of (1) causation; (2) the relationship of


vyakta and avyak ta; and (3) the modification of the gutJas are
all summarized in Kiirikas XV and XVI.
manifest,
Over against this whole system of emergent creation, of
unmanifest and of equilibrium and modification,
existsXX-XXI.
the puru�a or "self." Puru�a itself prakristi described in system
inactive
Kiirikiis XVII-XIX, and its association with pra krt i in Kiirikiis
Puru�a is the opposite of or the whole
of avyakta and vyakta.24 It is (akartrbhiiva), isolated
(kaivalya), etc.25 It is pure consciousness disruption (ce tana), the pre­
sence of which disruptsproximity
the equilibrium of the gu1JaS in their
emergence
unmanifest condition.26manifest
This world.27 of equilibriumdimension
be­
cause of pure
the of puru�a is the cause of the process of
intelligent of the non-conscious, illuminated
The realm or
of being (i. e., prakrti) , which is inherently non­
This illumination
or is of by the mere pre­ brings
.about
sence of puru�a, which is inherently intelligent or conscious.2s
the world
of the realm rt i by puru�a the associa­
prakwords,
the disruption of the unmanifest condition, and crea­
tion po£ra kr t i-that results. In otherknow itappears.
is by Without
tion or proximity of these two diverse principles-puru�a and
worldly the world as we p erience.29
exit this
association or proximity of prak rt i and puru�a, there would be no
exist enc e orthe
human "stuff" the entire unmanifest

"individual
Pr akrti i� consciou sness.30
pri mord ial orthere prakr ti
and manifest world, whereas puru�a is the presupposition of

24.
Thus, is only one
25. Klirikli
26. Kiirikii
Kiirikli XVII. XX.

27. XIX.

Ibid.
Klirikli
29. Kiirikii
XXI.

28. 30.
XX.

Kiirikii XVIII.
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SA)\1KHYA 13

but a plurality of puru�as.31 Also important to note is that


puru�a is not "self" in the sense of intelligence, ego, or mind.
These categories or principles are rather emergents or "evo­
lutes" of prakrti.32 Puru�a is simply pure consciousness which
exists over against prakrti.aa In other words, the dualism of
the Saq1khya is of a peculiar nature. In Sarp.khya the dualism
is that of unconscious being (prakrti) -perhaps best expressed
at this point as an undifferentiated plentitude of being which
implicitly contains the possibilities of all thought and sub­
stance-on the one hand, and pure consciousness which is
different from unconscious being and yet by its mere presence
renders unconscious being intelligible, on the other. The
proximity of unconscious being and pure consciousness issues
in the process of emergence and leads to the emergence of
self-consciousness· (aharrtkara).

The purpose of the coming together of prakrti and


puru�a, and thus of creation as we know it, is twofold.<�4 First
of all, the process of emergence is for the sake of the enjoyment
or contemplation of puru�a. Second, the conjunction or pro­
ximity or prakrti and puru�a is for the sake of the liberation
of puru�a.M On the one hand, puru�a provides the con­
sciousness which renders the process emergence (i.e., crea­
of
tion) possible, while, on the other hand, prakrti by means of
its first evolute, buddhi, provides the requisite knowledge
which enables the realization to arise that puru�a is absolutely
different from prakrti.36 This realization of the distinction
between prakrti and puru�a brings the adherent to the con­
dition of isolation (kaivalya) or release (mok�a) .37 Thus,

31. Ibid.

32. Kiiriklis XXII-XXIV.


33. Kiirikii XX.

34. Kiirikli XXI.

35. Ibid.

36. Kiirikii XXXVII.

37. Kiirikiis LV-LXIX.


14 CLASSICAL SA]\IKHY A

though quite separate and unconnected, puru�a and prakrti


mutually interact to bring about the process of creation, sel£­
.,consciousness and, finally, enlightenment. According to a well­
.each
known simile of the Sa111khya, puru�a and prakrti interact for
other's sake as do a blind man and a lame man.ss

In the absence of discriminating knowledge (viveka)


human life is suffering (du!Jkha) andjor ignorance (avidyii or
.aviveka). In the condition of non-discrimination, puru�a
.:appears as buddhi and aha7!l kiira i.e., as a part of the process
-

of emergence which means endless transmigration and suffer­


ing.s9 This state of illusion or ignorance is the common con­
. clition of most men. When the realization arises, however,
that puru�a is different from prakrti then the self is no longer
·subject to transmigration and suffering. In other words, when
-one realizes by means of discriminating knowledge that one's
deepest nature or selfhood is not determined by the process of
prakrti and its modifications-but rather is that
emergence, i.e.,
-which determines the process of emergence, then the possibility
-of freedom appears. Man's deepest selfhood, according to
classical Sa111khya, is not his empirical ego structure or even his
intelligence.40 Man's deepest selfhood is rather the very fact of
consciousness. This knowledge of the absolute "otherness" of
·consciousness frees man from the illusion of bondage and brings
·man's deepest selfhood into absolute freedom (kaivalya).

A number of verses of the Kiirikii are devoted to a detailed


-discussion of the process of emergence or creation and the func-
-tioning of the various emergents. These include the emergence
..of buddhi (intelligence), ahm?Ikiira (ego), manas and the five
buddhindriyas (mind and the senses), five karmendriya�
(organs of action), five tanmiitras (subtle elements), the five
·mahiibhutas (gross elements) and the process of knowledge.41

38. Kiirikii XXI

39. Kiirikii XX.

40. Kiirikiis LXII-LXIV.

-41. Kiirikiis XXII-XLII.


INTERPRETATIONS OF THE A 15
SA:¥KHY
Attrntion is also given in these to of
hmly," "gross body" and the
verses of transmigration.42
the notions "subtle
ut hrt group of verses is devoted to a
doctrine impulses,
An­
clr�ircs or which
discussion of human ex·
1 •rtit-nce
dispositions determine it.43 In
and help(bhavas) makeother
up
I hr• 1ry there is a twofold creation words, in SiiJ11khya
en· functioning within the one "internal"
or emergence, oz.
(unc'lioning externally.44 All
buddhi, and of these
other "elemental" are rele·
"illlt to the purpose of this study are discussed
details which with greater
prcdsion in Chapter Ill.

The Siirrtkhyakiirikii concludes with to


transmission of SaJ11khya tradition.45 Reference is made
a brief reference
thr to some key the SaJ11khya .Asuri,
lllong with to an ancient
teachers-Kaplia, khya textbook­
SaJ11
Paficasikha­
! hr reference
,5a�(itantra.
For the sake of a more of the contents of
.WIIukhyakarikii, the present writer
concise view here includes a the out­
tine. brief

T. Exposition-I(arikiis 1-III.
Preliminary
A. Threefold suffering-Kiirikii I.

B. Final relea'e by
C. Twenty-five knowing-Karika II. Ill.

11.
principles-Karikas
Means of knowledge-Karikiis
Ill. Theory of causation andIV-VIJI. of
IX-XIV. doctrine gu'f}as-Kiirikils
lV. On the nature of XV-XVI.
prakrti-Karikas

42. XXXIX-XLII.

43. Karikiis
Kiirikiis

H. Kiirikiis
XLIII-LI.LII-LIV.

·1!i. Kririkiis

LXX-LXXII.
16 CLASSICAL SA]\{KHYA

V. On the nature of pur�a-Kiirikiis XVII-XIX.

VI. On the connection of prak rti and , pur�a-Kiirikih


XX-XXI. principles­
VII. Emergence and functioning of basic
KarikiThreefold
is XXII-XXXVIII.
Nature Reality; linga, bhiiva, bhau­
VIII. of
tika-Kiirikiis XXXIX-XLV, LII-LIV.

IX. X. discrim
On ination and
Transmission release-Karikiiiis
of tradition-Kiirik LXX-LXXII.
s LX-LXIX.

PART

II
A CRITICAL REVIEW OF INTERPRETATIONS OF SA]\IKHYA

has written regard the history and


of the Siiq�.khya. Scholarly opinions intex­
Much been in to
result, interpreted number
pretation vary widely, and,
quite and sometimes in a of
as a the Sa111khya has been
present study therefore devoted
differing contradictory ways. This por·
most significant interpretations. The primary
tion of the is to tracing the
section considerations:
of these varying
scholar's the origin development Siiq�.khya;
focus in this is on two basic (1) the
the scholar's the meaning and significance
view of and of the
of the Sii1p.khya. most cases, of course, these two considera­
and (2) view of
are point of view
In
as well as content. It should also be said that attention is
tions inseparable both from the of method
given this section only the significant interpreta.
tions scholars the twentieth century.46
in to most .
of of
46. For discussion of some older interpretations of Sli!llkhya, see
Richard Garbe, Sa'f)'lkhya Philosophie, pp. including
a
the excellent bibliography of older works on Sli!llkhya, ibid., pp. 105-112.
Die
Garbe's "Introduction" ol lowing:3-105,
op. fcit.,
Sii'f)'lkhya Siltra Vrtti !Calcutta: J. W. Thomas, 1888), pp. i-xxv.
See also in the Richard Garbe (ed.),
INTERPRETATIONS OF 17
THE SA"¥KHYA

A. Richard Garbe

From the end of the nineteenth century and continuing


into the first of twentieth, the most
distinctive
decades the
work in regard to the history and interpretation of the Sii:ql­
khya was that of Richard Garbe. His work
included a num­
ber of definitive editions key Siiq1khya
and translations of
as
tcxts,47 as wellsome major studies
regarding the interpre­
tation of the Siiq1khya system.48 Even in current studies,.
be
Garbe's work continues torecognized as an important con­
tribution.49

There can be no doubt, says Garbe,


that Siiipkhya is one
of the oldest philosophies of the Indian
tradition. To sup-·
the
port this claim, Garbe cites well-known reference in
Kauti­
lya's Artha.Siistra to the three systems of ·''philosophy" or·
"science" current a t that time: Sii:qlkhya, Yoga,.
(iinvik§iki)
and Lok iiyat a .5o Garbe accepts the dating ot.
(materialism)
be
Ar tha.5iistra to around 300 B. 51 he sees;
the C. Moreover,
this
reference
as evidence not only for the antiquity of
the·
Siiq1khya, but also as evidence that the
other systems-i.e.�

47. (ed. Sutra op. cit.;


Richard Garbe and trans.), SiiT{lkhya Vrtti, alsa
Harvard Press,
(ed.), SaT{lkhya-pravacana-bh{4ya (Cambridge: University
1943); also (trans.) F. A.
SaT{lkhya-pravacana-bhf4Ya (Leipzig: Brockhaus,.
1889); also (trans.), Der der SfiT{lkhya �
Mondschein Wahrheit (Miinchen
G. Franz, 1891); etc. etc.
,

48. Richard Garbe, Die Siif!!khya Philosophie, op. also SiiJ!!khya


cit.;
und (Herausgegeben von Biihler, Ill Band, 1896); also
Yoga G. 4 Heft,
"SaiPkhya," Encyclopedia of Religion Ethics (New Yor'k:
and Scribner's,
1921)., XI, pp. 189-192; also "Yoga," of and Ethics,
Encyclopedia Religion
pp. 831-833; etc., etc.
XII,
49. Erich der I,
Frauwallner, Geschichte indischen Philosophie, op.
cit., p. 471.

50. G arbe, Die Siif!!khya Philo�phie, op. cit.,p. 4. Th e of


question
the of th e Artha.!listra as well as the of the reference to
dating meaning
tinviksiki h as been much For a recent of these
disputed. discus�ion
issue�, see Paul "linvik�iki," WZKSO, Band 11, 54-83.
Hacker, 1958, pp.
51. Ibid.

F.2
118 CLASSICAL SA�KHYA
in kind of
-Nyiiya, Va:ise�ika, MimiiJ11s ii, and Vediinta-'-were not at that
.time any systematic formulation.''2 antiquity
Garbe, question of relation
Closely related to the question of the of the
khya
according
Siil1i.khya,Sii111 to . is the its
fluence
:to Buddhism.53 several striking similarities
There are the similarities
between
!the and Buddhism which seem to argue for the in·
of one upon these
other. as
Moreover, these
:argue, according to Garbe, for the priority of Sa111khya to
notions enumerations"
:Buddhism. 54 Briefly, similarities are follows :
scholastic
(a) Organizing in "pedantic
"life
showing a "peculiar method;"
(c) reaction against the Vedic sacrifices;
(b) is a life of pain; "

•(d) common rejection of self-torture;

.(e) emphasis on "becoming and change ;"

'(f) si-milarity of kaivalya and nirviif!a;

(g) similarity acquiescence."5

each Buddhist doc­


regard'ng stages of
·trine radical probably represents further elabora
.'In tionone the orig:nal
of these similarities, says Garbe, the
is more and a
next the problem hi�torical deve­
of Sa111khya notion.
lopment of the Sarpkhya. this issue asserts the
Garbe discusses change
of the
respect
Onto its main features.
he that
,SaJ11khya underwent very little in the course of ib
The Sa111khya system not any remark­
�development with
able alteration from the time of definitive
has undergone
the
Ib id .,

53. Garbe (ed.), Siilpkhya Sutra Vrtti, op. cit., p. i.


52. 54. p. 5. pp. v-xiv.
Ibid.,
Ibid.

-55.
\

INTERPRETATIONS OF THE SAl':fKHYA 19

redaction of the Mahabharata to that of the com­


position of our methodical text-books, and no im­
portant change could have taken place earlier; the
whole character of this system which is self-consis­
tent and evidently the work of one man, speaks
against this assumption.M

(�arbe also accepts the tradition that the sage Kapila wa:t
the historical founder of the system. Garbe admits that most
references to Kapila are purely legendary, but he maintaim
the notion that the Siiq�.khya system in its principal features
la the work of one man.�>7 Then, too, the name of Gotama's
birth place, Kapilavastu, is important, according to Garbe, a�
an indication of the possible region in which the sage Kapila
did his work.5S

Moreover, Garbe continues, the Siiq�.khya system is not


brahmanical.

. the doctrine of Kapila, although later number­


ed as a part of the great wisdom or knowledge of
Brahmanism, was yet originally unbrahmanical­
i.e., a K�atriya philosophy.59

Here it is helpful to refer to Garbe's understanding


of the essential content of the original Siiq�.khya system of
Kapila which goes back unchanged to ancient times. Garbe
enumerates the main features as follows :

. the absolute differentiation of the spiritual and


non-spiritual principles ; the independence and
eternity of matter (prakrti) ; the particulars of

56. Ibid., p. iv.


!>7. Garbe, Die Sii!]'!khya Philosophic, op. oit., pp. 46-50.
:.s. Ibid., p. 12.
!>!I. Ibid., p. 13. " die Lehre Kapilas, obwohl dieser in
IJlUterer Zeit zu den gros•en Weisen des Brahmanentums gezahlt wird,
tlurh ursprunglich unbrahmanisch, d.h. eine K�atriya-Philo'ophie, gewesen
NI."