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Yoga Therapy According To

Samkhya Philosophy

Dr Meera Nandan
3rd year MD Clinical Yoga
• The Sankhya system of Kapila was formulated
in the 7th century B.C.
• One of the six āstika schools of Hindu
Samkhya considered
• Pratyakṣa or Dṛṣṭam
(direct sense perception)
• Anumāna (inference)
• Śabda or Āptavacana
(verbal testimony of the
sages or shāstras)
to be the only valid means
of knowledge or pramana
• It is of two types in Hindu texts: external and
• External perception is described as that arising
from the interaction of five senses and worldly
• Internal perception is described by this school
as that of inner sense, the mind
• Means inference.
• It is described as reaching a new conclusion
and truth from one or more observations and
previous truths by applying reason.

Eg : Observing smoke and inferring fire is an

example of Anumana.
• Means relying on word, testimony of past or
present reliable experts.
• This means of gaining proper knowledge is
either spoken or written, but through Sabda
• The reliability of the source is important, and
legitimate knowledge can only come from the
Sabda of Vedas
• Consciouness and matter by postulating two
"irreducible, innate and independent realities:
puruṣa and prakṛti
• Puruṣa is the transcendental self or pure
• It is absolute, independent, free, imperceptible,
unknowable through other agencies, above any
experience by mind or senses and beyond any
words or explanations.
• It remains pure, "nonattributive consciousness".
• Puruṣa is neither produced nor does it produce
• Prakṛti is the first cause of the manifest material universe—of
everything except the puruṣa.

• The Sanskrit word Prakrti was made from the root ‘kr’ meaning
to make or produce, with a prefix ‘pra’ meaning before or first.
Here the term means that which existed before anything was
produced, the primary source of all things.

• Prakṛti accounts for whatever is physical, both mind and

matter-cum-energy or force.
• Since it is the first principle (tattva) of the universe, it is called
the pradhāna
Concept of gunas
It is composed of three essential characteristics
(trigunas). These are:
• Sattva – , fineness, lightness, illumination, and
• Rajas – dynamism, activity, excitation, and
• Tamas – inertia, coarseness, heaviness,
obstruction, and sloth
Sattvam Laghu Prakasakam-Istam-Upastambhakam
Chalam Cha Rajah
Guru Varanakameva Tamah Pradipa-vat-Artha-tah Vrittih.

In translation, “Sattva is considered to be light and

illuminating, and Rajas, to be exciting and restless, and
Tamas, to be indeed heavy and enveloping. Like a lamp
(consisting of oil, wick, and fire), they co-operate for a
(common) purpose (by union of contraries).”
• Sattva was derived from the Sanskrit word
‘Sat’ meaning real or existent.
• It is light and illuminating.
• It is responsible for the lightness of things and
upward movement, but it has no motion of its
own; therefore, on its own, it is incapable of
action or reaction
• Rajas was derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ranj,’
meaning to be coloured, affected or moved.
• Rajas is active and urgent.
• Without it the other constituents (Sattva and
Tamas) could not manifest their inherent qualities.
• It is responsible for all motion and change that
goes on throughout nature.
• Its function is to move things, overcome
resistance, do work.
• Tamas was derived from the Sanskrit word
‘Tama’ meaning darkness.
• It is heavy and enveloping. It is the restraining
and binding potency of nature.
• Its function is to resist motion.
• It is responsible for the attraction and
downward pull of the earth
• It is the cause of mass, weight and inertia
• In its original state, before the manifestation
of the world, three gunas in Prakrti were in
perfect balance, in equipose. That was the
potential state. In that state, Prakrti has no
urge to manifest. Manifestation began with
conjunction of Prakrti with Purusa

• In conjuction with Purusa, the Cosmic spirit,

three gunas in Prakrti, which were in perfect
equilibrium, started to develop imbalance.
The imbalance state is called Vikrti.
• The first product of Vikrti is Mahat or cosmic
• As the perfect balance of Satta, Rajas and Tamas
is disturbed, Rajas dominates and acts upon
Sattva to make it manifest as Mahat.
• Mahat or Cosmic intelligence is the material
counterpart and basis of what we term
understanding or Reason.
• It is called Mahat to distinguish universal
intelligence from individual intelligence or
buddhi (as individual soul is distinguished from
Universal soul; Brahman).
• Mahat is the state of the Universe, where cosmic
energy, previously random, non-directional, develop
a direction to a well defined line of evolution.
• Mahat possesses eight attributes or qualities;
virtue (Dharma),
knowledge (Jñāna)
detachment (Vairāgya)
excellence (aiśvarya)
 nonvirtue (Adharma)
ignorance (ajñāna)
attachement (avairāgya)
 imperfection or incompetency (anaśvarya).
• Mahat produces ‘Ahamkara,’ the individuating principle.
• The word was coined from the Sanskrit word ‘aham’ meaning ‘I’
and the root ‘kr,’ to do, to make; literally, the I-maker.
• It is the first manifestation of individual consciousness, personal
position, individual identity; the individuating principle, which
separates one’s own self from all the others, the material
counterpart and basis of what we term as egoism; “I am,” “I do”
• It is responsible for the limitations, separation, and variety that
come out of harmony. Ahamkara was classified as an evolute and
evolvent; it is produced (from Prakrti) and it produces new modes
of being
Abhimanah-Ahamkarah-Tasmat Dwividhah Pravartate
Ekadasakak-Cha Ganah-Tan-matra-panchakam-Cha-

In translation, “Self-assertion is Ahamkara. From it

proceeds a twofold evolution only: the elevenfold set
and also the fivefold Tan-matra.”
• Depending on which guna is predominant,
Ahamkara is classified into three types, Sattva
Ahamkara, Rajas Ahamkara and Tamas
• Rajas guna is the activating principle and the
Rajas Ahamkara does not produces, but
initiates production from Sattva and Tamasa
From Sattva Ahamkara emerges the elevenfold
set of Indriyas or sense organs;
• Manas (mind)

• five Jñānendriyas (Abstract knowledge

senses), five sense organs of cognition: the
eye, the ear, the nose, the tounge, the skin

• five Karmendriyas (Abstract Working senses)

organs of action: hands, feet, speech,
excretory organ and organ of generation.
Ubhaya-atmakam-Atra Manah Samkalpakam-
Indriya-Cha Sadharmyat,
Guna-Parinama-Visesat Nana-tvam Bahya-bhedat-

In translation, “Among the Indriyas, Manas possesses the nature of both. It is

deliberative, and is as well an Indriya, as it is homogeneous with the rest. The variety
of the Indriyas is due to the differences in the transformation of the Gunas, and so
are the external diversities (of objects of the senses).
• Mansa - internal sence organ – both cognition
and action
For an example, when a man is deeply
contemplating on a problem, he takes no notice
of the impressions made by the surrounding
bodies, say on his ears or on his eyes. He notices
the impression only when his mind is ready to
receive it.
• Similarly, the sense organs of actions hands,
feet etc., can act only in cooperation of Manas
or mind.
In Sāmkhya, the process of sensuous cognition is as
• Sense organs create material senses which were
transferred to Manas.
• Manas deliberates over the material senses and
create a percept or sense data, which were
transferred to Ahamkara.
• Ahamkara analyse them and decides whether or
not it concern self or not.
• Thus coloured with the ego, they are next taken
up by individual intelligence (Buddhi), which
makes certain their true nature and determines
conduct accordingly.
Tan-matrani-A-visesah-Tebhyah Bhutani Pancha
Ete Smritah Visesah Santah Ghorah-Cha Mudhah-

“The Tanmatras are the indiscernibles. From these five, proceed the
five gross Elements which are
remembered to be the discernibles ; for they are pacific, terrific, and
The term Tanmatra was composed from the Sanskrit
‘Tan’ meaning ‘that,’ and the root ‘ma’ to measure.
Sāmkhya distinguishes two types of elements:
• Tanmatras or subtle elements or the originals of
• Mahabhutas or gross elements.
Tanmatras are subtle elements, they are the
metaphysical parts of the gross elements, ordinary
atoms of Matter.
Tanmatras are fine substances, the undifferentiated
originals of the Gross Elements.
process of their manifestation;
• from Ahamkara, the Tanmatra of Sound (Sabda), is
produced first.
• From the Tanmatras of Sound is then produced the
Tanmatra of Touch, possessing the attributes of sound
and touch
• Next in order is Tanmatra of Form (Rupa) with
• attribute of Sound, Touch and Form.
• Following Tanmatras of Form is produced Tanmatra of
Flavor (Rasa) with attribute of sound, touch, form and
• Last to produce is Tanmatra of Smell (Gandha), with
attribute of sound, touch, form, flavour and smell.
• Tanmatras are classified as evolute and evolent, i.e. they are
produced and produce new modes of beings, the Mahabutas or
gross elements;
• From the subtle element of sound proceeds Ākasa (ether),
having sound as its characteristic property ;
• from the mixture of the subtle elements of touch and sound,
proceeds Vāyu (Air), with sound and touch as its characteristic
properties ;
• from the mixture of the subtle of sound, touch and form,
proceeds fire (Tejas), with sound, touch and form for its
characteristic properties;
• from the mixture of the subtle elements, of sound, touch, form
and taste, proceeds Apa (Water), with sound, touch, form, and
taste as its characteristic properties ;
• lastly, from the subtle element of smell with that of the last four,
proceeds Earth (Prithivi), with all the five for its characteristic
Basic aim of Sāmkhya is to permanently relieve
men from ‘dukkha or pain or sorrow and attain
liberation (moksa, kaivalya)
Duhkha-traya-abhighâtât jijñāsā tat-avaghatake
Driste Sapartha chet-na-ekanta-atyanta-tah-

In translation, “From the disagreeable occurrence of the threefold (traya) pain

(duhkha), (proceeds) the enquiry (jijñāsā) into the means which can prevent it; nor is
the enquiry superfluous because ordinary (means) exist, for they fail to accomplish
certain and permanent prevention of pain.”

Only by lifting ignorance and learning the twenty five Tattvas (principles)
as enumerated in Sāmkhya, pain can be effectively removed.
Concept of liberation of moksha

Evam Tatva-Abhyasat-Na-Asti Na Me Na-Aham-Iti-

A-Viparyayat-Visuddham Kevalam-Utpadyate Jñanam.

In translation, “So, through cultivation of the knowledge of

the Tattvas, is produced the final, pure, because free from
error and doubt, and one single knowledge that neither
does agency belong to me, nor is attachment mine, nor am
I identical with the Body, etc.”
• Sāmkhya imparts a discriminative knowldege,
that Purusa and Prakrti are different, they are
not same,
• pleasure of pain does not belong to Purusa or
self but to Prakrti is the liberation.
• All the creation belongs to Prakrti. Prakrti
entangle herself with her own creation; Mahat.
• Purusa or self cannot be released from
bondage or be relieved from pain or sorrow,
asby definition, Purusa or self is eternally free.
Purusa has a body, but Purusa is not the body
• Manas, Ahamkara, Buddhi acts as instruments
of filter experiences.
• When these instruments of filter are dominated
by Rajas and Tamas guna, the Purusa receive
contaminated experiences, and ignorantly
thinks it is suffering from pain or misery.
• Purusa falsely identifies himself with Rajas and
Tamas guna and fails to use Satva guna to
discriminate self from nonself.
• According to Sāmkhya, failure to discriminate
Purusa from Prakrti and her products results
into pain or sorrow
Thank You