Samkhyan terminology (was Re: A text dealing with Ayurveda)

Ferenc Ruzsa f_ruzsa at ISIS.ELTE.HU
Tue May 4 18:46:27 UTC 1999

[in reply to Vidyasankar Sundaresan]

Dear Vidyasankar,

Unfortunately no publisher in Hungary is willing to publish a book on
sAMkhya in English; it was kind of a small miracle that it could appear even
in Hungarian. A small part (remarks on SK 1-2) was read at the Xth World
Sanskrit Conference in English and would appear in the Proceedings thereof -
at least I was told so. Should you be interested, I would be glad to send
you a copy.

> in [GB] 7.4 ... Note the explicit reference to a samyoga between avidyA
> and avyakta. So this is not classically sAMkhyan after all.
To me it is not clear, why the equation ahaMkAra-vAsanA = avidyA or its
connection with the avyakta would be specifically vedAntic; could it not be
sAMkhyan (or even Buddhistic) as well?
However it may be, zaGkara here seems to be clear about the purpose of his
otherwise rather forced reinterpretation: "tanmAtram ucyate na sthUlA,
'bhinnA prakRtir aSTadhA' iti vacanAt", i.e. he has to take the terms in an
unusual sense, because they must be the eight prakRtis. And it is the SK 3
and the commentarial tradition on it that defines the eight prakRtis as
those tattvas that produce other tattvas according to the saMkhyan story of

> I think that terms that are typically thought to be of "sAMkhyan" origin
> have a common prehistory that is shared by other darSanas.
I think that it is a very interesting theoretical problem; can it be
meaningful at all to say that something in a classical upaniSad is sAMkhya,
i.e. not vedAnta? But it seems that it is not absolutely hopeless to answer
in the affirmative. When we find the typical sAMkhyan terminology (as known
first of all from the kArikAs) mainly in clusters only, it is
methodologically plausible to label those passages as sAMkhyan. - But of
course any later tradition that takes the upaniSads as zruti may
legititimately forget about their sAMkhyan legacy.

Yours, Ferenc

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