Does Purusha will?

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue May 11 17:50:11 UTC 1999

Ferenc writes :

>The two birds - as can be seen from the context of the same passage in the
>zvetAzvatara IV. 6 & 7 - are >not the puruSa and a material ego (or
>whatever), but two puruSas: one liberated, one bound; and it is the
> >liberated 'bird' that looks on without eating, anaznann abhicAkazIti.

If the Purusha is not already liberated, he can never be liberated. It is to
the credit of the SAmkhya that they realized early on the definition of
eternal. So I'm not sure that you can equate the two birds in MundAka with
an enlightened purusha and an ignorant one.

And by this if you mean that Ishvara Krishna meant that the Purusha had to
let go of all desires and purify itself, then he would not have been a
SAmkhyan but a JainA!

>The puruSa is aguNa in the SK, but it does not mean 'qualitiless', rather
>'without the three guNas', i.e. the >constituent qualities of prakRti.

The SAmkhya derives all the qualities and attributes apart from intelligent
consciousness from the three gunAs. So apart from consciousness the Purusha
is indeed qualityless.

>I have a feeling that the equation undecaying = unchanging was the
>of advaita, and also I think that its import into sAMkhya was a later

All Indian philosophy right from the Upanishads center around only one thing
- the reconciliation between the changing and the changeless. All the
founding saints of the respective traditions, both Astika and nAstika are
clear that the reality is changeless. Their disciples try to work out the
metaphysics between the changing and changeless, with the basic world view
provided by their masters.

Take for instance the three main streams : BrAhmana, Jaina and the Bauddha.

The common sense view for a suffering man who seeks liberation, practicing
virtue, is that the Soul would evolve from an impure state to a pure state,
resulting in liberation. This is the view of the JainA, who work out a
metaphysics of primal matter and multiple Souls. "Purification" of the Soul
is what leads to NirvAna.

The Buddha in his teachings is obviously hostile towards the concept of the
Soul. All things in the world change. So NirvAna - the eternal, the unborn,
the uncreated - is that which is beyond change. The early bauddha logicians
don't see anything changeless in either the world or our individual Self -
So they attribute reality to only the underlying elements of existence. The
YogAcArins, reject the atomic theory and assert the reality of only
consciousness - but there are indications that even they felt that the
consciousness has to be purified ie undergo change. For Ashvaghosa, the
ThathathA is the changeless absolute. NAgArjuna rejects both the atomic
theory and the consciousness theory, for the fundamental reason, that both
cannot stand the test of logic for changelessness. For him, the reality -
PrAjnA PAramitA - the changeless absolute - is beyond all human

The credit should probably go to the SAmkhya for setting right early on the
real definition of "eternal" - that it is changeless. If they did not think
that reality was changeless, why would they 1. Work out a superimposition
theory and attribute all the work only to prAkriti? 2. Why would they define
the Purusha only as pure consciousness? 3. And finally why would they cite
ignorance as the true cause of bondage?

It would have been much easier for them to go the JainA way, with an
evolving Self.

The same questions would have to be asked about Patanjala Yoga SutrA and the
bhAshyam on it by VyAsa - the superimposition theory where the Purusha
seeing its distorted reflection in the buddhi, mistakes the reflection for

And why would the NaiyAyikas and the Vaishesikas make the Self - non

Even the MimAmsakA PrabhAkara is of the opinion that the Self is both
changeless and non conscious. Though MadhvAcharya, the author of Sarva
Darshana Samgraha tries to make it out that KumArilla Bhatta was a VedAnti,
the MimAmsakA himself seems to have been of the opinion that the Self needs
to be purified - which actually fits quite well with his school's philosophy
advocating karma.

And all the above individuals flourished well before the rise of Advaitam.

>He is indifferent *because* he has seen her).

Yes. The Purusha has seen that it's prAkriti, who is the real doer, the one
who really desires and hence the real sufferer and not himself as he
believed. Hence ignorance is removed. This stance is well supported even by
the Gita, which in all probability advocates the original SAmkhya as per

If there seems to be a contradiction in the reconciliation of the Purusha
and PrAkriti, it only reflects the logical impossibility of trying to
reconcile the changing and the changeless.

If as per your alternative interpretation the Purusha desires, then he would
always desire and hence they would be no salvation.

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