Re: [INDOLOGY] all-pervasive puruṣa in classical Sāṃkhya

Lubomír Ondračka ondracka at
Mon Jun 18 16:04:17 UTC 2018

Dear Dan,

thanks for this reference. As you say, this reflects a pre-classical or proto-Sāṃkhya teaching; in classical Sāṃkhya all puruṣas are the same, there are no different types or kinds of puruṣas. 

Jayamaṅgalā is probably the latest among the pre-Kaumudī commentaries and stays a bit apart from other commentaries. Sure, it might reflect some older teaching that survived outside the Sāṃkhya mainstream. But the question whether each puruṣa is all-pervasive all the time or only when liberated seems to me rather crucial. All commentaries apparently take it for granted that puruṣas are all-pervasive all the time, only Jayamaṅgalā for some reason distinguishes between liberated and non-liberated puruṣa. This puzzles me. 

I simply do not understand how could puruṣa (being an absolutely passive, reflective consciousness devoid of any activity) have any capacity for changing itself?


On Sun, 17 Jun 2018 20:54:32 -040;
Dan Lusthaus <prajnapti at> wrote:

> Dear Lubomír,
> If I understand correctly what you are asking, then one place to look would be the Bhagavad Gītā, XV.16-19 (though the Gītā reflects a pre-classical form of Sāṃkhya, in which, e.g., puruṣa is still causal) which mentions three types of puruṣa: Kṣara puruṣa, Akṣara puruṣa, and Puruṣottama (only the last is equivalent to Paramātman).
> best wishes,
> Dan
> > On Jun 17, 2018, at 5:42 PM, Lubomír Ondračka via INDOLOGY <indology at> wrote:
> > 
> > This is surprising. According to this commentary, puruṣa is all-pervasive only when liberated, otherwise he is not all-pervasive and in this sense similar to vyakta. I cannot answer the question of my students how could puruṣa (who is absolutely passive etc.) change itself so dramatically? And where does this concept occur in classical Sāṃkhya? Could you please help me with these answers? I am not a specialist in Sāṃkhya, we have this seminar just for fun, so I probably missed something in Sāṃkhya teaching on puruṣa. I promised to my students that I will ask this learned forum to get the right answers.

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