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

Edeltraud Harzer harzer at
Mon Jun 18 20:49:35 UTC 2018

Hello Lubomíre,

Even though your initial inquiry is about Sāṅkhya ontological questions, we can draw from some of the epistemological material of the YD, which shows that puruṣa has no connection with vyakta, such as instruments/faculties engaged in the operation of acquiring knowledge. See YD on SK 36 (Wezler/Motegi edition), p. 223, l.1ff. 

tayā cādhyavasāyarūpāpannayā cetanāśaktir anugṛhyate. na karaṇāntarasya puruṣeṇa sambandho ’sti…

The intellect acquired the form of non-doubting awareness (adhyavasāya) having accepted the conscious power/power of consciousness. There is no connection/bond of an internal instrument with the unintentional consciousness (puruṣa)… 

 Of course, there is more to be said.

A little note: I would like to suggest that sometime we need to play a little with the way how we choose translating: viparyāsa, viparīta, etc., which may be understood as “contrast” and not necessarily “opposite.”    

Edeltraud Harzer. 

PS Jayamaṅgalā is suspected sometime that there might be other influences.

> On Jun 18, 2018, at 11:04 AM, Lubomír Ondračka via INDOLOGY <indology at> wrote:
> 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?
> Best,
> Lubomir
> 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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