Re: [INDOLOGY] query on Sāṃkhya

alakendu das mailmealakendudas at
Tue May 28 06:37:42 UTC 2019

Dr.Kapstein,As I have understood Samkhya,This school of our philosophy begins with Prakriti or "Mulprakriti " which is the primordial element from which the Evolution sets off.Then we have Purusha,which may be equated with "Atmana".,..the omnipresent omnipotent Existence..Its the desperate endeavour on the part of 
Purusha to disentangle itself from the clutches of Prakriti ,with a view to attaining the Final Emancipation at the transcendental level(Paramarthika).The Samkhya flow chart ,perhaps,goes something as follows:-Prakriti-Purusha-Ahamkar -.Buddhi-Manas-5 Gyanendriyas(5 sense organs),5 Karmendriyas,5 gross elements,and 5 subtle elements.A total of 25 elements constitutes the Samkhya evolutionary flow chart from the initial fundamental concept (Prakriti) at the bottom to the final Transcendence of the Purusha at the Top.It traces our entire journey from the mundane to the supra-mundane.Alakendu Das.
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From: Matthew Kapstein via INDOLOGY <indology at>
Sent: Tue, 28 May 2019 03:50:51 GMT+0530
To: Indology <INDOLOGY at>
Subject: [INDOLOGY] query on Sāṃkhya



Dear Indological colleagues,

One of the peculiarities of
Sāṃkhya thought is its unusual theory of "evolution"
 (though it might better be termed "emanation") which proceeds from the subtle modifications of the
 to those that are increasingly coarse, namely the organs of sense and of action, and finally to their physical objects. This seems a very odd evolutionary path when we first encounter it and I am wondering if there has been any work that seeks to explain just
 why Sāṃkhya adopted what to us may seem a remarkably counter-intuitive framework. I do have
 my own theory about this, but I would not want to publish it if someone else has already come up with a similar idea. I would therefore be grateful for any suggestions you may have concerning scholarship that seeks to explain just why it is that
Sāṃkhya proceeds from top to bottom, as it were, rather than the other way around.

with thanks in advance for
 your advice about this,

Matthew Kapstein


Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies,

The University of Chicago


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