Narach Philosophy

THE SANKHYA IN THE SUTRAS (PART-1)


We have explained that Prakti is conceived as the sole creator of life in the Sankhya. It is originally in a state of equilibrium or rest, and comes into action through association with the individual soul. It is active, it is characterised by the energy of Food, and is transformed into Buddhi, Mind, and the elements and their properties. Corresponding to this we are told as follows:

"The Sankhya attempts an explanation of nature as an immense complexity of elements which is ever changing. ... From the principle of causality it is deduced that the ultimate cause of the empirical universe is the unmanifested Prakti. The world is said to be the parinama or transformation of Prakrti, which is its cause. ... While every effect is caused, Prakti has no cause, but is the cause of all effects, from which it is inferred. It is called Pradhana since all effects are founded on it; Brahma or that which grows; maya or that which measures or limits. It is the primary form of being, from which different orders of existences issue. ... The products are caused, while Prakrti is uncaused; the products are dependent, while Prakti is independent; the products are many in number, limited in space and time, while Prakrti is one, all- pervading and eternal. ... Prakti can never perish, and so it could never have been created".

"Prakrti is not so much being, as force. ... The Prakrti of the Sankhya cannot be compared with matter pure and simple. . . . It is the symbol of the never-resting active world-stress. It goes on acting unconsciously, without regard to any thought-out plan, working for ends which it does not understand".

Prakrti and Gunas: "The development of Prakti arises by means of its three constituent powers, or Gunas, which are postulated in view of the character of the effects of Prakti. ... The first of these is called Sattva ... The second Rajas ... The third is Tamas. ... The three Gunas are never separate. ... They constitute the very substance of Prakrti.... All things are composed of the three Gunas, and the differences of the world are traced to the predomain Gunas ... The gunas are said to be extremely fine in texture. They are always changing... They evolve, join, and separate".

Prakrti; Rest and Action: "Prakrti is the fundamental substance out of which the world evolves. In its unmanifested condition Prakrti is but the union of opposites. When they are all held together in a state of equilibrium, there is no action. The state of rest is said to be the natural condition of Prakrti. ... When there is a disturbance of the equilibrium of the Gunas, we have the destruction of Prakrti".

The Evolution of Prakrti; Mahat or Buddhi: "Prakrti, which contains within itself the possibilities of all things, develops into the apparatus of thought as well as the objects of thought. Mahat, or the Great, the cause of the whole universe, is the first product of the evolution of Prakrti. It is the basis of the intelligence of the individual. While the term Mahat brings out the cosmic aspect, Buddhi, which is used as a synonym for it, refers to the psychological counterpart appertaining to each individual".

"The functions of Buddhi are ascertainment and decision. ... Like all other products of Prakrti, Buddhi has the three Gunas. ... Buddhi is both eternal and non-eternal".

Ahankara: "Ahankara, or the principle of individuation, arises after Buddhi. ... Psychologically, the function of Ahankara is abhimana or self-love. Agency belongs to it, and to the self or purusha. ... We infer the existence of Ahankara from its effects. It is regarded as a substance, as it is the material cause of other substances. The purusha (individual soul) identifies itself with the acts of Prakrti through Ahankara".

Mind, Etc.: "From Ahankara in its Sattva aspect are derived the manas (Mind) and the five organs of perception and the five of action, and from the same in its Tamasa aspect the five fine elements. ... From tanmatras, or the five fine elements, by a preponderance of Tamas, the five gross elements arise".

"Manas is the organ which has the important function of synthesizing the sense data into precepts, suggesting alternative courses of action and carrying out the decrees of the will through the organs of action. ... Manas is said to be the door-keeper, while the senses are regarded as the doors. The co-operation of manas is necessary for both perception and action".

"The five organs of perception are the functions of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. ... The organs of action are the functions of the tongue, hands, and the organs of evacuation and reproduction".

"The world, as an object of perception, has the five tanmatras, corresponding to the five sense organs. They are the essence of sound, touch, colour, taste, and smell conceived as physical principles. ... The gross elements arise from the compounding of the fine elements (tanmatras) by the process of accumulation. ... When the gross atoms combine, their properties are found in their products. ... The gross atoms constitute the inorganic as well as the organic bodies".