Narach Philosophy

VEDIC GODS AND SYSTEMS OF HINDU PHILOSOPHY: THE SANKHYA


As we have explained, the basis of the Sankhya is to be found in the fourth stage of cell development, when the Centrosome, having been divided into two, is unable to act any more, and it is the turn of the cell to act. The nucleus, at this stage, is merged into the cytoplasm, and the whole cell-body is characterised by a single energy, viz., the Prakrtic energy of the Heart, which is originally Prakrtic Ether or north-seeking magnetic energy, but is transformed into the Prakrtic energy of the Heart or Food by the action of the Centrosome in its unmanifest state.

Thus Prakrti in this system should be conceived as the sole creator of the universe, and there should be no place for the supreme Purusha or God; and Prakrti alone, characterised by consciousness born of the vital seed (Food), should be regarded transforming itself into different forms of life Buddhi, Mind the elements, and all that is associated with them. While in the other systems the character of the Centrosome corresponds to the idea of God as well as the individual soul, the Centrosome, at this stage, can only correspond to the individual soul and not God, for the idea of an absolutely inactive God is a contradiction in terms, and so he can have no place in the Sankhya.

Hence, the individual soul should be conceived as existent in each body or form of life, but as devoid of all action. Indeed, as the cell acts on the Centrosome, which is inactive, Prakrti should be regarded as acting on the individual soul in a similar way. Finally, as this stage passes into the next only when the cell has imparted all its energy to the Centrosome, the final release of the soul from the bondage of Prakrti should correspond to the same idea; that is, the soul should become free only when Prakrti has manifested itself to it in all its forms, and there is nothing more for the soul to gain or to see. Thus, as Prakrti is characterised by ceaseless action, the soul can make itself free only by ceasing to act; and this can be achieved by means of knowledge which alone can put an end to all activity and strife.

This should be the fundamental idea of the Sankhya and, as we have explained, its Vedic originals are Vrtra and Varuna, who personify the form and character of the nucleus or the most vital part of the body of the cell, corresponding to which there is the vital seed in man.

Purusha: There can be no place for the supreme Purusha in this scheme of thought. The idea of God as creator always corresponds to that of the Centrosome and, as the latter at this stage is inactive, God can be conceived only as purely inactive in this system. He cannot be a creator or actor in any sense; and, as such an idea of God is perfectly meaningless, the Sankhya can either be atheistic, or hold that, if God exists at all, he does not act or create, nor has he anything to do with the work of Prakrti.

Prakrti: The idea of Prakrti always corresponds to that of the nucleus of the cell, and we have to examine its character at two stages at this place. The nucleus is merged into the cytoplasm, and so we may regard the whole cell as one mass of matter; and we have explained that it is characterised by Prakrtic energy of the Heart born of Food and transformed into vital energy. This is creative in the sense in which Food or semen virile, formed out of it, can be regarded as creative; and, as this energy of the Heart is transformed into heat, electric and magnetic energy in the course of its action on the Centrosome, we may say that Prakrti, in the course of its creation, is transformed into Buddhi (heat), Mind (electric energy), Ether (magnetic energy) and the elements and all that appertains to them.

This stage of cell development may be called the Unmanifest, and we have pointed out that, when the cell has done its work and ceases to act any more, the Centrosome comes into action again, and then the cell divides into two. The nucleus in the new cell corresponds to Vrtra and Varuna in the Vedas and, as these gods constitute the basis of the Sankhya system, we have to examine the nucleus also at the first stage in the new cell. We see that it is in state of rest, and so the original condition of Prakrti should also be conceived to be one of equilibrium or rest. Then we see that the Centrosome acts on the nucleus and the latter responds; and so we should hold that Prakrti acts, not by itself, but on account of the presence of purusha (Centrosome) or the individual soul.

Thus the last stage of cell development, when the nucleus becomes active and the Centrosome ceases to act, gives us the creative character of Prakrti; while its first stage, when the nucleus is inactive and it is the Centrosome that acts, gives us the relation between purusha (individual soul) and Prakrti in the Sankhya system of Philosophy.

The Individual Soul: The idea of the individual soul corresponds to that of the supreme Soul or the Centrosome in the cell. We have explained that the Sankhya has no place for God as an actor in its scheme of thought, and we have to examine the character of the Centrosome at two points in the development of the cell. At the last stage of cell development it is inactive and it is the cell that acts, while in the first stage of a new cell it is active and it is the cell that is quiescent. Here we get two opposite states of the Centrosome and they have to be reconciled. As in tracing the development of the cell we have come to its last stage, and here the Centrosome is quiescent and it is the cell that acts, the Sankhya must hold that the individual soul (Centrosome) is really inactive, and it is Prakrti (cell) that acts. In order, however, to reconcile this idea of the soul with its activity at the first stage of cell development, it must assume that the soul, by its association with Prakrti, is transformed into something else, and it is that which makes it active. This, as we shall see, is the idea of Ahankara or Egoism in the Sankhya, which is said to arise when the individual soul is associated with Prakrti or the objects of manifest life.

Knowledge and Action: Prakrti in the Sankhya is characterised by ceaseless action. The individual soul is associated with it, and then it is called Ahankara or Egoism. It is this action that is said to be the cause of sorrow and pain, which the soul wishes to escape. But this can be done only if the soul withdraws itself from all contact with Prakrti, that is, ceases to have Ahankara and becomes actionless. In other words, the soul should know its true character as something different from Prakrti, and realize that its association with it is temporary, and that when it imagines itself to be an actor, it is only reflecting the image of Prakrti in itself. This realization comes of knowledge of the true character of the soul, and it is accompanied by the cessation of all activity or association with Prakrti, the cause of all action. That should be the goal of life in the Sankhya.