Menu Close

Sankhya Darshan

The most notable proponent of Sankhya philosophy was Kapila, one of the great enlightened rishis. The word Sankhya comes from san and Ichya. San means Truth. Khya means to realize, to know, to understand. Sankhya Darshan is a philosophy to discover and understand the Truth of life. Kapila discerned 24 principles in the manifestation of the Universe. These principles are explained thoroughly in Sankhya Darshan.

Purusha and Prakruti – An Important concept of Sankhya Darshan

The first concept of Sankhya Darshan that we will consider is Purusha. Pur means city. She means dwelling, living, existing. Purusha is that pure Consciousness that exists, lives, and dwells in the city of senses. The body is a city of reasons. Many houses gather together to create a town. Hence in the same way we have many senses auditory, tactile, optic, gustatory, olfactory. With nine gates or openings – seven in the head and the anus and urethral opening. There are three extra gates in women: the nipples and the vagina. Pure Consciousness dwells within this city of senses. Purusha is the ultimate truth, healing power, enlightenment, and transcendental state of being and existence. Purusha is energy, and this energy is choiceless, passive awareness. It is formless, colorless, and beyond attributes. It takes no active part in Creation. Purusha can be called pure Consciousness.

Prakruti is primordial will, primordial matter, creative potential. Prakruti has form, color, and attributes in the field of action. It is Awareness with choice, Divine Will, the One who desires to become many. The universe is the child born out of the womb of Prakruti, the Divine Mother. Prakruti creates all forms in the universe, while Purusha is the witness to this creation. There is no matter without energy, but there can be energy without a case. Prakruti cannot exist without Purusha. However, there can be Purusha without Prakruti. Sankhya Darshan says Prakruti is creativity, the feminine energy. Within the womb of Prakruti, the whole universe is born. Therefore, Prakruti is the Divine Mother.

Brahma- In context of purusha and prakruti

The unmanifested state of Purusha and Prakruti is called Brahma, the state of pure Awareness, pure Consciousness. Before Prakruti begins to manifest, at the merging point of Purusha and Prakruti, it is avyakta, which means unmanifested. Once Prakruti manifests, it is vyakta, which means manifestation. The root cause of the entire universe is Prakruti, not Purusha. In the potential energy of Purusha and the creative will of Prakruti, we find an understanding of the evolution of non-material energy (Purusha/Prakruti, avyakta) into material expression (Vyatka). Each progressive step acts as an agent or a cause for the manifestation. The scheme of cause and effect is key to the functioning of creation through the Sankhya Darshan model. This is the journey of Consciousness into the matter.

sankhya darshan

Mahad (Creative Intelligence)

Purusha and Prakruti are together for creation. In the presence of Purusha, when Prakruti becomes conscious of Consciousness, Prakruti creates the first expression of creation, which is Mahad. Mahad has self-awareness. The meaning of Mahad is supreme intelligence, which puts everything in its proper place. There is intelligence even in a single cell, and each cell has a unique function. The bone cells choose and utilize calcium, magnesium, zinc, and other minerals. The muscle cells select protein. There is intelligence and proper order in the cells, and that order is cellular intelligence. That is Mahad. There is communication between cells which is the flow of intelligence called prana, the life force. Mahad is this collective intelligence.


Mahad is pure intelligence, and from Mahad comes Ahamkara. Ahamkara means the feeling of “I am,” the ego. “I” is the center, and where there is a center, there is a radius, and where there is a center and a radius, there is a circumference. That circumference forms a frontier, the border of consciousness. We all live in the tiny enclosure of consciousness centered upon ahamkara, the “I former.” The question is how a center is formed. When you allow your eyes to focus, in that very looking, there is perception. And the moment you identify with an object, there is the birth of “I,” the birth of Ahamkara. In Mahad, there is no differentiation.

However, Ahamkara focuses on one thing, making it the center of vision. This center is “I.” Ahamkara is an identification process based upon previously accumulated experience. But the moment “I” is formed, a center created in the consciousness, then that creative intelligence (Mahad) becomes Buddhi, which is reasoning capacity, intellect, and individual awareness. Mahad is the universal principle. Buddhi is the individual principle.

Sattva, Rajas and Tamas

The pulsation of cosmic prana causes Consciousness to break up into the three universal qualities (gunas) which pervade all Creation— sattva, rajas, tamas. Because of the formation of an ego reference point, sattva, rajas, and tamas can be perceived as distinct, separate, and defined. Sattva is the pure essence of light, right action, and spiritual purpose. Rajas are the principle of movement, change, and excitability. Tamas is inertia, darkness, and confusion. These three universal qualities influence our minds and bodies. On the universal level, sattva is vast, clear space; rajas is the atmosphere, and tamas is a solid substance. On the individual level, sattva is perception, the knower; rajas is the movement of perception, which becomes the process of attention; and tamas is the precipitation of perception, which is experience, the known.

Sattva is the light of Consciousness; it is potential energy. Rajas is kinetic energy. Tamas represents inertia. Without tamas, there is no experience. Sattva is the observer. Rajas is observation. Tamas is the object to be observed. Sattva is creative, rajas maintains, and tamas is destructive.Although sattva, rajas, and tamas are present in every object of creation, some things arise primarily from sattva and some primarily from tamas. Rajas are the energy that is the momentum of creation. Attention is a combination of sattva and the flow of rajas. Through rajas, Consciousness becomes matter.

Sattva is further described by the Sanskrit word jnanashakti, which means the energy of cognition, the motive for perception. Jnana means perception, knowledge, cognition, and intelligence. Rajas are described as kriyashakti, the energy of observation. Kriya means action and creativity. Tamas is described as drauyashakti, which is material matter, the observed. You wake in the morning because of sattva (jnanashakti). Because of rajas (kriyashakti) you plan for the entire day. After a heavy dinner, you feel tamas (dravyashakti), heavy, dull, like going to sleep. Tamas brings sleep, inaction, and darkness. The inaction of tamas and the inaction of Purusha are different. The inaction of Purusha is pure Consciousness; the inaction of tamas is unconsciousness, a blind force without awareness, which brings confusion when it causes unconscious action. Rajas is the active, vital force that moves to sattva to create the organic universe, the world of sensory perception.

Rajas moves to tamas to create the inorganic universe. Therefore, sattva and tamas are inactive energies that require the active, kinetic force of rajas. As a result of the influence of the three universal qualities, the five jnanendriya (sensory pathways), the five karmendriya (motor pathways), and the mind differentiates as part of the organic universe. The five tanmatras, or objects o f sensory perception, and the five elements (Ether, Air, Fire, Water, and Earth) differentiates as part of the inorganic universe. The tanmatras are the gunas (qualities) of the elements: shabda (sound), sparsha (touch), rupa (form), rasa (taste), and gandha (odor or smell).

Five Elements and Three Gunas

The five elements are born in the womb of tamas but contains all three gunas. Even the tanmatras contain all three gunas. Though they derives from tamas, there are some rajasic and sattvic qualities in the tanmatras and therefore in the elements. Earth is tamas. Water is tamas and sattva. It seeks its own level that is tamas. But is transparent which is sattva. Fire is intense rajas and sattva, Air is rajas but also sattva, while Ether is pure sattva. The elements evolve successively to include their own related tanmatra and each of the prior tanmatras. For example, Ether is a shabda tanmatra. Air comprises of shabda and sparsha. Earth comprises of shabda, sparsha, rupa, rasa, and gandha. Each element manifests from the addition of its primary tanmatra to the tanmatras of the preceding element(s).

Conclusion of Sankhya Darshan

We can put our knowledge of the Sankhya Darshan into our daily lives and relationships in moment-to-moment existence. The moment we look at our bodies in the mirror, we start judging. Many of us don’t like the face, hair, nose, or color we have. But we are not nose, face, or body; we are the dweller dwelling in this body. We are something higher and nobler, we are Purusha, we are Shakti. In this way, we can apply the Sankhya Darshan in our daily lives for self-healing. We all must heal ourselves. The same applies when your wife is yelling at you, or your husband is criticizing, and you become upset and angry.

You are not anger; you are the watcher of anger, you are not fear; you are the witness of fear. You are not bored or tired; you are the pure observer of the tiredness. Self-acceptance and self-love are the
first steps to bliss.

error: Content is protected !!