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Tattwa Theory Sankhya-25 Tattwa’s


Work has been keeping me extremely busy and that has led to the long delay of no posts appearing since the past 3 months. That will no longer be the problem and articles should start appearing much more regularly.Thanks for the patience and I will reply to the comments that have been posted in the past few months.

Drishti the sanskrit word for sight is derived from the word root Drish (perception , sight ) which also gives rise to the word Darshana. The seer’s of the ancient vedic system had formulated six pathways of perception to help the common man better understand the world around him .These six systems of philosophical thought or perception were called the Shad-Darshana’s .( Shad=six)

  • Nyaya -> Logic (not justice as often is mistakenly perceived ) . 🙂 Justice itself is derived from the word root Just.Nyaya is the philosophical system of using logic to understand the world.
  • Vaiseshika-propounded by Sage Kannada .There are ten divisions to this work which we shall explore some other time . Vaiseshika is basically perception of special aspects of reality.
  • Yoga -> Union of everything.Yoga itself is derived from the word root Yug which means union. To achieve this one can take recourse to various paths such as Bhakti, Karma , Hatha etc ….
  • Karma-Mimamsa-> The path of perception where one understands clearly ( mimamsa) what one’s actions imprint upon the world and what the world imprint’s upon oneself.Also this system explores the Karma Kanda rituals of the vedas and meaning behind those rituals.
  • Vedanta -> Literally meaning end of the Vedas .Philosophical system pertaining to exploring the purpose of the human soul and various other metaphysical issues.

Sankhya -> Derived from the word root Khya which means that which can be measured or counted. This is the philosophy that explains or counts the descent of the soul or cosmic evolution and metamorphsis into the world as you witness it today. Sankhya provides the theoretical basis for Ayurveda, Astrology and many other vedangas.

Sankhya was propounded by sage Kapila and Lord Krishna proclaims thus in the Bhagavad Gita.

Chapter 10 Verse 26

asvatthah sarva-vrksanam
devarsinam ca naradah
gandharvanam citrarathah
siddhanam kapilo munih


asvatthah–the banyan tree; sarva-vrksanam–of all trees; deva-rsinam–of all the sages amongst the demigods; ca–and; naradah–Narada; gandharvanam–the citizens of the Gandharva planet; citrarathah–Citraratha; siddhanam–of all those who are perfected; kapilah munih–Kapila Muni.


Of all trees I am the holy fig tree, and among sages and demigods I am Narada. Of the singers of the gods [Gandharvas] I am Citraratha, and among perfected beings I am the sage Kapila.

Sage Kapila is also mentioned prominently in the Svetasavatara upanishad.Let us explore what Sankhya is all about.

Philosopher’s have often debated about the nature and functioning of the world ,but every philosopher will agree about two things. You will always need an observer and observed for a thing to materialize. Let us take an common example :  The sun rises every day on the eastern hemisphere and is watched by millions around the globe. The rising of the sun is only true in this plane of reference of the earth,it would not hold true for an observer present on say Mars. Tomorrow if an catastrophic event wipes out the inhabitants of earth and the sun still rises on the eastern hemisphere ,you would not be able to claim the occurence of the sunrise since the very act requires somebody to observe it.

The above might be a very crude explanation and modern quantum physics has a lot of theories revolving around this pet theme of relativity and observers. Also when this is extended to the sub atomic domain this gives rise to Heisenberg’s uncertainity principle which all of you might have studied as a part of your high school curriculum where the very act of observing an sub atomic particle will cause an uncertainity in its position.

To cut a long story short ,you will always need an observer and observed for an event to transpire in that particular plane of reference. Sankhya says in this plane of reference of the cosmos the observer and observed roles are taken by Purusha and Prakriti .Please note Purusha does not mean man and Prakriti woman.Purusha refers to the Universal consciousness or the consciousness which is ever present.

Prakriti refers to the entire material cosmos. Sankhya says originally there was only energy/primordial consciousness pervading the entire universe. You can call it by various names but it was basically energy in the entire cosmos. 🙂 Sankhya playfully says this energy had the desire to witness itself ..even god gets bored with himself. Imagine for a second you are a part of the ocean as a water drop and all around for miles you only see water and only yourself. You would naturally have the desire to turn yourself into something separate ( maybe a wave ) to witness yourself.

This playfull nature of the Universal consciousness is the first desire and gives rise to Prakriti .The very act of observing its own self gives rise to the material world.

1.Purusha is the first tattva.

2.Prakriti is the second tattva given rise from Purusha

🙂 Now Prakriti which has separated from Purusha with the immense resources of the cosmos at its disposal starts witnessing the vastness of its own self and marvels at it giving rise to Buddhi or Intellect.

3.Intellect or Buddhi is the third tattva given rise from Prakriti.

4.At the witnessing of it’s own self Prakriti marvels at its own creation .The very act of marvelling creates an separation between Prakriti and Purusha giving rise to Ahamkara or Ego .

5.Eg0  essentially is the birth of material creation since it gives rise to Manas or the mind which thinks a million thoughts .

From the Manas are born the Pancha Maha Bhutas or five elements which actually create the world.In the next post we will explore the Pancha Maha Bhutas.

P.S Purusha and Prakriti can be thought of as Shiva and Shakti or as Sriman Narayana and Lakshmi and can also take any other form personalized to the stream of devotion.

Purusha and Prakriti as Ardhanarishwara


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