The samkhya system

Why knock it down says the interlocutor, is that not an aggressive stance taken towards others?  Why not simply establish your own position and leave the poor Samkhya alone?

The idea is that this is an infringement of the code of ahimsa.

     Nevertheless says Shankara many respected elders teach it as the truth and a valid means to right knowledge.  Its essential incoherence may trammel up the mind of the seeker.  They even quote the Upanisads to support their position.  However it will not be necessary to disagree with their interpretation for the refutation of their teaching comes from an analysis of their stated doctrine.

     pg.369: Pradhana is insentient.  It is unknown for an insentient thing to act without guidance.  This stupendous creation cannot therefore be the work of Pradhana.

     Pradhana is in the control of a conscious entity.  Qualities that supposedly inhere in Pradhana viz. Sattva, Rajas and Thamas cannot be part of the nature of Pradhana which is insentient.

     The facts of evolution would tend to partially favour the Samkhya view which is essentially materialistic.  If the world is permeated by Sat Cit Ananda which is non-dual with creation then they are wrong and if they think to hold that and still maintain their theory of the ultimacy of primal matter they are self-contradictory.  This is a very modern debate.

     "Thereby, modern philosophy has been ruined.  It has oscillated in a complex manner between three extremes.  There are the dualists, who accept matter and mind as on an equal basis, and the two varieties of monists, those who put mind inside matter, and those who put matter inside mind.  But this juggling with abstractions can never overcome the inherent confusion introduced by the ascription of misplaced concreteness to the scientific scheme of the seventeenth century." From Science in the Modern World by Whitehead.

     Being within the Vedic tradition it is clear that the Samkhya system is monistic

     pg.372: The sentient is the impeller of action.

     Vedantin & Magnet: Something which is not acting itself (Magnet/Brahman) may be the cause of others to act.

     Sam.: How may God be the impeller if He is one without a second?

     Ved: Ajnana

     Sam.: But insentient milk flows for calves.


     Maya is mentioned on page 374 in a summery of the Samkhya System

     Even if spontaneous change is admitted the incoherence of the system remains.  It will have no purpose or direction therefore it cannot act for the soul.  There is no basis for order and consistency which would be a foundation for the predominance of any of the Gunas in the person.  A system could not have emerged out of pure spontaneity.  This it seems to me is the problem with Ultra-Darwinism.  Can purpose emerge?  Is adaptation a purpose or a result of the process of natural selection.  Pradhana does not act for the sake of the soul.  We arrived where we are today not by intention but by evolution.  Was this inevitably our final goal (self-awareness)given that reality and awareness are non-dual.  Human immediate Self awareness, is this the proof of the innate pervasion of reality by 'pratibodha viditam'  "It (i.e. Brahaman ) is really known when It is known with (i.e. as the Self of) each state of consciousness, (pratibodha viditam)because thereby one gets immortality.  (Since) through ones own Self is acquired strength, (therefore) through knowledge is attained immortality. "Kena II.iv.

     What could make Pradhana to act?  How is it? "and since there is no external factor to excite them (3 Gunas), there can be origin of mahat and the rest that results from the disturbance of the balance of the three constituents. pg.378

     What it all comes down to and is the beginning of the quest is the experience of the changeless, and therefore one without a second, Self.  It is that mysterious presence, I am that I am, that sets us to ask all these questions.  And this presence is conscious, it is linked to our consciousness, it is primal and both in time and outside it.  That is what leads us to consider Brahman as a conscious entity.  Perhaps that is what is the source of our resistance to pure materialism - we are the living refutation of it.


page 83 : It cannot be surveyed: if you try to make it surveyable, you lose it.  It comes - comes to fetch you - and if it does not reach you or encounter you it vanishes, but it comes again, transformed.  It does not stand outside you, it touches your ground; and if you say "soul of my soul " you have not said too much.  But beware of trying to transpose it into your soul - that way you destroy it.  It is your present; you have a present only in so far as you have it; and you can make it into an object for you and experience it and use it - you must do that again and again - and then you have no present any more.  Between you and it there is reciprocity of giving: you say You to it and give yourself to it: it says You to you and gives itself to you.  You cannot come to an understanding about it with others; you are lonely with it; but it teaches you to encounter others and to stand your ground in such encounters; and through the grace of its advents and the melancholy of its departures it leads you to that You in which the lines of relation, though parallel, intersect.  It does not help you to survive; it only helps you to have intimations of eternity.


     When I say that you experience it, I do not mean in the sense of the self-realised, more that your identity is a given, a basic datum.

     The basic question that might be asked of all these 'ur-stuf' theories is what impels them to change from where do they get their direction or impetus, what gives it form, how is that form held.  Is this not the basic definition of 'mind'?viz. How form is held, e.g.. mind of nature, computer mind etc.

Because the components of such a combination are insentient and because consciousness can flash (from a contact between sense organs and objects) only if a combination of things  (forming the body etc.) is already there, and because no other steady and independent entity is admitted which is sentient, an experiencer and a ruler, and which can bring about the combination. pg.403 B.S.B.

     Here Shankaracarya is criticising the Buddhists' account  of the formation of ego-consciousness via the skandhas etc. but it is a way that he uses with all 'ur-stuf' theories