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Sāṃkhya

Sāṃkhya. One of the six orthodox schools of interpretation (darśana) in Hinduism. Its founder is said to have been Kapila. Sāṃkhya posits a fundamental contrast between puruṣa and prakṛti. Puruṣa is the conscious, intelligent self or essence, prakṛti the eternal, unconscious potentiality of all being or appearance. In itself, prakṛti rests in a state of perfect equilibrium, composed of three strands (guṇas), sattva (the subtle principle of potential consciousness), rajas (the principle of activity), and tamas (the principle of passivity). The unfolding or evolution of prakṛti from its state of equilibrium occurs when puruṣa becomes present to it, creating the duality of subject and object. By the light of the consciousness of puruṣa, humans are able to become aware of prakṛti. If puruṣa forgets its true nature and regards the body or mind as the true self, then it remains attached to prakṛti. Freedom is obtained by discriminatory knowledge (sāṃkhya), which is practical as well as theoretical; and that is why yoga became attached to Sāṃkhya, producing the so-called Sāṃkhya-yoga of Patañjali. Potentially, and often actually, Sāṃkhya is a non-theistic system. However, gods are easily incorporated as products of prakṛti; or God as Puruṣa.

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Sankhya

Sankhya (philosophical school in Hinduism): see SĀṂKHYA.

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Samkhya

Samkhya (säng´kyə): see Hindu philosophy.

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