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Kapila (ca. sixth century B.C.E.)

Celebrated Hindu sage and founder of the Sankya school of philosophy. He is believed by some Hindus to be the god Vishnu in the fifth of his 24 incarnations.

The Sankya system seeks to explain the creation of the phenomenal universe and the part played by spirit and matter (purusha and prakriti ) and to harmonize rational analysis and the religious authority of the Vedas. It is the oldest of the Hindu philosophical systems and is regarded as the cornerstone of Hindu philosophy. The yoga system popularized in the Yoga Sutras of the sage Patanjali (ca. 200 B.C.E.) is based on the Sankya system.


Bahadur, Krishna Prakash. The Wisdom of Saankhya. New Delhi, India: Sterling, 1978.

Prabhupada, Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta. Teachings of Lord Kapila: The Son of Devahuti. New York: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1977.

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Kapila. A legendary figure, traditionally recognized as the founder of Sāṃkhya. He is said to have lived during the late 7th or early 6th cent. BCE though these dates precede his supposed authorship of the Ṣaṣṭitantra (c.100 BCE–200 CE) and other texts. Today, thousands of pilgrims gather at the point by the island Sagar where the river Gaṅgā is said to have come to earth, and here they visit the hermitage (āśrama) of the sage Kapila.