What are the Basic Postulates of Sankhya Philosophy?
Sankhya does not accept the necessity of God in the existence of the process of creation (Srishthi-Prakriya). Sankhya asserts that the existence of God cannot be proved. Hence Sankhya is regarded as atheistic (Nirishwarvadi).
The Purush (i.e., the spirit) is inactive (Nishkriya) without attributes, i.e., absolute and detached (Nirlipta). But the other two elements—Vyakta Prakriti or matter and Avyakta are associated with attributes.
In order to understand the interrelationship between these elements, it is necessary to understand the consequence (Pariram) and the relationship between action and activity (i.e. Karya) and cause (Karan). Each matter has some attributes (Dharma).
The attribute of each matter is changeable. This change ability is known as Pariram, i.e., the consequence or result. This Pariram or changeability is a continual process both in the Vyakta and Avyakta elements (Tatva).
Each matter in the world is made of Satva, Raj and Tarn attributes. Attribute means factor (Ghatak) or rope (Rassi). Just as three pieces of thread are entwined to make a piece of rope; similarly, the intermingling of these three attributes (Satva, Raj and Tarn) in various proportions produces various things (Padarth).
Satva stands for light (Prakash) or knowledge (Gyan). Raj stands for action or activity (Kriyashilata). Tarn refers to inhibition (Avarodha), heaviness (Bharipan) and covering, etc. The position (sthiti) of these attributes results into some activity or consequence (Pariram).
The Pariram (the activity or consequences may be of three types: (1) Change in the attribute (Dharma-Pariram), change in the form (Lakshan-pariram) and change in the position (Awastha-pariram).
When the Prakriti (Avyakta) is in a balanced position, then there is no change (Pariram or consequence) in the Prakriti. When its balance is disturbed some activity springs forward. There is a karan-karya (cause and action or activity) relationship between the Vyakta Prakriti and Avyakta Prakriti.
But what is the meaning of Karya Karan relationship (Samandh)? According to Nyaya philosophy Karya (action) is different from Karan (cause), and there is absence of KaryA (activity) in Karan (cause). Nyaya philosophy believes that Karan (cause) is dependent on the will of God (Ishwareksha) but Sakhya does not agree with, this viewpoint.
According to it (Sankhya) Karya (Action) is not different from Karan (cause). In fact, it (Karya) is inherent in Karan (cause). The origin of Karya from Karan means coming out of the ‘Vartaman karya’ (present action) out of the hidden or latent ‘karan’ (cause) this principle is known as ‘Satkaryavad’
The Sankhya philosophy makes a subtle analysis of matter and spirit, i.e., Prakriti and Purush. The basic or fundamental matter or (Prakriti) is unperceivable (Apratyaksha). But its existence may be proved.
The Purush (the spirit) is unperceivable. It cannot be perceivable even through intellect. It (the spirit) is beyond the three attributes and it is detached. It cannot be proved even through inference.
The only proof of its existence is Vedas. The spirit (the Purush) is inactive (Nishkriya) and all-pervading (Sarvavyapak). Purush or spirit is one. But according to many commentators the Sankhya philosophy believes in the plurality of spirit (that is, many should). According to Sankhya there are three positions of Purush (spirit or soul), the bound (the Baddha), the free (the Mukta) and the Chetan (or known). It is the Baddha (the bound) Purush which tries to be free.
The Sankhya philosophy discusses about the relationship between the Prakriti and Purush (matter and spirit) and between bondage (Bandhan) and salvation (Kaivalya). The Prakriti or the matter is eternal (Nitya).
When the reflection of the Purush (spirit) falls on Prakriti (matter), the intellect (Buddhi) is generated. As a result, the Prakriti begins to regard itself as Chetan, i.e. spirit. Similarly, the reflection of Buddhi (intellect) falls on Purush, then the detached Purush begins to regard itself as attached.
This supposed and projected relationship between Purush and Prakriti (spirit and matter) is regarded as Bandhan (Bondage). In order to remove this bondage and to recognize its separate existence from the Prakriti is Kaivalya or Mukti or salvation of the Purush.
It is after procuring this position that the Purush begins to regard himself as Nirlipta or detached. Even after obtaining Kaivalya (salvation), due to impressions (Samskars) of the previous births the body is not destroyed immediately.
Then the Sadhak (devotee) is in the position of Jeevan-mukta (free from the present life). When the Bhoga (cherished things or sufferings pertaining to the previous births) is fulfilled the physical body declines and the devotee obtains the accomplishment of Video It Kaivalya (perfect salvation).
According to Sankhya philosophy the ultimate velour (Param Purushartha) of one’s life is to obtain deliverance from the Dukhatraya—three fold miseries, that is, Adhibhautik (physical) or material, Davik (miseries brought out through the influence of evil spirits) and Adhyatmik (spiritual). The realization of the ultimate truth is the only means for achieving this position.