Contribution of Vachaspati-Mishra to Samkhya System

by Sasikumar. B | 2017 | 35,637 words

This page relates ‘Ontology of Sankhya System (Introduction)’ of the research on the Sankhya [Samkhya] school of Indian philosophy with special reference to the contribution of Vachaspati-Mishra. The study includes concepts such as Epistemology (validity and worth of knowledge), Ontology (theory of being or reality), Psychology (science of behavior and mind), Phenomenology (the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness) and Ethics (the removal of errors), all forming an essential part of Samkhya philosophy.

Chapter 3.3 - Ontology of Sāṅkhya System (Introduction)

[Full title: Vācaspati Miśra’s contribution of Ontology to Sāṅkhya System]

Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and it enquires into the general conditions of the validity of knowledge, while ontology is the theory of being or reality. Ontology must be preceded by epistemology; since if one cannot investigate the ultimate nature of the reality without prior criticism of the organ of knowledge. As a matter of fact, epistemology and ontology are so intimately related to each other that one cannot stand without the other. The question of the nature and validity of knowledge and the question of the ultimate nature of what is known are, in reality, two aspects of the same study. So after discussing the epistemological contribution of Vācaspati Miśra, his ontological contribution to Sāṅkhya is discussed.

Classical Sāṅkhya is rigidly dualistic. It accepts the independent reality of Prakṛti and Puruṣa which are radically different from each other. Prakṛti is the mass of undifferentiated being and as such the ultimate ground of the world. Puruṣa is the fact of consciousness, the ultimate ground of man. Thus Puruṣa and Prakṛti, the radical concepts in the Sāṅkhya System come under the ontological discussion.

[1. Prakṛti (the material principle)]

[2. The Guṇas (sattva, rajas and tamas)]

[3. Theory of Pariṇāmavāda]

[4. Theory of Satkāryavāda]

[5. Refutation of other schools]

[6. Puruṣa (the self)]

[7. Viveka (discriminative knowledge)]

[8. Apavarga (liberation)]

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