Contribution of Vachaspati-Mishra to Samkhya System

by Sasikumar. B | 2017 | 35,637 words

This page relates ‘Phenomenology in Sankhya’ 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 4.2a - Phenomenology in Sāṅkhya

Phenomenology is the philosophical study of the structures of experience and consciousness. It deals with what we see, hear or feel about the world. Phenomenology is the science of experience. While dealing with the phenomenology of the Sāṅkhya System, Vācaspati Miśra provides no new explanations of the predispositions or the intellectual creation. He indicates that the five misconceptions viz. tamas, moha, mahāmoha, tāmiśra, and andhatāmiśra of the intellectual creation are equivalent to the five afflictions (kleśas) of Pātañjala-Yoga viz. avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa and abhiniveśa.

While dealing with the phenomenology of the Yoga System Vācaspati Miśra provides minute explications about the five kleśas and their implications on Puruṣas. Vācaspati Miśra opines that the effectiveness of kriyāyoga is limited to the weakening of kleśas and that it is not effective in respect of total removal of kleśas. When kleśas are not rendered weak, the men being overpowered by strong opposition cannot show any inclination of eradicating them. When the kleśas are rendered weak, vairāgya and abhyāsa become operative. The reference to kleśa brings to the topic of five kleśas viz. avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveṣa and abhiniveśa. The word kleśa which has been translated as afflictions really means both suffering and the cause of suffering.

In Sāṅkhyatattvakaumudī , Vācaspati Miśra opines that the possessions of buddhi are called aṅkuśas (hindrances) when the siddhis are practiced.[1] To attain Apavarga these aṅkuśas should be avoided. Hence a thorough knowledge of these dispositions is necessary to attain the ultimate goal, Apavarga. Apavarga can be attained through discriminative knowledge. The eight siddhis as the means of attaining the discriminative knowledge is explained.

The buddhi has four possessions like viparyaya (afflictions), aśakti (disability), tuṣṭi (contentment) and siddhi (success). There is suppression mutually of these attributes because of the inequalities present in them giving rise to fifty forms.[2] Vācaspati Miśra points out that the creation based on intellectuality. The term Pratyaya means buddhi and sarga means creation or pariṇāma.

Thus Pratyayasarga refers to that which is a creation of buddhi.

"pratīyate'neneti pratyayo buddhiḥ, tasya sargaḥ"[3]

The viparyaya is nothing but illusion or ignorance. The aśakti is that which arises from the inability of the sense organs. The tuṣṭi and siddhi are also the attributes which can be seen in the buddhi. The first three that are the viparyaya, aśakti, tuṣṭi take along with it the temperament of dharma (virtue) and its six attributes. The siddhi is combined along with the knowledge.[4]

The inequalities of three guṇas are the cause of individual weakness. The degrees of the inequality take into consideration on the basis of precise cases. This is the one leads to the suppression of the attributes by anyone of them or by each other which makes the fifty forms of evolution which is subjective. The attribute of viparyaya has five forms and that of aśakti has twenty-eight forms. The form of aśakti rises from the flaw of the organs. The attribute of tuṣṭi takes in nine forms and the success takes in eight forms.[5]

Footnotes and references:




Yogatattvavaiśāradī on Yogasūtra.I.48


Sāṅkhyatattvakaumudī on Sāṅkhyakārikā 5


"tatjñānamanumānameva", Sāṅkhyatattvakaumudī on Sāṅkhyakārikā 5


Māṭharavṛtti on Sāṅkhyakārikā 5

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