Samkhya Yoga Description
The word Samkhya literally means to count, calculate or reason. Samkhya Yoga is one of the most popular darshana (Philosophy) in Ancient Hinduism School of Philosophy. A Hindu Sage Kapil Muni is said to be the father of this Darshana. It is an epic from Ancient India as it has its roots in the 6th or 7th century. Sometimes people also refer it as Sankhya.
Samkhya is a very ancient and pure knowledge. Kapil Muni is the originator of this Philosophy. Kapil Muni has explained Samkhya in the Tattvamas epic. According to Sankhya Darshana, there are only two eternal elements – “Purusha and Prakriti”. In this Philosophy, these two elements comprise the whole Universe within it.
Prakriti here doesn’t mean the mother Nature we see but it represents the entity that existed before creation and has actually created everything. ‘Pra’ means Before and ‘Kriti’ means Creation. It is non-living, and it has 8 bhed (distinctions) and 14 vikara (vices). It has 3 properties. “Sattva (i.e. Purity), Rajas (i.e. Activity) and Tamas (i.e. Darkness)”.
Purusha is the conscious element. Purusha is full of light and Prakriti needs it to express and manifest itself. Both are incomplete without each other.
As Prakriti needs Purusha for its expression and Prakriti has everything that Purusha needs. Both of them compromise and unite thereby giving rise to Manifestation. But the problem arrives when Purusha falls in the Attachments and Fascinations. Removal of these Attachments again by gaining the awareness of difference between the original two forms i.e. two P’s is Atma Gyan (i.e. Knowledge of Self) or Brahma Gyan.
Samkhya Yoga according to Shrimad Bhagwad Gita
It will be a very difficult task if one tries to learn Samkhya directly from Kapil Muni’s Darshana. These Darshanas require prior Vedic knowledge to solely understand these concepts. The easier way is to turn towards Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, in which Shri Krishna has explained all the Yoga Paths in much easier and compact form. Gita is complete in itself and doesn’t require any prior knowledge to start. Thus Shrimad Bhagwad Gita is the best option to learn Samkhya Yoga for beginners.
Yogeshwer Shri Krishna has explained Sankhya Yoga in the second chapter of Srimad Bhagavad Gita. In the battlefield of Kurukshetra Arjun is scared facing his own Grandfather, Guru, Brothers and other relatives. Leaving his Dharma, he wants to run away from the bhagwawar into the forest. The conversation of Yogeshwer with scared Arjuna to bring him back on the path of Dharma is Shrimad Bhagwad Gita.
In Bhagwad Gita first of all, Shri Krishna experiments Arjuna with Samkhya. Shri Krishna has taught Arjuna several Yoga Paths. The Knowledge of Dhyana Yoga, Karma Yoga, Nishkam Karma Yoga, Raj Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Gyan-Vigyan Yog has also been given in the Gita by Lord Himself.
It is after getting this knowledge that a scared man takes his bow in his hands and follows his Dharma. After gaining this level of awareness, a war also becomes a Yajna and Arjuna attains Kaivalya or Moksha. Gita is versatile and equally useful in this Modern Era.
Sankhya is suitable for whom?
Samkhya also known as Sankhya is for men who are on the threshold or the edge of Dharma. It is like one is standing on the banks of the river but is afraid to get into the river. All he needs is a little push. If someone pushes, then he can swim. Samkhya is for those who have performed sadhana and for some reason could not attain samadhi or kaivalya.
The person who comes to know the Prakriti including purusa and virtues through philosophy, the significance of dharma, action etc. is won. There is also a lack of plurality after the Brahma Gyan is gained. He thus becomes Sthita Pragya which means his wisdom is now Stable (Sthita means stable and Pragya means wisdom).
He becomes aware that bondage and salvation are the jobs of Prakriti and resides only in the mind. Purusha is then thus always free from the forms. Prakriti binds itself and also it frees itself through knowledge. The Sankhya principle is a declaration to stop and to know. There is nothing to do neither sadhana nor tapasya with this. Only knowledge and understanding are sufficient to attain the Ultimate Goal of Human Life.
Gita about The Qualities of Sthita Pragya
We are often familiar with three stages – “Jagrit (awake), Swapna (dream) and Sushupti (sleep)”. Awakening means when the mind and body are awake and alert. In the dream the mind is awake and the body is at rest. Sushupti means both body and mind are in relaxation. Stitha Pragya remains awake in all these three stages.
According to Shri Krishna, which is the night for all beings, it is awakening for the Yogi. He is always awake and conscious. For him, day and night are no different. For him happiness and sorrow are also the similar conditions. He is infinite like the ocean. He resides in the samsara but does not get attached to it. His Karma are thus pure.
Stitha Pragya is the person who has attained Brahma Gyan. Knowing the difference between Prakriti and Purusha, who has the stability in Purusha only, he is said to be sthita in Brahma. That man does not get fascinations or attachments. This whole world becomes his family.
A person who is Sthita Pragya has feeling of only two conditions. Either he feels perfection, I am everything and there is nothing beyond me. Or in the second case he feels sheer emptiness that is, I am nobody and I have nothing, I don’t own anything not even myself.
In both the above conditions the Yogi is completely united with the Almighty. In the first case Universe resides in the Yogi. With the second case Yogi surrenders himself to God and thus he is the integral and indivisible part of the Parmatma (i.e. the Divine Prime Soul).
Once the Brahma Gyan is attained, this situation always prevails. After the Karma of his destiny is complete, he leaves the body and becomes unified with Brahma. Thus, he attains Kaivalya (Moksha or Liberation) and gets free from the chakras of Birth and Death.
Hindu Vedas are the Prime Source of Knowledge to Humanity. Darshanas are the different views to that Knowledge. These Philosophy are prepared with the view of taking the soul to its ultimate destiny the Prime Soul. Samkhya or Sankhya shows the path of Dwait (i.e. Duality). Prakriti and Purusha comprise The whole system and every element of Universe in it. Shri Krishna showed an easier path of Samkhya Yoga and defined the qualities of Sthita Pragya.
Several Darshana help you to develop different attitudes and following each of those paths lead you to the same prime destination, the Moksha or Liberation. These Philosophy are so versatile that it is equally useful for everybody who wants to learn something, without the bondage of time. Samkhya Yoga is gaining the knowledge and awareness of the differences between Purusha and Prakriti. Thus, performing Karma as Yajna and freeing oneself from the Bondages and Attachments. This is why Shri Krishna used the simile of a Tortoise with Yogi.