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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

By Vijnana Bhik@su Yogavarttika


The Germs of Sa@mkhya in the Upani@sads.

It is indeed true that in the Upani@sads there is a large number of texts that describe the ultimate reality as the Brahman, the infinite, knowledge, bliss, and speak of all else as mere changing forms and names. The word Brahman originally meant in the earliest Vedic literature, _mantra_, duly performed sacrifice, and also the power of sacrifice which could bring about the desired result [Footnote ref l]. In many passages of the Upani@sads this Brahman appears as the universal and supreme principle from which all others derived their powers. Such a Brahman is sought for in many passages for personal gain or welfare. But through a gradual process of development the conception of Brahman reached a superior level in which the reality and truth of the world are tacitly ignored, and the One, the infinite, knowledge, the real is regarded as the only Truth. This type of thought gradually developed into the monistic Vedanta as explained by S'ankara. But there was another line of thought which was developing alongside of it, which regarded the world as having a reality and as being made up of water, fire, and earth. There are also passages in S'vetas'vatara and particularly in Maitraya@ni from which it appears that the Samkhya line of thought had considerably developed, and many of its technical terms were already in use [Footnote ref 2]. But the date of Maitraya@ni has not yet been definitely settled, and the

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[Footnote 1: See Hillebrandt's article, "Brahman" (_E. R.E._).]

[Footnote 2: Katha III. 10, V. 7. S'veta. V. 7, 8, 12, IV. 5, I. 3. This has been dealt with in detail in my _Yoga Philosophy in relation to other Indian Systems of Thought_, in the first chapter.]

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found there are also not such that we can form a distinct notion of the Sa@mkhya thought as it developed in the Upani@sads. It is not improbable that at this stage of development it also gave some suggestions to Buddhism or Jainism, but the Sa@mkhya-Yoga philosophy as we now get it is a system in which are found all the results of Buddhism and Jainism in such a manner that it unites the doctrine of permanence of the Upani@sads with the doctrine of momentariness of the Buddhists and the doctrine of relativism of the Jains.

Sa@mkhya and Yoga Literature.

The main exposition of the system of Sa@mkhya and Yoga in this section has been based on the _Sa@mkhya karika_, the _Sa@mkhya sutras_, and the _Yoga sutras_ of Patanjali with their commentaries and sub-commentaries. The _Sa@mkhya karika_ (about 200 A.D.) was written by Is'varak@r@s@na. The account of Sa@mkhya given by Caraka (78 A.D.) represents probably an earlier school and this has been treated separately. Vacaspati Mis'ra (ninth century A.D.) wrote a commentary on it known as _Tattvakaumudi_. But before him Gaudapada and Raja wrote commentaries on the _Sa@mkhya karika_ [Footnote ref 1]. Narayanatirtha wrote his _Candrika_ on Gaudapada's commentary. The _Sa@mkhya sutras_ which have been commented on by Vijnana Bhik@su (called _Pravacanabha@sya_) of the sixteenth century seems to be a work of some unknown author after the ninth century. Aniruddha of the latter half of the fifteenth century was the first man to write a commentary on the _Sa@mkhya sutras_. Vijnana Bhiksu wrote also another elementary work on Sa@mkhya known as _Sa@mkhyasara_. Another short work of late origin is _Tattvasamasa_ (probably fourteenth century). Two other works on Sam@khya, viz Simananda's _Samkhyatattvavivecana_ and Bhavaga@nes'a's _Sa@mkhyatattvayatharthyadipana_ (both later than Vijnanabhik@su) of real philosophical value have also been freely consulted. Patanjali's _Yoga sutra_ (not earlier than 147 B.C.) was commented on by Vaysa (400 A.D.) and Vyasa's bhasya commented on by Vacaspati Mis'ra is called _Tattvavais'aradi_, by Vijnana Bhik@su _Yogavarttika_, by Bhoja in the tenth century _Bhojav@rtti_, and by Nages'a (seventeenth century) _Chayavyakhya_.


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