- Advaita school considers “Knowing” as removing the misconception or Avidya that we are the body and our individual soul (Jivatma) is actually brahman. Advaita recognizes Jeevan mukti or liberation in the body. Thus knowing can mean in the highest sense attaining Jeevan mukti. Advaita accepts Krama mukti i.e. Mukti by slow liberation. The soul slowly attains higher worlds and is liberated at the end of the kalpa. It accepts the following forms of Krama mukti
- Vishishtadvaita considers “Knowing” means “Understanding that we all are Sesha jivatmas and subservient to the Seshin(Absolute master)”. This school does not accept the doctrine of Jeevan Mukti and says that Moksha can be attained after death alone on reaching parama padam or Vaikuntam or abode of Vishnu. This can be done only by sharanagati.
- Dvaita says that “Knowing” means understanding the differences between Jeeva and Paramata. And by that surrendering or sharnagati one attains Krishna(Parabrahmam as per Dvaita).
The sankhya darshana though not in vogue now is a great
system of philosophy. The word sankhya means enumeration or “Clearly
enunciated” or “quantified”. If not
for this school, Vedanta cannot exist at all. This provides all the necessary
fundamental concepts to Vedanta like the various types of Karma (Prarabda,
Aagami, Sanchita), the gunas, the tattvas, an embryonic notion of evolution
etc. The yoga system completely depends on sankhya for its philosophical and
epistemological basis. Shankara in his Brahma Sutra Bhashya has great respect
for this system and says that “In order to win the wrestling match easily we
need to defeat the chief wrestler (Sankhya) first”. In fact this is the first
Astika darshana that talks about Moksha being the separation of Purusha (Atman)
from the trammels of Prakriti (The precursor term for
“Samsara” used in Vedanta). The highlight of this system is that it is able to explain the creation
of the universe without the help of a supreme god using the theory of
Satkaryavada or theory of cause and effect. We will got into this a bit
later.. Thus this is called a Nireeshvara darshana (Atheistic
in modern parlance). The pioneer of this
system is Kapila Maharishi who has
written the “Sankhya sutras”.
- This accepts first 3 of the 6 pramanas listed earlier. Since it accepts shruti pramana, it is an astika darshana.
- The individual soul is called Purusha here. This is a conscious entity called Chaitanya technically. It is absolute and independent and unsullied by defects. Sankhya accepts the existence of multiple purushas, compared to Advaita which accepts only one Atman.
- Prakriti is the principle responsible for all creation. It is an unconscious entity or called Jada in Sanskrit technically. It has three gunas, Satva (Illuminating), Rajas (Causes action), and Tamo (Causing restrictions or inertia) gunas respectively. When there is no creation or in Pralaya all the gunas are in equilibrium here. This kind of un-manifested prakriti is called Moola prakriti.
- Both Purusha and prakriti are real eternal entities. Thus sankhya is dualistic as it accepts two realities.
- When creation starts depending on the residual karma for a purusha the 3 fundamental gunas combine with each other, starting from moola prakriti to produce 23 tatvas
- Liberation or Moksha: Suffering is due to the failure to discriminate between purusha and matter. The self identifies itself with matter or prakriti. Liberation occurs when the purusha identifies itself that it is different from prakriti and is not limited by it. The Sankhyan approach to Liberation involves examining how perception operates, in order to reverse the world-generating process and allow pure Consciousness to be released from its bonds. See how close this view of Moksha is to the Advaitic school.
- It accepts the shruti as pramana. In fact Upanishads like Kata, Taittriya etc talks about sankhyan metaphysics at length. The Kata for example is explicitly sankhyan in nature. It talks about purusha, various tatvas and so on.
- No god or supreme lord is accepted in the Sankhya system. Kapila explicitly rejects the need for an Ishvara in his sutras. He says neither the shrutis adduce the need for ishvara nor is Ishvara visible with the sense-organs. So he says that a concept that can not be understood through any means of knowledge is useless for his purpose.
- When a poorvapaksha is raised as to the many Vedic statements that talk about a supreme lord who creates and sustains the world, Kapila rejects this saying that these are just advanced souls and are closer to liberation. But they themselves are within the knots of prakriti still though their knots are far more looser than humans and other beings. More about this later. Many Ishvaric versions of sankhya have been written by particularly the followers of the Vaishnava schools (Vedanta Deshika for example) of Vedanta. These schools propose a supreme lord or Ishvara. But these later additions force many of the fundamental tenets of Sankhya to change. Thus these are not popular. Ishvara Krishna who wrote a vartika to Kapila's aphorisms rejects these schools as not true sankhya. The true strength of Sankhya lies in its ability to explain the world and moksha therein, without a need for a god. Because of this one can still remain astika but need not believe in any deity for moksha. A very liberating ideal indeed. For me personally this one principle of Sankhya is a great attraction and enables me to objectively study the worldly experiences without prejudicing myself with a god and needing to curse him whenever my prayers are not answered. But unfortunately this is one of its biggest caveats of Sankhya. We will go into this also later.
- The separation of the prakriti and purusha is practically achieve through contemplation on the tattvas.
- In fact yoga provides a more algorithmic approach for the above purpose.
It is assumed by this theory that the effect is already found in the cause in a subtle form. Thus sat=Exists, Karya=effects. For example like curd in milk and oil in sesame seeds. If not for this restriction then any cause can create infinite effects. For example you could extract oil from a stone and curds from sand. Another corollary of this is you can work backward, given an effect you can find the cause. You can see how scientific is the approach of sankhya here. But this assumption that “The effect is already found in the cause” is rejected by Nyaya, Vaishashika (Atomic theory) and the Baudhas too. Their theory is called asatkaryavada or Arambavada. We will discuss this in detail when discussing those darshanas. This theory is also called parinamavada too. Parinama means “Changing or evolution”. i.e. The cause changes to its effect. The following are the 5 salient points of this theory.
- What is non existence can't be brought into existence by the cause. i.e. Curdling of milk can't produce oil.
- One distinct effect produces one cause
- All things cannot come from all things. Oil can't come out of stone.
- The energy required to produce a cause is visible in it's effect (A restatement of the law of conservation of energy?)
- Effect and cause not different but only different states.
- Vak or power of speech
- Hands or power to grasp.
- Feet. Power of locomotion.
- Anus. Power of excretion.
- Sex organs or power of reproduction.
- Akasha (Ether)
- Vayu (Air)
- Agni (Fire)
- Apaha (Water)
- Prithivi (Earth)
- If god is eternal and unchanging and is the cause of the world, then the world too should be eternal and unchanging because as per sankhya the cause and the effects are not different. Since we find that the world is eternally changing as per the theory of Satkarya vada there can be no god and he never created the universe.
- This is taken from the Ishvara Krishna's Vartika.
the world he is no good from any other baddha, except for his supernatural powers. If he is a mukta he has no use for creating the world. If he is beyond both he again does not need to create the world.
- If it is stated that god created the world for jivas to experience their karma, then he is not omniscient or omnipotent as he is acting on behalf of some other superior power compelling him to create. Thus again this kind of god has no use.
he created the world as sport as most
puranas claim, then he is a cruel being and not merciful as is claimed.
Even if an earthly mother(Human or animal) can show so much mercy on her
children and god is considered to be a parent(Jagan mata or pita, he
leave's much to be desired, as the world he created is full of death,
disease and poverty"