The following article on Samkhya is conceived & written by Sw Devamaya of the Satyananda tradition of yoga through teachings, teaching & personal experience. It is not intended to cover every lane and byway of Samkhya, but to cut to the chase. Make it clear and simple.
SAMKHYA IS THE PHILOSOPHY
which helps one
from the mundane mind to the
The Samkhya philosophy recognises the human experience as a journey of the mind. It is a philosophy for refining and redesigning the mind with sattva (luminosity/steadiness) i.e. redesigning from the mundane mind to the transcendental mind.
Samkhya offers insights and practices which help the yogic student make that journey of the mind faster and more elegantly. Of course, only those ready to do this will find Samkhya appealing.
There is a tendency to imply that the Samkhya philosophy is dry - after-all it doesn't link to rituals, gods, godesses, gurus and other 'spiritual accoutrements' - but Samkhya is not dry, it is life-giving and juicy for those who have the heart to understand it. A little bit of Samkhya provides a lot of quality living.
We are also led to believe that Samkhya is about numbers ... but it only relates to numbers in the sense that there are a number of facets which comprise the human being and you can learn to work with them all.
Samkhya is about calculating the way to clarity and wisdom. This in turn leads to sattva, and therefore, the intelligence of Love. Through yogic wisdom you can:
· figure out
· adjust for purpose
· design and
· process all ASPECTS OF THE MIND from mundane through to transcendental.
In calculating for higher living,the gunas, tattvas, antar karana (major structures of the mind), chakras, senses and the body are all included.
Knowledge and understanding of the gunas, tattvas & chakras and making them front and centre in everyday life, increases awareness, mindfulness, peace, inner strength, awakening and the deepening of consciousness on many levels. Mundane consciousness is the petty level of living, where Supra-consciousness is luminous, powerful, transcendental living. Because Samkhya enumerates the flow of consciousness and the creatrix from its beginning in human life to the creation of the body, from subtle to dense, the tendency is to see Samkhya as not concerned with the heart of being human. This could not be farther from the truth. Samkhya aims for the highest kind of love, luminous, supramental love.
Samkhya also explains the necessity for self-inquiry, jnana (gyana) yoga i.e. the processing of all behaviour through the lense of guna and tattva combined. This process will alert you to your conditioned behaviour and to any mundane thinking you have acquired and enact in everyday life. It will also reveal how deeply that behaviour has been ingrained and how much a prisoner you are to it. Through guna & tattva awareness you can slowly understand yourself and undo your conditioning.
The main requirement in Samkhya is that you learn the essence of gunas, tattvas & chakras so that you can use this knowledge to refine the mind in everyday moments. The three are linked utterly together.
The training is simple. If the behaviour is tamasic or rajasic, take the step to change it immediately. Into sattva. Guiding the mind/behaviour from tamas or rajas into sattva, slowly establishes the mind in sattva. The establised state of sattva is the state of radiance.
Designing, planning, ascertaining, figuring out how to move from tamas to sattva, rajas to sattva, dispels the shadows & clouds of confusion and layers of tension and darkness within. Small steps into sattva, small awarenesses of gunas and tattvas, and little bits of self-inquiry, cultivates little bits of radiance. Radiance which is slowly integrated into your whole being. Sattva begins to rule where once tamas and rajas ruled.
Samkhya side-steps having an external guru. The Inner Wisdom, the Soul, The Heartful Mind are seen as the True Guru, removing the need for an external guru.
The more steps we take to move to sattva, the more the insula unfolds. The insula is a little known part of the brain, which does amazing work for us. It is the fifth lobe of the brain, folded deeply within the cerebral cortex, the higher brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3097350/
The Seer, the Inner Guru which observes and experiences everything, resides in the insula. Each step you take to dispel tension, undo conditioning, activate sattva, build new neural pathways or create knowledge causes the insula to unfold incrementally, thus incrementally bringing in the Light of Awareness.
Samkhya places all emphasis on Living in the Light. All meditation is on the Light. On living radiantly. Living in the light requires shifting any behaviour from tamas or rajas, into sattva. Clean & simple. Self-communion, Self-trust, Self-integrity, Self-governance, Self-healing are all sattvic behaviours which bring you to live in the light.
There are six major chakras which relate to the mind & behaviour.
mooladhara at the perineum, related to earth tattva
swadhistana at the tailbone, related to the water tattva
manipura level with the navel, in the spine, related to the fire tattva
anahata level with the sternum in the spine, related to the air tattva
vishuddhi at the base of the neck, related to the ether tattva
agya at the top of the spine, combines all tattvas.
Tattvas and gunas intelligence, and as such are the very energies which create personality and the uniqueness of personality and the changes that can occur within personalities.
The 3 gunas are: heavy/dark; over-bright/restless; balanced/radiant.
Individual tattva qualities govern individual chakras. The tattvas are: earth, water, fire, air and ether.
The gunas and tattvas blend in different combinations in each chakra, depending on the samskaras locked into each chakra.
Mooladhara, the earthing, grounding chakra is governed by the earth tattva (element) and the earth element is then influenced by tamas, rajas and sattva. Earth element influenced by tamas makes for very insecure, heavy, dark personality traits; rajas makes for insecure, over-reactive fearfulness such as anxiety and/or aggressive personality traits; sattva earth makes for a secure, steady, balanced personality. There is far more to be discussed in relation to earth/tamas, earth/rajas and earth/sattva.
Swadhistana, the chakra of detachment is governed by the water element - this in turn is influenced by tamas, rajas and sattva.
The water tattva influenced by tamas causes dark moody emotions and depression. Water influenced by rajas causes the urge for over- socialisation and addiction. Water influenced by sattva causes joyfulness, the highest form of detachment.
There is far more to be discussed in relation to water/tamas, water/rajas and water/sattva, this is just the most apparent.
Manipura, the chakra of willpower is governed by fire. Tamas/fire is the dark power of bullying, rajas/fire is the overzealous power ambition. Sattva/fire is willpower used in any way for the good of all.
There is far more to be discussed in relation to fire/tamas, fire/rajas and fire/sattva.
Anahata, the chakra of love is governed by air. Tamas/air is the dark power of criticizing self and others, rajas/air is the overzealous care of others. Sattva/air is love that sees the overview, and loves all unconditionally for the good of all.
There is far more to be discussed in relation to air/tamas, air/rajas and air/sattva.
Vishuddhi, the chakra of purity is governed by ether. Tamas/ether is the dark creativity such as dark poetry, under-communicating, rajas/ether is overzealous communication. Sattva/ether is trans- formation which is refined, elegant, eloquent and beautiful.
As with the other chakras there is more to be discussed in relation to ether/tamas, ether/rajas and ether/sattva.
Agya chakra is governed by all five tattvas. It is from agya that they unfold from ether down to earth.
THE aspects (numbers) acknowledged by Samkhya
Samhkya describes the human experience densities of consciousness which are 'caused' to emerge one from the other.
The origins of creation according to Samkhya are:
1. Purusha & Prakriti, locked together.
2. From this Mahat emerges. The cosmic mind.
3. Gunas come into play.
4. Then the mahabhutas - the elemental essences - which affect the gunas.
5. Then the antar karana i.e. instrument of the mind - intellect, memory, ego and the thinking mind.
6. Then the tanmatras, senses and physical body.
Everything, even the physical body is actually an evolute of mind. All mind is comprised of purusha and prakriti. As you can see there a quite a number of things to be aware of, to calculate and design with, in knowing who you are, and how to upgrade yourself.
Purusha is stillness & silence, no-thing-ness, awareness.
Prakriti is all action and creativity (intelligence/consciousness). Prakriti cannot stay still and continuously emerges as creation in its myriad forms.
The first stirring of creativity is 'caused' by the GUNA evolute, there are three gunas. In simple terms they are strands of energy which "play" in all that is created: 1. heavy/dark 2. over-bright/restless 3. luminous/powerful
In more complex terms they are desire, will and wisdom. Desire is always with us from dark desires to luminous.
Extricating oneself from dark desires and establishing oneself in luminous desires is a major goal.
Extricating oneself from power over others to transcendental Self-rule is another major goal.
Extricating oneself from confusion into luminous wisdom is the third major goal.
The potential for all suffering, extrication and development is contained in the six lower chakras.
MAHABHUTA is the second evolute. Mahabhutas are the primordial elements of being, ether, air, fire, water & earth. Permeating the gunas they add another dimension to the play of the gunas. Tamo guna with a dominant earth mahabuta will behave differently than tamo guna with air. And so on like this rajo guna is affected by all five elements, as is sattva.
In this way gunas and mahabhutas cause the mind.
MIND is the third evolute. A set of complex structures for perceiving, cognising, remembering, feeling, creating and thinking. Buddhi is the first mind evolute caused and it has the capacity for rational, analytical perception & cognition - and with evolution, intuitive wisdom. Ahamkara is the second mind evolute, it initially thinks about itself and its survival, then about specific others, with evolution ahamkara/ego experiences all others as itself. Chitta is the third mind evolute, it holds all experienced and yet to be experienced material no matter how small, from this lifetime and all others. The fourth mind evolute of the mind is Manas - the practical worker that learns and anticipates and maintains day to day knowledge and behaviour.
TATTVAS are the finer form of the mahabhutas and in permeated interplay with the mind and gunas at all points of time and place. It is the state to which the tattvas have evolved which affect the gunas and colour the personality. A person can be thought of as very earthy, very airy, very emotional, a space cadet, very ambitious, or angry - while known to have many other qualities as well. Tattvas form the bridge from the mind to the body, in their origins they are powerful and subtle, now they come into the physical and are more gross.
SENSES As organs the senses are the beginning of the physical experience. Samkhya describes them as having two physical branches:
1. organs of action 2. organs of experience
The organs of action allow us to live and move, they are the reproductive organs, mouth & tongue (speaking & eating), hands (serving), legs (moving) and anus (releasing).
The organs of interpretation allow us to interpret and experience the world, but only according to the level to which one has evolved. The organs are the nose - smelling, tongue - tasting, eyes - seeing, skin - feeling, ears - hearing. For example, the molecules of perfume may touch the tongue when sprayed, and this can inform the more evolved mind that perfume is toxic and should not be ingested by the skin.
The senses also experience at the non-physical level. This is the psychic level. Psychic fragrances and odours can be perceived by an individual and not perceived by anyone else. As can music, visions, tastes, etc. All can be experienced as painful or pleasant.
TANMATRAS are the tattva experiences related to the senses.
Earth tattva supports the ability to smell.
Water tattva supports the ability to taste.
Fire supports the ability to see.
Air tattva supports feeling and touch.
Ether supports the ability for sound to travel and to hear.
In the final analysis in Samkhya the senses and body are mind too, because just like the mind they are formed out of prana and consciousness, or consciousness and the creatrix.
Bring awareness of the gunas, tattvas and chakras to the forefront of your mind. This leads to knowledge of them and then to real understanding. Awareness comes first, knowledge second, understanding third and Self-realisation comes fourth.
Intelligence is the creative power in the gunas, tattvas, structures of the mind, chakras, senses and the body. YOGA practices tap into and optimise the intelligence in all aspects of the human being.
Use the mantra Om Tat Sat Om to increase your awareness of the spiritual in all things and your journey to sattva.
Chant the mantra OM straight into the chakras to help refine the mind, to help upgrade the mind from mundane to transcendental.
Hold an image of the Light in the mind while chanting aum, when resting or having any moments of quiet and stillness, because there is spaciousness, love and peace in the Light.
May your journey to sattva and on, into the Light, be elegant and beautiful.
OM TAT SAT OM