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Retrieving Samkhya History

An Ascent from Dawn to Meridian

Samkhya is the oldest among Indian philosophies. Rather, it had for long been synonymous with philosophy itself. Over the centuries, it has influenced all other Indian schools: orthodox and unorthodox. At its metaphysical below

About This Book

Samkhya is the oldest among Indian philosophies. Rather, it had for long been synonymous with philosophy itself. Over the centuries, it has influenced all other Indian schools: orthodox and unorthodox. At its metaphysical plane, Samkhya is dualistic realism holding out the doctrine of two ultimate realities: prakrti (matter, physical world) and purusha (self, spirit).

As a time-honoured tradition, Samkhya has, at its base, a long line of complex, often baffling expositions/commentaries/inter-pretations. Which, authored by ancient thinkers and sages, gave it both varied meaning and content. The earliest available work in this line of writings is Ishvarakrishna's Samkhyakarika (fifth century AD) -- a standard classic celebrated for crystallising the whole Samkhya thought of its times. Ishvarakrishna's work, however, has not only overshadowed all earlier expositions, but also led modern scholarship to mistakenly view the beginnings of Samkhya philosophy with nothing beyond Samkhyakarika. Professor Lallanji Gopal here dispels this and other widely-prevalent misconceptions.

The book reconstructs anew the pre-Ishvarakrishna history of Samkhya. And also, for the first time, evolves a chronological sequence of all its landmark works and their authors. Meticulously tracing the historical development of Samkhya thought: from its genesis with the legendary Kapila to its standardised formulations in Samkhyakarika, Professor Gopal shows how Samkhya has never been a monolithic system, nor has its growth been unilinear; how it has had an interesting history of changes, vital shifts, introduction of new details, debates, and even polemics; and, finally, how Ishvarakrishna's work is the 'culmination' of classical Samkhya, and not its 'beginning' -- as most modern scholars have come to believe.

Authenticated by an astonishing mass of literary sources, the book is bound to fascinate scholars and discerning readers alike.

  • Foreword By :
  • Binding: : Hardbound
  • 13 Digit ISBN : 9788124601433
  • 10 Digit ISBN : 8124601437
  • Edition : 1st edition
  • Year : 2000
  • Pages : vi, 485 p.
  • Bibliographic Details : Appendices; Index
  • Size : 23 cm
  • Weight (approx.) : 800 gm

1. Prologue

A Plea for the History of Samkhya

History and Philosophy -- History of Samkhya

Samkhya History in Reverse Gear

Ishvarakrishna and the History of Samkhya -- Methodology -- Sources and Approaches -- Changing Meaning of Samkhya -- Three Usages of Samkhya -- Derivation from Samkhya -- Samkhya Meaning Reasoning -- Samkhya as Spiritual Discipline -- Parisamkhayana -- The Term Samkhya in Caraka-samhita -- Samkhya and Khyati -- Changes in the Derivative -- Meaning of Samkhya -- An Ignorant Explanation -- Conclusion

2. Samkhya and Vedic Tradition

Samkhya Speculation in Vedic Literature
Samkhya Non-Vedic in Origin and Character

Vratya Origin -- Kshtriya Origin -- Anti-Vedic Folk Origin

Samkhya in Authoritative Brahmanical Texts
Samkhya on its Relationship with the Vedic Tradition
Shankara on Samkhya Claim of Shruti Sanction
Shankara on Shvetashvatara Upanishad Reference to Kapila
Brahmanical Tradition not Favourable to Samkhya
Samkhya Arose in the Vedic Circle

3. Samkhya and the Upanishads

Upanishadic Evidence For Samkhya History

Views of Modern Scholars -- Arguments based on Upanishads -- Methodological Requirements

Meaning and Scope of Upanishads
Problems Considered by the Upanishads
Fallacious Expectations from the Upanishads
Authors and Philosophers of the Upanishads
No Samkhya Philosopher in the Upanishads
Method and Style of the Upanishads
Synthetic Method
Ranade's Criticism
Chronology of Upanishads
Affinities Between Upanishads and Samkhya
Samkhya Terminology and Principles in the Upanishads

4. Samkhya Accounts in the Mokshadharmaparva

Difficulties in Using Mahabharata Evidence
Methodological Pleading by Johnston
Case of Epic Samkhya
Samkhya Sections in the Mahabharata
Nature of Samkhya Accounts
Grouping of Samkhya Accounts
Critical Edition on Mokshadhrmaparva
Bedekar on Samkhya in the Mokshadharmaparva
Text Group Representing an Early Form
Other Groups
Consideration in Evaluating Epic Samkhya
Epic Samkhya the Original Samkhya
Hopkins -- Samkhya Predominance in the Epic
Oldenberg -- Developed Pre-Classical Samkhya
Keith -- Genuine Earlier Samkhya
Dasgupta -- Schools of Samkhya
Merit of Mahabharata Evidence

Johnston -- Frauwallner -- J.A.B. Van Buitenen

Nature and Complexity Evidence -- Samkhya-Yoga School
Evaluation of Mokshadharmaparva Evidence

Diversity of Expositions -- Presupposes Vast Samkhya Literature -- Represent More than One Stage -- No Chronological Sequence -- Early Period of Samkhya -- Philosophically Earlier -- Similarities with Upanishads -- Stratification of Views -- Form and Style of Presentation


5. Yajnavalkya -- An Independent Samkhya Tradition

Yajnavalkya in Mokshadharmaparva
Samkhya as Expounded by Yajnavalkya
Yajnavalkya and Daivarati Janaka Date
Yajnavalkya's Background
Yajnavalkya's Followers
Yajnavalkya and Vasishtha
Yearly Samkhya in Yajnavalkya

6. Samkhya Adoption by Ayurveda Teachers: (Atreya, Agnivesha and Caraka)

Earlier Studies on Caraka-Samhita Evidence
Philosophical Portions of Caraka-Samhita
Samkhya Principles in Caraka-Samhita
Textual Problems in Evaluating Caraka-Samhita Evidence
Agnivesha and Caraka
Date of Agnivesha and Caraka
Philosophical Contribution of Agnivesha and Caraka

7. Arada -- An Ignored Pre-Buddha Samkhya Teacher

Samkhya in the Buddhacarita
Arada and not Ashvaghosha as Expounder
A Case for Arada
Arada and a Samkhya School
Arada's Philosophical Views
Evaluation of Arada's Views
Features of Early Samkhya in Arada's Exposition
Date of Arada

8. Early Samkhya Acaryas


Yuktikdipika on Paurika -- Saddarshanasamuccaya Evidence -- Date of Paurika


Sources -- Name -- An Early Samkhya Philosopher -- Pancadhikarana as a Tantrika -- Work of Pancadhikarana -- His Philosophical Views -- His Followers -- Conclusion -- Date of Pancadhikarana


Uluka as a Samkhya Teacher -- His Philosophical Views -- His Date

9. New Beginnings by Jaigishavya and Avatya


10. Vasishtha and the Samkhya-Yoga School

Philosophical Views of Vasishtha
Distinctive Feature of Vasishtha's Views
Vasishtha in History
His Date
His Place in Samkhya History

11. Asita-Devala Chapter in the Mahabharata

Contents of the Chapter
Asita-Devala and Devala
Differences with Samkhyakarika
Early Character of the Devala Chapter
Comparison with the Devaladharmasutra
Kala in the Devala Chapter
Bala in the Devala Chapter
Nature of Presentation in the Shantiparva Chapters
Standardisation of Samkhya
Systematisation of Samkhya in the Mokshadharmaparva
Differences with the Devaladharmasutra
Authenticity of Devala Chapter -- Points of Contact with the Devaladharmasutra
Musalagaonkar's Late Date for Devala
Devala in History

12. Samkhya in the Dharmasutras -- The Devaladharmasutra

Philosophical Passages in the Devaladharmasutra
Features of Devala's Exposition
Devaladharmasutra in the History of Samkhya
Date of the Devaladharmasutra

13. Samkhya and the Haritadharmasutra

Harita as a Samkhya Teacher
Harita as a Smriti Writer
Extracts from Haritadharmasutra
Harita in the Mokshadharmaparva

14. Patanjali as a Samkhya Acarya

Works Attributed to Patanjali
Bhattacharya on Patanjali only as a Yoga Writer
Date of Patanjali
Patanjali on Samkhya and Yoga
Chronological Consideration for the Identity of Patanjali, the Samkhya Acarya and Yogasutrakara

15. Samkhya Schools

Classification into Four Streams
Branches of Samkhya

Ahoratra Shakha -- Kala Shakha -- Atri-Siddhantiya Shakha -- Mukhyastambhiya Shakha

Evaluation of the Scheme of Classification
Eighteen Samkhya Schools
Samkhya Schools Identified by Kushwaha
Frauwallner on Schools
Samkhya Lineage of Ishvarakrishna
Samkhya Lineage Between Pancashikha and Ishvarakrishna
Samkhya -- Earlier and Later
Yuktidipika on Divergent Views in Samkhya System

Sense-Organs -- Nature and Functioning -- Classification of Knowledge -- Bhoja -- Order of Evolution -- Transmigration of Purusha -- Evolution from Ahamkara -- Pratyaya-Sarga -- Evolution of tattvantara from Prakriti -- Schools in Yuktidipika


16. Samkhya -- Seshvara and Nirishvara

Introduction -- Philosophy and Religion
Samkhya -- Atheistic
Stages in Samkhya History -- Consideration of Atheism
Edgerton on Samkhya Being Non-Theistic
Use of Early Texts for Samkhya History
Relationship with Yoga
Samkhya as Theistic
Appreciation of Samkhya Stand
Samkhya being Non-Theistic
Latika Chattopadhyaya's Reconciliation

17. Varshaganya, A New Samkhya Tradition

Vrishagana, Varshaganas and Varshaganya
Contributions of Varshaganya
Omission of Varshaganya
Varshaganya in the Chinese Tradition
Date of Varshaganya
Varshaganya in Isibhasiyaim

18. Vindhyavasin and the Emergence of Classical Samkhya


Rudrila -- Association with Vindhya -- Vindhyavasin and Vyadi -- Identification of Vindhyavasa with Ishvarakrishna

Chinese Account about Vindhavasa

Confusion Created by Paramartha -- Kuei-Chi's Account -- Explanation of Paramartha's Account -- Paramartha on Vindhyavasa's Contribution -- The Catalogue of Nanjio -- Vindhyavasin's Participation in a Debate with a Buddhist

Vindhyavasin and Varshaganya
Vindhyavasa and Vasubandhu

Vindhyavasa's Buddhist Adversary -- Treatises and the Debate -- Associating Vindhyavasa with Vasubandhu

The Date of Vindhyavasin

Contemporaneity with Vasubandhu -- Internal and External Evidence -- Vindhyavasin and Ishvarakrishna

Vindhyavasin' Philosophical Views

19. Epilogue: Systematisation and Standardisation of Samkhya

Standardisation by Ishvarakrishna
Standardisation by Panchashikha
Systematisation by Devala
Mahabharata on Systematisation
Attempts of Yajnavalkya and Vasishtha
Ground Text in the Mokshadharmaparva
Gita Reference to Standardisation

Appendix I: Vodhu
Appendix II: Asita-Devala in Isibhasiyai
Appendix III: Al-Biruni on Patanjali
Appendix IV: Vyadi, the Vindhyavasin
Appendix V: An Early Buddhist Account of Samkhya

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