T. S. Rukmani

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This article provides an introduction to Sāṃkhya and Yoga, treating them as independent schools of philosophy. The word Sāṃkhya, derived from sāmkhyā (number), has many meanings. It is understood as both right knowledge or correct knowledge as well as enumeration. It is the right knowledge or discernment of the difference between prakrti (a material principle) and purusa (a spiritual reality) that is the aim of this philosophy, and so the word Sāṃkhya can be understood as “right knowledge.” Yoga, like Sāṃkhya, starts with two ontological realities, purusa/purusas and prakrti, and takes for granted the evolutes without enumerating them. Yoga relies on a transformation of the material body, mind, and intellect in order to receive that insight. Yoga's principal concern is with purposeful strategies, both physical and psychological, to be employed in order to achieve the requisite reflective discernment.

Keywords: Indian philosophy; Sāṃkhya; Yoga; reality

Article.  5427 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

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