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Sankhya School On The Concept Of Atman - Soul

The Sankhya school, one of the six classical schools of Indian philosophy, and its close counterpart, the Yoga system, provide profound insights into the concept of Atman or soul. In these philosophical traditions, Atman is referred to as 'purusha,' signifying an eternal, pure, and all-pervading consciousness.

According to Sankhya and Yoga, the purusha undergoes the experience of samsara, which is the continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, primarily due to aviveka, or the lack of discrimination between the purusha and prakriti, the material nature. Aviveka leads to an entanglement with the material world, resulting in suffering and bondage.

The path to liberation, according to these systems, involves viveka khyati, which is the discerning knowledge that distinguishes the purusha from prakriti. Through this knowledge, the purusha can recognize the non-self and regain its original state of freedom. This freedom is not characterized by a state of joy or bliss but rather signifies liberation from the cycle of suffering and pain.

It is essential to note that Sankhya and Yoga acknowledge the existence of innumerable purushas. Each individual being is considered a distinct purusha, sharing the same essential nature of eternal consciousness. This recognition of the multiplicity of purushas aligns with the broader framework of Indian philosophy, which often emphasizes the diversity of individual souls while acknowledging their interconnectedness within the cosmic order.

In summary, Sankhya and Yoga propose a metaphysical understanding of the self (purusha) and its relationship with the material world (prakriti). Liberation is attained through the discernment of the true nature of the self and the realization of its inherent freedom from the cycles of samsara. The recognition of innumerable purushas emphasizes the universality of this individual liberation within the vast cosmic tapestry.