Samkhya Karika 35, Gate Keepers and Gates – Sense Organs

Samkhya Karika 35 Text:

Saantah-karnaah buddhih sarvam vishayam avagaahate yasmat |

Tasmaat trividham karnam dvari dvaraani seshani  ||

Saantah-Karnaah – along with the internal sense faculties

Buddhih – mahat, intelligence

Sarvam – all

Vishayam – Objects

Avagaahate – comprehends, knows

Yasmat – since, hence

Tasmaat – therefore

Trividham – three fold

Karnam – faculties, instruments

Dvari – Gate Keepers

Dvaraani – Dvaraani- gates

Seshani – the remaining

Samkhya Karikas 35 explains the relationship between the 3 internal sense organs – Manas (mind), Ahamkara (ego), and Mahat (intelligence) – and the 10 external sense organs, 5 organs of perception and 5 organs of action.

This Sankhya karika compares the individual being to a house, the 10 external sense organs as its 10 gates, and the 3 internal sense organs as the gate keepers of these 10 gates.

Samkhya Karika 35

The analogy of the house helps clarify the hierarchy of all the sense organs in terms of their impact on the quality and quantity of information that reaches Purusha for its experience. Each sense organ claims a particular position (as a filter, and as collector of the information) in the chain of flow of the information from the external material world to the Purusha.

This Sankhya Karika text organizes all the 13 sense organs (3 internal and 10 external) in terms of their authority / power on affecting the quality of information which will finally reach Purusha. As per Samkhya philosophy, all the 13 sense organs cannot be left as unguarded open gates without monitoring the quality of information that they will intake from their objects which will be fed to Purusha as an experience of the external material world.

Internal Sense organs – Gate Keepers, External Sense Organs – Gates

The external sense organs remain engrossed in their objects. They pick up the information from these objects and transfer it to the internal sense organs for interpretation and evaluation. The quality of interpretation of this information depends on the quality and level of optimization of the three internal sense organs (Antahkarnas).

The mind will turn the received information into personalized (under the impact of Ahamkara or ego) thoughts, which will be further evaluated by Buddhi (intelligence) which will then present it to Purusha as an experience of the external world.

Samkhya Karika 35 explains that the gates (sense organs) cannot be kept closed or unguarded all the time because in the former case there wont be any information from the objects to be received by the internal organs, and in the later case anything or everything can enter as information which can cause chaos and confusion in reading, knowing this information, or defective knowledge will be created.

Manas, akhamkar and buddhi comprehends all objects across time, therefore, they are known as the principal ones while the rest ten (the five jnanendriyas and five karnendriyas) comprehend only their respective objects, in the present, and as such are called subordinate ones.

Samkhya Karika 35 – Fine Tune the Gate Keepers

As per this karika of Sankhya Darshan, one needs to fine tune the gate keepers or thee three internal sense organs (Antahkarnas) because it is these gate keepers who decide what can enter the gates (10 external sense organs) and what cannot.

One needs to train the buddhi (intelligence) to always remain in Sattvik bhava, one of the eight bhavas it can stay in. Ahamkara and mind should also be tuned the same way so that these three, the principle ones, can tune in the external senses to only focus on objects which are sattvik in nature. These guards of the external gates (sense organs) if kept in sattvik condition can help filter all the negative, rajasic and tamasic, information from reaching the Purusha.

One must always strive to see good, hear good, touch good, smell good, and taste good. Thus Buddhi must decide the quality of objects the external gates (10 sense organs)must open to. Train the intelligence to not see movies and images which have negative connotations. This stands true of getting exposed to negative news on daily bases. Train the three internal senses to command the external senses to only pick up the sattvik from the ocean of information flying around us today.

This is very much possible with consistent practice of Yoga. Ones the external senses are taught to filter out only the positive, sattvik information only then the internal sense organs will interpret is as valuable knowledge so gathered which can be presented to Purusha for the valuable experience.

This will ensure that whatever enters through the gates is for the final purpose of emancipation of the Purusha and not for all and sundry frivolous experiences. This karika reverberates with the idea of sharpening the sense organs, becoming acutely aware and developing sensitivity to what is being taken in through the sensory inputs and presented to Buddhi.

Train the Senses to Capture what is Real and Not Unreal

The main purpose of Samkhya philosophy is to make us realize the fact that we have to strive to stay focused on what is real and stable, the Purusha or the Consciousness. We should make efforts to not remain engrossed in the external objects which make up the material world or Prakriti. The objects of the material world are always changing and thus cannot provide stability and peace to the one who remain enchanted by them

The key point is that one must always remain aware of what is significant and real and what is not. In corporate meetings, a capable leader knows how to keep the discussion on the topic and not let the participants to divert the discussions from the agenda of the meeting that was decided upon.

The agenda here is to consistently remember that only Purusha, consciousness is stable and non-changing in character where as all the objects which form a part of Prakriti are ever changing and thus cannot be relied upon for attaining everlasting peace and bliss.

One must realize the importance of the three inner sense organs ( intelligence, mind, and ego) and must use them to ensure that the senses do not remain engaged in insignificant issues and attractions. We need to erase the mindset infused within us from birth which gives priority to the achieving material gains against spiritual benefits.

We need to constantly monitor the quality of objects our external sense organs are reaching out to. It our duty to understand what is real and what is not. The glitz and glamour of the external material world holds such a strong pull on us that we just wanna remain embroiled in the pomp and show of the unreal world created by Prakriti.

Nature do penalize us from time to time for harboring such behavior and unreal beliefs, we keep falling into the quagmire of pain and misery, in spite of knowing what is going wrong. Wise are the ones who posses the knowledge of real and also apply it to their day to day living.

We have to realize this fact as soon as possible before we had caused irreparable damage to our very existence.