Samkhya karika 43, Nature and Abode of Bhavas in a Being

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Samkhya Karikas

Samkhya Karika 43 text:

Samsiddhikaah ca bhaavaah praakrtikah vaikrtaah ca  dharmaadyaah I

Drstaah karanaashrayinah kaaryashrayinah ca kalalaadyaah II

Samsiddhikaah – inherent , derived from previous samskaras

Ca – and

Bhaavaah – bhavas, potentialities, disposition, tendencies

Praakrtikah – of its essential nature

Vaikrtaah – through transformations

Ca – and

Dharmaadyaah – bhavas of dharma, jnana, vairagya, aisvarya and others

Drstaah – seen, visible

Karanaashrayinah – residing in the cause – subtle body, buddhi

Kaaryashrayinah – residing in the effect – the body

Kalalaadyaah – generative substances

Samkhya Karika 43 discusses the basic nature of bhavas, the tendencies of Buddhi (a part of subtle body) and where do they reside in Prakriti, or in the elements / evolutes of Prakriti.

Samkhya Karika 43

Samkhya Karika 43 – Nature of Bhavas

As per this Sankhya Karika text the bhavas have three types of nature: inherent, essential and acquired. bhavas, dispositions, or tendencies of the mental body (subtle body) are inherited by it from the impressions, samskaras imprinted on it from the previous gross bodies, births it was associated with.

During the course of life of any gross body (made up of five gross elements (mahabhutas) it undertakes a number of actions, or karmas. These actions have different tendencies, dispositions associated with them while they were being executed. These intentions, dispositions, or potentialities gets imprinted on the subtle body as the marks / impressions of the karma so conducted.

These potentialities (bhavas of particular qualities out of the four: dharma, janana, vairagya, aisvarya) remain embedded, stuck to the subtle body even when the gross body it is associated with dies and perishes. The same subtle body will again evolve a new gross body the quality of which will depend on the impressions (karma marks) it is riddled with.

And so, the associated bhava gets carried on to the next gross body riding over the transmigrating subtle body as impressions of karma conducted earlier. That is why bhavas are considered to be inherited from the previous life (of previous gross body), they do not emerge anew with every new life the subtle body expresses itself into through the gross body.

Secondly, all the 8 bhavas, 4 positive and 4 negative, have there own essential or natural tendencies. each bhava is an individual potentiality which is its basic natural nature, endowed with it by nature or Prakriti. Lastly, bhavas are acquired in their nature. That means that though a being inherits the bhavas associated with its subtle body (buddhi in particular) they can be changed (transformed) or new bhavas can be acquired if the right effort is made in the right direction.

This insinuates the seeker towards working for altering the negative bhavas and towards the positive ones. Developing of the Vairagya bhava (dispassion) towards material world (Prakriti) is recommended in case one desires to progress on the path of Yoga or spirituality.

Bhavas, Dispositions, or Potentialities – Where do they Reside?

In a previous karika it has been mentioned that the Samkskaras – impressions of past karmas – reside on the subtle body. Samkhya Karika 43 mentions the three places inside the being the bhavas reside.

The bhavas reside in the subtle body, it is from here they get transmigrated to next gross body (life) along with the subtle body. It is also known as the causal body as it is acts as the cause for the gross body to emerge as its effect. The bhavas also reside in the gross body.

As per this Sankhya karika text, the bhavas also reside in the reproductive substances, the ovum, from which the gross body develops or emerges. The ovum (or the embryo) is the part f the gross body which takes form as an effect of the past causes present in the connected subtle body.

This karika provides a cogent explanation to an often asked question – how are two siblings born to the same parents, and brought up in the same environment exhibit different temperaments and nature? Though two beings are born of the same parents their gross bodies are the effects of different subtle bodies (as the causes) carrying different bhavas, which manifest themselves as two individuals with different natures and temperaments.

This explanation supports the fact that one should always be aware and mentally stay in the sattvik bhavas because these impressions will be carried forward by the subtle body to the next gross body in the next life.

Regular yoga practice helps strengthen the positive bhavas, rather if practiced consistently over a period of time the subtle body (buddhi) becomes habituated of positive tendences (bhavas) and stays in this mode on its own.

Guru, or a competent teacher can help one develop disinterestedness (in Prakriti or matter) through wisdom. One has to realize that till we reduce, or remove our passions and desires they will continue to be transmigrated with the subtle body and sculpting a newer gross body. Gross body being matter is the reason for all misery and pain.

One has to work on erasing the impressions of all the desires, longings along with the associated actions (karma) from the fabric of our subtle bodies so that these bodies can be dissolved and liberation from the cycle of rebirth be attained.

Desires can be deeply rooted into our mental (subtle bodies) bodies and are capable of resisting any efforts at nullifying or killing them. One has to slowly identify each one of them and work on them one at a time.