Samkhya Karika 48, Divisions of Wrong Perception influenced by Tamas

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Samkhya Karikas

Samkhya Karika 48 text:

Bhedas tamaso ashtavidho mohasya cha dashavidho mahaamoha  |

Taamisro ashtaadashdha ththaa bhavanty andhtamisrah ||

Bhedas – divisions, sub sections, distinctions

Tamaso – of tamas, of negative nature

Ashtavidho – eight fold

Mohasya – of moha, delusion

Cha – and

Dashavidho – ten fold

Mahaamoha – of great or grand delusion arising from attachment, raga.

Tamisro – delusion of mixed nature arising from dvesa, or hatred

Ashtaadashdha – eighteen fold

Ththaa – therefore, so

Bhavanty – happens, exists

Andhtamisrah – blind attachment arising from abhinivesha

Samkhya Karika 48 enumerates upon the sub divisions of the dimension of Viparyaya, mis-perception of Buddhi (intellect) as stated earlier. In this dimension Buddhi is not in a state of perceiving the truth or what actually exists. Is is clouded by ignorance and wrong knowledge of things. This clouding, or roiling of the calm waters of intellect happens due to the predominance of Tamas (out of the three gunas) within it.

When Tamas conquers the intellect it results in the mis-perception of the self, others and the universe as whole. Tamas also heightens the grip of Ego (Ahamkara) due to which the individual strongly identifies the self with the material world. This identification is inherently flawed which leads to incorrect perception of the self in relation to the universe.

Under the influence of Tamas one perceives self as the material object and not separate from it. This is Viparyaya or wrong perception, ignorance Buddhi can stay in.

Samkhya Karika 48

Samkhya Karika 48 – Divisions of Wrong Perception due to Attachment

Viparyaya, or wrong knowledge also known as delusion (a state in which Buddhi can exist) is of eight types due to the negative impact of Tamas on Buddhi. These eight delusions arise from attachment, Moha, to material objects is of ten types. This type of attachments exists in common people who remain glued to the material world throughout their lives. Recently a friend of mine was shifting home.

As he started packing his things to move to a different home he didn’t feel like leaving behind even the match box and the duster he used to own while he was there. He told me that he feels as if these things are a part of him and has to be taken along where ever he goes. This is attachment to material object due to delusional intellect under the influence of Tamas guna.

Maha moha, or the great attachment of the extreme type id of ten kinds. These kinds of attachments are not only to the material objects but also to attaining extraordinary powers (siddhis) one attains while progressing on the path of Yoga. Siddhis are natural outcome of one’s progress in spirituality or the path of Yoga. The practitioner is not supposed to get attached to them and thus impede his progress further than them.

Attachment to these powers comes under Maha moha category of delusions which can exist within Buddhi. Some times we becomes overly attached to someone’s beauty, mannerisms, and touch that we begin to suffer in case separated from that person. The ignorance within ourselves prevent us from realizing the fact that we ourselves as well as that person will not be in existence for ever.

Divisions of Wrong Perception due to Aversion, Hatred

Tamas guna generated hatred and dislike on the other side. This gives rise to Dvesa or aversion to something, which is the opposite of raga, meaning attachment. This is also known as blind attachment or blinding gloom. These are eighteen in number.

The mixed qualities arising from hatred is called as Tamisra in this Samkhya Karika 48. Blind intolerance and hatred are known as Andha Tamisra. The present political news stands testimony to the prevalence of Tamisra in our society today. Religious bigotry. racism , and casteism are the products of these tendencies of intellect.

Samkhya Philosophy is trying to show why this dimension of Buddhi operates and prods one to rectify these fallibilities in order to keep oneself on the path of progress in spirituality or Yoga. The biggest ignorance Buddhi can remain is when it operates out of Ego but claims that it is free of it.

Yoga calls it Avidya (wrong knowledge) and Sankhya Darshan names it Tamah (delusion). Sense of achievement in anything can produce a false sense of attaining power or being liberated from the material universe. Worldly success, even when it is of meagre dimensions, generates a false sense of being important in comparison to who have failed. This is another form of ignorance or wrong perception.

When the flitting beauty, we were so attached to, wanes away with old age we begin to hate the destructive changes that ensue with it. Worry sets in about ‘what will happen,’ in the future. This kind of hatred exists due to the ignorance of perishability of the body. Today’s media only promoted and celebrates youth. Middle, or old age has no place in the glamour struck youth of today.

These are the extreme cases of attachment to beauty and excitement. This kind of attachment and aversion cycle is the result of identifying with the material world and with everything that is pleasant in it. This is akin to remaining in ignorance of what is not that pleasant but is the very part of the same material world. This ignorance keeps one oscillating between attachment and hatred leading to suffering in the end.

Most of us are aware of these simple facts by experience, but we lack the will to internalize the simple remedy of regularly introspecting and reflecting upon our daily living. Samkhya can show one what is wrong and how it can be corrected. The change has to be brought in by the individual himself.

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