Samkhya Karika 49, Reversed Tushti & Siddhis Impair Senses, Intellect

Samkhya Karika 49 text:

Ekaadashendriya vadhaah saha buddhi vadhair ashakti ruddIstaah |

Saptadash vadhaa buddher viparyayaat tushti siddhinaam ||

Ekaadashendriya vadhaah – impediments of blockages in the working of eleven sense organs

Saha – together, with

Buddhi vadhair – blockages of buddhi, impediments to intellect

Ashakti – inabilities, powerlessness

Ruddistaah – noticeable, marked

Saptadash vadhaa – seventeen impediments, blockages

Buddher – of buddhi

Viparyayaat – from downturn of, or due to turning in the wrong direction

Tushti siddhinaam – of satisfaction , contentment, and attained powers

Samlhya Karika 49 explains the reasons due to which Buddhi (intellect) gets impaired in its functions. As per Samkhya philosophy one can only experience pure consciousness (Purusha),which is the ultimate goal of all spiritual philosophies, when the eleven senses (five Jnanendriyas, five Karmendriyas, and mind) capture the truth without any error and pass it on to Buddhi for the right interpretation of the same.

This information so collected by the ten senses must be Sattvik in essence so that it boosts the Sattvik quotient of the mind and the Buddhi which will interpret, analyze and present this analysis to Purusha for experiencing it. In this way the Purusha experiences Prakriti (material universe). This experience is based on the quality of information collected by the senses and finally analyzed by the intellect (Buddhi). Actions to be taken by the individual are also decided by Buddhi based on this analysis itself.

In order for the experience of Purusha to be as authentic as possible the senses (the original data collectors from the material objects) must function at their optimal level. Any impairment of the senses will mitigate the originality of the information so collected which will in turn negatively affect the functioning of Buddhi as wrong information fed to it will result its wrong analysis which will lead to wrong actions on the part of the individual.

Samkhya Karika 49, Reversed Tushti, Siddhis Impair Senses

Samkhya Karika 49

Samkhya karika 49 states that first the eleven sense organs get impaired. This impairment happens because of the reversal of the two dimensions of Buddhi: Tushti (contentment, which are 9 in number) and Siddhi (powers, which are 8 in number). Reversal here means that one looses contentment and powers is in possession of.

If one looses satisfaction, contentment (Tushti) related to any aspect of one’s life, the sense organs become impaired. For example; imagine one is very content of one’s performance in a particular exam and is walking towards receiving the results of the same. In case the results are not up to one’s expectations the feeling of contentment (Tusht) is reversed to discontentment one one cant even see properly or find one’s way back home as the discontentment has impaired the sense of sight for that moment.

How many times have you experienced loosing the sense of awareness of the surroundings (sounds, sight, smell, or touch) the moment you receive some shockingly bad news. This is a clear case of impaired senses because of the reversal of the feeling of contentment.

Same stands true when one looses a power one had possessed earlier. Getting demoted at office or loosing some privileges at the workplace which were infusing some sense of power within you can impair your senses and through you out of sync with immediate reality. Siddhi’s or powers are addictions which if removed or reversed can shack one’s entire belief system attacking one’s very existence.

This happens because one had begun identifying with one’s achievements and powers and loosing them impairs one’s very construct, sense organs being a part of it.

This Sankhya karika is important as it is a clear reminder of the importance of learning to hold on to one’s bearings no matter what may happen. One has to realize the fleeting nature of contentment which is derived from material universe. Same goes true for the temporary powers one achieved on the path to spirituality.

The impairment of the sense organs in this manner is an impediment to one’s progress on the path of achieving the ultimate goal of realizing the Purusha.

Impairment of Senses causes Seventeen Impediments in Buddhi

As the senses become impaired due to the reversal of Tushti (contentment) and SIddhi (powers) it creates seventeen kinds of distortions, impediments in the intellect (Buddhi). Since the main sensors or scanners of information have become faulty the information which will reach the mind and the intellect for interpretation will be in error.

Buddhi (intellect) cannot process the correct information and will thus generate erroneous experience for the Purusha to have. Even the decisions which will be taken for further actions by the individual (via Buddhi) will be faulty. This chain of errors so formed needs to be rectified in order to progress on the path of experiencing the spirit (or spirituality).

Samkhya Karika 49 only mentions the number seventeen as the number of impediments that get created within the Buddhi (intellect). It does not list these seventeen out. This is because in the era when the Samkhya philosophy was being developed the reader of the same was expected to know these seventeen beforehand from another source which existed at that time as a prerequisite for studying Sankhya Darshan.

These seventeen impediments so created in Buddhi generate Asakti, or inabilities within the individual which are 28 in number. This Samkhya Karika thus enumerates upon the reasons behind the development of 28 kinds of inabilities, or powerlessness within the intellect. Remember, Asakti (inabilities) is one of the dimensions of intellect (Buddhi).