Samkhya Karika 56, Prakriti Exists to help Liberate Purusha

Author: Randeep Singh / go to all Samkhya Karikas

Samkhya karika 56 text:

Ityeshah Prakriti krtoh mahadaadi-vishesh bhut paryantah |

Prati purush vimoshaartham svaarth eva paraarthe aarambhah |

Ity – this, thus

Eshah – this (evolution)

Prakriti Krtoh – initiated by Prakriti

Mahadaadi-vishesh bhut paryantah – from Mahat till the last gross element

Prati purush vimoshaartham – for fulfilling the purpose of Purusha

Svaarth – own niterest / purpose

Eva – as if

Paraarthe – for the purpose of the other

Aarambhah – proceeds creation, brought about by

Samkhya karika 56 explains the purpose behind the existence of Prakriti (Manifest). An ordinary human being often thinks that if everything is perishable in the world, than what is the purpose behind the existence of the world in the first place. Why would something be created or comes into existence to finally be destroyed or perish?

Why does the body exist? what purpose does the mountains, oceans, rivers and the desserts serve by their existence? This karika attempts to answer this universal queston to some extent.

Samkhya Karika 56, Prakriti Exists to Fulfill the Purpose of Purusha

Samkhya Karika 56

As per Samlhya philosophy the universe came into existence by the coming together of Purusha and Mula Prakriti, it was not created by any God. It was also not created by the Universal Consciousness, or Brahman as mentioned in the Upanishads.

The universe was created as Mula Prakriti begins its chain of evolution, or process of modification from the subtlest of its evolutes (Mahat / Buddhi) at the beginning to the grossest elements in the end, the Mahabhutas. This process of evolution is triggered by the coming together of Mula Prakriti and Purush.

This entire chain of evolutes of Prakriti as it manifests itself into (also known as material universe) exists for serving the purpose of emancipating Purusha from matter (Prakriti) itself. All the elements of the physical universe, the ocean, mountains, and land consitute the matter which act as objects of the external sense organs.

The external sense organs read the information of their material objects and relay it to the internal sense organs for generating an experience of the material universe after its interpretation and analysis. This experience is presented to the Purusha as a feel of the physical universe. As the Purusha experiences the material universe in totality (including the inherent suffering within it) it looses interest in it and gets liberated from it.

Liberating individual Purusha from the shackles of Prakriti (material universe) is the purpose of the existence of Prakriti. On the other side the processes of Prakriti appear to be generating these experiences for its own consumption. Which is a fallacy.

Prakriti is a Vehicle for Liberation of Individual Purusha

As per Samkhya karika 56, Prakriti is the means through which material, physical experiences are created for Purusha to experience. Purusha which is caught up, attached to the material world can only be dettached once it looses interest in all the experiences matter can generate.

Prakrit is just a tool, like a earthern pot which isused to drink water and quench one’s thirst. Here the earthern pot is just a means or a vehicle for transporting the water to the person who is thirsty. It has no role in quenching the thirst of the person. It just helps create the conditions for quenbching the thirst.

Likewise Prakriti’s role is just to aid Purusha in achieving liberation.

Liberationor Moksha from the pain causing attachments to material world can only be achieved once Purusha realise the futilty of remaining attached to matter. This realisation can only happen when it is fed with all the experience that Prakriti can offer. The exposure to the experiences coming from Prakriti also exposes their fleeting or impermanent nature.

When an individual, composed of matter (Prakriti) and individual Purusha, looses interest in the experiences offered by material world (Prakriti) the associated Purusha ia ready to be released from matter and the Individual can now only experience Purusha. This is also known as realisation of the individual consciousness or Self.

Misidentification of Prakriti as Purusha

The evolutes of Prakriti (Manifest) which are positioned closest to Purusha in the chain of evolution of Prakriti (Mahat /Buddhi, Ahamkara) can be misidentifies as Purusha itself. This is very much possible owing to the similarity in the subtleness of the two entities.

Identifying with Ahamkara (ego), instead of Purusha, means identifying oneself with the material objects.It generates the sense of ownership; I me, mine concepts. Experiencing Purusha or the feeling associated with experiencing Self is very different from the feeling of ownership of material objects.

Identifying with Buddhi or Ahamkara is about binding more to the material world (Prakriti) because both are the constituents of matter. Experiencing Purusha is an experience of liberation, freedom from the bondages of material world.

It is similar to identifying heat with iron while experiencing a hot iron, here, heat has become an intrinic part of the iron but it is not the consituent of iron. It is a separate entity.

The purpose of Sankhya Darshan is to make one understand that the bosy id just supposed togenerate various kinds of experiences and it is advisable to useone’s Buddhi (intellect) to learn from each experience and move ahead without getting attached to any of them, especially the pleasurable ones.

THis is onlypossible by developing a witness like attitude to life experiences and use them to progress toward higher levels of spiritual awareness. One is meant to tread into the superior, positive states of Buddhi so that the experiences it provides to Purusha do not become an attachement for it.

The more one will remain trapped in the lower levels of the material world, senses level, more confused and chaotic one will become.