Definition: n. (according to to some also m.) Name of one of the three great divisions of Hindu philosophy (ascribed to the sage kapila- [ q.v ], and so called either from"discriminating", in general, or, more probably, from"reckoning up"or"enumerating"twenty-five tattva-s [See tattva-]or true entities [twenty-three of which are evolved out of prakṛti-"the primordial Essence"or"first-Producer"], viz. buddhi-, ahaṃkāra-, the five tan-mātra-s, the five mahā-bhūta-s and manas-;the twenty-fifth being puruṣa- or Spirit [sometimes called Soul] which is neither a Producer nor Production [see vikāra-],but wholly distinct from the twenty-four other tattva-s,and is multitudinous, each separate puruṣa- by its union with prakṛti- causing a separate creation out of prakṛti-, the object of the philosophy being to effect the final liberation of the puruṣa- or Spirit from the fetters caused by that creation;the yoga- [ q.v ] branch of the sāṃkhya- recognizes a Supreme Spirit dominating each separate puruṣa-;the tantra-s identify prakṛti- with the wives of the gods, especially with the wife of śiva-;the oldest systematic exposition of the sāṃkhya- seems to have been by an author called pañca-śikha- [the germ, however, being found in the ṣaṣṭi-tantra-, of which only scanty fragments are extant];the original sūtra-s were superseded by the sāṃkhya-kārikā- of īśvara-kṛṣṇa-, the oldest manual on the sāṃkhya- system that has come down to us and probably written in the 5th century A.D., while the sāṃkhya-- sūtra-s or śiva-pravacana- and tattva-samāsa-, ascribed to the sage kapila-, are now thought to belong to as late a date as the 14th or 15th century or perhaps a little later) etc.
Literary Sources: S3vetUp., MBh., IW. 73 , RTL.
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