Sankhya Philosophy

What exactly is the point of it all?

Ayurveda has a cosmology or understanding of how the universe began, how it is evolving, the nature of reality, and the purpose of life.

This cosmology is based on Sankhya (translates as number or numerical from Sanskrit), which is a Vedic philosophy.

There are 24 elemental principles or building blocks of existence, according to Sankhya.

Consciousness is mentioned as the twenty-fifth principle, yet it is the foundation of all 24 principles.

What is Consciousness

Consiousness is:

- Our experiences, thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, and perceptions

- The source of the cosmos.

- Everything in the manifested universe

- It formless and exists both in and outside of matter, space, and time.

Consciousness has:

- Limitless organising potential

- Power to constantly evolve and make quantum leaps

- Follow for natural healing tips and philosophy

The goal of consciousness (personal interpretation):

- Constantly increase awareness, evolve and raise its frequency

- Purusha or avyakta is the Sankhya term for consciousness.

- Sankhya philosophy is a good place to start if you want to learn more about Ayurvedic cosmology.

Principle 1: Prakriti (Primordial Nature)

Purusha or Avyakta is the unmanifested state of the universe. It is the universe that arises from a field of pure potential and contains all the laws of nature. Just like a seed has the potential to become a magnificent tree.

While purusha has no qualities, prakriti, the first elemental principle and is considered to be female in nature, and is filled with qualities that have a specific structure and function. It is dynamic creation according to a plan.

Prakriti is the natural desire to mould or construct the universe. The root of the English word creation or procreation is the Sanskrit term prakriti.

Everything in the manifest cosmos, according to Sankhya, is the product of the interaction of three mahagunas.


Sattva: The Quality of Light

The principle of generation (balance, purity, clarity, alertness, health) the principle of maintenance (movement, stimulation, agitation)

Rajas: The Quality of Energy

The principle of maintenance (movement, stimulation, agitation)

Tamas: The Quality of Matter

The principle of dissolution (inertia, darkness, dullness and decay)

Something new is created (Sattva) and it stays alive in a dynamic and active manner (Rajas) and then dissolves and destroyed itself (Tamas). From that dimmolishen the cycle starts again in Sattva. Going back to the seed example. You put the seed (Satva) in the ground with its potentiality to become a tree, it will then start sprouting thanks to (Rajas) and bearing fruit, which will then fall down and when it is ripened it will be eaten to start to decay (Tama). However that apple contains a seed which has the potential to recreate whole cycle to start again. That is the universe's organising nature. Nothing in essence 'dies', it recreates itself.

One in three is a constant that is seen throughout many beliefs. Past, Present, Future. Solid, Liquid, Gas. The father, son and holy ghost. Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Brahma, Vishu, Mahesh. Lakshimi, Durga, Saraswati. Adidaivik, Adibhautik, Adhyatmik...

This 3-in-1 reality represents the universe and is embodied in the sound: AUM. A standing for the creation, U standing active force and M dissolution.

These 3 Mahagunas the give rise to Ahankara, which is individuality or the ego.

Principle 2: Mahat (Cosmic Intelligence)

An impulse that is created from Prakriti is called Mahat, which is cosmic intellect and its organising power.

Mahat is also known as buddhi in humans, because it offers us the ability to distinguish between what is true and false, real and unreal, ephemeral and everlasting. Buddhi assists us in determining what is good for us and what is not, as well as in making sensible decisions.

Principle 3: Ahankara (Ego)

The cosmic intellect of mahat gives rise to the third principle, ahankara. The term ahankara relates to the ego, identity, and our sense of "I" and "my" in Sanskrit.

The sensation of a separate self emerges from a series of individuated ideas, but it is not a distinct entity that exists in and of itself.

You Are The Universe

You have the very knowledge, awareness and potentiality of the universe within you. Ignorance is not bliss my friend. Practices that are able to help you transcend the ego and enter the field of Mahat, Prakriti and Purusha, such as pranayama, meditation, self awareness, asana, samati, yoga allow you to connect with consciousness and align your intentions, desires and plan with the universes. Experience you own divinity and allow yourself to be guided from the inside out (creating from your divine purpose into the real material world) not from the outside in. Our senses are very limited and they cannot allow us to tap into so vast as the universes consciousness.

When your mind is directed outwards, which is known as Bhoga (indulgence) and Roga (disease and imbalance).

While our conditioned limiting ideas and behaviours might make us feel lonely and cause disease in our bodies, our inner self is everlasting, limitless, and complete.

All of Ayurveda's techniques are intended to assist us in regaining our sense of completeness and awakening to our true self in the field of pure potentiality.

Principle 4: Manas (The Sensory Mind)

The word Manas is derived from the Sanskrit root man, which meaning "to shape." The ego is concerned with the outside world. The sensory mind, or manas, is projected. The five sense organs and the five motor organs are then born from this mind.

Through the senses, Manas connects us to the outside world. Emotion, sensation, and imagination are all based on this premise.

Manas is derived from ahankara's sattvic and rajasic qualities:

Sattva (illumination force): acts through the sense organs.

Rajas (action capability): is controlled by the motor organs.

Manas can coordinate both the sense and motor organs if they have more of these two properties.

Principle 5-9: The 5 Tanmatras (The Sensory Mind)

The three mahagunas are the causal forces of creation that exist behind consciousness and are made up entirely of qualities: light (sattva), energy (rajas), and substance (tamas). They give rise to a new set of forms or impressions. It's worth noting that the three mahagunas aren't included in Sankhya's 24 principles, despite their importance.

The five tanmatras, which are the root energies of sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell, are created by the mahagunas.

Tanmatras are named from their related sensory properties and mean "primal measures."

  • Shabda Tanmatra: Tanmatra of Sound

  • Sparsha Tanmatra: Tanmatra of Touch

  • Rupa Tanmatra: Tanmatra of Sight

  • Rasa Tanmatra: Tanmatra of Taste

  • Gandha Tanmatra: Tanmatra of Smell

The tanmatras are more subtle than the physical sensations we experience as a result of them.

Principle 10-14: The 5 Tanmatras (The Sensory Mind)

The five potentials for experiencing the outside world that are present in all minds are represented by the sense organs. They are not only individual but also cosmic, and they become localised in living creatures' sensory organs. They differentiate and develop as a result of the evolutionary process.

On a subtle level, the sense organs are the vehicles through which we take in the tanmatras, or sensory impressions.







Principle 15-19: The 5 Organs of Action

The five sense organs and five master elements correlate to the five action organs (pancha mahabhutas).

The five action organs enable diverse bodily functions such as speaking, moving, and waste disposal. The mind-body system is built to perform these tasks and have these experiences in the world.


Ear: Vocal cords

Skin: Hands

Eyes: Feet

Tongue: Urogenital system

Nose: Anus

Principle 20-24: The 5 Organs of Action

The five master elements, or pancha mahabhutas, were introduced in my earlier blog: space, air, fire, water, and earth. The five elements, air, fire, water, and earth, correspond to "actual" space, yet they are also abstract.

The ancient Ayurvedic sages would not point to the wind, a burning log, or a river when asked what the five elements symbolise; instead, they would answer that the pancha mahabhutas represent the principles of intelligence that underpin all of creation.

The universe, according to Sankhya, was created through the expression of the pancha mahabhutas.


Ear: Vocal cords: Space

Skin: Hands: Air

Eyes: Feet: Fire

Tongue: Urogenital system: Water

Nose: Anus: Earth

The five elements are nothing more than space.

Modern science has validated this traditional wisdom by discovering that atoms are mostly empty space and that solid form is a mirage; in fact, everything that appears to be physical is fundamentally a field of energy.

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