SAMKHYA – UNFOLDING FROM FLOW TO GO
The first step in this journey is to understand the mind and the process of being human. This is referred to as “Samkhya”. Samkhya is a system which divides the process of human life into two elements: The first element is Purusha, which is pure consciousness or what many refer to as “soul” or “god”. Purusha cannot be created nor destroyed, is completely unbounded and has no attachment to outcome.
The second element is called Prakrati, which is the material manifestation of Purusha. Prakrati has to do with the physical processes of creation, sustenance and destruction.
Images from www.swamij.com
When Purusha comes into relationship with Prakrati the world is created and reflected back to consciousness. Purusha and Prakrati are shown as separate in Samkhya but this is not a perfect way of looking at it.
As soon as you put it on a picture in one way then you kind of distort it in another way. This is the same as the image of the wheel. It is a beautiful image/extremely practical and useful. Yet it is also important to understand its limitations. Yoga is extremely practical and though it’s not technically accurate to put Purusha and Prakrati side by side on the chart; if it’s not there you don’t even see it. In truth Prakrati does not dissolve back into Purusha.
Dualists and non-dualist always argue this point: Yoga solves this by saying Yoga takes you to the edge of a cliff and when you get to the edge of the cliff you have to jump off. And when you jump off that’s where you find the non-dualism and you will be able to navigate this with much greater ease. It’s about ending up with the same principle which is that everything arises from out of Prakrati and it’s a result of the dance of the Gunas.
Emerging out of the Chitta (mind field) is Buddhi (intelligence) and out of that Chitta emerges Ahamkara (ego) and out of that Chitta emerges mind and so on. Out of Chitta arises all things.
YOGA IS A PROCESS OF RECEDING OUR AWARENESS INWARDS
The Samkhya process is a good teaching tool.
- Is about all the things receding back to where they came from.
And this is WHAT YOGA IS ABOUT!
Each layer goes back into where it came from:
Let physical recede
Let Mental recede
Let Buddhi recede etc
Until there is perfect balance between Gunas
When Prakrati is no longer in perfect equilibrium then you can have a Chitta and there is nothing that is not part of Chitta.
Everything is Vrittis (waves/movements of mind) in Chitta.
Your Chitta is filled with Vrittis and that gives you your particular perception of the world.
Ocean and waves, Chitta and Vrittis
With Samyoga, the emergence of the manifest world takes place through the unfolding of 23 other Tetras (Elemental principles) which are composed to different degrees of the three Gunas (the qualities of all that we experience).
GUNAS – TAMAS, RAJAS, SATTVA
Everything in the physical universe is made up of 3 particles. These are called Gunas. If we don’t make the leap over to Quantum Physics then we simply have protons, electrons and neutrons. Physics tells us about these and if we accept the simplicity of this then they co-exist with another level of reality which is called atoms.
- And these exist with another level of reality molecules.
- And these exist with another level of reality called compounds – objects, stuff & things.
The Gunas are underneath all that; it is the dance of the gunas that allows the physical to come into reality.
Bhagavad Gita says – Atma is completely uninvolved in any of this. The entire desire world arises out of the play of Gunas and we should not get confused by this.There are only three Gunas and they dance together in some way similar to protons, electrons and neutrons but not literally the same.
When the Gunas go into dis-equilibrium then it sets up a chain reaction of all sorts of other Vrittis. Then whatever movements of mind we are paying attention to becomes our external reality.
- Sattva – equilibrium, light. Consciousness
- Rajas – active, passion. Energy
- Tamas – heavy, dull. Matter
Evolution- Sattvic >> Rajas >> Tamas
Involution- Tamas >> Rajas >> Sattvic
The Gunas are always in a constant flux and ever changing. When Tamas dominates we experience matter. When rajas dominate we experience energy. When Sattva dominates our experiences are more spiritual.