Gita Rahasya -Tilak 188

Karma Yoga Sastra -Tilak


As the Samkhyas and the Vedantists classify in different ways the twenty-five elements described above in the form of a tree, it is necessary to give here some explanation about this classification. According to the Samkhyas, these twenty-five elements fall into the four divisions of (i) fundamental prakrti, (ii) prakrti-vikrti, (iii) vikrti and {iv) neither prakrti nor vikrti. (1) As Prakrti is not created from anything else, it is called fundamental prakrti (Matter). (2) When you leave this fundamental Matter and come to the second stage, you come to the element Mahan. As Mahan springs from Prakrti, it is said to be a vikrti or an evolute of fundamental Matter; and as later on, Individuation comes out of the Mahan element, this Mahan is the prakrti or root of Individuation. In this way this Mahan (Reason) becomes tike prakrti or root of Individuation on the one hand, and the vikrti. (evolute) of the fundamental Prakrti (Matter) on the other hand. Therefore, Samkhya philosophers have classified it under the heading of ' prakrti-vikrti ' ; and in the same way Individuation ( ahamkara ), and the five Tanmatras are also classified under the heading of ' prakrti-vikrti '. That element which, being itself horn out of some other element, i. e., being a vikrti, is at the same time the parent ( prakrti ) of the subsequent element is called a ' prakrti-vikrti '. Mahat (Reason) Individuation, and the five Tanmatras, in all seven, are of this kind. (3) But the five organs of Perception, the five organs of Action, the Mind, and the five Gross primordial elements, which are in all sixteen, give birth to no further elements. On the other hand, they themselves are born out of some element or other. Therefore, these sixteen elements are not called 'prakrti-vikrti', but are called 'vikrti' (evolutes). (4) The Spirit (Purusa) is neither prakrti nor vikrti; it is an independent and apathetic observer. This classification has been made by Isvarakrsna, who has explained it as follows :-

mulaprakrtir avikrtih mahadadyah prakrtivikrtayah sapta I

sodasakastu vikaro na prakrtir na viktrtih purusah II

that is: "The fundamental Prakrti is ' a-vikrli ', that is, it is the vikara ( evolute ) of no other substance ; Mahat and the others, in all seven — Mahat, Ahamkara and tbe five Tanmatras are prakrti-vikrti and the eleven organs, including the Mind, and the five gross primordial elements, making in all sixteen, are called merely vikrti or vikara ( evolutes ). The Purusa (Spirit) is neither a prakrti nor a vikrti" [1]. And these twenty-five elements are again classified into the three classes of Imperceptible, Perceptible and Jna. Out of these, funda- mental Matter is imperceptible, the twenty-three elements, which have sprung from Matter are perceptible, and the Spirit is'Jna'. Such is the classification according to Samkhya philosophy, In the Puranas, the Smrtis, the Mahabharata and other treatises relating to Vedic philosophy, these same twenty-five elements are generally mentioned [2]. But in the Upanisads, it is stated that all these are created out of the Parabrahman, and there is no further discussion or classification.


References And Context

  1. (Sam. Ka. 3)
  2. (See Maitryu. 6. 10: Manu 1, 14, 15)