Saturday, March 10, 2007


This aphorism introduces the concepts of transformation and modification, which are attributes of Prakriti. Transformation denotes change into another substance, like a tree that changes sunlight, water, and earth into fruit. Modification implies that the substance retains its character while appearing in different forms, like a plate, cup, etc., which are different forms of clay. While the modifications of the principles produce the seemingly infinite variety of nature, the transformations are finite in number.

3. Transformation is numerically sixteen only

sodasakah: sixteenfold
tu: only
vikarah: transformation, modification, evolute, product

The sixteen transformations include the eleven Indriyas, which evolve from Ahamkara, and the five gross elements, which are the products of the Tan-Matras.

The Indriyas or Instruments are categorized as instruments of cognition or perception, and instruments of action. The five instruments of cognition include the powers located in the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. The five instruments of action include the powers located in the hands, feet, voice, anus, and genitals. The eleventh Indriya, Manas or mind, has properties of both cognition and action.

The five gross elements include earth, water, fire, air, and akasa or ether. The term gross here means having an attribute that is directly perceptible by the external senses. Time and space are forms of akasa, a term unfamiliar to most Americans.

The transformations differ from the prakritis in the sense that they are evolutes or effects only. They do not evolve further into other effects.


Anonymous said...

What do you think comes first in the sequential evolution of matter manas, tanmatras or indriyas? Pls inform of the proper way to view this philosophy.

Sam said...

Samkhya explains the evolution of the principles in a logical sequence The unmanifested primordial Prakrti is considered to be eternal and therefore has no beginning or end. From Prakrti comes Mahat, from Mahat, Ahamkara, from Ahamkara, the indriyas and the tan matras, from the tan matras, the gross elements. Manas is included as one of the indriyas or instruments. This is much different from Darwinian evolution, and probably should not be thought of as occurring in the same way over time.