साङ्ख्य, sāṅkhya

(in Sanskrit - reflection, calculus, counting)

one of the views (darshana) of Hinduism, the founder of which is sage Kapila.

Sankhya is based on two basic concepts that exist in the world: prakriti (single, unchanging, eternal nature) and purusha (individual spirit as a cosmic entity and as the soul of an individual).

Sankhya is an ancient system. This is known from the fact that sankhya views are found in all the works of ancient India, including the Shrutis, Smritis, and Puranas.

The origin of the term "sankhya" is mysterious. According to some scholars, the term "sankhya" comes from the word sankhya, which means "number", because this philosophy aims at the correct knowledge of reality by listing the main objects of knowledge.

Also, this word is interpreted by researchers as follows: “sankhya” means perfect knowledge (samyagjnana), and the philosophy that contains this knowledge is rightly called sankhya.

Like the Nyaya Vaisheshika philosophical system, sankhya seeks to know reality with a practical purpose - to put an end to all misery and suffering. Sankhya gives us a knowledge of ourselves that is more advanced than the theory of other philosophical darshans, with the possible exception of Vedanta. Thus, the word "sankhya" can be very well characterized as a purely metaphysical knowledge of the "I". This is the metaphysics of dualistic realism. If the followers of schools Nyaya and Vaisheshika admit the primary reality of many entities - atoms, minds, and souls - then sankhya recognizes the primary realities of only two types - spirit and matter (purusha and prakriti).

Following Kapila, his disciple Asuri and the follower of the last Panchashikha wrote several books with the goal to clearly and thoroughly explain sankhya system. But these works were lost over time, and nothing is known about their contents. The earliest authoritative source of Sankhya philosophy to date is the work of Ishvarakrishna “Sankhya-karika”. Other important works on the Sankhya system are “Sankhya-karika-bhashya” by Gaudapada, “Tattva-kaumudi” by Vachaspati, “Sankhya-sara” by Vijnanabhikshu and the “Sankhya-pravana-sutra-vritti” by Aniruddha.

The metaphysics of sankhya, and especially its doctrine of matter, relies mainly on its theory of causality, known as satkarya-vada, on the theory of the relation of the effect to its material cause.