(“enumeration”) The Samkhyakarikas, authored by Ishvarakrishna in the third century B.C., is the foundational book of one of the six schools of ancient Hindu philosophy.

Samkhya believes in an atheistic philosophical dualism in which two basic principles are held to be the origins of all things.

Purusha ("person") is the first of them, which is conscious yet entirely passive and unchanging.

It is seen as a passive observer of the changes taking on around it.

Purusha is eventually connected with an individual's genuine and everlasting Self as the source of consciousness.

Given the large number of aware individuals and the reality that one person might attain enlightenment while the others remain in slavery, Purusha is assumed to be multiple.

The second basic principle is prakrti ("nature"), which gives the purusha's subject with an object.

Prakrti is more accurately described as force or power than as a definite physical thing.

Prakrti has three primal characteristics (gunas): sattva is excellent, rajas is active or passionate, and tamas is dark and decaying.

These three forces exist in perfect harmony in the primordial prakrti, each perfectly balancing the other.

Purusha and prakrti are two separate, separable, and independent principles.

When prakrti's original equilibrium is disrupted, it sets in motion a process of evolution that gives rise to both the physical and psychological worlds.

Mahat ("the big one") comes from prakrti, and it has as its psychological equivalent the subtlest type of mental activity (buddhi).

Ahamkar, which contains the first meaningful conceptions of individual identity, develops from buddhi.

The intellect (manas), sense organs (jna nendriyas), action organs (kar mendriyas), and subtle elements (tanmatras) all develop from ahamkar; from the last, the gross components that make up the material universe emerge.

All of these evolutions, whether material or mental, have a different balance of the three gunas, which defines their healthy, active, or unwholesome nature.

Purusha stays untouched throughout this evolutionary process, only seeing prakrti's constant transformations.

The metaphor of the lame man (purusha) being carried by the blind man is used to symbolize their mutual functioning (prakrti).

According to the Samkhya school, the ultimate root of bondage is people's inability to distinguish between these two principles.

The Self (purusha) seems to be an agent, and the evo lutes (from prakrti) appear to be con scious, due to this lack of distinction between the two.

The rose behind the crystal, which looks to be colored but is really unchanging, is used by the Samkhyas to demonstrate this misunderstanding.

The major concern for the Samkhyas prakrti is epistemological—that is, how one learns to know things—rather than ontological, or based in the nature of things themselves.

Because the purusha never changes, there is no way to turn it into anything else or get it back to the way it was; the true issue is distinguishing between the two realities.

The development of prakrti is supposed to reverse after this, leaving the purusha in its glorious solitude once again (kaivalya).

Of course, discrimination becomes much more difficult if one has formed (if incorrect) ideas about (traditional) personality.

This erroneous belief serves as the foundation for one's volitional acts (karma) and emotional dispositions.

The concept of a Self underpins both one's behaviors and dispositions, which reinforce one another.

The yoga philosophical school absorbed the Samkhya metaphysics in its entirety, and the two schools are often cited together—Samkhya as the theoretical underpinning, and Yoga as the practical component.

The notion of the gunas, a fundamental concept in Hindu culture, is one of Samkhya's enduring contributions to Indian thinking.

Their concept of evolution, which has been modified by other schools but is generally subsumed under the istic assumptions in which God is the source of both awareness and the material universe, is another prominent but less pervasive theory.

Given their initial assumptions, the Samkhya could never solve the philosophical challenge of explaining the genesis of bondage.

How could purusha and prakrti interact—much less confuse one for the other—and how did the evolutionary process begin if they are completely separate? Their contributions were mainly overtaken by Vedanta, which stated that the issue is ignorance of the Self and not-Self, and that the world around us is an illusory metamorphosis rather than a true development (vivarta).

Vivartavada is the name of this philosophical system.

A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy, edited by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Charles A. Moore, was published in 1957, and Samkhya, edited by Gerald Larson and Ram Shankar Bhattacharya, was published in 1987.