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The entire material world is made up of the same stuff, the gunas, in different combinations, because of which things can transform into one another.Yoga is the practice of the theory of Samkhya. The Yoga Sutras, a text sometimes attributed to the grammarian Panini, is a collection of 196 aphorisms on the practice of yoga.
Samkhya is one of the six darshanas (schools of Indic philosophy). At the heart of classical Samkhya lies a distinction between pursusha, the knower, and prakriti, the material world (both manifest and unmanifest).
Prakriti is constituted by the three guna: sattva (lucidity, purity, perception), rajas (heat, speech, fire, action) and tamas (darkness, heaviness, sleep, inaction).
(“How to think the history of truth with Nietzsche without relying on truth”).
By adopting Nietzsche’s evident disdain for Indic ascetics, Foucault appears to have absorbed his attitude towards Samkhya philosophy as well.
By contrast, purusha is unconnected with prakriti. It is pure consciousness, independent of experience.
Purusha is not made up of the three guna, but is an indifferent spectator, the one who sees. Purusha exists outside of the material world in order to offer the possibility of freedom and release. The doctrine assumes a plurality of purushas.
While scholars have commented on Nietzsche and Foucault’s reading of Buddhism, in this note, I concentrate on their treatment of Samkhya. Unlike Vedanta, Samkhya and Yoga adopt a neutrality towards theism that is more suited to modern political projects.
Part I explains the fundamentals of Samkhya and Yoga.
Further, Samkhya does not concern itself with origins.
According to Larson, classical Samkhya does not focus on how purusha or prakriti originally come about, nor how they come to be proximate to each other. Rather, Samkhya proposes a genealogy of things: the physical world is constituted, in its essence, by man.