Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two realities, puruṣa (consciousness) and prakṛti (matter).

"It 'enumerates' twenty five Tattvas or true principles; and its chief object is to effect the final emancipation of the twenty-fifth Tattva, i.e. the puruṣa or soul."

How many puruṣas are there in existence? Is it just one and once the emancipation from Ego/ahamkāra tattva is attained there is no difference between purushas or there is something that makes them unique an individual? How come this vision is different from Shvetashvatara Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita 13.14? Advanced meditators have "non-ego" experiences how come Sāmkhya still accepts individuality of the purusha.

  • You want to know why Samkhya says so many Purushas or how many Purushas as per Samkhya Yoga? Sep 9, 2019 at 8:25
  • I want to know how many purushas there are in Smakhya and why it is different from vedanta.
    – PbxMan
    Sep 9, 2019 at 8:27
  • Vedanta is the conclusion because eventually Purusha and Prakriti are same. "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahman"- Everything is Brahman. Samkhya is used in initial stages and is more closer to Neti Neti- Not this, Not this. Purusha is one and also many because it also satisfies Bhed-Abheda i.e. infinite souls in 1 Supersoul. Purusha is also same as Prakriti but not for a bound soul in ego, because a bound soul identifies itself with Prakrit(matter) but not Purusha(soul). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_Jiva_and_Atman
    – user16530
    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:01
  • @ManuKumar I agree but then again Vedanta and Samkhya are 2 different of the 6 philosophy schools in India. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80stika_and_n%C4%81stika Why do Samkhya disagree with Vedanta?
    – PbxMan
    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:10
  • " Ekam Sat, Vipra Bahuti Vadanti". Truth is one sages call it by various names.Universe is projected out of Samadhi and is already in Samadhi, hence its Sat Chid Ananda but not for bound souls and animals in ego. Different theories are because of 3 guna Prakriti souls. "He who is called Brahman by the jnanis is known as Atman by the yogis and as Bhagavan by the bhaktas. God is in everyone but everyone is not in God" - Ramkrishna Paramhansa. . Bhagavad Gita 9.4 This entire cosmic manifestation is pervaded by Me in My unmanifest form. All living beings dwell in Me, but I do not dwell in them.
    – user16530
    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:39

1 Answer 1


According to this article ref here from Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary)

An important difference between schools of Indian philosophy that recognize mokṣa(liberation) as an end is the accepted number of souls. In Buddhism there is no separate soul to be liberated. In Advaita Vedānta, there is one common world-soul, and individuality is a function of the material world only. Sāṅkhya adduces three arguments to prove that there is a separate puruṣa for each individual: (1) Birth, death and the personal history of everybody is different (it is determined by the law of karma, according to our merits collected in previous lives). If there were one puruṣa only, all bodies should be identical or at least indistinguishable for the function of the self orpuruṣa is to be a supervisor of the body. But this is clearly not so. Hence, there must be a plurality of distinct puruṣa-s. (2) If there were only one puruṣa, everyone would act simultaneously alike, for the puruṣa is the supervisor of the body. But this is clearly not so. Hence, there must be a plurality of distinct puruṣa-s. (3) If there were only onepuruṣa, we would all experience the same things. However, it is evident that the opposite is true: our experiences are inherently diverse and private, and they cannot be directly shared. Hence, there must be a separate puruṣa for us all.

Swami Vivekananda taclked the same question and accepted a the same view as the Vedanta school. ref here

...Now comes the more important point of difference. Can there be more than one Purusha? The Purusha, we have seen, is omnipresent and infinite...All difference is due to time, space, and causation. These are the constituent elements of the mind. No mentality is possible without them. You can never think without time, you can never imagine anything without space, and you can never have anything without causation. These are the forms of the mind. Take them away, and the mind itself does not exist...

From the Samkhyakarika ref here

Verse 18 of the Karika asserts that many souls must exist because numerous living beings are born, die and exist; because qualities (Gunas) are operating and affect everyone differently; and because everyone is endowed with instruments of cognition and action.


There seem to be no modern literature nor modern authors of the Samkhya philosophy defending why there should be an plural number of purushas. Unlike Vedanta or Buddhism Samkhya does not accept the possibility of the same consciousness operating simultaneously in different places in time and space or in other words being independent of mind-space-time. It seems like an old belief or flawed philosophy that also has been victim of impermanence.

"Achintya-bheda-abheda-tattva" (The Supreme Lord is simultaneously and inconceivably one and different from His creation)

  • This is the definition of individual soul/Aatma, not Supersoul/Paramatma. Different Karmas and different experiences are of different souls but Paramatma is same for every soul and is the background canvas and is similar to one infinite Omnipresent Akasha/Space. In the sky, different stars are seen but Space is One, so is the relation between individual souls and Supersoul. A soul seeks light(enlightenment) but Supersoul is both light and darkness.
    – user16530
    Sep 9, 2019 at 12:14
  • The problem with you is that you are trying to understand and quantify spirituality with matter i.e. your intellect and ego and cramming of scriptures. Purusha or Aatma is beyond Prakriti, beyond intellect and is real Self and cant be understood without sense-restrain of lust, greed and anger(women and gold) and Bhakti(negation of ego) and experience and help of Guru. The words of enlightened yogis are scriptures who had direct experience and seen the reality, bound souls are just cramming those words and fighting amongst themselves like kids which are called religions or philosophy schools.
    – user16530
    Sep 9, 2019 at 13:36
  • Thats what I am saying, Purusha is self, no one can tell you what or who your soul is except yourself because your soul and its Karma exists within you and my soul/Karma exists within me. Outside/Matter exists to teach what is inside. You can cram all the scriptures of the world and still be a slave of lust, greed, anger unless you realize Self, hence its called Self-realization not Self-cramming or Fact-cramming. A student of first class cant understand 10th class text books, similarly without experience you can never understand Samkhya nor Vedanta nor any scripture because of impure ego.
    – user16530
    Sep 9, 2019 at 14:02

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