I know in the Puranas, the cyclical nature of the universe (repeated creation and destruction) is described. However, I am wondering whether any orthodox Hindu philosophical school explicitly supports this view.

As far as I know, Samkhya does not talk about any cyclical nature of creation. Vedanta follows Samkhya when it comes to metaphysics. I am not sure about other schools.

Please quote directly from the primary sources of respective schools.

  • Sankya does hold in its theory about the cyclic nature of creation . this is known as satkaryavada, where the effect is essentially dependant on the cause.Hence yoga being its ally also holds onto satkaryavada. vedanta in the standpoint of Brahman ,does agree satkaryavada. Vaisheshika & nyaya seems to believe in asatkaryavada akin to hetrodox schools
    – Athrey
    Apr 22, 2022 at 15:31
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    @Athrey Satkaryavada has nothing to do with the cyclical universe. Apr 22, 2022 at 16:17
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    Vedas have mentioned on this already. What is that you want to get as answer from this question Apr 22, 2022 at 16:34
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    @Athrey, But does it talk about dissolution? I did not find that. If you know please give the reference verse from Samkhya karika and its commentary. Apr 22, 2022 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


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Regarding Dissolution in the view of Sankya:

Sankya karika verse 16 says

Karnam asti avyaktam pravartate trigunatah samudayat ca I

Karanam asti avyaktam There is the Unmanifest as the cause Pravartate it operates Trigunatah through the three attributes Samudayat through combination Caand

So Sankya Karika ascribes the unmanifestation of Prakruthi to the 3 gunaas

Two ‘pariṇāmas’ in the Sāṅkhya are

Svarupa-pariṇāma - When Pradhana, the matrix of all inanimate objects of this world, is in a state of equilibrium before creation, each of its three guṇas is undergoing only internal change without interfering with the other two guṇas. Such a change is called ‘svarupa-pariṇāma’ or ‘change into the homogeneous’

Virupa-pariṇāma - When the guṇas start affecting one another, each getting the upper hand by turns, then, the change is called ‘virupa-pariṇāma’ or ‘change into the heterogeneous’.

So during the Pralaya or dissolution there is a svarupa parinama, wherein gunaas are in equilibrium

At the starting point of the (next) creation there is a flux in gunaas impacting each other causing the manifestion , creating variety , through evolutes and evolved.

According to Popular essays in Indian philosophy by Prof. M. Hiriyanna.

"But even in Pralaya, we must remember, Prakriti does not cease to to be dynamic; only its component parts, the gunas, constantly reproduce themselves then, instead of acting on one another and giving rise to a heterogeneous transformation."

Here the heterogeneous transformation(virupa Parinama) causes the next creation.

Sankya Karika verse 9

असदकरणादुपादानग्रहणात् सर्वसम्भवाभावात् । शक्तस्य शक्यकरणात् कारणभावाच्च सत्कार्यम् ॥ ९

  1. what is non- existent can by no means be brought into existence; (2) because effects take adequate material cause; (3) because all effects are not producible from all causes; (4) because an efficient cause can produce only that for which it is efficient; and finality, (5) because the effect is of the same essence as the cause. what is not cannot be produced,
  • Can you please give the verse number? Also, yes, it talks about creation and dissolution. But it did not tell explicitly that this cycle repeats. That is the point. If you know any verse that claims that please add it. Apr 23, 2022 at 12:39
  • "next" is in the bracket, which means it is someone's interpretation. Apr 23, 2022 at 12:45
  • verse no. is 16. Also added verse 9 from the karika, - basis for satkaryavada. IMO , if it is not cyclic , then the very meaning of satkaryavada loses its relevance. Also terms such as Pradhana, gunas and tattvas aren't coined in sankya,but they belong to vedic literature. Sankya seems to adhere to the Vedic literature, despite being a philosophy on its own accord. So should agree with cyclic creation thereof. This is my understanding.
    – Athrey
    Apr 23, 2022 at 13:09

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