Updated: Nov 15
Like many healing techniques rooted in ancient history, the sister sciences of Yoga & Ayurveda share a creation story that is both mythical and profound. Elements of Samkhya philosophy are woven into our deepest beliefs about the origins of our universe; and it you could be forgiven for feeling like you’ve seen it/read about it somewhere else before.
Underlying the entire Samkhya philosophy is the idea that there is an all-pervading force in our universe that is omnipotent, ominipresent and omniscient. In Star Wars it was simply called ‘The Force’.
In other traditions it has been called ‘source’, ‘god’, ‘the divine’ and it was even categorised as pantheism by Joseph Ralphson in 1697. In Diamond Light Numerology and Activations that I teach, this force is the unamnifest – or the Zero. In Samkhya philosophy, it is called Brahman – a state of consciousness of pure being.
It is from the unmanifest that all of creation is formed through a vibration of the sacred sound of A-U-M. Although the symbol is widely recognised in popular culture, its origins are less well known and this is unsurprising since the original 3-syllable symbol has been truncated to OM.
A-U-M is so powerful that creates a vibration in a different area of the body, which becomes deeply meditative when repeated:
Aaaa = Stomach/Abdomen
Uuuu = Heart/Chest/Throat
Mmmm = Brain/Pineal/Pituitary Gland
This toning sequence can stimulate the endocrine glands and energy centres of these areas of your body, restoring and revitalising the cells and organs. This is important for optimal health and well-being.
The highest tone of “Mmmm” stimulates your cortical functions and the pineal and pituitary glands. This is also where the third eye chakra is located.
It is said that A-U-M was created by Brahman as a way to experience itself, and as the sound reverberated through the silence, it created a schism (or as Alec Guinness would say, ‘a disturbance in the Force). In Western culture we refer to this as the Big Bang, from which the universe continues to expand infinitum.
From this disturbance, a mirror image of Brahman was created – a reflection, if you will – and in its creation the ability to be observed gives rise to the existence of the observer.
Samkhya philosophy explains that from nothing, something arose and although both share the same qualities as Brahman, Prakriti is that part of us that we can observe; and Purusha is the part of us that does the observing.
The concept of the observer and the observed has arisen relatively recently in quantum theory – the implications of which are still being explored and expanded upon. The observant part of ourselves is often stimulated in meditation practices to stimulate a deeper awareness of one’s existence.
In Samkhya philosophy, Purusha and Prakriti are both unmanifest aspects of Brahman and both are universally connected to Brahman. Purusha is our true nature, our observer self, and Prakriti is the creatrix of the illusion within which we believe we exist.
This appears to be no different to the now popularised idea that ‘we’re all connected’ and that ‘we’re all aspects of the same god/source, etc’. Where Samkhya and the West diverge is that neither Purusha nor Prakriti are actually manifested into reality.
Manifestation in Samkhya philosophy arises from the idea that Prakriti’s creative power has three qualities or 3 Gunas – Sattva (the quality of the observer or true self), Rajas (the quality of observing or the reflective action of the mirror) and Tamas (the quality of inertia or the reflection of the self). It is the unique combination of this creative force that create what we know as 5 elements of Earth, Water, Air, Fire and Ether (described by Plato in circa 360 BC), or the Mahābūtas.
The Mahābūtas combine in their own unique combinations to form the Doshas in Ayurveda – Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
Each of us has a unique dosha blueprint at the time of our conception; and in this way we are each a reflection of the divine consciousness of the universe – each of us are a manifested aspect of Brahman.
We are each the observed and the observer. We are consciousness itself, reflecting itself, observing itself all at the same time.
With this deeper understanding of Samkhya philosophy, we can start to comprehend how so many other ‘spiritual ideas’ fit into this bigger picture of our existence. We can also begin to see how we can use Ayurveda to bring balance to our minds and bodies while using Yoga to help us identify and connect to Purusha – our observer nature.
By walking both paths together, we can help to bring more peace, balance and harmony into our lives.
Here is the full infographic: