History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Samkhya, triads and trinities: the ‘will’ versus the ‘being’ of ‘god’…

December 30th, 2016 · 9 Comments

The being of ‘god’ and the ‘will’ of god are distinct aspects of the chronic confusions of theism/atheism. One problem with the trend of New Age thinking about god as ‘consciousness’ or pure being, is the persistent ideology of the ‘will’ of god in the actual histories of monotheistic religions. This is not incidental but the puzzle is not at first easy to resolve. The original Indic samkhya was not theistic at all. But this version may not be the ‘true’ original.

But Christian theology in its supreme muddle drops a hint: there is a mysterious connection with the Indian Samkhya, and the latter in turn appears to be the key to the issue of ‘will’. But the Indian version seems to have lost the key, while another mystery is the movement of some kind of Samkhya through the sufi world. It is hard to figure out the real history here but a figure like Gurdjieff clearly reflects the unknown Sufi version of Samkhya. But a considerable clarification suddenly appeared in the work of Schopenhauer, and then J.G.Bennett, the latter doing a work up on the sufi version of Samkhya. The gunas of Samkhya were suddenly aspects of the ‘will’, Bennett’s psychology being based on a triad of ‘being, function, will’ instead of a more typical ‘material/spiritual’ distinction. Things begin to click once we exhume the Glorious Super-muddle, the Doctrine of the Trinity, with secularists gasping, as evidence of an early form of the appropriation of Samkhya by monotheism. It is not impossible to see how it might have happened in the wake of the Alexandrian contact with India, the documented presence of ‘gymnosophists’ (Jains) in the roman empire, and result whose steps to reification are not completely clear was the ‘trinification’ of ‘god’ as the ‘one’ behind the ‘first triad’ in the cascade of cosmic laws: (1), 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96… Note the ambiguity of the (atheist) Samkhya version of the gunas: the level of the (1) has no real ‘existence’ apparently: the mysterious deep source (‘god’) is veiled by the onset of ‘manifest’ triads cascading downwards to the realm of the recognizable pysychologies of man at the level 12 (the will), 24 (the self) and 48 (the delusive mechanization of mechanical man with little in the way of will).
This must the source of the theologies of the ‘will’ of god, and these cascade through man himself who is a replica of this whole situation of triads or gunas. The Indian version has lost the connection with ‘will’ while the extent of the Islamic/sufi versions is not historically clear. But the theologies of the being versus the will of god show many remnants in the monotheistic religions.
The overall status of Samkhya is thus unclear but in Bennett there is an organized effort to reconstruct the subject, with mixed success. We can proceed if we can resolve a triadic logic but can we? Many will vounteer reams of explanation but the whole question remains unclear, in part because human thought processes show consistent failure to grasp ‘logic’ beyond the dualistic ‘main brand’.

In any case, one solution to the historical issues lies therefore in seeing that mystery of god question is a version of hybridized Samkhya seen finally as an aspect of the ‘will’ rather than being or consciousness.
All of this leaves the question of the true origins of Samkhya with its Indic signature but its clear reappearance in the history of monotheism (in disguise). It is downright amusing to see the preposterous confusion of the doctrine of the Trinity suddenly moving into the sunlight of an original clarity before the doctrinal theologians created a very confused trinitarian ‘god’.
The view of ‘god’ as consciousness is a thoroughly Indic interpretation, for better or worse.

Tags: General

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 NK // Dec 30, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Actually, in Samkhya, “God” would most likely be Mahat (the cosmic version of Buddhi) and Ahamkara would be “Will.” The manifest psycho-physical organism seems to be the microcosmic version of these processes. At any rate, the insight isn’t limited to Indic thought. The sense of individuation and intentionality is linked with “God” by a number of thinkers across historical time and space.

  • 2 NK // Dec 30, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Eckhart’s thought is probably the best example of it in Christian cultures:

    4. Breakthrough: To Meister Eckhart, identity with God is still not enough; to abandon all things without abandoning God is still not abandoning anything. Man must live “without why.” He must seek nothing, not even God. Such a thought leads man into the desert, anterior to God. For Meister Eckhart, God exists as “God” only when the creature invokes him. Eckhart calls “Godhead” the origin of all things that is beyond God (God conceived as Creator). “God and the Godhead are as distinct as heaven and earth.” The soul is no longer the Son. The soul is now the Father: it engenders God as a divine person. “If I were not, God would not be God.” Detachment thus reaches its conclusion in the breakthrough beyond God. If properly understood, this idea is genuinely Christian: it retraces, for the believer, the way of the Cross of Christ.


  • 3 nemo // Dec 31, 2016 at 5:59 am

    The conception of will is missing in the Indic legacy. Ahamkara hardly qualifies. And the question of god only arose in the monotheistic appropriation of Samkhya.

  • 4 nemo // Dec 31, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Actually we don’t know much of anything about Samkhya: its new version in Bennett is a later development. But we can detect the influence on christian theology

  • 5 NK // Dec 31, 2016 at 11:05 am

    No, we know plenty. The scholarship on this is more than 100 years old.

  • 6 NK // Dec 31, 2016 at 11:05 am

    You have some other agenda which tends to filter your interpretations.

  • 7 nemo // Jan 1, 2017 at 6:28 am

    I have pointed to the obvious resemblance of Samkhya to Christian trinitarian theology. With a question about versions known to sufis.
    By the time we reach J.G.Bennett we are in a different world, almost. The term Samkhya isn’t even used. But the connection is obvious…
    The Indic version with its sattwas, tamas, etc, is evidently a decayed version. I am not aware of any coherent version of Samkhya in the Indian tradition
    and the terms purusha and prakriti while classic and apt don’t translate right in most accounts…

  • 8 nemo // Jan 1, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Agenda? you are a repulsive Trump supporter and a climate denialist, and part of some buddhist complot/agenda. Buddhism is dead, buster.

  • 9 nemo // Jan 1, 2017 at 6:39 am

    You would need to read J.G.Bennett’s The Dramatic Universe, a difficult work that takes ‘Samkhya’ into a wholly new realm of modern thought. Sadly the book has flaws that limit its arguments. But the basic foundation of Samkhya in the Indian version is almost primitive by comparison. And the whole game got fingerprinted by Gurdjieff who has corrupted the whole set of issues with a brand of rogue sufism.

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