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also on all local Amazon sites, just change .com for the local version (.co.uk, .jp, .nl, .de, .fr etc.)

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Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - Energy and matter



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Alain Danielou – While the Gods Play  

Concepts of the Samkhya

ACCORDING to the concepts of the Samkhya, the universe is made up of two fundamental elements, consciousness and energy, which are complementary and interdependent. Matter is merely organized energy. There is no material element that exists without being inhabited by consciousness. No element of consciousness exists without an energy-giving support.

Space represents pre-matter, the substratum in which energy can be manifested in the form of vibratory waves and magnetic forces which give birth to the elements, to the appearance of matter.

Time is born of consciousness, since measurement only exists through the perception of duration.

Consciousness is present everywhere from the moment that, from an initial point (the bindu or boundary point) an immense mass of energy appears, which gives birth to the universe. The formation and development of the visible world is related to the principle of Time, which is omnipresent and is expressed in the form of rhythms. These determine not only the structures of matter but also the cycles of the history of the world, and the life and death of stars, galaxies, and also life forms, whether they be vegetable or animal species, which includes men or beings of a more subtle form, which we call spirits or gods.

The Samkhya envisages 84,000 degrees of the manifestation of consciousness in matter, starting with infinitesimal particles [units of energy], then atoms, then simple organisms and bacteria, and ending at the higher life forms, animals, men, spirits, and gods……

For the Samkhya, the laws that govern the formation of atoms, cells, matter, and life are not the result of a stroke of Iuck, but are the implementation of a pre-existing plan. The universe develops in accordance with a code contained in its seed, as a plant develops from its seed. These laws are based on archetypes, formulae which are the same whether they concern the whole universe or its individual elements or parts.

The galaxies, which are the cells of the body of the universe, behave like the cells that form the living being, independent and yet cooperating with the whole, even when there does not appear to us to be any communication between them.

The laws which govern perception, intelligence, and thought cannot be separated from those which rule over the formation of matter.

What we perceive as objects is simply made up of galaxies of atoms, centres of energy separated by enormous spaces.

The appearance of objects is merely the result of the limits of our perceptions. The living being, seen as a centre of autonomous perception, is a witness whose whole role it is to give a visible reality to the divine dream that is creation.

This appearance is illusory since it is formed from combinations of atoms that are nothing but centres of energy lacking substance. An infinitesimal being would see the human body as we see the solar systems and galaxies, which are the atoms of the Purusha, the complete organism that the universe is.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps