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Shaivism - Concepts and symbols - The Word



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Alain Danielou – While the Gods Play  

The Quest for Constants (Akshara)

THE WORD SAMKHYA MEANS “THE SCIENCE OF THE NUMERABLE," since the potentials of human knowledge and the mechanisms of thought, like the forms of matter, are linked to what can be expressed in mathematical terms. All the structures of the material or psychic universe are considered to be determined by harmonies, patterns created from numerical relationships that exist between energetic elements.

The science of the measurable therefore refers to aspects of knowledge that can be expressed in mathematical or geometric terms. It is, moreover, a generally accepted definition of knowledge.

We find the mark of the Samkhya in all the aspects of later Hindu thought that deal with works of a philosophical or ritual character, such as the Upanishad(s) and the Tantra(s), or with scientific and metaphysical investigations such as linguistics, astronomy, physics, mathematics, and physiology.

We do not have the original texts of the ancient Samkhya, which were not in the Sanskrit language, but we are acquainted with its Dravidian terminology thanks, in particular, to the Manimekhalai, which is written in the Tamil language. The first texts seem to date from approximately the same period as the Manimekhalai.

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