Samkhya and Jainism

Liberation is understood as freedom from the prakriti in which Purusha has become enmeshed. This is often termed “kaivalya,” which means aloofness. Since prakriti is understood as the realm of spacetime that subjects us to suffering, kaivalya involves separation from the body. Separation from the mind, however, is also necessary, because what we understand as the mind is no less physical a manifestation of prakriti than the physical body. Samkhya yogis use discrimination (viveka) to use reason to acquire knowledge, and also renunciation, which involves a form of asceticism by which one distances oneself and detaches oneself from the attachments of spacetime.

Samkhya philosophy influenced pre-classical Yoga during 500–600 B.C. and Jainism also influenced both Samkhya and Buddhism to a degree. In fact, each of these philosophical schools reciprocally influenced one another. Jain dualism is similar tot hat of Samkhya. While Samkhya speaks of the purusha, Jainism speaks of the Atman or jiva, each of which is individual and totally unique and distinct. Both believe that the Atman / jiva / purusha is negatively impacted by spacetime and the only way to detach from this world of suffering is through asceticism. One of the distinguishing marks of Samkhya is its emphasis on Viveka, which is a kind of intuitive and non-rational method of discernment that contemplates the eternal rather than that which is embedded in spacetime. Later schools of Indian thought would distance themselves from Samkhya and this concept of viveka, replacing it with samadhi, and later on, Tantra.