“Fright is something one can never get over. When a warrior is caught in such a tight spot he would simply turn his back to the ally without thinking twice. A warrior cannot indulge thus he cannot die of fright. A warrior allows the ally to come only when he is good and ready. When he is strong enough to grapple with the ally he opens up his gap and lurches out, grabs the ally, keeps him pinned down and maintains his stare on him for exactly the time he has to, then he moves his eyes away and releases the ally and lets him go. A warrior, my little friend, is the master at all times.”
Carlos Castaneda

A Separate Reality

Samkhya – Evolvents & Evolutes


evolvent = that which is produced and produces.
evolute = that which is produced and does not produce.

Cosmic Intelligence (Mahat)

Cosmic Intelligence (The “Great Principle”) is the capacity to expand, reveal and ascertain (here there is no ideation, relationship or identity). It is the first appearance of the universe, the order that fulfills the ultimate destiny of nature. It is cosmic evolution, will,or urge to satisfy a want that has been created by a disturbance of the perfect balance of nature.  It is classified as an evolvent.

Individuating Principle (Ahamkara)

“aham” = I, “kr” = to do/make/perform. It is responsible for the limitations, separation and variety that come out of harmony. It is the state of active consciousness in which the illuminating aspect “I” identifies itself with the total “this” – it forms the dualistic state of as yet un-manifest universe. It is a state of self-realization in the presence of the universal will that precedes any action. It too is classified as an evolvent.

Cosmic Mind (Manas)

“man” = to think. The principle of cognition. It is an evolute – it does not produce new forms of being (as opposed to Cosmic Intelligence which does).

Cosmic Intelligence, Individuating Principle & Cosmic Mind are not separated in time – they arise simultaneously. They are together the outcome of the unbalance of the 3 Gunas. They are discussed separately only for the purpose of understanding.

Abstract Sense Powers (Indriyas)

These are ten principles :

  • 5 Abstract Knowing Senses (Jnanendriyas – powers of cognition):  Hear, Feel, See, Taste, Smell.
  • 5 Working Senses (Karmendriyas – capacities for action): Express, Procreate, excrete, grasp, move.

All 10 arise simultaneously with Mind (Manas) and are classified as evolutes (do no produce new modes of being). They have no real existence without objects – eg. the power to hear could have no meaning without sound.  The moment these abstract sense powers manifest themselves, their correlated subtle elements come into being.

(Comment: there seems to be a correlation between the Indriyas and primary Nadi).

Subtle Elements ( Tanmatras)

“tad” = that, “matra” = an element/elementary matter. Translated as “That-ness”. These are the subtle elements of the sense powers: sound, touch, form, flavor and odor. They are the first conceivable division of matter, the subtlest form of actual matter, without magnitude and perceived only through particular mediating objects. They are evolvents – from them the universe comes forth, continues and finally disappears.

When there is a further restraining aspect of the Tamas Guna, the subtle elements produce an accretion of mass which forms the Sense-Particulars.

Sense-Particulars (Mahabhutas)

“bhu” = tu be, to come into being, to exist. These are the five differentiable forms of Cosmic Substance:

  • Ether – Akasa (“kas” = to appear) is the principle of vacuity. It has the special property of sound.
  • Air – Vayu (“va” = blow) is the principle of motion – it’s function is pressure or impact. It has the special property of touch and general quality of sound.
  • Fire – Tejas (“tij” = to be sharp) is the principle of luminosity – it’s function is expansion. It has the special property of form and general quality of touch and sound.
  • Water – Apas (“ap” = water) is the principle of liquidity – it’s function is contraction. It has the special property of flavor and general quality of form, touch and sound.
  • Earth – Prthivi is the principle of solidarity – it’s function is cohesion. It has the special property of odor and general quality of flavor, for, touch and sound.

Each Sense-Particular is conditioned and evolved from the one proceeding it. It has a distinguishing special property in addition to the general qualities it inherits from the others from which it is evolved:

  • Ether – sound
  • Air – sound & touch
  • Fire – sound & touch & form
  • Water – sound & touch & form & flavor
  • Earth – sound & touch & form & flavor & odor

With the manifestation of the Sense-Particulars the process of cosmic evolution comes to rest – therefore these are classified as evolutes (they are produced but do not produce). All manifestation in the phenomenal world are said to be modifications of these principles and not the creation of anything new.


This entry was posted in Yoga, Yoga Philosophy. You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours


  1. deena
    Posted May 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    I have known these terms but this explanation/interpretation was so clear!

  2. Prof : T Chandrakanth Chowdhaury
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Create and Destructive methodology has very keen and meek .

  3. R.Narasimha Swamy
    Posted March 28, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Nice interpretation of difficult terms

3 Trackbacks

  • By Yoga – Gunas, Mind & Body | iamronen on August 13, 2009 at 2:54 am

    […] – Soul & MindSamkhya – IntroductionSamkhya – Spirit & Matter (3 Gunas)Samkhya – Evolvents & EvolutesYoga – What is Human?Yoga – Gunas, Mind & […]

  • By Heart of Matter | iamronen on September 7, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    […] Samkhya philosophy suggests that the subtle elements are evolved from one another – each having the special properties of it’s preceding elements in addition to it’s special element: […]

  • By Energy – Prana | iamronen on September 21, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    […] create & experience, so it came up with Prana – a means for it to manifest. Then, before anything else manifested, from Prana came faith. I hope to one day gain more perspective on this subtle point. […]

Leave a Reply