A theme prominent in this session, and indeed any piece pertaining to “Indian” soteriology, is the notion of existence as suffering. This is a hard sell for any first-world denizen living in the modern era – a notion difficult to even so much as commiserate with, personally. One can only assume it more applicable to the time and place when these observations were made (or, given what India still is today, just the place).
Existence is not suffering; at least not in total.To the extent that suffering is involved in the human experience, and indeed inevitable, it is simply not problematic enough to warrant the extreme lengths prescribed as necessary to obtain liberation from it. Repeated assertions to the contrary read unrelatable. With luck, this will always be the case as much in the future as it is now. For now, it suffices to smile and nod and continue to hear the sages out, favoring results to reasoning. Liberation for its own sake seems more than reason enough; suffering or no. “Enough of Because! Be he damned for a dog!”
It is said the false identification with what amounts to neurophysiological processes: thoughts, feelings, intent, desire, etc with the spirit (Purusha) that, in the view of Samkhya, is the cause of this suffering. An interesting comparison/contrast can be made here concerning Satanism and Samkhya: both are atheistic, both assert the importance of knowing – of study, and both agree that mental phenomena have its basis strictly in the material – man’s carnal brain. the former dismisses the spiritual altogether, while the latter, it is said, asserts that a spirit or Purusha – a thing separate from matter or Prakriti – must exist because there must be something apart from matter for which matter exists. In other words: spirit must exist for purely teleological reasons.
This is not an easy conclusion to support; but, it is the conclusion Samkhya arrives at, right or wrong.
To be continued in the next session: DigitalValhalla aural streaming