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About Kapila: Vedic sage, of the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy |

About Kapila: Vedic sage, of the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy |



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8. Rishi Kapila

Kapila was a Vedic sage who lived around the 6th century BCE and is considered a founder of Samkhya, the oldest of the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy, or darshans. His name comes from the Sanskrit meaning “reddish brown” and is translated as “the red one.”

Kapila is considered an...


Kapila is a given name of different individuals in ancient and medieval Indian texts, of which the most well-known is the founder of the Samkhya school of Hindu philosophy. Kapila of Samkhya fame is considered a Vedic sage, estimated to have lived in the 6th-century BCE, or the 7...

Kapila And Ahimsa

Many historic personalities in Hinduism and Jainism, mythical figures, pilgrimage sites in Indian religion, as well as an ancient variety of cow went by the name Kapila.

Kapila is credited with authoring an influential sutra, called Samkhya-sutra(also called Kapila-sutra),which aphoristical...

The Rigveda X.27.16 – estimated to have been composed between 1500 and 1200 BCE – mentions Kapila (daśānām ekam kapilam ) which the 14th-century Vedic commentator Sayana thought refers to a sage; a view which Chakravarti in 1951 and Larson in 1987 consider unreliable, with Chakravarti su...


Kapila is mentioned in chapter VIII of the Uttaradhyayana-sutra , states Larson and Bhattacharya, where a discourse of poetical verses is titled as Kaviliyam , or "Kapila's verses".

The name Kapila appears in Jaina texts. For example, in the 12th century Hemacandra's epic poe...


Buddhists literature, such as the Jataka tales, state the Buddha was Kapila in one of his previous lives.

Scholars have long compared and associated the teachings of Kapila and Buddha. For example, Max Muller wrote (abridged),

There are no doubt certain notions which Buddha shares in ...

claim the attributes that belong to a Supreme Being (Absolute,the source of all that exists or seems to exist,Brahman).

Kapila,when accused of atheism,is not accused of denying the existence of an Absolute Being.He is accused of denying the existence of an Ishvara.

As Buddhist art oft...

The following works were authored by Kapila, some of which are lost, and known because they are mentioned in other works; while few others are unpublished manuscripts available in libraries stated:

  • Manvadi Shrāddha - mentioned by Rudradeva in Pakayajna Prakasa .
  • Dṛṣṭan...

•Kapila Samhita - there are 2 works by the same name. One is the samhita quoted in the Bhagavatatatparyanirnaya and by Viramitrodaya in Samskaras . Another is the Samhita detailing pilgrim centers of Orissa.

•Kapilasutra - Two books, namely the Samkya Pravacana Sutra and the Tattvasamasasut...

•Kapilopanishad - Mentioned in the Anandasrama list at 4067 (Anandasrama 4067).

•Kapila Gita - also known as Dṛṣṭantasara or Siddhāntasāra .Kapila Pancharatra - also known as Maha Kapila Pancharatra. Quoted by Raghunandana in Saṃskāra Mayukha .

Ayurveda books mentioning Kapila's works...

Hemadri quotes Kapila's views in Ashtangahradaya (16th verse) of the commentary Ayurveda Rasayana .Sarvadarsanasamgraha (Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha ) mentions Kapila's views on Raseśvara school of philosophy.


Kapila's Samkhya is taught in various Hindu texts:


  • "Kapila said, "Acts only cleanse the body. Knowledge, however, is the highest end (for which one strives). 5 When all faults of the heart are cured (by acts), and when the felicity of Brahma becomes established in knowledge, benevolence, forgiveness, tranquillity, compassion, truthfulness, a...

who are conversant with all paths and endued with wisdom, say that there are five faults, O puissant one, in the human body.

They are Desire and Wrath and Fear and Sleep and Breath. These faults are seen in the bodies of all embodied creatures.

Those that are endued with wisdom cut ...

  • "My appearance in this world is especially to explain the philosophy of Sankhya, which is highly esteemed for self-realization by those desiring freedom from the entanglement of unnecessary material desires. This path of self-realization, which is difficult to understand, has now been lost i...

Continued above - one's mind becomes purified. In that pure state he transcends the stage of so-called material happiness and distress."

Kapila, the founder of Samkhya, has been a highly revered sage in various schools of Hindu philosophy. Gaudapada (~500 CE), a Advaita Vedanta scholar, in...

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