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Classical Samkhya and Yoga: An Indian Metaphysics of Experience (Routledge Hindu Studies Series) Hardcover – December 13, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-0415394482 ISBN-10: 0415394481 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mikel Burley received his PhD in Indian philosophy from the University of Bristol, and currently teaches in the School of Philosophy at the University of Leeds. His previous publications include Hatha-Yoga: Its Context, Theory and Practice and numerous articles on both Western and Indian philosophy.

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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 13, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415394481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415394482
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,277,300 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Douglas E. Osto on July 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book on (primarily) Samkhya metaphysics, and the most innovative treatment of the subject since G. Larson "Classical Samkhya". The author resolves the long standing apparent tension between cosmological-cum-psychological interpretations of Samkhya's tattva-theory by offering a new synchronic and phenomenological interpretation of the tattvas as the necessary conditions for experience to occur. Moreover, the study makes a compelling argument against a realist reading of prakrti. This book is a most welcome contribution to the field.
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By Ed on December 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
"...I hope enough has been done to demonstrate the extreme unlikelihood that Samkhya and Yoga are responsible for the sorts of crude cosmological speculations that have been avidly attributed to them by several generations of putative exegetes. What they are instead responsible for, I have proposed, is among other things an elaborate and insightful system of interrelated principles that is best construed as an Indian metaphysics of experience." (162)

These concluding lines of Burley's "Classical Samkhya and Yoga" summarize what he hopes to have accomplished, and it seems that he has done so quite convincingly. One of the original features of his book is the way it deals with the problem of the fundamental categories of prak'ti, or the tattvas, having being historically understood as having both a cosmogonic and psychological designation. On the one hand they seem to be presented as an account of how the universe "unfolds" in a temporal and causal sequence in which some fundamental matter (prakriti) is transformed into the constituent elements of the universe. On the other they are presented as an account of how phenomenological human experience arises. However, this dual nature or bivalence is never mentioned or even suggested in the texts (Samkhyakarika & Yogasutras) themselves. Burley confronts this issue by asking two simple questions, 1.) How does the physical arise from the psychological? 2.) How can aspects of psychology emerge sequentially, when all are present at any given time?

The problem can be resolved, argues Burley, if we abandon a realistic and diachronic interpretation in favor of a reading that takes the tattvas as a synchronic analysis of experience.
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