ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Kanchana NatarajanSubscribe to Kanchana Natarajan

Gendering of Early Indian Philosophy

Samkhyakarika, a classical Samkhya text, the earliest complete and extant one, upholds a sharp dualism positing two independent realities, 'prakrti', the primordial matter that evolves and creates the colourful world, and 'purusha' the spirit, who is a mere passive observer/witness. The characteristics attributed to prakrti, matter, and purusha, the spirit, are identified with the physical woman and man, respectively. It might also be construed that the constructions of the nature of prakrti and purusha reflected the roles of women and men in early societies. In the first part of this paper the author delineates the dualism of prakrti and purusha as found in the Samkhyakarika, while in the second part is discussed the impact of the same on the constructions of female subjectivity.
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