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Samkhya (Sanskrit: सांख्य, IAST: sāṃkhya) is one of the six āstika schools of Hindu philosophy. It is most related to the Yoga school of Hinduism, and it was influential on other schools of Indian philosophy. Sāmkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepts three of six pramanas (proofs) as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge. These include pratyakṣa (perception), anumāṇa (inference) and śabda (āptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources). Sometimes described as one of the rationalist schools of Indian philosophy, this ancient school's reliance on reason was exclusive but strong.Samkhya is strongly dualist and atheist. Sāmkhya philosophy regards the universe as consisting of two independent realities, puruṣa (consciousness) and prakṛti (matter). These two realities exist parallelly, without affecting each other. Jiva (a living being) is that state in which puruṣa is bonded to prakṛti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi ("intellect") and ahamkara (ego). The mind and the thoughts that appear in the mind are also considered a part of prakṛti (matter). The universe is described by this school as one created by purusa-prakṛti entities infused with various combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind. During the state of imbalance, one or more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or kaivalya, by the Samkhya school.The existence of God or a supreme being is not directly asserted nor considered relevant by the Samkhya philosophers. Sāṃkhya denies the final cause of Ishvara (God). While the Samkhya school considers the Vedas a reliable source of knowledge, it is an atheistic philosophy according to Paul Deussen and other scholars. A key difference between the Samkhya and Yoga schools, state scholars, is that the Yoga school accepts a "personal, yet essentially inactive, deity" or "personal god". However, Radhanath Phukan, in the introduction to his translation of the Samkhya Karika of Isvarakrsna has argued that commentators who see the unmanifested as non-conscious make the mistake of regarding Samkhya as atheistic, although Samkhya is equally as theistic as Yoga is.Samkhya philosophy is known for its theory of guṇas (qualities, innate tendencies). Guṇa, it states, are the three modes of matter: sattva - the guna of goodness, compassion, calmness, and positivity rajas - the guna of activity, chaos, passion, and impulsivity, potentially good or bad tamas - the guna of darkness, ignorance, dullness, laziness, lethargy and negativity.All matter (prakṛti), states Samkhya, has these three guṇas, but in different proportions. Each guna is dominant at specific times of day. The interplay of these guṇas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life. The Samkhya theory of guṇas was widely discussed, developed and refined by various schools of Indian philosophies. Samkhya's philosophical treatises also influenced the development of various theories of Hindu ethics.

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