Pañcaśikha

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pancasikha, PaJcaZikha, Paycashikha


Pañcaśikha (‘one with five locks of hair [on the head]’)

One of the six systems of Hindu philosophy whose elements are rooted in the Vedic literature, and, which is extant even today as an important subject of study is the Sāṅkhya Darśana. This system is said to have been originally taught by the sage Kapila and further expounded and expanded by his disciple Asuri as also his student Pañcaśikha.

One Pañcaśikha is mentioned by the Mahābhārata (Sāntiparva, 219) as a

teacher of the king Janaka.

He is said to have authored a voluminous work, Sastitantra (in sixty chapters, in two parts, containing thirty two and twenty-eight chapters each) which is not available now. This name might have been given to that work since it was said to deal with sixty (= ṣaṣṭi) topics of Sāñkhya philosophy.

Twenty-one sutras in prose have been quoted in the Vyāsabhāsya on the Yoga-sutras of Patañjali (200 B. C.) as of Pañcaśikha.

He might have lived during the first century B. C.

His Sāṅkhya probably represents a transitional stage from that of the Upaniṣads to that propounded by īśvara-kṛṣṇa (A. D. 350) in his Sāñkhyakārikā.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Pañcaśikha (‘one with five locks of hair [on the head]’) One of the six systems of Hindu philosophy whose elements are rooted in the Vedic literature, and, which is extant even today as an important subject of study is the Sāṅkhya Darśana. This system is said to have been originally taught by the sage Kapila and further expounded and expanded by his disciple Asuri as also his student Pañcaśikha. One Pañcaśikha is mentioned by the Mahābhārata (Sāntiparva, 219) as a teacher of the king Janaka. He is said to have authored a voluminous work, Sastitantra (in sixty chapters, in two parts, containing thirty two and twenty-eight chapters each) which is not available now. This name might have been given to that work since it was said to deal with sixty (= sasṭi) topics of Sāñkhya philosophy. Twenty-one sutras in prose have been quoted in the Vyāsabhāsya on the Yoga- sutras of Patañjali (200 B. C.) as of Pañcaśikha. B33* He might have lived during the first century B. C. His Sāṅkhya probably represents a transitional stage from that of the Upaniṣads to that propounded by īśvara- kṛṣṇa (A. D. 350) in his Sāñkhyakārikā.