From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Niriśvara-sāṅkhya literally means ‘the Sāṅkhya philosophy that does not accept īśvara or God’.

The philosophies of Sāṅkhya and Yoga are generally studied together. The former concentrates on the metaphysical side, the latter pays the maximum attention to the sādhanā or spiritual practice that ultimately leads to kaivalya or liberation. Whereas the Sāṅkhya propounds 25 cosmic principles behind the creation, the Yoga accepts all of them and then adds īśvara or God as the 26th principle. Since the former school does not accept īśvara or God, it is called ‘Nirīśvara-sāṅkhya’.[1] The latter is termed as ‘Seśvara-sāṅkhya’.


  1. Nir means not.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore