Difference between Samkhya and Darwinian Conception of Evolution!

In the Western philosophy, the most influential and prominent theory that has been put forward in the sphere of evolutionism is that of Darwin.

The Darwinian thought has made its mark upon thinking in every sphere of knowledge. In Indian philosophy, the problem of evolution of the universe has been tackled by the Samkhya system in a most subtle and philosophical manner.

Even though it cannot give a completely satisfying description of cosmological evolution, yet it explains the order of progress from the subtle elements to the gross, according to a psychological principle, and in this lies its great achievement.


There is a fairly wide difference in the Drawinian and the Samkhya principles of evolution. Both of them have their own individual and distinct methods.

The points that distinguish the Samkhya view from the Darwinian conception of evolution are the following!

1. Modern versus Ancient:

The Darwinian Theory represents modern thought whereas the Samkhya theory is an ancient principle of evolution.

2. Scientific versus Philosophical:

Darwinian Theory is based on the re­searches of modern science whereas the Samkhya view does not concur with science. The Samkhya theory is a philosophical delineation of evolution.

3. Monism versus Dualism:


Being materialistic, the Darwinian Theory ac­cepted merely a material substance as the ultimate element and tried to explain the universe on the basis of material substance. According to 4he Samkhya view, purusa and prakriti arc two separate entities. Purusa is inactive and conscious while Prakriti is active but unconscious. Evolutionary forces are set in motion by the proximity of these two entities. In this way, the Samkhya view is dualistic while Darwin has supported a materialistic monism.

4. Teleological versus Mechanical:

Samkhya evolution is teleological. Whereas according to Darwin, there is no purpose behind evolution, according to Samkhya there is a purpose behind the evolution of the universe. Prakriti uncon­sciously evolves the universe for the experience of the many Purusa and destroys the universe for the liberation of the Purusa. But Darwin looks upon the process of evolution as a blind and mechanical process. The evolutionary process continues mechanically and interminably proceeding from cause to effect.

5. Psychological versus Biological Evolution:

The Samkhya view may be called the theory of psychological evolution and Darwin’s, the theory of biological evolution. The evolutionist principle of Samkhya presents an analysis of the evolution of the psychological process while the Darwinian Theory covers only the evolution of living beings.

6. The State of Soul:

Samkhya accepts the existence of many souls and denies the existence of God. According to Darwin, the existence of neither God nor the soul is indispensable to the evolutionary process. Both the Samkhya philosophers and Darwin believe that mind evolves from matter but the soul has been awarded a distinct and superior existence by Samkhya.

7. Nisus of Evolution:


The nisus of evolution has been differently interpreted by Samkhya and Darwin. According to Darwin, matter is dynamic and acts in conformity with scientific laws to evolve the world. According to Samkhya, the evolutionary process is set in motion by the proximity of Purusa and Prakriti, according to the principle of karma.

According to Samkhya, Prakriti evolves in order that the active agent may reap the reward of his actions. According to Darwin, the motivating force behind the process evolution is the struggle for survival. In the Samkhya philosophy, chance variation finds no place. Being a mechanical principle, the Darwinian theory of evolution recognizes chance variations.