- (c. 100 C.E.)philosopherThe sage Kapila is the legendary founder of SAMKHYA tradition, and thus a key figure in the history of yoga. He is said to have passed on his knowledge to Asuri, who in turn passed it on to Panchashikha. According to the oldest commen-tary on the samkhya karika, a later text, Kapila was a “wise ascetic, . . . born of heaven, . . . and innately endowed with the four fundamental dis-positions of virtue, knowledge, renunciation, and supernatural power.”The story is told that Kapila, out of pity for suf-fering humanity, selected a BRAHMIN householder, Asuri, as an appropriate person to whom to reveal the knowledge of Samkhya. Kapila approached him as he was performing sacrifices (as he had been doing for thousands of years). Asuri would not listen. Only after being approached two more times did he relent and become Kapila’s student.Some sources say Kapila is the son of Svambhu-va’s daughter, MANU, and PRAJAPATI’S son, Kardama. Other sources say that he may be an incarnation of VISHNU who learned his wisdom directly from SHIVA; as such he would then be known as HIRANYA-GARBHA, or lord of the world. There are numerous references to Kapila in the epics and later texts, which give him various powers and statuses.Further reading: John Davies, Hindu Philosophy: An Exposition of the System of Kapila (New Delhi: Cosmo, 1981).
Encyclopedia of Hinduism. A. Jones and James D. Ryan. 2007.