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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Pancasikha, PaJcaZikha, Paycashikha

Pañcaśikha literally means ‘one with five locks of hair on the head'.

Pañcaśikha as per Sāṅkhya Darśana

One of the six systems of the religious 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 and his student Pañcaśikha also.

Pañcaśikha as per Mahābhārata

One Pañcaśikha is mentioned by the Mahābhārata[1] as a teacher of the king Janaka. He is said to have authored a voluminous work, Sastitantra[2] which is not available now. This name might have been given to that work since it was said to deal with sixty[3] topics of Sāñkhya philosophy.

Pañcaśikha as per Yogasutras

Twenty-one sutras in prose have been quoted in the Vyāsabhāsya on the Yogasutras of Patañjali[4] 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[5] in his Sāñkhyakārikā.


  1. Śāntiparva, 219
  2. It is in sixty chapters, in two parts, containing thirty two and twenty-eight chapters each.
  3. Sixty means ṣaṣṭi.
  4. He lived in 200 B. C.
  5. Īśvara-kṛṣṇa lived in A. D. 350.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore