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By Swami Harshananda

Caturvihśati-tattva literally means ‘24 cosmic principles’.

According to the Sāṅkhya system of philosophy, it is prakṛti or pradhāna which comprises of the three guṇas of:

  1. Sattva
  2. Rajas
  3. Tamas

It is the originator of this world. It evolves in stages into 23 fundamental principles, itself being the 24th, by the permutation and combination of which the whole world is created. These fundamentals are:

  1. Prakṛti - Mother Nature
  2. Mahat - ‘The great’, The intellect
  3. Ahaṅkāra - Egoism
  4. Manas - Mind
  5. Five Jñānendriyas - Organs of sense
  6. Five Karmendriyas - Organs of action
  7. Five Tanmātras - Subtle elements
  8. Five Bhutas - Gross elements


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

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