Srila Prabhupada: There are actually two kinds of Sankhya philosophy: the ancient Sankhya philosophy originally taught by Lord Kapiladeva, and the modern Sankhya philosophy taught more recently by the atheist Kapila. Lord Kapila’s Sankhya explains how to become detached from matter and search out Lord Vishnu within the heart.
This Sankhya is actually a process of devotional service. But the modern Sankhya philosophy simply analyzes the material world into its various elements. In that respect, it is just like modern scientific research. Sankhya means “to count.” We are also Sankhya philosophers to some extent because we count the material elements: this is land, this is water, this is fire, this is air, this is ether.
Furthermore, I can count my mind, my intelligence and my ego. Beyond my ego, however, I cannot count. But Krishna says that there is something beyond the ego, and that is the living force. This is what scientists do not know. They think that life is merely a combination of material elements, but Krishna denies this in the Bhagavad-gita (7.5):
apareyam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
“Besides this inferior nature [earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego] there is a superior energy of Mine, which consists of all the living entities who are struggling with material nature and sustaining the universe.”
Dr. Singh: Are both the inferior and the superior energies studied in modern Sankhya philosophy?
Srila Prabhupada: No. Modern Sankhya philosophers do not study the superior energy. They simply analyze the material elements, just as the scientists are doing. The scientists do not know that there is spirit soul, nor do the Sankhya philosophers.