Sāṁkhya Karika with Vācaspati Miṣra Commentaries |Part 9
Āraṁbha (in the text) means being brought about, i.e. the evolution from Mahat down to the Earth is brought about by Prakṛti itself and not by lsvara (i.e. God, as held by the Naiyāyikas) nor has it sprung from Brahman as its (material) support (as held by the Vedāṅtins), nor has it been created without any Cause (as held by the atheists). If it were without a cause, then, either there would be the absolute absence of evolution or there would be eternal evolution. Nor can it be said to have been evolved from Brahman (as its material and efficient cause) because, there can be no modification for what is pure intelligence. Nor is the evolution brought about by Prakṛti, as controlled by lsvara, because, superintendence of Prakṛti is impossible by an lsvara who is inactive. For example, a carpenter who is inactive is never seen manipulating his instruments like an axe etc.
Objection: If it is said that the evolution is brought about by the Prakṛti, then, Prakṛti being eternally active, it will never cease from the act of creation; thus, there would be creation at all times and there would be no emancipation at all.
This is answered in the text: For the emancipation of each Puruṣa, Prakṛti acts for the sake of another, though appearing as if acting for herself. It is just like one who desires food, engages himself in the act of cooking, and retires from the work of cooking when the food is ready. In a similar way, the Prakṛti, being motivated to action solely with the purpose of emancipating each Puruṣa, ceases from her operation with regard to that Puruṣa to whom she brings about emancipation. This action for another’s sake is just like the action for one’s own benefit.
Objection: Let it be so; but it is only the Intelligent being that could act either for the self or for another’s purpose: Prakṛti can’t act thus, it being inert. Thus there exists a Sentient being who exercises control over Prakṛti. The Spirits dwelling in bodies won’t be able to control the actions of the Prakṛti, inasmuch as the Spirits dwelling in bodies are ignorant of the true character of Prakṛti: Consequently, there must be existing an omniscient controller of Prakṛti and that being is Īśvara.
This is answered in the following verse:
It is seen that insentient entities also act towards a definite purpose, e.g. milk, though inert, acts in the form of flowing for the nourishment of the calf. In a similar way, the Prakṛti, though in sentient, is engaged in action for the purpose of bringing emancipation to the Puruṣa. It cannot, however, be maintained that the secretion of milk takes place under the superintendence of God. Now, this action cannot be an instance vitiating the general proposition that the actions of inert things are due to the superintendence by sentient beings; because, the activity of every intelligent being always proceeds from either selfishness or compassion. In regard to the creation of the universe, neither of this could be applied. From this it is clear that this creation cannot be due to the action of a sentient agent.
The Lord who is all-full, having all his desires fulfilled, wanting in nothing whatsoever, can’t have any selfish motive in creating this world. Nor can it be said that the Lord created this world out of compassion, because, compassion implies the desire to alleviate other’s pains; but prior to creation the Spirits would have had no bodies, organs and objects, and consequently, no pain, no suffering. Then, to remove whose pain would the compassion of the Lord be roused? If it be said that the pain subsequent to creation is the cause of compassion, then it would lead to the vitiating position of interdependence that creation is due to compassion, and compassion is due to creation! Further, if the creation was an act of compassion on the part of Īśvara, one would wish, Īśvara to create only happy mortals, and not beings with variegated experiences. If diversity of experience is said to be due to the diversity of actions, then where is the necessity for the alleged superintendence of Karmas by an Omniscient and Omnipresent Being? The absence of control by a sentient being would then mean that deeds of man which are inert could have no manifestation in which case there would be no production of their effects in the form of bodies, organs and objects; the result of all this would then be that, there would be no pain too. Thus, the removal of pain too would become easy! Prakṛti, being unintelligent, has neither any selfish motive nor compassion to impel her to activity. Since she exists only for another’s sake, the above said incongruities do not arise in her case. Since the activity of the Prakṛti is directed only by her sole motive to bring about the fulfilment of another’s purpose, the instance of the secretion of mother’s milk for the sake of the growth of the child is quite appropriate.
The statement (in the earlier Karika) as if for her own sake is being explained:
Autsukya is desire. Desire ceases when the desired object is attained. The desired object is the purpose of the agent, because the end result of an action is the acquisition of the desired object. By this analogy it is explained that the unmanifest also energises for the release of Puruṣa.
Question: Let the purpose of the release of Puruṣa be the motive for action by Prakṛti, but how does the cessation of the operations of Prakṛti take place? This is answered:
Raṅga implies spectators who occupy the stage. Having exhibited herself means having shown that her different modifications such as the sound and the rest are quite distinct from the Puruṣa.
Objection: Let the actions of the Prakṛti be solely for the purpose of Puruṣa. But Prakṛti could certainly expect some returns from the Puruṣa who is benefited from her actions, like a servant expecting recompense from his gratified Master. Thus, it cannot be said that the actions of Prakṛti are entirely for the sake of Puruṣa.
This is answered:
Like a servant endowed with qualities unselfishly accomplishes the good of his Master who is devoid of qualities and who does not recompense his labours, the Prakṛti too which is both generous and endowed with three attributes, brings about the good of Puruṣa who is without any attribute and who does not do anything in return. Thus, it is proved that the Prakṛti labours only for the sake of Puruṣa and not for self.
Objection: Let it be so; but a dancing girl, though retired from the stage after her performance, returns again to the stage when so desired by the spectators; in a similar way, the Prakṛti also could again engage herself in activities even though she had ceased to act after exhibiting herself to the Puruṣa.
This is answered:
Modesty here means extreme delicacy and acute sensitivity of a maiden who cannot bear exposure to the prying glance of a stranger. If a maiden of noble descent, who has not been seen even by the sun, with her eyes cast on the ground, is seen by a stranger puruṣa when her body is exposed due to some inadvertence, she would hasten to hide herself in such a way as not to be seen again by another person in such a condition of inadvertence. Similarly, the Prakṛti, even more modest than a lady of noble birth, having once been seen by the Puruṣa through discrimination, will in no case expose herself again.
Objection: But the Puruṣa is devoid of Attributes and does ' not undergo any modification. Then, how could his release be brought about? The root muc has the meaning of loosening of bondage; and bondage is synonymous with the Kārmic residuals; tinged with the latent dispositions of painful subliminal impressions; but this is not possible in the case of Puruṣa who does not undergo any modification. Therefore, there can be no transmigration (samsara) for the Puruṣa; transmigration is just another name for rebirth after one’s death and Puruṣa can have none of it inasmuch as he is inactive. Thus, it is just hollow to assert that evolution is for bringing about the release of the Puruṣa.
The author, through the guise of concluding his disquisition, dispels such doubts by stating as follows:
The Spirit is never bound, nor does it ever migrate nor is it emancipated. It is the Nature alone, supporting many beings, that is bound, migrates and is released. Bondage, migration and release are merely ascribed to the Puruṣa in just the same way as defeat or victory is attributed to the King though, in reality, the soldiers are either defeated or victorious. Though it is the servants that really take part in the battle, yet the king suffers the effect of grief or profit, he being the support of his servants. In a similar way, though, in reality, both enjoyment and release belong to Prakṛti, yet due to the absence of discrimination of Puruṣa being quite distinct from the Prakṛti, they are attributed to Puruṣa. Thus, the doctrine stands clearly vindicated.
Objection: Very good; we understand that bondage, migration and release, though really belonging to Prakṛti, is ascribed to Puruṣa. But, what is the use of this to Prakṛti?
It is answered in the following verse:
By means of seven forms, ie by means of seven dispositions of Buddhi such as dharma and the rest excepting the knowledge of Truth. For the purpose of the Spirit in the form of experience and final release, she liberates herself by herself by means of one form, ie by the knowledge of the Tattva or by discriminative wisdom. She does not again bring about enjoyment and release.
We have understood this knowledge of Truth. Then what?
The term tattva indicates the correct knowledge of the entities. Following the method described earlier, through the practice of the knowledge of the Tattvas through a long course of earnest and uninterrupted exercise, there arises the direct knowledge of the distinction of the Spirit from Matter. It is only the constant practice of the thing that brings about a direct knowledge of that very same thing. In a similar way, the practice relating to the Tattva also brings about a direct knowledge of those Tattvas. That is why (i.e. for the reason of its leading to the knowledge of the Tattvas) wisdom is called pure. The question as to why it is called pure is answered: because it is free from falsity. Doubt and falsity are the two impurities of wisdom; since it is free from these, it is called pure. The doubt that apprehends what is certain or uncertain also is a form of falsity. Therefore, by stating absence of falsity (in the text), the absence of both doubt and falsity are shown. This absence of doubt and falsity is also due to the knowledge relating to the Tattvas.
Let the knowledge of the Truth be produced by means of practice in the above said manner. But due to the subliminal impressions of the false knowledge which is without beginning, there is the possibility of the appearance of false knowledge also which, in effect would lead to the problem of non-terminality of transmigration. In answer to this, it is said that this knowledge is absolute, i.e. unmixed with false knowledge. Even though the subliminal impression of falsity is eternal, yet it can be totally eliminated by the impression of the knowledge of Truth culminating in the direct experience of the knowledge of true nature of things, because it is said that the nature of Intelligence always tends towards the knowledge of Truth. Even the outsiders (i.e. the Bauddhas) declare as follows:
‘Nirupadravabhūtārthasvabhāvasya Viparyayaiḥ |
Na bādho yatnavattve ’pi buddheḥ tatpakṣapātataḥ ||
The flawless knowledge of the true character of objects can never be contradicted by erroneous conceptions inasmuch as the nature of buddhi is to tend towards such knowledge.’
The nature of knowledge is stated: I am not, nothing is mine, not-I. This denies all activity in the Self as is declared (by the Grammarians): ‘the root as (as in asmi) together with bhū and kṛ signify action in general’ (Siddhāṅta Kaumudi). Therefore, all operations, both external and internal, such as determination, self-consciousness, observation and apprehension etc. are all denied in the Spirit. The idea of ‘Not-I’ arises because of the absence of all impulse for activity in the Spirit. ‘I’ here stands for Agency, because everywhere in usages such as ‘I know,’ ‘I offer oblations,’ ‘I give,’ the active agent is represented by ‘I’; wherever there is the absence of action, there is also the absence of agency. Rightly it is therefore said ‘Not-I’. Consequently, the idea Nothing is mine’ follows, for it is only the agent who can be the possessor; hence, in the absence of agency, the notion of ownership also is naturally absent.
Or, it may be interpreted thus also: The sentence 7 am not’ means that I am the Spirit, not the Evolvent. Because of the non-productive nature, the non-agency is indicated as 7 am not. ’ Being a non-agent, the sense of ownership also is not there; hence, the expression Nothing is mine.
Objection: Even after this Knowledge, there might be something left unknown; ignorance of such unknown things might lead to bondage.
Answer: No, this knowledge is complete, i.e. there is nothing left unknown after having attained this knowledge of the Tattvas which would bind a person.
Question: What is the result of such a knowledge of Truth as mentioned above?
The following verse is in reply to this:
The two things for which Prakṛti undergoes evolution are experience and direct discriminative Knowledge of the Truth. When these two have already been accomplished, there is nothing else left to be produced by the Prakṛti again. Therefore, under the force of the discriminative wisdom, the Prakṛti ceases from evolving. The seven forms of evolution, viz, virtue, vice, ignorance, dispassion, passion, power and weakness are there only as long as there is the absence of the knowledge of Truth. Even the dispassion of those who are fully content with it, is also due to erroneous knowledge. True knowledge of the Tattvas, being contrary to false knowledge, roots out the latter. With the cause eliminated, its effects in the form of seven evolutes are also removed; thus the Prakṛti turns back from the seven forms of evolution. Being at ease means being inactive. Pure, i.e. not mixed with the impurities of the Buddhi due to Rajas and Tamas attributes. But the Spirit, till the very last moment, is in slight contact with Buddhi abounding in Sattva attribute, as otherwise nature would be imperceptible.
Objection: We don’t find fault with the statement that the Nature ceases to be productive. But, it has been said that evolution is due to the contact between the Spirit and Nature.
Contact is the capability to connect. The capacity to experience belongs to the Puruṣa, the sentient Principle; and the capability of being experienced belongs to Prakṛti, it being inert and also j; objective. These two capabilities can never cease to exist. It cannot be said that they cease because there is nothing left to be done. Though some objects may have been experienced by the Puruṣa, there may be many more objects of that class that have not yet been experienced, as is found in case of the experience of sound etc. which are sought to be experienced again and again?
This is answered:
Let the Prakṛti accomplish repeatedly the experience of enjoyment of sound and the rest as long as she has not brought about the Discriminative Wisdom. But once the Discriminative Wisdom is brought about, then the Prakṛti produces no more the experience of enjoyment of sound and the rest. Enjoyment of sense-objects such as the sound etc. is possible only as long as the bondage of erroneous knowledge is there; with the absence of this bondage, enjoyments also cannot be there, like the sprout not being there in the absence of the seed. The Self thinks, due to the absence of discrimination, ‘this is mine’ and enjoys the objects of the senses such as the sound and the rest, which are the modifications of Prakṛti and are of the Nature of pleasure, pain and delusion. Similarly, the Spirit thinks of the Discriminative Wisdom which is also a modification of Prakṛti as ‘this is for my purpose,’ owing to the lack of discrimination. When, however, the right Discriminative Knowledge is produced, the connection of the Spirit with Prakṛti ceases, and it does not behove the spirit to crave any more for the objects of the senses, such as the sound and the rest; nor can it bring about the discriminative wisdom which belongs to the Prakṛti. Thus, the Atman who has realised himself to be completely distinct from the Prakṛti, cannot consider any purpose as his own. Experience and release are for the purpose of the Spirit; they only provide the motive for initiating the operations of Prakṛti; when these purposes of the Puruṣa are accomplished, there will also not be the motive for operation. This is what is said in the text: there is no motive for creation. Motive is that by which the Prakṛti is impelled to act to bring about evolution: with the cessation of the purpose of the Puruṣa, the motive too ceases.
Objection: We accept all this; but the body of the liberated Self would fall off immediately after the knowledge of the Truth is directly experienced. Then, how could the bodiless Spirit behold Prakṛti (as distinct from itself)? If it is said that the release does not take place immediately after the dawn of discriminative wisdom inasmuch as all the subliminal impressions of deeds are not spent; then, we ask, how is this impression destroyed? If the answer is ‘by means of experience,’ then, you would be as well saying that knowledge of the Tattvas does not bring about emancipation. Thus the proposition that by means of the knowledge of the Truth brought about by the knowledge of discrimination between the Manifest, the Unmanifest and the Spirit, emancipation is attained, becomes meaningless. Therefore, the possibility of attaining emancipation on the absolute elimination of the stocks of residual impressions of deeds by means of innumerable experiences extending to an uncertain period of time will remain only a fond wish (i.e. will never be fulfilled):
This is answered: