Sāṁkhya Karika with Vācaspati Miṣra Commentaries |Part 7
The warders are the principal organs. While the other external organs are the doors, i.e. are mere instruments. They are only subordinate organs because the buddhi along with the mind and ahaṁkāra, determines all objects that are exhibited by the external organs. Therefore, the external organs are like the doors whereas the Buddhi along with other internal organs is like the Warder.
Buddhi is principal not only in relation to the external organs but also in relation to the warders, i.e. the internal organs, viz, the I-Principle and the mind. This is. stated in the following verse:
The chief officer of the village collects taxes from the heads of different families, and delivers it to the head of the District; he, in turn, delivers it to the Head of all the Districts who in turn hands it over to the king. In like manner, here also, the external organs, having perceived objects, present them to the mind which observes them and presents them to the I-Principle which taking a personal cognisance, presents them to the Buddhi who is like the Head of all of them. That is why it is said in the text: These, illuminating all objects, present them to the Buddhi for the purpose of the Spirit.
The external organs, the Mind and the I-Principle are the various modifications of the Attributes, i.e. they are the various mutations of the Sattva, Rajas and Tamas Attributes. Though they are mutually contradictory by their very nature, yet, they are led in unison for the purpose of the Puruṣa in the form of bringing experiences of enjoyment and emancipation. It is just like the wick, oil and fire, though opposed to each other (in their individual action) combine together in the form of a lamp in order to illuminate forms, colours etc. This meaning has to be applied to the statement in the verse: ete guṇaviśeṣāḥ.
Objection: Why is it that the other organs present their impressions to the Buddhi? Why should not the Buddhi present its impressions to the Ahaṁkāra, or to the manas which are like the Warders (as mentioned before)? This is answered:
The sole motive of the organs to act is to serve the purpose of the Spirit; that alone could be the principal organ which accomplishes this purpose directly; among the organs, the Buddhi alone does this directly; hence, that alone is considered to be die Principal organ, just like the Governor being considered superior to all other chiefs by virtue of his being the direct Agent of the King, while others such as the village heads etc., are only of secondary importance when compared to the former. It is the Buddhi alone that accomplishes the experiencing of all objects to the Spirit by pretending to be the Spirit itself due to the reflection of the Spirit in the Buddhi owing to its proximity to the Spirit. Experiencing consists in the enjoyment of feelings of pleasure and pain; this feeling takes place in the Buddhi; The Buddhi appears as if it has assumed the form of the Spirit; thus the Buddhi makes the Spirit undergo these experiences. Just as perception, observation and self-consciousness of things get transmitted to the Buddhi by taking their own respective forms, the functions of the senses too, in a similar way, become identified with Buddhi in its own operation in the form of determining. It is just like the troops of the village-chief becoming one with the troops of the Governor. In a similar way, the Buddhi accomplishes for the Puruṣa experiences of all things in the form of sound etc.
Objection: If the Buddhi is the one that accomplishes the experiences for the Puruṣa in respect to all the objects, then, no emancipation is ever possible. This is answered: it is again etc. It discriminates the difference between the Puruṣa and the Pradhāna. Here, the usage of the term aṅtaram viśinaṣṭi - discriminates the difference, is similar to the usage of the clause odanapākam pacati- cooks the cooking of rice. Thus is shown that emancipation is the purpose of the Spirit. Since the difference between the Puruṣa and the Pradhāna is only artificial it should be transient; then, the emancipation brought about by the discrimination of that difference also must be transient. This is answered: subtle etc. The said difference is subtle, i.e. it is difficult to perceive. ‘Pradhāna is subject to modifications. I am different from that’ - this difference is ever existing; but due to the absence of discrimination, the Buddhi just creates an awareness that there is no difference; but it does not create that difference due to which only transiency could be implied. The organs have been described: Now the author describes the specific as well as the non-specific objects.
Sound and the rest are the Tanmātras, i.e. they are the subtle forms. The term mātra (in Tanmātra) indicates that these Primary elements are devoid of specific characteristics such as calmness etc. which alone render them fit to be experienced (as pleasure, pain etc.).
Having described the non-specific things (aviśeṣān), the author now, in order to describe the specific objects, mentions the manner of their production by stating: from these etc. From these five Primary elements of sound, touch, colour, taste and odour, proceed respectively, the five gross elements of Akasa, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
Objection: Let these five gross elements be produced from the five Primary elements, but what about their specific characteristics?
Answer: These are remembered as the specifics. Why? Because, they partake of the nature of calmness, turbulence and delusion. The first ca (in the text) indicates the reason; the second ca (in the text) indicates the cumulative force (i.e. the things have all the three characteristics of calmness etc.). Among the gross elements like the akasa and the rest, abounding in sattva Attributes, some are calm, happy, pleasant and buoyant; some, abounding in Rajas attribute, are turbulent, miserable, and unstable; some, abounding in Tamas attribute, are deluded, despondent, and sluggish. These gross elements, which are objects of experience, being distinguished from each other, are said to be discernible (viśeṣa) and gross (sthūla). But the Primary elements (Tanmātras) distinguished from each other, are not the objects of our experience; hence they are said to be non-discernible (aviśeṣāḥ) and subtle (sūkṣmāḥ).
A further sub-division of the specific objects is next mentioned:
The Specific objects are three-fold. They are mentioned, (a) Subtle bodies are presumed (as they are not perceptible). In order to become perceptible, it must have some extra qualification or viśeṣaṇa by means of which it becomes distinguished from others. Here, the Viśeṣaṇa is the property of causing pleasure, pain and delusion, which constitute the nature of the three Attributes. These are absent in the tanmātras but are present in sthūla bhūtas.
(b) The bodies born of father and mother consist of six sheaths. Among these six, hair, blood and flesh are from the mother; arteries, bones and marrow are from the father. These six are the six sheaths (of the body).
(c) Prabhūtāni are the Great or gross elements. Along with these great elements, the other two constitute the specific. Thus, the subtle body is the first kind of specific object; bodies born of parents are the second kind; and the gross elements are of the third kind. Objects like the jar etc. are included in the class of gross elements: The difference between the subtle body and the body born of parents is next explained: the subtle body among them etc. The meaning is that among the specific things those that are subtle, are lasting while those born of parents are perishable, ie they dissolve into either fluids (when buried) or ash (when burnt) or putrid matter (when left to decay).
Now the subtle body is being classified:
Produced primordially means that at the beginning of creation by the Pradhāna, the subtle body was evolved one for each Puruṣa. Not confined because it is unobstructed; as such, it can pass through even a mountain. Constant because it continues to exist from the first evolution to the time of final dissolution. The Subtle body is composed of the Mahat down to subtle Tanmātras, that is to say, the subtle body is an aggregate of Mahat (Will), I-Principle, the eleven sense-organs and the five Primary elements. It is specific because it is endowed with the sense organs which are calm, turbulent and delusive.
Objection: Let this subtle body itself be the field of experience for the Spirit; where then is the need for a perceptible physical body comprised of the six sheaths (as mentioned above)?
Answer: it migrates - i.e. the subtle body transmigrates from body to body, i.e. it gives up and again occupies the six-sheathed physical body one after the other. Why so? Because, it is devoid of experience. The subtle body is incapable of having any experience without a physical body of six sheaths; that is why it migrates.
Objection: Transmigration is caused by Virtue and Vice and the subtle body has no connection with them. Then, how does the subtle body migrate?
Answer: The text answers: it is tinged with dispositions. The dispositions are Virtue and Vice, knowledge and ignorance, passion and dispassion, power and weakness. The Buddhi is endowed with all this and the subtle body is connected to the Buddhi. Thus, the subtle body also becomes tinged with those dispositions. It is just like a piece of cloth becoming perfumed with the sweet fragrance of the champaka flower by virtue of the cloth coming in contact with that flower. Thus, becoming tinged with those dispositions, the subtle body migrates. (That is to say, affectation by these dispositions is the cause of transmigration).
Question: Like the Pradhāna, why not the subtle body also remain at the time of final dissolution?
Answer: Because it is the mergent. That which gets dissolved is the liṅgam or mergent. The meaning is that it gets dissolved in its cause. (It is a product, a combination of things; therefore, it being a product, it suffers resolution in its cause at the time of Final Dissolution).
Objection: Let it be so; But why not the Buddhi itself migrate accompanied by the I-Principle and the sense-organs? Where then is the need to assume the migration by the subtle body for which there is no proof?
This is answered in the following verse:
Liṅgam in the text means the Buddhi and the rest (i.e. the I-Principle, the Mind, the senses and the five Tanmātras) because they make things known, and that cannot subsist without a substratum. Here, the following syllogism is given: ‘During the intervening period between death and rebirth, the Buddhi and the rest are supported by a refined body; because they are endowed with the refined five Primary elements; like the Buddhi etc. as found in the perceived physical body.’ Without the specific body, i.e. without the subtle body. There is a scriptural text in this connection: ‘Then yama extracted by force the Spirit of the size of the thumb’ (from the body of Satyavān - Mahābhārata). Here, the thumb-sized Puruṣa implies the fact of its being the subtle body because of the impossibility of the extraction of Puruṣa. As such, the Puruṣa here stands for the subtle body only. Here the word puruṣa has the sense of that which sleeps in the gross body (puri śete). Having thus explained the existence of the subtle body, the author next states the reason and the manner of its migration:
The subtle body is formed for the purpose of the Spirit. nimittam (efficient) causes are virtue, vice etc. naimittikam - effects are in the form of taking up of various kinds of physical bodies consisting of six sheaths which are born in consequence of the force of virtue etc. So, by association with virtue, vice etc. various bodies are produced. Like an actor in a drama, the subtle body appears in various roles. An actor, while acting in a drama, takes on the roles of Paraśurāma, or Ajātaśatru, or Vatsarāja; in a similar way, the subtle body also, taking on the gross physical body, acts like a god or a man, an animal or a tree.
Question: Whence does it get such a great power?
Answer: From its conjunction with the all-embracing power of Nature. Declares the Purana: ‘This evolution is wonderful indeed on account of the all-embracing Might of Nature.’
It has been explained above that the subtle body acts owing to its connection with causes and effects. The Author now classifies the cause and effects:
Vaikṛtaḥ (in the text) are Vaikṛtikāḥ which are the effects. Prākṛtikāḥ, dispositions are dispositions of Nature, springing from the Prakṛti. Sāṁsiddika dispositions are the innate dispositions. They are produced from the means already in existence; for example, it is declared that at the beginning of creation, the Primordial Sage Lord Kapila appeared endowed with the four dispositions of Virtue, Wisdom, Dispassion and Power. The incidental dispositions are not innate; they are brought about by personal efforts, like the Virtues belonging to great sages like Vālmīki and others. It is also the same with regard to dispositions like Vice, Ignorance, Passion and Weakness.
Where are they seen? This is answered by saying: Karaṇāśrayiṇaḥ - they reside in the Karana. Karana is the Buddhi Tattva. Kāryam is the body. Hence, those that reside in the body is Karaṇāśrayiṇaḥ. The aggregate formed of the ovum (Kalala), foetus, (budbuda) (the embryo, one night after conception, is known as Kalala, after five nights it is known as budbuda) and flesh, muscles and every other organ like the liver etc. are the various states of formation of the body while in the womb; so also the childhood, youth, old age etc. are the various forms of the body after it comes out of the womb.
Question: Causes and their effects in general are understood by us; but, what are the special effects of special causes?
This is answered:
By following Virtue one attains to the Heaven and higher regions of Light etc. By vice, one goes to the nether regions such as bhūtala etc. Prakṛti offers its experiences to the Puruṣa only till such time as the discriminative knowledge is not brought about. When the knowledge of discrimination arises, the Prakṛti ceases from ministering to the Puruṣa who having fulfilled all his experiences, has become endowed with discriminative Knowledge. That is why it is said: ‘The operations of Prakṛti last only till such time as the attainment of discriminative Wisdom.’ From the reverse means from the wrong knowledge results bondage. This is three-fold; (1) Prākṛtikāḥ - related to Nature (2) Vaikṛtikāḥ - evolutional and (3) dākṣiṇaka - Personal.
Prākṛtika bondage is for those who mistake the Prakṛti for the Puruṣa and worship Prakṛti and contemplate upon it and not on Puruṣa. This is the bondage resulting from Nature. The Purana speaks about the men who become absorbed in Prakṛti (Prakṛtilaya) after death. ‘The contemplators of the Avyakta (the Unmanifest) continue to live a full hundred thousand years.’ The vaikṛtika bondage results for those who contemplate only on the evolutes like the elements, the sense organs, the I-Principle and the Buddhi, identifying them with the Puruṣa. The following has been said with regard to them:
‘Daśa manvaṅtarāṇīha tiṣṭhantīndriyaciṅtakāḥ |
bhautikāstu śataṁ pūrṇaṁ sahasraṁ tvābhimānikāḥ ||
Bauddhā daśa sahasrāṇi tiṣṭhaṅti Vigatajvarāḥ ||
‘Te khalvamī videhāḥ yeṣāṁ vaikṛtiko bandhaḥ ||
Those who contemplate on the sense-organs live here for ten Manvantaras. Those who contemplate on elements, live for one full hundred Manvantaras; those who contemplate on the I-Principle, live for a thousand, and those who contemplate on the Buddhi, live for ten thousand Manvantaras, free from all anxieties.’ ‘Those who labour under this vaikṛtika bondage are the Videhās.’ The Dākṣaṇika bondage results from the performance of sacrifices, like the Iṣṭāpūrta. Ignorant of the Puruṣa Tattva, those who undertake charitable works with their minds influenced only by desire for personal gain, suffer from this bondage.
Those who are free from passion but are ignorant of the true nature of Puruṣa, become absorbed in Prakṛti. Here Prakṛti includes the whole set of evolvent-evolutes such as Prakṛti, Mahat, the I-Principle, the elements and the sense organs. Those who contemplate on them considering them as the Atman, merge into them. They are born again in course of time.
From the passion of rājasa attribute results transmigration. Here the term Rājasa implies the painful character of transmigration because rajas is the source of pain. From power results unimpediment of desires. A man of power does whatever he likes. From the reverse, i.e. from the absence of power, there occur obstructions everywhere in fulfilling one’s desires.
In order to describe collectively as also severally, the eight dispositions of Buddhi to highlight those that are to be adopted and those that are to be relinquished by those desiring emancipation, the author first describes the dispositions collectively.
That through which something becomes known is pratyaya, i.e. the buddhi. The evolution proceeding from that is the pratyayasarga. Viparyaya is ignorance or nescience, and that is the property of the Buddhi. Disability resulting from incapacity of the sense-organs also is a property of the Buddhi. Similarly, both contentment and success are also the properties of Buddhi which will be explained later. Of these, in ignorance, disability and success are included all the seven Virtues leaving aside wisdom which is included only in success. Next, the properties are described severally: their forms are fifty. How? from mutual suppression of the Attributes due to their inequalities. This inequality may consist either in the unequal degrees of strength of the one guṇa in comparison with the other two, or in the combination of the two gunas with that of the third, or in the unequal degrees of weakness of the one in comparison with the other two, or of the two in combination with that of the third. The various degrees of this inequality like preponderance of the one over the other two etc. are assumed according to the requirements of particular cases. This leads to mutual suppression by the Attributes, or predominance of one over the other two etc. Thus, the different forms are fifty.
In Karikas 44 and 45 are given the 8 efficient causes, four from Sāttvic predominance and four from Tāmasic predominance. To this are to be added their corresponding effects. Thus, we have sixteen-fold causes and effects:
2. evolution to higher planes.
6. Absorption in Prakṛti.
8. Unimpediment in fulfilment of desires.
10. descent to nether worlds.
16. Impediment to fulfilment of desires.