Sāṁkhya Karika with Nārāyaṇa Commentaries | Part 1


Duḥkhatrayābhighātāt, jijñāsā tadapaghātake hetau |
dṛṣṭe sāpārthā cen, naikāntātyaṅtato abhāvāt  |1|

1. On account of the attacks (strokes) of the three kinds of pain arises an enquiry into the means of their removal.  If [the enquiry be pronounced] superfluous because of [the existence of] obvious [means], [the reply is] no, owing to the absence of finality and absoluteness [in them].

Nārāyaṇa Bhāṣya

Having acquired knowledge through the special favour of the feet of the teacher Śrī Rāma Govinda, and from Sri Vāsudeva having learnt all the śāstras, I desire to say something.

Having bowed to Soul, Nature teachers and preceptors, Nārāyaṇa expounds the Text of Sānkhya in the Sānkhyacandrika.

This science has four objects, ['viz.,] what is fit to be abandoned, the cause thereof, the act of abandoning and the means thereto, [here specified] because enquired after by people desiring salvation. Of these, ‘what is fit to be abandoned' is suffering, because disliked by all; ‘the cause thereof' is failure to discriminate between Soul and Non-Soul; ‘the act of abandoning’ consists in the complete cessation of pain, the supreme end of the Soul; and f the means thereto’ is the science that leads to a discrimination between the Object and the Subject. Well, now, the supreme end of the Soul being desired on its own account, there is on the part of the wise an enquiry into the science which will point out the means thereof, because they know that the said end is to be thereby accomplished. Therefore it is said, On account of, etc.

The three sorts of pain are intrinsic, extrinsic and supernatural. Of these, that which arises in connection with self, [that is,] body and mind, is intrinsic pain, due to discomposure of wind, bile, etc., as well as to passion and the rest. That which arises in connection with the created beings or living animals is extrinsic pain, [it] has for its cause a tiger, a thief, or the like. Similarly that which arises in connection with divinities,  as fire etc. is supernatural, [e.g.,] that caused by burning, cold and the like, or owing to possession by evil spirits: (Yakṣa, Rākṣasa, Vināyaka), the influence of planets, etc. Though all sorts of pain arise in the mind, yet the distinction mental and non-mental is made according as it is produced wholly in the mind or not so.

On account of the attack of the three-fold pain, [that is], an intolerable connection therewith, an enquiry is necessarily made by the wise into the following science, [which explains] the means of the removal or extirpation of the said suffering through a discriminative knowledge of Nature and Soul.

Although the gross pain will of itself cease in another moment, and the pain in the past has already gone, yet to prevent that in the subtle form, which is yet to come, [adequate means should be sought]. For though according to the theory that effect is existent (or effect pre-exists in its cause,) there can be no such thing as destruction  and prior-privation [of pain], still prevention here means the existence of pain in the subtle form in the past state or its unfitness to assume a gross form.  Nor is there want of proof of future pain, for the existence of such pain during the existence of the mind may be inferred from its [mind’s] power of producing effects as long as it exists.

Surely suffering might be remedied by obvious means, [e.g.,] bodily pains by the use of drugs, etc.; mental by recourse to lovely women, wine, luxuries, and the like ; extrinsic by a study of moral and political science and by inhabiting secure places; and supernatural by the employment of gems, charms, amulets and so forth. With reference to this [possible remedy] it is doubted, If superfluous, etc. There being obvious means, that is, well-known remedies, the enquiry is superfluous since the object may be [otherwise] gained. If [this be urged] it is contradicted, no. Absoluteness, necessary removal of pain; finality, non-revival of pain; neither of these [objects] is attained by [the employment of] the obvious means.

Dṛṣṭavad ānuśravikaḥ, sa hi aviśuddhaḥ kṣayātishayayuktaḥ |
tadviparītaḥ shreyān, vyaktāvyaktajñavijñānāt  |2|

2. The revealed [mode] is like the apparent, since it is connected with impurity, destruction and excess. A [mode] different is preferable, because of the discriminative knowledge of the Manifested, the Unmanifested, and the Knowing [that it consists in].

Nārāyaṇa Bhāṣya

‘But since heavenly bliss has no connection with pain and is not perishable after a time, the enquiry is to be made after [sacrificial ceremonies like] Jyotiṣṭoma and the rest [by means of which such bliss can be attained’]. Upon this [objection, the author] says, The revealed, etc.

What is heard from the mouth of the preceptor is the revealed, [that is], the Vēdas comprising chapters on rites and ceremonies; Jyotiṣṭoma and other [sacrifices] therein enjoined [constitute] the “revealed mode.” [This is inefficacious] like the obvious, like drugs, etc., [for instance].

The reason of this is stated, since it is, etc. Hi means since. Impurity: defect in the performance of some subsidiary act; also injury, from the text “Injure not.” Because at any rate, [there is] a likelihood of leaves of trees as well as small animals being destroyed through proximity to fire. Hence it is a source of pain. Loss: since the fruits of these actions perish; there is no permanent obviation of suffering. On the destruction thereof pain again sets in ; this is the sense. Excess (or inequality): since happier men are to be seen; there is an increase of one’s suffering through jealousy and intolerance, this is inequality.

‘But what is enjoined cannot form the subject of a prohibition the two being contradictory to each other; otherwise there would be the fault of co-existence of action under a mandate and forbearance under a prohibition. Such being the case, as the mandate enjoining homa in the āhavanīya sacrifice avoids in its application the text relating to the prohibition of homa, so prohibitions like ‘Injure not,’ etc. avoid in their application (or operate without affecting) the sacrificial injury, which forms the subject of mandates like, “ The animal dedicated to Agni and Soma should be slaughtered,” etc. And so it is harm unconnected with sacrifices that is sinful, and not [ harm ] so connected.’ If [you argue thus, the answer is], it is not so. In (sacrificial) injury, the fact of its being the means for the accomplishment of a desired object under a mandate being consistent with that of its being instrumental to a harm under a prohibition, [even] admitting the small evil done by slaughter of animals, like pain due to expenditure of wealth, exertion, etc., the exertion [for the performance of sacrifices] would still be proper on account of the great merit achievable by them, [and so] there is no room for the fault due to the co-existence of action under a precept and forbearance under a prohibition.  The root hisi signifies sin, therefore even sacrificial injury is a sin, [and] so Jyotiṣṭoma and the rest, involving such injury, are impure. So it is said in the colloquy between father and son in the Mahābhārata, “Father, I have studied again and again in successive rebirths the religion [embodied] in the three Vedas. [It is] full of impurity and does not strike me as good.” For a further discussion of the question my commentary on the Yoga sūtras may be referred to.

The opposite thereof is preferable: Means, different from the obvious and the revealed, discoverable from [this] science alone, and effective of a knowledge of the soul, is preferable, [since it is] competent to the absolute and final extirpation of pain.

How is that [means] attained? In answer it is said, from a discriminative knowledge, etc. Manifested are beings and the like, [that is, creatures of all sorts], Unmanifested is [unmodified] world-stuff, the knower is Soul; from a discrimination of these knowledge springs; this is the meaning. On the attainment of a discriminative knowledge of the ego and the non-ego, agent-hood and all other egoistic feelings cease, and the effects thereof, [viz.,] anger, hatred, virtue, vice, etc., not being [re-] produced, and the stored-up fruits of actions in previous existences not taking effect, on account of the consumption of their subsidiaries like ignorance, passion, etc., there is no re-birth after the completion of the current existence,  and liberation characterised by the absolute cessation of three-fold pain follows. [Therefore] the wise investigate the science which leads to the attainment of such [knowledge], and which comprises a discussion [on the subject].

Mulaprakṛtir avikṛtir, mahadādyāḥ prakṛtivikṛtayah sapta |
shodashakas tu vikāro, na prakṛtir na vikṛtih puruṣah  |3|

3. Nature, the root, is no effect; the Great One and the rest are seven, causing and caused; sixteen are the evolutes; the soul is neither a cause nor an effect.

Nārāyaṇa Bhāṣya

With a view to explaining the nature of the Manifested, the Unmanifested and the Knowing principles, the characteristics of each are specified: Nature, the root, etc.

Radical Nature [is] the originator of all, and [yet itself] uncaused. Nature-hood consists in creativeness in the uncreated.

The Non-manifest having been described, the Manifest [principles, which are] of two kinds, are next described, Mahat and the rest: Consciousness, Self-Apperception and the five elemental rudiments are causing and caused. This means that they are effects and at the same time possess a causality [which is] co-extensive with the inherent attributes of the classes that divide the principles.

The Sixteen, [viz.] the eleven organs and the five gross elements (ether and the rest) are evolutes. That is to say, they are products and possess not a causality [which is] co-extensive with the inherent attributes of the classes that divide the principles.

Soul is the experiencer of all, neither causing nor caused; non-creating and yet uncaused. The first attribute excludes Nature; the second the generic qualities, etc., of the supersensible principles.  The above [make up what] have been called the twenty-five principles (or categories).

According to the theory of the theistical Sānkhya, the term ‘soul’ includes also God, ‘illusion’ describes the will of God or the destiny of created things, and ‘ignorance’ means error of living beings (or embodied souls) and nothing else. The omission to mention these here is, in brief, no defect.

Dṛṣṭam anumānam āptavacanam ca sarvapramāṇasiddhatvāt |
trividham pramāṇam ishtam, prameyasiddhiḥ pramānād dhi  |4|

4. Perception, Inference, and Authoritative Statement are the three kinds of approved proof, for they comprise every mode of demonstration.  The complete determination of the demonstrable is verily by proof.

Nārāyaṇa Bhāṣya

The principles have been enumerated.

They are demonstrated by proof. But the determination of all of them is not possible by one mode of proof; hence the necessity of several forms of proof. What and how many are the proofs are next explained: Perception, etc.

Perception [is] knowledge by means of the senses. Inference [is] that which leads to a conclusion, ‘the consideration of the sign'. Authoritative statement [is] verbal testimony, as, e.g., said by the lord Kapila.

Why? Because admitted by all authorities; perception, inference, and testimony are accepted as modes of demonstration by all authorities, Patañjali and the rest. “Comparison,” etc., are not accepted by all authorities, this is the sense. The Vaiśeṣikās do not admit “testimony,” but they are no authorities; such is the meaning. Similarly others again deny “perception,” etc.; [they also] are not authoritative teachers; this is to be understood. “Comparison” is included [in testimony], as, the word gavaya signifies a nilgai; there being no other application, it is employed therefor. Similarly “presumption” too [is included in inference], as, Devadatta is fat [but] does not eat in the day; hence [it is inferred that] he eats in the night, because of the stoutness unaccompanied by taking food in the day. “Non-perception” is subsidiary to perception [and] not an independent method of proof. “Tradition” and "equivalence” are [divisions of] testimony. “Action” is a form of inference; this is the gist [of the discussion].

The complete, etc. Since the determination of the demonstrable is by means of proof, therefore proof properly is three-fold.

Prativiṣayādhyavasāyo, dṛṣṭam trividham anumānam ākhyātam |
ta liṅgalingipūrvakam, āptaśrutir āptavacanam tu  |5|

5. Perception is the mental apprehension of particular objects; Inference, which is by means of a mark and the marked, is declared to be three-fold; authoritative statement is true revelation.

Nārāyaṇa Bhāṣya

The characteristics of the [several] methods of proof are now specified, Perception, etc.:

Perception (or sense-apprehension) is that by means of which particular or appointed objects are determined, [that is], made certain. Since colour and the rest have been [respectively] assigned to the eye and the other [senses], these have appointed objects.

But the knowledge of an effect like rain from a cause like cloud, and of a cause like fire from an effect like smoke, is not by Perception. It is next stated by which method of proof such knowledge is to be acquired: Inference, etc. Those two cases then fall under inference. And it is said in Gautama's Sutras: “Inference preceded thereby is three-fold, a priori, a posteriori, and by analogy." ‘ Preceded thereby,' that is founded upon invariable concomitance [of the major and the middle terms] and other perceived [relations], ‘A priori,' [that is], inference of effect from cause; ‘ a posteriori, ' inference of cause from effect; ‘by analogy, ’  [that is, inference], in which the 'mark' (or middle term) is distinct from both effect and cause, as, the champaka particles, wafted by wind, are, on account of their fragrance, [inferred to] possess form and other [qualities].

A feature common to the three-fold inference is now specified: by means of a mark and the marked. The ‘mark’ (or sign) is what is pervaded by the predicate, the ‘marked’ is what contains the mark [that is,] the subject inclusive of the pervaded sign; that cognition of which these form the cause, that is, the apprehension of the subject as possessing the predicate- pervaded mark, a consideration, e. g., that the hill has fire-attended smoke, etc., [is called] inference, because it produces ratiocinative knowledge