The Mahabharata
  Srimad Bhagavatam

  Rig Veda
  Yajur Veda
  Sama Veda
  Atharva Veda

  Bhagavad Gita
  Sankara Bhashya
  By Edwin Arnold

  Brahma Sutra
  Sankara Bhashya I
  Sankara Bhashya II
  Ramanuja SriBhashya


  Agni Purana
  Brahma Purana
  Garuda Purana
  Markandeya Purana
  Varaha Purana
  Matsya Purana
  Vishnu Purana
  Linga Purana
  Narada Purana
  Padma Purana
  Shiva Purana
  Skanda Purana
  Vamana Purana

  Manu Smriti

  Bhagavad Gita
  Brahma Sutras

Brahma Sutra Bhashya of Sri Adi Sanakara - Part I
translated by George Thibaut

18. From reasoning and from another Vedic passage.

That the effect exists before its origination and is non-different from the cause, follows from reasoning as well as from a further scriptural passage.

We at first set forth the argumentation.--Ordinary experience teaches us that those who wish to produce certain effects, such as curds, or earthen jars, or golden ornaments, employ for their purpose certain determined causal substances such as milk, clay, and gold; those who wish to produce sour milk do not employ clay, nor do those who intend to make jars employ milk and so on. But, according to that doctrine which teaches that the effect is non-existent (before its actual production), all this should be possible. For if before their actual origination all effects are equally non-existent in any causal substance, why then should curds be produced from milk only and not from clay also, and jars from clay only and not from milk as well?--Let us then maintain, the asatkâryavâdin rejoins, that there is indeed an equal non-existence of any effect in any cause, but that at the same time each causal substance has a certain capacity reaching beyond itself (atisaya) for some particular effect only and not for other effects; that, for instance, milk only, and not clay, has a certain capacity for curds; and clay only, and not milk, an analogous capacity for jars.--What, we ask in return, do you understand by that 'atisaya?' If you understand by it the antecedent condition of the effect (before its actual origination), you abandon your doctrine that the effect does not exist in the cause, and prove our doctrine according to which it does so exist. If, on the other hand, you understand by the atisaya a certain power of the cause assumed to the end of accounting for the fact that only one determined effect springs from the cause, you must admit that the power can

p. 335

determine the particular effect only if it neither is other (than cause and effect) nor non-existent; for if it were either, it would not be different from anything else which is either non-existent or other than cause and effect, (and how then should it alone be able to produce the particular effect?) Hence it follows that that power is identical with the Self of the cause, and that the effect is identical with the Self of that power.--Moreover, as the ideas of cause and effect on the one hand and of substance and qualities on the other hand are not separate ones, as, for instance, the ideas of a horse and a buffalo, it follows that the identity of the cause and the effect as well as of the substance and its qualities has to be admitted. (Let it then be assumed, the opponent rejoins, that the cause and the effect, although really different, are not apprehended as such, because they are connected by the so-called samavâya connexion 1.--If, we reply, you assume the samavâya connexion between cause and effect, you have either to admit that the samavâya itself is joined by a certain connexion to the two terms which are connected by samavâya, and then that connexion will again require a new connexion (joining it to the two terms which it binds together), and you will thus be compelled to postulate an infinite series of connexions; or else you will have to maintain that the samavâya is not joined by any connexion to the terms which it binds together, and from that will result the dissolution of the bond which connects the two terms of the samavâya relation 2.--Well then, the opponent rejoins, let us assume that the samavâya connexion as itself being a connexion may be connected with the terms which it joins without the help of any further connexion.--Then, we reply, conjunction (samyoga) also must be connected with the two terms which it joins without the help of the samavâya

p. 336

connexion; for conjunction also is a kind of connexion 1.--Moreover, as substances, qualities, and so on are apprehended as standing in the relation of identity, the assumption of the samavâya relation has really no purport.

In what manner again do you--who maintain that the cause and the effect are joined by the samavâya relation--assume a substance consisting of parts which is an effect to abide in its causes, i.e. in the material parts of which it consists? Does it abide in all the parts taken together or in each particular part?--If you say that it abides in all parts together, it follows that the whole as such cannot be perceived, as it is impossible that all the parts should be in contact with the organs of perception. (And let it not be objected that the whole may be apprehended through some of the parts only), for manyness which abides in all its substrates together (i.e. in all the many things), is not apprehended so long as only some of those substrates are apprehended.--Let it then be assumed that the whole abides in all the parts by the mediation of intervening aggregates of parts 2.--In that case, we reply, we should have to assume other parts in addition to the primary originative parts of the whole, in order that by means of those other parts the whole could abide in the primary parts in the manner indicated by you. For we see (that one thing which abides in another abides there by means of parts different from those of that other thing), that the sword, for instance, pervades the sheath by means of parts different from the parts of the sheath. But an assumption of that kind would lead us into a regressus in infinitum, because in order to explain how the whole abides in certain

p. 337

given parts we should always have to assume further parts  1.--Well, then, let us maintain the second alternative, viz. that the whole abides in each particular part.--That also cannot be admitted; for if the whole is present in one part it cannot be present in other parts also; not any more than Devadatta can be present in Srughna and in Pâtaliputra on one and the same day. If the whole were present in more than one part, several wholes would result, comparable to Devadatta and Yagñadatta, who, as being two different persons, may live one of them at Srughna and the other at Pâtaliputra.--If the opponent should rejoin that the whole may be fully present in each part, just as the generic character of the cow is fully present in each individual cow; we point out that the generic attributes of the cow are visibly perceived in each individual cow, but that the whole is not thus perceived in each particular part. If the whole were fully present in each part, the consequence would be that the whole would produce its effects indifferently with any of its parts; a cow, for instance, would give milk from her horns or her tail. But such things are not seen to take place.

We proceed to consider some further arguments opposed to the doctrine that the effect does not exist in the cause.--That doctrine involves the conclusion that the actual origination of an effect is without an agent and thus devoid of substantial being. For origination is an action, and as such requires an agent  2, just as the action of walking does. To speak of an action without an agent would be a contradiction.

p. 338

[paragraph continues] But if you deny the pre-existence of the effect in the cause, it would have to be assumed that whenever the origination of a jar, for instance, is spoken of the agent is not the jar (which before its origination did not exist) but something else, and again that when the origination of the two halves of the jar is spoken of the agent is not the two halves but something else. From this it would follow that the sentence, 'the jar is originated' means as much as 'the potter and the other (operative) causes are originated  1.' But as a matter of fact the former sentence is never understood to mean the latter; and it is, moreover, known that at the time when the jar originates, the potter, &c. are already in existence.--Let us then say, the opponent resumes, that origination is the connexion of the effect with the existence of its cause and its obtaining existence as a Self.--How, we ask in reply, can something which has not yet obtained existence enter into connexion with something else? A connexion is possible of two existing things only, not of one existing and one non-existing thing or of two non-existing things. To something non-existing which on that account is indefinable, it is moreover not possible to assign a limit as the opponent does when maintaining that the effect is non-existing before its origination; for experience teaches us that existing things only such as fields and houses have limits, but not non-existing things. If somebody should use, for instance, a phrase such as the following one, 'The son of a barren woman was king previously to the coronation of Pûrnavarman,' the declaration of a limit in time implied in that phrase does not in reality determine that the son of the barren woman, i.e. a mere non-entity, either was or is or will be king. If the son of a barren woman could become an existing thing subsequently to the activity of some causal

p. 339

agent, in that case it would be possible also that the non-existing effect should be something existing, subsequently to the activity of some causal agent. But we know that the one thing can take place no more than the other thing; the non-existing effect and the son of the barren woman ace both equally non-entities and can never be.--But, the asatkâryavâdin here objects, from your doctrine there follows the result that the activity of causal agents is altogether purposeless. For if the effect were lying already fully accomplished in the cause and were non-different from it, nobody would endeavour to bring it about, no more than anybody endeavours to bring about the cause which is already fully accomplished previously to all endeavour. But as a matter of fact causal agents do endeavour to bring about effects, and it is in order not to have to condemn their efforts as altogether useless that we assume the non-existence of the effect previously to its origination.--Your objection is refuted, we reply, by the consideration that the endeavour of the causal agent may be looked upon as having a purpose in so far as it arranges the causal substance in the form of the effect. That, however, even the form of the effect (is not something previously non-existing, but) belongs to the Self of the cause already because what is devoid of Selfhood cannot be begun at all, we have already shown above.--Nor does a substance become another substance merely by appearing under a different aspect. Devadatta may at one time be seen with his arms and legs closely drawn up to his body, and another time with his arms and legs stretched out, and yet he remains the same substantial being, for he is recognised as such. Thus the persons also by whom we are surrounded, such as fathers, mothers, brothers, &c., remain the same, although we see them in continually changing states and attitudes; for they are always recognised as fathers, mothers, brothers, and so on. If our opponent objects to this last illustrative example on the ground that fathers, mothers, and so on remain the same substantial beings, because the different states in which they appear are not separated from each other by birth or death, while the effect, for instance a jar, appears only after

p. 340

the cause, for instance the clay, has undergone destruction as it were (so that the effect may be looked upon as something altogether different from the cause); we rebut this objection by remarking that causal substances also such as milk, for instance, are perceived to exist even after they have entered into the condition of effects such as curds and the like (so that we have no right to say that the cause undergoes destruction). And even in those cases where the continued existence of the cause is not perceived, as, for instance, in the case of seeds of the fig-tree from which there spring sprouts and trees, the term 'birth' (when applied to the sprout) only means that the causal substance, viz. the seed, becomes visible by becoming a sprout through the continual accretion of similar particles of matter; and the term 'death' only means that, through the secession of those particles, the cause again passes beyond the sphere of visibility. Nor can it be said that from such separation by birth and death as described just now it follows that the non-existing becomes existing, and the existing non-existing; for if that were so, it would also follow that the unborn child in the mother's womb and the new-born babe stretched out on the bed are altogether different beings.

It would further follow that a man is not the same person in childhood, manhood, and old age, and that terms such as father and the like are illegitimately used.--The preceding arguments may also be used to refute the (Bauddha doctrine) of all existence being momentary only 1.

The doctrine that the effect is non-existent previously to its actual origination, moreover, leads to the conclusion that the activity of the causal agent has no object; for what does not exist cannot possibly be an object; not any more than the ether can be cleft by swords and other weapons for striking or cutting. The object can certainly not be the inherent cause; for that would lead to the erroneous conclusion that from the activity of the causal agent, which has for its object the inherent cause, there results something else

Page 341

[paragraph continues] (viz. the effect). And if (in order to preclude this erroneous conclusion) the opponent should say that the effect is (not something different from the cause, but) a certain relative power (atisaya) of the inherent cause; he thereby would simply concede our doctrine, according to which the effect exists in the cause already.

We maintain, therefore, as our final conclusion, that milk and other substances are called effects when they are in the state of curds and so on, and that it is impossible, even within hundreds of years, ever to bring about an effect which is different from its cause. The fundamental cause of all appears in the form of this and that effect, up to the last effect of all, just as an actor appears in various robes and costumes, and thereby becomes the basis for all the current notions and terms concerning the phenomenal world.

The conclusion here established, on the ground of reasoning, viz. that the effect exists already before its origination, and is non-different from its cause, results also from a different scriptural passage. As under the preceding Sûtra a Vedic passage was instanced which speaks of the non-existing, the different passage referred to in the present Sûtra is the one (Kh. Up. VI, 2, 1) which refers to that which is. That passage begins, 'Being only was this in the beginning, one without a second,' refers, thereupon, to the doctrine of the Non-existent being the cause of the world ('Others say, Non-being was this in the beginning'), raises an objection against that doctrine ('How could that which is be born of that which is not?'), and, finally, reaffirms the view first set forth, 'Only Being was this in the beginning.' The circumstance that in this passage the effect, which is denoted by the word 'this,' is by Scripture, with reference to the time previous to its origination, coordinated with the cause denoted by the term 'Being,' proves that the effect exists in--and is non-different from--the cause. If it were before its origination non-existing and after it inhered in its cause by samavâya, it would be something different from the cause, and that would virtually imply an abandonment of the promise made in the passage, 'That instruction by which we hear what is not heard,' &c.

p. 342

[paragraph continues] (VI, 1, 3). The latter assertion is ratified, on the other hand, through the comprehension that the effect exists in--and is not different from--the cause.

home      contact us