The Tattvasangraha [with commentary]

by Ganganatha Jha | 1937 | ISBN-10: 8120800583 | ISBN-13: 9788120800588

This page describes verse 45 of the Tattvasangraha (English translation) by Shantarakshita (8th century), including the commentary (Panjika) by Kamalashila: both dealing with philosophy from a Buddhist and non-Buddhist perspective. The Tattva-sangraha (aka Tattvasamgraha) consists of 3646 verses.

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

प्रधानहेत्वभावेऽपि ततः सर्वं प्रकल्पते ।
शक्तेर्भेदेन वैचित्र्यं कार्यकारणतादिकम् ॥ ४५ ॥

pradhānahetvabhāve'pi tataḥ sarvaṃ prakalpate |
śakterbhedena vaicitryaṃ kāryakāraṇatādikam || 45 ||

Thus, even in the absence of a cause in the shape of ‘primordial matter’, all diversity relating to effects and causes and other things becomes explicable, on the basis of the diversity of potencies.—(45)


Kamalaśīla’s commentary (tattvasaṃgrahapañjikā):

Thus the Reason (put forward by the Sāṃkhya)—“Because of homogeneity”,—has been refuted. Now tinder the pretext of Re-affirming his conclusion, the Author proceeds briefly to point out defects in the other reasons (put forward by the Sāṃkhya):—[see verse 45 above]

It has been asserted (in Sāṃkhyakārikā, 15) that “Primordial Matter exists as the Cause, (a) because of the finite character of specific objects, (b) because Activity is due to Potency, and (c) because there is differentiation between ‘Cause’ and ‘Effect’”,—As a matter of fact, all these three Reasons are inconclusive, as no reason is provided to preclude a conclusion contrary to the one set forth.

For instance, even in the absence of a Cause in the shape of Primordial Matter, the three facts set forth—that of objects having a finite character, etc.—are not inexplicable. For instance, if what is sought to be proved is only the existence of a Cause,—then the argument is superfluous,—‘proving what is already proved’; we also do not admit of any Effect being produced without a Cause; so that if the name ‘Primordial Matter’ were given in general to ail Causes, then there would be nothing to quarrel about. On the other hand, if what is sought to be proved is that ‘there is an intelligent Cause, which produces an effect of certain finite dimensions, and acts according to its potencies’,—then the Reason adduced becomes invalidated by ‘inconclusiveness’; as even in the absence of an intelligent actor, there is nothing incongruous in the production of a particular effect with well” defined dimensions determined by the potencies of its own Cause. Further, it is not right to regard Primordial Matter as intelligent, as it is, ex hypothesis insentient’, and ‘intelligence’ is synonymous with ‘sentience’.

Further, if by means of the Reason ‘Because Activity is due to Potency’, it is meant to prove the existence of a mere Cause possessed of potencies not different (from those just needed for the particular effect),—then it is superfluous, proving what is already admitted by both parties. If, on the other hand, the Cause meant to be proved is some one Eternal Cause possessed of distinct and diverse potencies,—then the Reason becomes invalidated by ‘inconclusiveness’,—Further, as concomitance with any such Reason is not cognised anywhere, the Reason becomes invalidated as being ‘Unknown’ and ‘Inadmissible’ also; because as a matter, nowhere has any activity of the Cause towards the producing of an Effect been found to have been due to extraneous and additional potencies; as all potencies subsist in the essence of theng itself.

Another reason put forward by the Sāṃkhya (in Kārikā 15) is—“Because of the merging of the whole world”.—This Reason is absolutely ‘unknown, Inadmissible’. No such ‘merging’ of things is known of, all things being liable to such absolute destruction as leave behind no traces at all. If there were such ‘merging’, it would come about either on the disappearance of the previous condition of the thing concerned, or without such disappearance. If it comes on the disappearance of the previous condition, then it involves the absolute destruction (without leaving any traces) [which the Sāṃkhya does not admit]. If, on the other hand, it comes without the said disappearance, then there can be no ‘merging’ at all; because no ‘merging’ is possible for any entity so long as it retains its own untrammelled essence. Otherwise there would be endless incongruities. Hence the statement ‘because of the merging of the whole world5 involves a self-contradiction.

Thus, even in the absence of a Cause in the shape of Primordial Matter, the diversity relating to the Effect,—in the shape of its being ‘finite’ and the rest,—and the differentiation also into Cause and Effect—become explicable, on the basis of the diversity of potencies. And this means that the reasons set forth by the Sāṃkhya are all ‘inconclusive

The phrase ‘and other things’ is meant to include the argument (of the Sāṃkhya)—“Because all activity is due to Potency”.

Or, the particle ‘apt’, ‘even’,—in the phrase ‘even in the absence, etc. etc.’,—may be meant to be restrictive; hence the meaning comes to be this;—It is only when there is no Cause in the shape of Primordial Matter that there can be diversity in the Effect due to the diverse potencies of the Cause; and also because it is only thus that the relation of Cause and Effect would be possible;—hence the Reasons put forward (by the Sāṃkhya) are ‘contradictory’, For instance, if Primordial Matter were the Cause of the ‘Manifest’, then the whole universe, as being (ex hypothesi) of the same essence as that Matter, would be a single substance having the same character and form as that Matter; so that there could be no such distinction among Products as ‘Cosmic Intelligence’, ‘I-principle’, ‘Five Rudimentary Substances’ and so forth; and this would mean that the World is entirely devoid of ‘modification—Similarly, it is only in the absence of any such Cause as Primordial Matter that the activity of the Potter and other Agents towards the making of the Jar and otherngs, in accordance with their potencies (powers), would be possible,—which would not be possible if there were such a single Cause as Primordial Matter. This is what has been already explained under Text 21, by the statement—‘Nor would there be any efficiency, nor any operation’.

The distinction into ‘Cause’ and ‘Effect’ also is possible only ‘in the absence of any such single Cause as Primordial Matter It has been already pointed out above that no diversity in the world would be possible if there were any entity as Primordial Matter (as the one Cause);—it has also been pointed out that if Primordial Matter were the Cause, then the whole world would be of the same essence as that Matter, which would lead to the absurdity that the entire world is a single substance (without any diversities); and under the circumstances, as there would be no ‘diversity of forms’ at the very outsat, how could there be any ‘merging’ of it (as declared in the Sāṃkhyakārikā, 15)?—(45)

Thus ends the Section on the Examination of the Doctrine ofPrimordial Matter’.

The next Chapter, beginning with the Text (46), proceeds to prove that there can be no operation of any such Being as the ‘Supreme Lord’, ‘God’—