A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1922 | 212,082 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of criticism of buddhism and samkhya from the nyaya standpoint: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the first part in the series called the “the nyaya-vaisheshika philosophy”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 1 - Criticism of Buddhism and Sāṃkhya from the Nyāya standpoint

The Buddhists had upset all common sense convictions of substance and attribute, cause and effect, and permanence of things, on the ground that all collocations are momentary; each group of collocations exhausts itself in giving rise to another group and that to another and so on. But if a collocation representing milk generates the collocation of curd it is said to be due to a joint action of the elements forming the cause-collocation and the modus operandi is unintelligible; the elements composing the cause-collocation cannot separately generate the elements composing the effect-collocation, for on such a supposition it becomes hard to maintain the doctrine of momentariness as the individual and separate exercise of influence on the part of the cause-elements and their coordination and manifestation as effect cannot but take more than one moment.

The supposition that the whole of the effect-collocation is the result of the joint action of the elements of cause-collocation is against our universal uncontradicted experience that specific elements constituting the cause (e.g. the whiteness of milk) are the cause of other corresponding elements of the effect (e.g. the whiteness of the curd); and we could not say that the hardness, blackness, and other properties of the atoms of iron in a lump state should not be regarded as the cause of similar qualities in the iron ball, for this is against the testimony of experience. Moreover there would be no difference between material (upādāna, e.g. clay of the jug), instrumental and concomitant causes (nimitta and saJiakāri, such as the potter, and the wheel, the stick etc. in forming the jug), for the causes jointly produce the effect, and there was no room for distinguishing the material and the instrumental causes, as such.

Again at the very moment in which a cause-collocation is brought into being, it cannot exert its influence to produce its effect-collocation. Thus after coming into being it would take the cause-collocation at least another moment to exercise its influence to produce the effect. How can the thing which is destroyed the moment after it is born produce any effect ? The truth is that causal elements remain and when they are properly collocated the effect is produced. Ordinary experience also shows that we perceive things as existing from a past time. The past time is perceived by us as past, the present as present and the future as future and things are perceived as existing from a past time onwards.

The Sāṃkhya assumption that effects are but the actualized states of the potential cause, and that the causal entity holds within it all the future series of effects, and that thus the effect is already existent even before the causal movement for the production of the effect, is also baseless. Sāṃkhya says that the oil was already existent in the sesamum and not in the stone, and that it is thus that oil can be got from sesamum and not from the stone. The action of the instrumental cause with them consists only in actualizing or manifesting what was already existent in a potential form in the cause. This is all nonsense. A lump of clay is called the cause and the jug the effect; of what good is it to say that the jug exists in the clay since with clay we can never carry water? A jug is made out of clay, but clay is not a jug. What is meant by saying that the jug was unmanifested or was in a potential state before, and that it has now become manifest or actual ? What does potential state mean ? The potential state of the j ug is not the same as its actual state; thus the actual state of the jug must be admitted as non-existent before. If it is meant that the jug is made up of the same parts (the atoms) of which the clay is made up, of course we admit it, but this does not mean that the jug was existent in the atoms of the lump of clay. The potency inherent in the clay by virtue of which it can expose itself to the influence of other agents, such as the potter, for being transformed into a jug is not the same as the effect, the jug. Had it been so, then we should rather have said that the jug came out of the jug.

The assumption of Sāṃkhya that the substance and attribute have the same reality is also against all experience, for we all perceive that movement and attribute belong to substance and not to attribute. Again Sāṃkhya holds a preposterous doctrine that buddhi is different from intelligence. It is absolutely unmeaning to call buddhi non-intelligent. Again what is the good of all this fictitious fuss that the qualities of buddhi are reflected on puruṣa and then again on buddhi. Evidently in all our experience we find that the soul (ātman) knows, feels and wills, and it is difficult to understand why Sāṃkhya does not accept this patent fact and declare that knowledge, feeling, and willing, all belonged to buddhi. Then again in order to explain experience it brought forth a theory of double reflection.

Again Sāṃkhya prakṛti is non-intelligent, and where is the guarantee that she (prakṛti) will not bind the wise again and will emancipate him once for all ? Why did the puruṣa become bound down ? Prakṛti is being utilized for enjoyment by the infinite number of puruṣas, and she is no delicate girl (as Sāṃkhya supposes) who will leave the presence of the puruṣa ashamed as soon as her real nature is discovered. Again pleasure (sukha), sorrow (duhkha) and a blinding feeling through ignorance (moha) are but the feeling-experiences of the soul, and with what impudence could Sāṃkhya think of these as material substances? Again their cosmology of a mahat, ahaṃkāra, the tanmātras, is all a series of assumptions never testified by experience nor by reason. They are all a series of hopeless and foolish blunders. The phenomena of experience thus call for a new careful reconstruction in the light of reason and experience such as cannot be found in other systems. (See Nyāyamañjarī, pp. 452-466 and 490-496.)

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