A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1932 | 241,887 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of the foetus and the subtle body: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the fifth part in the series called the “speculations in the medical schools”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 5 - The Foetus and the Subtle Body

A human body is regarded by Caraka as a modification of the five elements, ether, air, fire, water and earth, and it is also the seat of consciousness (cetanā)[1]. The semen itself is made of the four elements, air, fire, water and earth; ether is not a constituent of it, but becomes connected with it as soon as it issues forth, since ākāśa or antariksa (ether) is all-pervading. The semen that is ejected and passes into the ovary is constituted of equal parts of air, fire, water and earth; the ether becomes mixed with it in the ovary; for ākāśa itself is omnipresent and has no movement of its own[2]; the semen is the product of six kinds of fluids (rasa). But the foetus cannot be produced simply by the union of the semen of the father and the blood (śoṇita) of the mother. Such a union can produce the foetus only when the ātman with its subtle body, constituted of air, fire, water and earth, and manas (mind—the organ involved in all perception and thought), becomes connected with it by means of its karma. The four elements constituting the subtle body of the ātman, being the general causes of all productions, do not contribute to the essential bodily features of the child[3].

The elements that contribute to the general features are,

  1. the mother’s part—the blood,
  2. the father’s part—the semen,
  3. the karma of each individual;

the part played by the assimilated food-juice of the mother need not be counted separately, as it is determined by the karma of the individual. The mental traits are determined by the state of mind of the individual in its previous birth. Thus, if the previous state of life was that of a god, the mind of the child will be pure and vigorous, whereas, if it was that of an animal, it will be impure and dull[4]. When a man dies, his soul, together with his subtle body, composed of the four elements, air, fire, water and earth, in a subtle state and manas, passes invisibly into a particular womb on account of its karma , and then, when it comes into connection with the combined semen and blood of the father and mother, the foetus begins to develop[5]. The semen and blood can, however, operate as causes of the production of the body only when they come into connection with the subtle body transferred from the previous body of a dying being[6].

Suśruta (hi. 1. 16) says that the very subtle eternal conscious principles are manifested (abhivyajyate) when the blood and semen are in union (parama-sūkṣmāś cetanāvantaḥ śāśvatā lohita-retasaḥ sanni-pāteṣv abhivyajyante). But later on (in. 3.4) this statement is modified in such a way as to agree with Caraka’s account; for there it is said that the soul comes into contact with the combined semen and blood along with its subtle elemental body (bhūtātmanā). In another passage a somewhat different statement is found (Suśruta, in. 4. 3).

Here it is said that the materials of the developing foetus are

  1. agni,
  2. soma,
  3. sattva,
  4. rajas,
  5. tamas,
  6. the five senses,
  7. and the bhūtātmā

—all these contribute to the life of the foetus and are also called the prāṇas (life)[7]. Ḍalhaṇa, in explaining this, says that the agni (fire) spoken of here is the heat-power which manifests itself in the fivefold functionings of digestion (pācaka), viz. brightening of the skin (bhrājaka), the faculty of vision (ālocaka), coloration of the blood, the intellectual operations and the heat operations involved in the formation and work of the different constituent elements (dhātu), such as chyle, blood, etc.; the soma is the root-power of all watery elements, such as mucus, chyle, semen, etc., and of the sense of taste; vāyu represents that which operates as the fivefold life-functionings of prāṇa , apāna , samāna , udāna , and vyāna. Ḍalhaṇa says further that sattva , rajas and tamas refer to manas , the mind-organ, which is a product of their combined evolution.

The five senses contribute to life by their cognitive functionings. The first passage seemed to indicate that life was manifested as a result of the union of semen and blood; the second passage considered the connection of the soul with its subtle body (bhūtātmā) necessary for evolving the semen-blood into life. The third passage introduces, in addition to these, the five senses, sattva, rajas, and tamas, and the place of semen-blood is taken up by the three root-powers of agni, and vāyu. These three powers are more or less of a hypothetical nature, absorbing within them a number of functionings and body-consti-tuents. The reason for these three views in the three successive chapters cannot be satisfactorily explained, except on the supposition that Suśruta’s work underwent three different revisions at three different times. Vāgbhata the elder says that the moment the semen and the blood are united, the life principle (jīva), being moved by manas (; mano-javena), tainted, as the latter is, with the afflictions (kleśa) of attachment, etc., comes in touch with it[8].

The doctrine of a subtle body, as referred to in the medical works, may suitably be compared with the Sāṃkhya view. Cakrapāṇi himself, in explaining Caraka-saṃhitā , iv. 2. 36, says that this doctrine of a subtle body (ātivāhika śartra) is described in the āgama , and by āgama the Sāṃkhya āgama is to be understood (tena āgamād eva sāṃkhya-darśana-rūpād ātivāhika-śarīrāt). The Sāṃkhya-kārikā 39 speaks of a subtle body (sūkṣma deha) and the body inherited from the parents. The sūkṣma continues to exist till salvation is attained, and at each birth it receives a new body and at each death it leaves it. It is constituted of mahat , ahaṃkāra, the eleven senses and the five tan-mātras. On account of its association with the buddhi, which bears the impress of virtue, vice, and other intellectual defects and accomplishments, it becomes itself associated with these, just as a cloth obtains fragrance through its connection with campak flowers of sweet odour; and hence it suffers successive rebirths, till the buddhi becomes dissociated from it by the attainment of true discriminative knowledge. The necessity of admitting a subtle body is said to lie in the fact that the buddhi , with the ahaṃkāra and the senses,cannot exist without a supporting body; so in the interval between one death and another birth the buddhi , etc. require a supporting body, and the subtle body is this support[9].

In the Sāṃkhya-pravacana-bhāṣya , v. 103, it is said that this subtle body is like a little tapering thing no bigger than a thumb, and that yet it pervades the whole body, just as a little flame pervades a whole room by its rays[10]. The Vyāsa-bhāṣya , in refuting the Sāṃkhya view, says that according to it the citta (mind), like the rays of a lamp in a jug or in a palace, contracts and dilates according as the body that it occupies is bigger or smaller[11]. Vācaspati, in explaining the Yoga view as expounded by Vyāsa , says that in the Sāṃkhya view the citta is such that it cannot, simply by contraction and expansion, leave any body at death and occupy another body without intermediate relationship with a subtle body (ātivāhika-śarīra). But, if the citta cannot itself leave a body and occupy another, how can it connect itself with a subtle body at the time of death? If this is to be done through another body, and that through another, then we are led to a vicious infinite. If it is argued that the citta is connected with such a subtle body from beginningless time, then the reply is that such a subtle body has never been perceived by anyone (na khalu etad adhyakṣa-gocaraṃ); nor can it be regarded as indispensably necessary through inference, since the Yoga view can explain the situation without the hypothesis of any such body.

The citta is all-pervading, and each soul is associated with a separate citta. Each citta connects itself with a particular body by virtue of the fact that its manifestations (vṛtti) are seen in that body. Thus the manifestations of the all-pervading citta of a soul cease to appear in its dying body and become operative in a new body that is born. Thus there is no necessity of admitting a subtle body (ātivāhikatvaṃ tasya na mṛṣyāmahe)[12].

The Vaiśeṣika also declines to believe in the existence of a subtle body, and assigns to it no place in the development of the foetus.

The development of the foetus is thus described by Śrīdhara in his Nyāya-kandalī[13]:

“After the union of the father’s semen and the mother’s blood there is set up in the atoms constituting them a change through the heat of the womb, such that their old colour, form, etc. become destroyed and new similar qualities are produced; and in this way, through the successive formation of dyads and triads, the body of the foetus develops; and, when such a body is formed, there enters into it the mind (antaḥkaraṇa), which could not have entered in the semen-blood stage, since the mind requires a body to support it (na tu śukra-śoṇitāvasthāyāṃ śari-rāśrayatvān manasaḥ).

Small quantities of food-juice of the mother go to nourish it. Then, through the unseen power (adrṣṭa), the foetus is disintegrated by the heat in the womb into the state of atoms, and atoms of new qualities, together with those of the food-juice, conglomerate together to form a new body.”

According to this view the subtle body and the mind have nothing to do with the formation and development of the foetus. Heat is the main agent responsible for all disintegration and re-combination involved in the process of the formation of the foetus.

The Nyāya does not seem to have considered this as an important question, and it also denies the existence of a subtle body. The soul, according to the Nyāya, is all-pervading, and the Mahābhārata passage quoted above, in which Yama draws out the puruṣa of the size of a thumb, has, according to Nyāya, to be explained away[14]. In rebirth it is only the all-pervading soul which becomes connected with a particular body (ya eva dehāntara-saṃgamosya, tam eva taj-jñāḥ-para-hkam āhuḥ)[15].

Candrakīrti gives us an account of the Buddhist view from the Śāli-stamba-sūtra[16]. The foetus is produced by the combination of the six constituents (ṣaṇṇāṃ dhātūnāṃ samavāyāt). That which consolidates (saṃśleṣa) the body is called earth (pṛthivī-dhātu) ; that which digests the food and drink of the body is called fire (tejo-dhātu) ; that which produces inhalation and exhalation is called air (vāyu-dhātu) ; that which produces the pores of the body (antaḥ-sauṣiryam) is called ether (ākāśa-dhātu) ; that by which knowledge is produced is called the vijñāna-dhātu. It is by the combination of them all that a body is produced (sarveṣāṃ samavāyāt kāyasyotpattir bhavati).

The seed of vijñāna produces the germ of name and form (nāma-rūpāñkura) by combination with many other diverse causes. The foetus is thus produced of itself, not by another, nor by both itself and another, nor by god, nor by time, nor by nature, nor by one cause, nor by no cause, but by the combination of the mother’s and the father’s parts at the proper season[17]. The combination of father’s and mother’s parts gives us the five dhātus, which operate together when they are in combination with the sixth dhātu, the vijñāna.

The view that the foetus is the result of the joint effect of the six dhātus reminds us of a similar expression in Caraka , iv. 3. Caraka gives there a summary of the discussions amongst various sages on the subject of the causes of the formation and development of the foetus: where there is a union between a man with effective semen and a woman with no defect of organ, ovary and blood, if at the time of the union of the semen and blood the soul comes in touch with it through the mind, then the foetus begins to develop[18]. When it is taken care of by proper nourishment,etc., then at the right time the child is born, and the whole development is due to the combined effect of all the elements mentioned above (samudayād eṣāṃ bhāvānām).

The foetus is born of elements from the mother and the father, the self, the proper hygienic care of the parents’ bodies (sātmya) and the food-juice; and there is also operant with these the sattva or manas, which is an intermediate vehicle serving to connect the soul with a former body when it leaves one (aupapāduka)[19]. Bharadvāja said that none of these causes can be considered as valid; for, in spite of the union of the parents, it often happens that they remain childless; the self cannot produce the self; for, if it did, did it produce itself after being born or without being born? In both cases it is impossible for it to produce itself. Moreover, if the self had the power of producing itself, it would not have cared to take birth in undesirable places and with defective powers, as sometimes happens.

Again, proper hygienic habits cannot be regarded as the cause; for there are many who have these, but have no children, and there are many who have not these, but have children. If it was due to food-juice, then all people would have got children. Again, it is not true that the sattva issuing forth from one body connects itself with another; for, if it were so, we should all have remembered the events of our past life. So none of the above causes can be regarded as valid. To this Ātreya replied that it is by the combined effect of all the above elements that a child is produced, and not by any one of them separately[20].

This idea is again repeated in iv. 3. 20, where it is said that just as a medical room

(kūtāgāraṃ vartulākāraṃ gṛhaṃjaintāka-sveda-pratipāditam —Cakrapāṇi)

is made up of various kinds of things, or just as a chariot is made up of a collection of its various parts, so is the foetus made up of the combination of various entities which contribute to the formation of the embryo and its development

(nānā-vidhānāṃ garbha-kārāṇāṃ bhāvānāṃ samudayād abhinirvartate)[21].

The idea of such a combined effect of causes as leading to the production of a perfect whole seems to have a peculiar Buddhistic ring about it.

Bharadvāja, in opposing the above statement of Ātreya, asks what, if the foetus is the product of a number of combined causes, is the definite order in which they co-operate together to produce the various parts (katham ayaṃ sandhīyate) ? Again, how is it that a child born of a woman is a human child and not that of any other animal? If, again, man is born out of man, why is not the son of a stupid person stupid, of a blind man blind, and of a madman mad? Moreover, if it is argued that the self perceives by the eye colours, by the ear sounds, by the smell odours, by the organ of taste the different tastes, and feels by the skin the different sensations of touch, and for that reason the child does not inherit the qualities of the father, then it has to be admitted that the soul can have knowledge only when there are senses and is devoid of it when there are no senses; in that case the soul is not unchangeable,but is liable to change (yatra caitad ubhayaṃ sambhavati jñatvam ajñatvaṃ ca sa-vikāraś cātmā)[22]. If the soul perceives the objects of sense through the activity of the senses, such as perceiving and the like, then it cannot know anything when it has no senses, and, when it is unconscious, it cannot be the cause of the body-movements or of any of its other activities and consequently cannot be called the soul, ātman. It is therefore simple nonsense to say that the soul perceives colours, etc. by its senses.

To this Atreya replies that there are four kinds of beings, viz. those born from ovaries, eggs, sweat and vegetables. Beings in each class exist in an innumerable diversity of forms[23]. The forms that the foetus-producing elements (garbha-karā bhāvāḥ) assume depend upon the form of the body where they assemble. Just as gold, silver, copper, lead, etc. assume the form of any mould in which they are poured, so, when the foetus-producing elements assemble in a particular body, the foetus takes that particular form. But a man is not infected with the defect or disease of his father, unless it be so bad or chronic as to have affected his semen. Each of our limbs and organs had their germs in the semen of the father, and, when the disease or defect of the father is so deep-rooted as to have affected (upatāpa) the germ part of any particular organ in the seed, then the child produced out of the semen is born defective in that limb; but, if the defect or disease of the father is so superficial that his semen remains unaffected, then the disease or defect is not inherited by the son. The child does not owe sense-organs to his parents; he alone is responsible for the goodness or badness of his sense-organs; for these are born from his own self (ātma-jānindriyāṇi).

The presence or absence of the sense-organs is due to his own destiny or the fruits of karma (daiva). So there is no definite law that the sons of idiots or men with defective senses should necessarily be born idiots or be otherwise defective[24]. The self (ātman) is conscious only when the sense-organs exist. The self is never without the sattva or the mind-organ, and through it there is always some kind of consciousness in the self[25]. The self, as the agent, cannot without the sense-organs have any knowledge of the external world leading to practical work; no practical action for which several accessories are required can be performed unless these are present; a potter who knows how to make a jug cannot succeed in making it unless he has the organs with which to make it[26].

The fact that the self has consciousness even when the senses do not operate is well illustrated by our dream-knowledge when the senses lie inoperative[27]. Ātreya further says that, when the senses are completely restrained and the manas , or mind-organ, is also restrained and concentrated in the self, one can have knowledge of all things even without the activity of the senses[28]. The self is thus of itself the knower and the agent.

This view of Caraka, as interpreted by Cakrapāṇi, seems to be somewhat new. For the self is neither pure intelligence, like the puruṣa of the Sāṃkhya-yoga, nor the unity of being, intelligence and bliss, like that of the Vedānta. Here the soul is the knower by virtue of its constant association with manas. In this, however, we are nearer to the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika view. But in the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika view the soul is not always in contact with manas and is not always conscious. The manas in that view is atomic. The view that the soul has always a formless consciousness has undoubtedly a Vedāntic or Sāṃkhyaic tinge; but the other details evidently separate this view from the accepted interpretations of these schools. The theory of the soul, however, as here indicated comes as a digression and will have to be discussed more adequately later on.

On the subject of the existence of subtle bodies we have already quoted the views of different Indian schools of philosophy for the purpose of suggesting comparisons or contrasts with the views of Caraka. Before concluding this section reference must be made to the Vedānta views with regard to the nature of subtle bodies.

According to the Vedānta, as interpreted by Śaṅkara, the subtle body is constituted of five particles of the elements of matter (bhūta-sūkṣmaiḥ), with which are also associated the five vāyus, prāṇa, apāna, etc.[29] Those who perform good deeds go to the region of the moon, and those who commit sins suffer in the kingdom of Yama and then are again born in this world[30]. Those who, as a reward of their good deeds, go to the kingdom of the moon and afterwards practically exhaust the whole of their fund of virtue and consequently cannot stay there any longer, begin their downward journey to this earth. They pass through ākāśa , air, smoke and cloud and then are showered on the ground with the rains and absorbed by the plants and again taken into the systems of persons who eat them, and again discharged as semen into the wombs of their wives and are reborn again.

In the kingdom of the moon they had watery bodies

(candra-maṇḍale yad am-mayam śarīram upabhogārtham ārabdham)

for the enjoyment available in that kingdom; and, when they exhaust their good deeds through enjoyment and can no longer hold that body, they get a body which is like ākāśa and are thus driven by the air and come into association with smoke and cloud. At this stage, and even when they are absorbed into the body of plants, they neither enjoy pleasure nor suffer pain. A difference must be made between the condition of those who are endowed with plant-bodies as a punishment for their misdeeds and those who pass through the plant-bodies merely as stations on their way to rebirth. In the case of the former the plant life is a life of enjoyment and sorrow, whereas in the case of the latter there is neither enjoyment nor sorrow.

Even when the plant-bodies are chewed and powdered the souls residing in them as stations of passage do not suffer pain; for they are only in contact with these plant-bodies

(candra-maṇḍala-skhalitānāṃ vrīhy ādi-saṃśleṣa-mātraṃ tad-bhāvaḥ)[31].

We thus see that it is only the Sāṃkhya and the Vedānta that agree to the existence of a subtle body and are thus in accord with the view of Caraka. But Caraka is more in agreement with the Vedānta in the sense that, while according to the Sāṃkhya it is the tan-mātras which constitute the subtle body, it is the fine particles of the gross elements of matter that constitute the subtle bodies in the case both of the Vedānta and of Caraka. The soul in one atomic moment becomes associated successively with ākāśa, air, light, heat, water, and earth (and not in any other order) at the time of its entrance into the womb[32].

Footnotes and references:


garbhas tu khalu antarikṣa vāyv-agni-toya-bhūmi-vikāraś cetanādhiṣṭhāna-bhūtaḥ.
      Caraka, iv. 4. 6.


vāyv-agni-bhūmy-ab-guṇa-pādavat tat ṣaḍbhyo rasebhyaḥ prabhāvaś ca tasya.
      Caraka, iv. 2. 4.

ākāśaṃ tu yady-api śukre pāñca-bhautike ’sti tathāpi na puruṣa-śarīrān nirgatya garbhāśayaṃ gacchati, kintu bhūta-catuṣṭayam eva kriyāvaḍ yāti ākāśaṃ tu vyāpakam eva tatrāgatena śukreṇa saṃbaḍḍhaṃ bhavati.
      Cakrapāṇi’s Āyurveda-dipikā, iv. 2.4.

Suśruta however considers śukra (semen) as possessing the qualities of soma, and ārtava (blood) as possessing the qualities of fire. He says, however, that particles of the other bhūtas (earth, air and ether, as Palhana enumerates them) are separately associated with them

(saumyaṃ śukram ārtavam āgneyam itareṣām apy atra bhūtānāṃ sānnidhyaṃ asty aṇunā viśeṣeṇa parasparo-pakārāt parānugrahāt parasparānupraveśāc ca
      —Suśruta, 111. 3. 1),

and they mutually co-operate together for the production of the foetus.


yāni tv ātmani sūkṣmāṇi bhūtāni ātivōhika-rūpāṇi tāni sarva-sādhāraṇatvena aviśeṣa-sādṛśya-kāraṇārūti neha bodḍhavyāni.
      Cakrapāṇi’s Āyur-veḍa-dīpikā, iv. 2. 23-27.


Teṣāṃ vīśeṣād balavanti yāni
bhavanti mātā-pitṛ-karma-jāni
tāni vyavasyet sadṛśatva-liṅgaṃ
satvaṃ yathānūkam api vyavasyet.

      Caraka, iv. 2. 27.

Anūkaṃ prāktanāvyavahitā deha-jātis tena yathānūkarn
iti yo deva-śarīrād avyavadhānenāgatya bhavati sa
deva-satvo bhavati,
      Cakrapāṇi, iv. 2. 23-27.


bhūtaiś caturbhiḥ sahitaḥ su-sūkṣmair
mano-javo deham upaiti dehāt
karmāt-makatvān na tu tasya dṛśyāṃ
divyaṃ vinā ḍarśanam asti rūpaṃ.

      Caraka, iv. 2. 3.


yady api sukra-rajaśī kāraṇe, tathāpi yadaivātivahikaṃ sūkṣma-bhūta-rūpa-śarīraṃ prāpnutaḥ, tadaiva te iarīram janayataḥ, nānyadā.
      Cakrapāṇi, iv. 2. 36.


This bhūtātmā, i.e. the subtle body together with the soul presiding over it, is called by Suśruta karma-puruṣa. Medical treatment is of this karma-puruṣa and his body (śa eṣa karma-puruṣaḥ cikitsādhxkrtaḥ —Suśruta, 111. 1. 16).

Suśruta (1.1.21) again says,

pañca-mahābhūta-śarīri-samavāyaḥ puruṣa ity ucyate; tasmin kriyā so ’dhiṣṭhānam.

(In this science, the term puruṣa is applied to the unity of five elements and the self (iarīrī), and this is the object of medical treatment.)


gate purāṇe rajasi nave ’vasthite iuddhe garbhasyāśaye mārge ca bījātmanā śuklam avikṛtam avikṛtena vāyunā preritam anyaiś ca mahā-bhūtair anugatam ārtavena abhimūrchitam anvakṣam eva rāgādi-kleśa-vaśānuvartinā sva-karma-coditena mano-javenajīvenābhisaṃsṛṣṭaṃgarbhāśayam upayāti.

      Aṣṭāṅga-saṃgraha, II. 2.

Indu, in explaining this, says,

bījātmanā garbha-kāraṇa-mahā-bhūta-ivabhāvena ... sūkṣma-svarūpaiḥ manas-sahacāribhis tanmātrākhyair mahā-bhūtair anugataṃ strī-kṣetra-prāptyā karma-vaśād ārtavena rniśrī bhūtam anvakṣaṃ miśrī-bhāva-hīna-kālam eva ... mano-javena jīvenābhisaṃsṛṣṭam prōpta-saṃyogaṃ garbhāśayaṃ śuklam upayāti .”

His further explanations of the nature of applications of the jīva show that he looked up Patañjali’s Yoga-sūtras for the details of avidyā, etc., and the other kleśas.


Sāṃkhya-tattva-kaumudl, 39, 40, 41.


yathā dīpasya sarva-gṛha-vyāpitve ’pi kalikā-kāratvaṃ ... tathaiva liṅga-dehasya deha-vyāpitve ’py anguṣṭha-parimāṇatvam.
V. 103.


ghaṭa-prāsāda-pradīpa-kalpaṃ saṅkoca-vikāśi cittam śarīra-parimāṇākāra-mātram ity apare pratipannāḥ.
on Patañjali’s Yoga-sūtras, iv. 10.


Vācaspati’s Tattva-vaiśāradī, IV. 10. Reference is made to Mahā-bhārata, III. 296. 17, aṅguṣṭha-mātram puruṣaṃ niścakarṣa yamo balāt. Vācaspati says that puruṣa is not a physical thing and hence it cannot be drawn out of the body. It must therefore be interpreted in a remote sense as referring to the cessation of manifestation of citta in the dying body

(na cāsya niṣkarṣaḥ sambhavati, ity aupacāriko vyākhyeyas tathā ca cites cittasya ca tatra tatra vṛtty-abhāva eva niṣkarṣārṭhaḥ).

The Sāṃkhya-pravacana-bhāṣya, v. 103, says that the thumb-like puruṣa referred to in Mahā-bhārata, in. 296. 17, which Yama drew from the body of Satyavān, has the size of the subtle body (liṅga-deha).


Nyāya-kandalī , Vizianagram Sanskrit series, 1895, p. 33.


tasmān na hṛt-puṇḍarīke yāvad-avasthānam ātmanaḥ ata eva aṅguṣṭha-mātraṃ puruṣaṃ niścakarṣa balād yama iti Vyāsa-vacanam evam-param avagantavyam (Jayanta’s Nyāya-mañjarī, p. 469).


Ibid. p. 473.


Mādhyamika-vṛtti (Bibliotheca Buddhica), pp. 560-61.


Ibid. p. 567.


In the Vaiśesika also the all-pervading ātman comes into touch with the foetus through the manas ; but the difference is this, that here the manas is an operative factor causing the development of the foetus, whereas there the manas goes to the foetus when through the influence of body-heat it has already developed into a body.


Caraka-saṃhitā, iv. 3. 3.


neti bhagavān Atreyaḥ sarvebhya ebhyo bhāvebhyaḥ samuditebhyo garbhobhinirvartate. Ibid. iv. 3. 11.


  Ibid. iv. 3. 20.


Caraka-sahṃitā, IV. 3. 21.


Ibid. IV. 3. 22, 23.


Caraka-saṃhitā, iv. 3. 25.


Ibid. iv. 3. 26, na hy-asattvaḥ kadācid ātmā sattva-viśeṣāc copalabhyate jñāna-viśeṣaḥ. Cakrapāṇi, in commenting on this, says that our knowledge of the external world is due to the operation of the sense-organs in association with the mind-organ. If these sense-organs do not exist, we cannot have any knowledge of the external world, but the internal organ of mind is always associated with the self: so the knowledge which is due to this mind-organ is ever present in the self (yat tu kevala-mano-janyam ātma-jñānaṃ, tad bhavaty eva sarvadā). It seems that both sattva and manas are used to denote the mind-organ.


The word kārya-jñānam in Caraka-saṃhitā, iv. 3.27, has been explained by Cakrapāṇi as kārya-pravṛtti-janaka-bāhya-viṣaya-jñānam. The knowledge that the self has when it has no sense-organs operating in association with the mind has no object (nirviṣaya) ; in other words, this knowledge which the self always has is formless.


Ibid. iv. 3. 31.


vināpīndriyaiḥ samādhi-balād eva yasmāt sarvajño bhavati; tasmāj jña-sva-bhāva eva nirindriyo 'py ātmā
      (Cakrapāṇi’s Caraka-tātparya-ūkā, iv. 3. 28-29).


The Bhāṣya of Śaṅkara on the Brahma-sūtra, in. i. 1-7.


Ibid. hi. i. 13.


Bhāṣya of Śaṅkara, III. i. 25, also in. i. 22-27.


Caraka-saṃhitā, iv. 4. 8. Cakrapāṇi, commenting on this, says that there is no special reason why the order of acceptance of gross elements should be from subtler to grosser; it has to be admitted only on the evidence of the scriptures— ayaṃ ca bhūta-grahaṇa-krama āgama-siddha eva nātra yuktis tathā-vidhā hṛdayaṅgamāsti.

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