Siddhanta Sangraha of Sri Sailacharya

by E. Sowmya Narayanan | 2008 | 30,562 words

This page is entitled “brief summary of the text” contained in the Siddhanta Sangraha (English translation and critical edition). The Siddhanta Samgraha is a Sanskrit philosophical text dealing with Vishishtadvaita in five hundred Sanskrit verses. It was written by Shri Shailacarya (18th century) and closely follows the philosophy of Vedanta Deshika (13th century).

A brief summary of the text

The text of Siddhānta Saṅgraha is arranged in a methodical form and is, in about five hundred verses in anuṣṭubh metre. The author, Śrī Śailācārya has presented the work by saying that it is the condensed form of Śrīvaiṣṇava Siddhānta, which has been explained in the works of Śrī Vedānta Deśika such as Sarvārthasiddhi.

The method enumerated by the author in explaining the tenets of Viśiṣṭādvaita is brief and simple through which everyone can understand the essence of the system easily. At the commencement of the work the author provides the broad classification of the categories accepted by the Viśiṣṭādvaitins such as dravya, adravya, jaḍa and ajaḍa with their definitions.

A brief summary of the text Siddhānta Saṅgraha is as follows:

The author begins the work with salutations to Śrī Vedānta Deśika, who is the moon to the milky ocean of the tenets of Śrī Bhāṣyakāra. In the introductory verse, the author points out that he has explained the principles of Viśiṣṭādvaita as stated in the works such as Sarvārthasiddhi. Then, he classifies the substances in due order. The tattva is two fold, namely, dravya and adravya, in which dravya is the substratum of a specific state and adravya is not so. The definition of avasthā is that which is impermanent in the substance and inseparable from it. Here an objection has been raised regarding the application of the definition of avasthā in Brahman. But the same has been refuted by the acceptance of the state of mūrtatva, which is the distinct quality of Brahman. The quality of the insentient matter is that it gets modified in its nature whereas the sentient principle namely, the individual soul and the Supreme Lord doesn’t undergo any change.

Then, the substance is divided into two, namely, jaḍa and ajaḍa. Out of these jaḍa is self-luminent and ajaḍa is not so. The jaḍa dravya is classified as avyakta and kāla. The avyakta is evolved into twenty four tattvas such as mahat. Among the twenty four realities there are eight principles, which become the cause for the origination of sixteen modifications. The vyakta is one which is nothing but the inequality of the three qualities. It gets manifested as twenty three principles. The first evolute of prakṛti is termed as mahat tattva. This has been divided into three as Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa and their nature and characteristics have been stated. Then, the ahaṅkāra which evolved from mahat also accepted as three fold as Sāttvika etc. The Sāttvika ahaṅkāra is the material cause for the sense organs. The Tāmasa ahaṅkāra is the cause for the five subtle elements (tanmātrās) and the Rājasa ahaṅkāra aids them in their functions.

According to the author, the argument that the mind is not a sense organ is not accepted. This has been established with relevant scriptural quotations, its functions and its cause. The non-eternal feature of the mind has been stated through the statement that food nourishes the mind. The functions of the sense organs of hearing, the theory related to the sound and its origination and the functions of the sense organ of smell, touch, vision and taste are explained. While explaining the theory of origination of sound, the author accepts the Vīcītaraṅga Nyāya, which says that the sound is perceived by the Śrotrendriya with the help of Vāyu which carries the subtle elements of sound to its proximity like the waves are carried away and moving in the directin of the wind. If the wind blows in the opposite direction then the sound is not audible. He rejects the Kadambamukula Nyāya, which states that the sound spreads simultaneously in all directions like the blossoming of flowers.

The place of origination of the sense organs and their nature are explained. The theory that the scriptural knowledge is more powerful than the inference has been stated with quotations. It has been stated by the author that the individual soul is distinct from the five sense organs of knowledge and the five sense organs of actions. The functions of the karmendriyas, the difference between the jñānendriyas and the karmendriyas and the refutation of the view that the karmendriyas are originated from the Rājasa ahaṅkāra are delineated. The establishment of the eleven sense organs including the mind, which originate from the Sāttvika ahaṅkāra, the origination of the five gross elements from their respective tanmātrās, and the eight prakṛtis and the sixteen modifications are narrated.

The equal position occupied by the five gross elements and the five subtle elements are established with scriptural authority. The eight prakṛtis are known only by the Śāstras and the non-eternal feature of ether has also been explained. The explanation about the validity of pramāṇas and the guṇas, which are present in the five gross elements are stated.

Next, the author proceeds to the explanation of the perceptibility of time. According to him, it is not the form that is the cause of perception in certain objects like ether, time, etc. It is because in each and every object there is the object namely, “this is of this nature”, which is comprehended by the sense organ of vision. This aspect conveys that the particular object is here and now. The relation of an activity to the object happens only in relation to the time factor. That is, the movement of the sun is only due to its association with the time. Further, the association with the pot also means the existence of the pot. So this existence too is related to time which is known as satta. The relation of substances in regard to time is only saṃyoga and the relation of the non-substances to time is saṃyuktāśraya. Here, the naiyāyikas view that a substance is known through its form is not accepted. Though the ether doesn't possesses a form, yet, it is perceptible and this has been proved by the process of quintuplication.

The Vāyu possesses the characteristics of the sound and touch. The Vāyu present inside the physical body gets different names according to its place of existence and through the statement that ‘the wind blows’, the perceptibility of Vāyu is understood. The view that the sense of touch is the cause for the inferential knowledge of the Vāyu is not admissible to the learned scholars. If it is said that Vāyu is infered because of the sense of touch then on the same ground of argument it can be said that the pot is also known by inference because of its form. The substance fire is two fold, namely, prabhā and prabhāvān. The sparśa is the quality of tejas. The view that the brilliance is the particle of lamp is not correct and the gold is also the substance of earth and is not the substance of fire. The red colour belongs to the fire substance and it has been accepted by scriptures. The water has four qualities, namely, śabda, sparśa, rūpa and rasa. According to scriptures, the white colour for water is natural. The qualities such as śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa and gandha are belonging to the earth and it has black colour innately.

According to the statement that, the darkness is the absence of light, some people say that it is not the substance of earth. But, in reality it is the substance of earth because it has the black colour. Through the statement that ‘darkness moves’, which proves that tamas is the substance of earth which has the quality and action. There cannot be a category called non-existence different from the existence. The statement that the tamas is an unmanifest element is being said as it covers the knowledge and not because it is not observed. Like the word ‘mṛtyu’ denotes ‘yama’, the word tamas also used to refer unseen objects.

All the realities from avyakta to pṛthvī belongs to Puruṣottama and He is the material cause for the creation of the realities by becoming its substantive. The definition of Upādāna (kāraṇa) and Upādeya (kārya) are stated. Through the validity of perception it is proved that both cause and effect are same. This has been proved by the statement that ‘only the piece of gold becomes the ear ring’. Even in recognition we get the same result. If it is accepted that the cause and effect are different then; when the threads are woven together it must be said that the weight of the threads are different from the heaviness of the cloth. The difference between the Satkāryavāda and Asatkāryavāda is also stated here. If it is questioned that the occurrence of many causal substances will produce a single effect, then; It is replied through the illustration of ‘a heap of grains’, which is stated as ‘this is a grain’ and not as 'many grains'. Therefore it is not accepted in our system.

The substance is already an existent one which gets modified into another state. Therefore, the substance is real and its states are non-eternal. Even the state is preexistent in the cause itself and it gets manifested by the Kāraka-vyāpāra. Here, the author seems to favour the Satkāryavāda and the Asatkāryavāda is not accepted. The two types of creations called samaṣṭi and vyaṣṭi based on pañcīkaraṇa, the theory of pañcīkaraṇa and the discussion about the body and the five gross elements are explained. The arguments related to the twenty four tattvas and the three types of causes attributed to the Supreme God are delineated. The Supreme Lord by His free will becomes the agent and instrumental cause just as the wind becomes the cause for the waves. He, being the inner-self of time becomes the supportive cause. The author, while describing the material cause of the Lord, establishes it through an illustration of the person holding the pot filled with water. Though the pot is holding the water the person carrying the pot is more instrumental and getting fatigue indirectly. In the same way Lord is the material cause for the world through the body.

The time is the substratum for the modifications such as seconds, day, night, etc. It acts as an aid to all the substances which are its effect. Without the association of time there will not arise any cognition of any objects. The directions such as east, west, etc., are not the separate substances. Thus, the inert substances, namely, the unmanifest and time are explained.

The classification of ajaḍa dravyas, namely jīva, Īśvara, dharmabhūtajñāna and nityavibhūti are stated. The individual soul is that which is sentient and atomic in size. In order to avoid the defect of over applicability in the case of Īśvara, the word ‘aṇutva’ is used. The selfluminosity of the self is also been stated. The classification of jīvas has been explained in two ways. That is, the one who is devoid of karma and the one who is associated with karma. The first one is divided as nitya and mukta. The nityas have the blissful experience of Brahman, whereas, the muktas will attain the Brahmānubhava only through Śaraṇāgati and Upāsana. The other category nemely, baddha jīvas are also entitled to attain liberation according to our system. It cannot be said that the Supreme Lord being merciful, is not able to do anything in the case of sinners. He is capable of doing everything according to His freewill. The scriptures are the valid evidence for us to prove the quality of mercy and the freewill of God. The individual soul, who are associated with karma are two fold. They are one who is desirous of salvation and one who is not interested in salvation.

If it is doubted that the Supreme Lord prevents a kaivalyaniṣṭha from Brahman experience, then it is not correct. It gives raise to the partiality and the cruelty on the part of the Lord. Only the karma that prevents the kaivalyaniṣṭha from Brahman experience. The concept of Śaranāgati [Śaraṇāgati?], the concept of karmayoga, jñāna yoga and bhakti yoga are clearly explained with quotations. The prapatti means the surrendering of our soul with a prayer for protection to the Supreme Lord. This is, otherwise, known as bharasamarpaṇa. There is no difference between the

words nyāsa and prapatti, as they are explained in the scriptures as synonymous expressions. The explanation about the path of light, the path of smoke and the greatness of ācāryas are also stated. The prapatti never expects anything. Whereas, The karma yoga and the jñāna yoga serve as the limbs to bhakti yoga. By practicing bhakti yoga, one will get the final remembrance of God according to one’s stage and state of life. But for the followers of nyāsa it is achieved by the grace of the God Himself.

The definition and the nature of Brahman has been stated with scriptural authority. The causality of the universe and the five attributes of the God, which are common to the divine couple are explained with scriptural statements. The meaning and the explanation of the word ‘Nārāyaṇa’, the causality of Goddess Lakṣmī is also stated with scriptural passages. The various forms of God and their attributes and the validity of the scriptures are also narrated with illustrations.

The creation caused by the divine couple with insentient entities is called as samaṣṭi sṛṣṭi and the creation done by the vyūha forms of the divine couple with sentient beings is known as vyaṣṭi sṛṣṭi. Among the four forms of vyūha, Paravāsudeva has all the six qualities namely, jñāna, śakti, bala, aiśvarya, vīrya and tejas. The other three, namely, saṅkarṣaṇa, pradyumna and aniruddha have two qualities each. The Paravāsudeva of Transcendental nature, whc is the cause for the whole universe and He Himself is present as ‘antaryāmi state’ in the effect states.

The discussion about dharmabhūtajñāna, the various arguments related to dharmabhutajñāna, its relationship with the self and its self-luminosity are explained with scriptural quotations. According to the author the dharmabhutajñāna conveys its own self and also the things other than it. It is divided into two; namely, the saṃyoga and saṃyktāśryaṇa [saṃyuktāśrayaṇa?]. The relationship between the dravya and the jñāna is saṃyoga and the relationship between the jñāna and the guṇas is sumyuktāśrayaṇa [saṃyuktāśrayaṇa?]. The dharmabhutajñāna moves out through the sense organs and comprehends the external objects. It is similar to a tree which sucks water from its root. The three types of pramāṇas, namely pratyakṣa, anumāna and śabda with their explanations, classifications and the discussion about the pramā and bhramā are well stated. The knowledge is always stated as real and there is no unreal knowledge.

Here, a doubt may arise that how there must be the luminosity of the knowledge at the deep sleep state and how it can be stated as eternal. Then it is replied that though both the knowledge and self are eternal, the luminosity will be there only when there is the conduction of the objects with knowledge. Therefore the absence of the movement namely, relation is technically terms as sleep and not the total loss of knowledge. Here the naiyāyikas view is not accepted. According to our system the different states of dharmābhutajñāna namely desire, hatred, sukha, duḥkha, prayatna etc., are also self-luminous.

It is accepted that the self is self-luminous in the dep sleep state through the statement of a awakened person that ‘Sukhamaham asvāpsam’. Here, the question arises that when a person experiences both the self and the blissful experience, the atman is savikāra. But it is not so in a real sense, how can we accept this? Then the blissful experience is innate and implicit, which is the essential nature of the soul is experienced. According to some in dharmabhūtajñāna there is the expansion or manifestation for the blissful experience, it is followed by a saṃskāra and the recollection. But it is not accepted by the author. In the blissful experience the absence of knowledge namely svāpam, svāpakālam and the ātma are understood only through inference and it is not recollection. The explanations about the mind which is the main cause for the comprehension of all knowledge and there is no comprehension of knowledge during dream state. The validity of inference is explained with the counter arguments of naiyāyikas with the essentials of inference are explained in detail. The five member syllogism, the five forms of inference and the hetvabhāsas are also stated. According to our system saṃśaya is not accepted as a single knowledge. So it is real knowledge only.

The validity of verbal testimony is explained. The knowledge of the word depends on the capability to express a sense. Here the refutation of the Anvitābhidhānavāda of mīmāṃsakās, the potency or śakti of the word, the definition of śakti are explained. The two types of śakti namely, yoga śakti and rudi [rūḍī?] śakti, the lakṣaṇā and its divisions and the validity of the words in practical usages are narrated by relevant scriptural statements. The validity of the Vedas, Smṛtis and Pāñcarātra texts have been delineated in due order.

The nitya vibhūti is the conscious principle and it is self luminous. Due to the abundance of eternal enitities present in it, it is known as nitya vibhūti. There are some eternal entities created by the free will of the Supreme Lord, which are not subject to the transformation pertaining to the time such as birth, old age, death etc., These are known as nitya vibhūti. The speciality of the nitya vibhūti is that if they are desirous of perceiving the manes, can do so because of their free resolve that is dependent on the Lord. The released souls do not have any contraction in the knowledge at any point of time when they manifest in different forms because of their free will. The released souls know that the divine beatific form of the divine couple. The six Transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord in His Vyūha form and their nature during manifestations are explained.

The ten non-substances (adravya) namely, sattva, rajas, tamas, śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa, gandha, śakti and saṃyoga are explained in due order. These ten nonsubstances act as an adjectival features for a substance hence they may be called as guṇas. The Sānkhyas believe the three guṇas as the substances, but this view is not accepted by us. The three guṇas, saṃyoga and śakti exists in all the substances and treated as ordinary qualities and the others are considered as extraordinary.

The definitions of three guṇas, their essential nature and the sāṃya and vaiṣamya of them are explained. All these three qualities are always present in all the twenty four tattvas, which are originated from the mūla prakṛti. These are eternal and ever associated with its substratum. In the state of evolution or effect they are not in equilibrium and whereas, in the state of deluge they remain in the state of equilibrium. The sāmya and vaiṣamya of the three guṇas are based on the free will of God. According to Sāṅkhyas the substance namely, prakṛti is devoid of parts. But this view is not accepted by the author that we notice all the substances in the world are endowed with parts. The three qualities suopress each other according to theie [these?] predominance just as the boiling water is brought back to cooler state by the addition of cool water.

The sattvik qualities are nourished by the intake of sattvik foods and through the saṃskāras such as Upanayana [Upanāyana?] and the grace of ācaryas, the potency generated in the sattvik elements which are already present in it. There is no destruction of the qualities which are present in a substance, though there is the addition of any one of the three qualities. The discussion about the colours that belongs to tejas, āpas and pṛthvī are stated. The whiteness is not accepted in white. The six types of taste and the varieties of smell are explained. The non-substances rūpa, rasa and gandha represent in the earth by the application of heat. The conjunction is possible by the functions of the two or by the function of any one. It is two fold, namely, eternal and non-eternal. According to naiyāyikās there is no conjunction in the eternal substances. Only the non-eternal conjunction is not there and the conjunction of the eternal substaces is accepted in our system.

The potency is present in all the things and it is the material and instrumental cause for the Supreme Brahman. According to naiyāyikas the origination and destruction of the potency is possible by the presence and the absence of the gem in the fire. But this is not accepted by us because the potency exists in the fire is ever present in it, only the gem impedes the power of scorching. Even according to naiyāyikas the existence and non-existence of a particular substance is not accepted in the same place at the same time. By the presence of the gem the non-existence of the fire is present, so the burning power is not there. Here the author refutes the arguments of the naiyāyikas in their own style of approach. Thus the existence of potency is proved by the scriptures and by the logical reasoning. The necessity of the ādheyaśakti and the grace of God has been explained.

The guṇas stated by the vaiśeṣikas such as pariṇāma, pṛtaktva, vibhāga, paratva, aparatva and gurutva are not accepted as separate qualities. The fluidity and viscidity is also not different from potency. The five qualities, namely, desire, hatred, pleasure, pain and effort are the sub-divisions of knowledge and not different from it. The dharma and adharma are nothing but the favourable and unfavourable resolve of the Supreme. Here, the naiyāyikas view is not accepted by the author. The concept of apūrva advocated by the mīmāṃsakas is also connected with the pleasure and displeasure of God, which results in various degrees of apūrva. The bhāvana, velocity and elasticity are also not accepted as the separate qualities. The Karma, Sāmānya, Viśeṣa, Samavāya and Abhāva with their divisions have been refuted and they are not accepted in our system. The saṃyoga and śakti are the common attributes for all substances. The Sādharmya of jaḍa and ajaḍa substances are also explained.

Thus, the Viśiṣṭādvaita Tattva, has been established by the author that the Brahman possesses the extraordinary attributes for all the objects. The tattva is classified into two as Īśa and Īśitavya. That is, the controller and the controlled. The tattva is again classified into three, namely, Bhoktā (the enjoyer), Bhogya (the enjoyed) and Niyantā (the controller). Then, the author says the five essential imports (arthapañcaka) which are to be known by those who are interested in attaining salvation. They are Prāpya, Prāpta, Prāptyupāya, Phala and Virodhi. This path of tattva has been taught by the great ācāryas for getting true knowledge.


Rasasastra category This concludes A brief summary of the text according to Vishishtadvaita philosophy explained by Shri Shailacarya. This book follows the model of Vedanta Deshika although the Vishishta Advaita school was originally expounded by Shri Ramanuja. Vishishta-Advaita is one of the various sub-schools of Vedanta which itself represents one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy. They highlight the importance of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.

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