Siddhanta Sangraha of Sri Sailacharya

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

Siddhanta Sangraha Chapter 39 (English translation), entitled “non-substances” as included in the critical edition and study. 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).

Chapter 39 - Non-Substances

395. Thus, the six substances enumerated above have been explained. Hereafter the ten non-substances (adravya) shall be explained.

396. Sattva, rajas, tamas, śabda, sparśa, rūpa, rasa gandha, saṃyoga and śakti are stated as the ten nonsubstances.

397. As these ten non-substances act as an adjectival features for a substance or entity, they may be called as a guṇa. This has been admitted by the scholars. The sāṅkhyas believe the three guṇas i.e. sattva, rajas, and tamas as the substances but this has been refuted by the scholars and proved to be the nonsubstance.

398. The three guṇas, saṃyoga and śakti exists in all the substances and treated as ordinary qualities (sāmānya guṇa( and the others are considered as extra ordinary (Viśeṣa).

399. Among the ten non-substances the sattva is an exclusive cause for the attainment of the true spiritual knowledge (tattva jñāna) as per the definition of the great acharyas.

400. Therefore, there is no fallacy called ativyāpti (over applicability) for the definition of sattvaguṇa[1] (i.e) “tattva jñāna asādhāraṇa kāraṇatve sati adravyatvam” in the case of the knowledge attained by the great ācāryas (sadācārya anugraha). Though the grace of ācāryas is the cause for the tattva jñāna yet it is now considered as non substance because it is jñāna, which is a substance. Even in the case of the relationship between the soul and the mind, though it is non-substance, it is not an exclusive cause. Therefore, the ativyāpti dośa will not arise here.

401. The cause for the desire or involvement about the sensual objects is the definition for the quality namely, rajas (i.e.) ‘viṣaya rāga asadhāraṇa kāraṇatve sati adravyatvam’. Here, through the word ‘adravyatva’ the ativyāpti dośa is not accepted.

402. The cause for the delusion or ignorance is the definition for the quality called tamas (i.e.) ‘adravyatve sati mohāsādhāraṇa kāraṇatvam’. The ativyāpti dośa will not arise as the definition is associated with the word ‘adravyatva’.

403. Therefore, these three qualities (sattva, rajas, and tamas) are always present in all the twenty four tattvas, which are originated from the mūlaprakṛti.

404. These three qualities are eternal and which is ever associated with its substratum. In the state of evolution or effect they are not in equilibrium whereas, in the state of deluge, they remain in the state of equilibrium, as there is no evolution.

405. Though the three qualities (i.e.) sattva etc., are eternal, it has been stated as the one which originated from the primordial matter (mūlaprakṛti). The word ‘tajjanyam’ is used in a text in a secondary sense. The three qualities are the adjectival features to the primordial matter. Here, the word ‘tajja [tajjam]’ is used in the sense of ‘tadadhīna’ (under its control) and not as the ‘one which originated from that’.

406. The three qualities, namely, sattva etc., are known as unmanifest, which are ‘svarūpa nirūpaka for the primordial matter. If the creation and destruction are stated for the three qualities then, the primordial matter which is in an unmanifest form would become non-eternal. Therefore, there is no svarūpa without the svarūpa-nirūpaka (i.e.) there is no whole without parts.

407. Even in the scriptures[2] and smṛtis the three qualities are stated as guṇas and not as dravyas. Therefore, according to our system three qualities are guṇas only.

408. If the three guṇas are accepted as the adravya, how there can be the changes namely, the state of equilibrium and in equilibrium as it is contradictory to the definition of dravya (i.e.) ‘avasthāvattvam dravyalakṣaṇam’. It is replied that;

409. Actually the changes (equilibrium and in equilibrium) are present only in the state of effects (sukha, rāga, moha etc.) of the three guṇas through its aiding factors (sahakāri kāraṇa). The changes in the state of effects (kārya rūpa) are seen in the causal state (kāraṇa rūpa) through the sattvik food habits. Therefore, the contradictions are not directly present in the qualities which are cause and are only figuratively attributed to them through their effects that are distinct.

410-411. Here, the doubt arises that how there could be a sāmya [sāmyam] (equilibrium) in the qualities when there is no function for the three guṇas in the state of deluge (pralaya)? then, it is replied that the equilibrium of the three guṇas is the state without any manifestations due to the free will of the God[3] that “let these things need not have any manifestations”. Even at the time of creation the vaiṣamya (inequilibrium) of the three guṇas is the state of manifestation due to the will of God that “let these qualities have manifestations”. According to some it is said that the sāmya and vaiṣamya are due to the equality and inequality found in the manifestations.

412. According to some, the substance namely, prakṛti is endowed with many parts and these parts either with sattva guṇa or rajas or tamas. Thus, these three types of prakṛti are found based on their predominance.

413. —These three parts of prakṛti are inseparably united with prakṛti and based on their predominance among themselves there is vaiṣamya, when there is equilibrium among them, that is delusion. If it is questioned that how can we call it as a sattva, when they are inseparably united with rajas and tamas? It is replied that due to the predominance of the particular quality it is stated so.

414. According to sāṅkhyas the substance namely, prakṛti is devoid of parts. But this view is not accepted by us as all the substances in the world are noticed to be endowed with parts.

415-416. In nyāya siddhañjana, initially, it is stated that mūla prakṛti (primordial matter) does not possess any parts. Another view is that as all the substances in the world, which are the effects of prakṛti are noticed with their parts, it is to be concluded that the primordial prakṛti too endowed with parts. This is the second view. Here, the author seems to favour the second view. One of the commentators of Nyāya siddhāñjana, Sri Raṅgarāmānuja too accepts this.[4]

417. The three qualities try to suppress each other thereby; one is predominant to other two. This is similar to the boiling water is brought back to cooler state by the addition of cool water. Likewise the sattva guṇa in the mind is developed by the intake of sattvik food habits. The body of a spiritual born is constituted of the sattvik quality.

418. The sattvik quality has been nourished by the intake of sattvik foods and the sattvik quality gained through that helps us to gain the spiritual knowledge (tattva jñāna).

419. The body of a spiritual born is constituted with the collection of sattvik qualities. There is no destruction for the sattvik qualities of spiritual born’s physical frame. This has been accepted by the scriptures.

420. Here, the question arises that how there can be an increase in the sattvik quality through the saṃskāras such as Upanayana, as it already exists in the physical body of the spiritual born? Then;

421-422. By the saṃskāras such as Upanayana, the grace of the vs, the potency (śakti) generated in the sattvik elements which exists in the mind, speech and the body naturally. Then, there is a destruction of the potency in the functions of rajas and tamas. Therefore, there is no distinction between the sattvik qualities and the potency that is present in the sattvik qualities. So they are present in the body of a spiritusal [spiritual] born naturally.

423. —According to some, it is stated that the qualities such as rajas and tamas are destroyed by the saṃskāras and the sattvaguṇa is produced. Then;

424. —The svarūpa or eternal nature of the substance will get affected. As the three qualities are eternal, their destruction is not possible. If it is questioned that how there could be the destruction of svarūpa by the destruction of the qualities? then it is not accepted. It is only the statement of the ignorant persons that the 'cow is present when the cow ness is not there'. Likewise, it is not correct to accept that the prakṛti is present when the three qualities are not there.

425.—Here, the illustration of cow is not apt. As the cow ness is the jāti of the cow, when it is lost then the svarūpa is destroyed automatically. In the same manner, only the three guṇas are the svarūpa nirūpaka (that which establishes the essential nature) for the prakṛti. Therefore, there is no possibility of the substances to exist when the three qualities are not there. Only three qualities are jati [jāti?] for prakṛti like the cow ness for the cow.

426.—Svarūpa nirūpaka is that the adjectival feature by which the essential nature is established. Therefore, the three qualities are eternal and are necessary for establishing the mūla prakṛti.

427. Śabda is two fold, namely, dhvanyātmaka (that which is based on sound) varṇātmaka (that which is based on letters). Both are non-etemal and accepted by our system as per the statements ‘śabdo naṣṭaḥ’, ‘śabdaḥ utpadyate’.

428. Among these two, the varṇātmaka śabdas possesses the potency to convey a particular meaning and it is not a distinct quality. As per the principle ‘guṇe guṇāntara anaṅgīkārāt’ in the śabda, which itself is a quality.

429. Śakti[5] is nothing but the desire of God and it is His quality and not the quality of śabda. Here, the view of the naiyāyikas regarding the will of Īśvara is not accepted by the scholars because the fallacy called pauruṣeyatva will arise on the part of the Vedas which means that the Īśvara composed the Vedas.

430. Actually, there is no potency on the words such as ‘ditha’, ‘mitra’, ‘citra’, coined by the elders. But this is only an illusion through which the knowledge about the śabda (śābda bodha) arises though there is no potency of the word (śabda śakti).

431. Even, the names other than the Sanskrit coined by the elders possess only an indicative meaning (saṅketa) and not possessed of śabda śakti. Hence, the potency of the word arises only because of bhrama (illusion). Therefore, the Sanskrit names possess the potency naturally.

432. The names provided by the parents (i.e.) Raṅganātha etc., are based on the validity of the scriptures and the saṃskāras.

433. The names of Gods given by the elders are not indicative of the primary sense (mukhyārtha) and they convey only a secondary sense (lakṣyārtha) due to the relationship of subservience of God. Therefore, the names such as Nārāyaṇa, cannot be attributed to the objects other than the Supreme.

434. It can be said that all the words only convey the indicative meaning through the potency of the word but this view is not accepted by the Vedic Scholars (Vaidikas).

435. According to the Mīmāṃsā nyāya, the Sanskrit expressions which are used in the world are the words accepted by the scriptures. And, the words which are not used in the Vedas are not in the worldly usage.

436. and there is no difference in their pronunciation, quality and quantity. If it is not so it is not a Sanskrit word. It cannot be stated so that the laukika śabdas are in correct as they are different from the Vedas.

437.—they (laukika words) are used in the Veda also in the same manner in which it is used in the world. The sense of cool touch is experienced in the water (jala) and the hot touch is experienced in the fire (tejas).

438. Whereas, only the mere touch, which is witnessed on the pṛthvī and vāyu.[6] According to śruti there are three colours, namely, Red (lohita), White (śveta), and Black (kṛṣṇa).

439. They belong to tejas, āpas and pṛthvī respectively. The quality namely, the brilliance (bhāsvaratva) is in tejas only and not for others.

440-441. Therefore, the naiyāyikas view that the ‘bhāsvaraśukla’ for tejas is not accepted here. The yellow colour for the earth is witnessed by the addition of other elements on it and not natural. By nature, pṛthvī possess black colour. The quality namely, ‘whiteness’ is not accepted in white.

442. The ‘whiteness’ is nothing but the distinguishing feature from the blackness etc. This has been explained by śrī Rāmānuja in Śrī Bhāṣya. In the same way, blackness is not present in black colour. If it is accepted then it is contradictory to the Bhāṣya.

443. By the same line of argument, it has been refuted by Bhāṣyakāra that there is no jāti in guṇa. The nonsubstance namely, taste is experienced in water and earth.

444. Water has sweet as its natural quality. The other tastes are possible in the substances through adventious conditions (upādhi). All the six types of taste (sweet, sour, salt, bitter, astringent and pungent) exist in the earth naturally.

445. The non-substance namely, smell is of two kinds, as the fragrant and the non-fragrant and it is found only in the earth. The non-substances rūpa, rasa and gandha are present in the earth by the application of heat (pākaja).

446-447. Only the knowledge about the subject matter itself is the definition of the qualities such śabda. It has been explained by the great philosophers such Vyāsārya that the perception namely, smell etc., are experienced with time as their attribute. The quality, that is the ‘odourness’ in the ‘odour’ is not different from ‘odour’.

448. Because it is a well known fact accepted by the scholars that there is no quality or guṇa for the qualities. Conjunction is the cause of the knowledge of external relation and it is present in all the substances according to their status.[7]

449. The conjunction is possible by the functions (karma) of the two objects or by the function of any one. The conjunction is present in both the eternal things and it is devoid of any function or activity and also accepted as eternal.

According to naiyāyikas there is no conjunction in the eternal substances as they do not possess any functions. Actually, the conjunction is two fold eternal and non-eternal. Only the non-eternal conjunction is not there and the conjunction which is present in the eternal substances is always eternal.

450-451. According to the tenets of vedānta that the eternal nature of the ātman of the divine couple, present both in male and female form is always inseparably united through praṇaya, dhāra etc. The divine couple does not possess any function or karma like jīvātmas. So they are called as the divya-dampatis. The conjunction between the divine couple and the time (kāla) is always eternal.[8]

452. Though, the attributive consciousness, the atman etc., are inseparable attributes, the inseparability is their eternal conjunction. The potency is that particular non-substance which is the effecting agent of causation among all causes and it is inseparably united in all the substances.

453. The potency is present in all the things, it is the incomprehensible source of knowledge (‘acintya jñāna gocarāḥ’)[9] and it cannot be explained or proved by the logical reasoning. Thus, it is proved that the potency possesses the capability of producing all the things. Therefore, it cannot be denied that the potency is the Upādāna (material) and Nimitta (instrumental) cause for the Supreme Brahman.

454-455. Thus, the potency has been established through the authentic statements and hence it is proved to be the quality of the substances which is present in them. According to naiyāyikas, the origination and destruction of the potency could be possible by the presence and absence of the gem in the fire.

456. Therefore, one has to admit the origination of infinite potencies which involves the fallacy called gaurava. But the above view is not accepted by us.[10] Whereas, the potency that exists in the fire is ever present in it as long it exists. Actually the gem impedes the power of scorching though the potency is present there. And, also the existence and the nonexistence of a particular substance is not accepted by naiyāyikas in the same place and 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. Hence, there is no arguments hold good in this regard.

457. The pratibandha (impediment) is the sustenance of prior non-existence (prāgabhāva). Therefore, the potency will be present in all the substances till they exist.

458. Thus, the existence of potency is proved by the scriptures and by the logical reasoning. So it is accepted by all that the potency is present in all the objects innately.

459. The power that originates from the effects (ādheya śakti) is also accepted by our system. During the sacrifices the saṃskāra of cleansing of the sṛk (ladle) gives raise to the power. This has been stated as atiśaya and apūrva.

460. The ādheya śakti is nothing but the materials used for sacrifice. This will incur the grace of God (Īśvarānugraha). As the grace of God is necessary for the sacrifices, the scriptures become purposeful.

461. The potency which arises through the saṃskāra caused by the grace of God and which is according to the guidelines of the scriptures is alaukika (divine) whereas the potency arises from the saṃskāra such as ploughing the field give rise to good procurement of the products, is laukika. The laukika ādheya śakti is different from the alaukika ādheya śakti.

462. The grace of God will be achieved only by the practices prescribed by the Vedic lore. Therefore, the grace of God cannot be denied for the objects that possess the innate potencies.

Footnotes and references:


See Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.289.


[4.1]80. See Nyāya Siddhāñjana, pp.289-290.


See Nyāya Siddhāñjana, pp.289-290.


See Nyāya Siddhāñjana, pp.30-34 and the commentary thereof.


Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.325.


Cf. Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.308.


Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.319.’See also Tattva Muktā Kalāpa, V, 52.


Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.324.


Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.327.


Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.331.


Rasasastra category This concludes Non-Substances 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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