Vaisheshika-sutra with Commentary

by Nandalal Sinha | 1923 | 149,770 words | ISBN-13: 9789332869165

The Vaisheshika-sutra 3.2.18, English translation, including commentaries such as the Upaskara of Shankara Mishra, the Vivriti of Jayanarayana-Tarkapanchanana and the Bhashya of Chandrakanta. The Vaisheshika Sutras teaches the science freedom (moksha-shastra) and the various aspects of the soul (eg., it's nature, suffering and rebirth under the law of karma). This is sutra 8 (‘proof of soul not from revelation only’) contained in Chapter 2—Of the Inference of Soul and Mind—of Book III (of soul and mind).

Sūtra 3.2.18 (Proof of Soul not from Revelation only)

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Vaiśeṣika sūtra 3.2.18:

अहमिति मुख्ययोग्याभ्यां शब्दवद्व्यतिरेकाव्यभिचाराद्विशेष सिद्धेर्नागमिकः ॥ ३.२.१८ ॥

ahamiti mukhyayogyābhyāṃ śabdavadvyatirekāvyabhicārādviśeṣa siddhernāgamikaḥ || 3.2.18 ||

aham—I; iti—this; mukhya-yogyābhyām—by innate or self-evident and perceptive or sensible cognition; śabdavat—like sound; vyatirekābyabhicārāt—from the invariability of absence or divergence; viśeṣa-siddheḥ—from proof in particular; na—not; āgamikaḥ—scriptural, proved by revelation.

18. (The soul is) not proved (only) by Revelation, since, (as Ether is proved by Sound, so) (the Soul is) proved in particular, by the innate as well as the sensible cognition in the form of ‘I,’ accompanied by the invariable divergence (of such cognition from all other things), as is the case with Sound.

Commentary: The Upaskāra of Śaṅkara Miśra:

(English rendering of Śaṅkara Miśra’s commentary called Upaskāra from the 15th century)

It may be objected as follows:—“The Soul is not perceptible, since, like Ether, it is a colourless Substance, or a Substance without component parts. Therefore the body itself should be affirmed to be the object of the cognition “I am thin, pale.” If occasionally there arises also the consciousness “I feel pleasure,” it is proper to suppose that pleasure and the like becoming manifest without a substratum, are transferred to or superimposed upon the body. As in “Hot, fragrant water,” heat and fragrance appearing without a substratum are superimposed upon water, but for the sake of this the intuition of water also does not contain as its object anything except common water; so I-ness in “I am” is real only in reference to the body, whereas pleasure and the like are sometimes superimposed upon it. There is then, in respect of the Soul, no knowledge of it in the form of perception. That which has to be supposed as the substratum of pleasure, etc., must be established by revelation. There is no perception of it.” In reply to this objection, he says:

[Read sūtra 3.2.18 above]

This is the meaning. The cognition, “I feel pleasure,” or “I am in pain,” is neither scriptural, nor verbally communicated, nor inferential, since it arises even without the help of verbal communication or of marks of inference. Whereas it has been said that colourlessness and simplicity (or the not being an aggregate of component parts) are obstacles to the perception of the soul, this holds true in the case of perception by external senses, for of this the possession of colour and the possession of more than one substance are the necessary conditions, or exciting causes, while mental perception is independent of these. It may be objected that this would be the case were there proof of the existence of the Soul, but that there is none. Accordingly it has been said, “From proof in particular by invariable divergence, as is the case with Sound.” As in the Substances, Earth, etc., the absence of Sound is invariable, i.e., uniform, and there is thereby proof of a particular Substance, namely Ether, in addition to the eight Substances, as the Substratum of Sound, so on account of the in variable divergence of desire from Earth, etc., the substratum of desire also must be different from the eight Substances. Lest it be argued that all this goes to show only that the Soul is a subject of inference, not an object of perception, the words “by the innate as well as the sensible cognition in the form of ‘I’ are employed. By the word ‘iti’ the form of the cognition is indicated. Therefore the cognition, in the form of ‘I,’ which is produced, without the help of verbal communication and mark of inference, in one whose eyes are closed, should be explained by the innate idea of Egoity or I-ness and its sensible or perceptible attributes, and not by reference to the body, and the like, since the divergence or absence of desire is invariable there. After “by the innate as well as the sensible cognition” the words “Should be established” are to be supplied. There are many proofs of the existence of the Soul. They are omitted here for fear of increasing the volume of the treatise. They should, be sought in the Mayūkha.—18.

Commentary: The Vivṛti of Jayanārāyaṇa:

(English extracts of Jayanārāyaṇa Tarkapañcānana’s Vivṛti or ‘gloss’ called the Kaṇādasūtravivṛti from the 17th century)

Vedāntins, however, hold that the soul is nothing but eternal knowledge (vijñāna) according to the Śruti,—“avināśīva're'yamātmā satyaṃ jñānamanantaṃ”, “Lo! the Soul, imperishable, is truth, knowledge, infinite, and all-pervading,” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad IV. v. 14). Although, in reality, it is one, yet, owing to the diversity of its Upādhi or adjuncts in the form of the inner sense, which are products of Māyā, i.e., limitation, it appears as manifold. That it is so, follows from such Śrutis as “ekamevādditīyam”—“One only, without a second,” Chāndogya Upaniṣad, VI. ii. I),—“ekastathā sarvabhūtāntarātmā rūpaṃ rūpaṃ pratirūpobabhūva”—“So the one inner Self of all beings, for every form, became its counterform” (Kaṭha Upaniṣad, II. v. 9.)

He discredits this view.

The words, ‘object of perception’ are the complement of ‘aham iti,’ ‘I’—this. Thus, the object of such popular mental perceptions as ‘I feel pleasure,’ etc., is not ‘āgamika,’ i.e., identical with Īśvara, the probandum, of such ‘āgama’ or text of the Veda as “truth, knowledge, infinite, and all-pervading,” (Taittirīya Upaniṣad, II. i. 1). He states the reason of this by ‘mukhyayogyābhyāṃ’ etc. ‘viśeṣasiddheḥ’ because difference from Īśvara is established by pleasure and pain, which, though primary or instinctive or original or innate, are yet sensible. The instinctiveness of pleasure lies in agreeables or desirables, since it is there the object of desire which is not dependent upon any other desire; whereas the instinctiveness of pain lies in disagreeable, since it is there the object of aversion which is not dependent upon any other aversion. Sensibleness, again, is the being the object of perception (i.e. by the inner sense/ This is mentioned for the purpose of removing the (possible) apprehension that the mark is an unproved or unknown mark, and also to prevent overextension, in the case where eternal bliss is attributed to Īśvara, because eternal bliss can never be an object of perception. Pleasure and pain, therefore, being products, are proof of the difference between the Jīva and Īśvara. This argument is illustrative: it should be observed that knowledge, volition, desire, and also aversion, as products, establish difference from Īśvara.

It may be urged that in such inferences as, “The soul which is the object of the perception, ‘I am,’ is different from Īśvara, because it possesses pleasure which is a product,” there being no example, and consequently no observation of congruity of similar instances, knowledge of the universal relation is impossible. For this reason, it has been said i.e., from the uniformity of difference. The use of the ablative inflexion has the object of denoting the (necessary) condition leading to the inference, and the syntactical connection of the word is with the word The import, therefore, is, that,

even though there is no example by way of agreement, yet, Īśvara being an example by way of difference, an inference with respect to the matter in hand is possible, through the observation of the universal relation of difference, dependent upon the concomitance or congruity of difference.

It may be urged, again, that that a mark can establish difference from Īśvara, by the universal relation of difference, has not been known before. To remove this apprehension, it has been stated i.e., like Sound, etc. The meaning is this: As the difference of Ether from Īśvara is proved by the mark, namely Sound, which is known by the method of the universal relation, or uniformity, of difference, so the difference of the soul from Īśvara is proved by the possession of pleasure, etc., which are products.

Commentary: The Bhāṣya of Candrakānta:

(English translation of Candrakānta Tarkālaṅkāra’s Bhāṣya called the Vaiśeṣikabhāṣya from the 19th century)

In III. ii. 6—17, the author gives, in the form of a dialogue, contrary arguments as to whether the Self be an object of perception only, or of inference only, or of both, and gives his own conclusion in III. ii. 18.

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