Vaisheshika-sutra with Commentary

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

The Vaisheshika-sutra 4.1.1, 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 1 (‘the eternal defined’) contained in Chapter 1—Of Atoms—of Book IV (of the origin of bodies).

Sūtra 4.1.1 (The eternal defined)

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Vaiśeṣika sūtra 4.1.1:

सदकारणवन्नित्यम् ॥ ४.१.१ ॥

sadakāraṇavannityam || 4.1.1 ||

sat—existent; akāraṇavat—not having a cause, uncaused, ‘causa sui’; nityam—eternal.

1. The eternal is that which is existent and uncaused.

Commentary: The Upaskāra of Śaṅkara Miśra:

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

Having finished the enumeration, definition, and examination of the nine Substances, Earth, etc., and desiring to refute the doctrine, held by the Sāṃkhya philosophers, that prakṛti or Matter is the prime cause, and to establish that ultimate atoms are the prime cause and enter into the composition of earth, etc., the author first of all gives the definition of the Genus, eternality.

[Read sūtra 4.1.1 above]

‘Akāraṇavat,’ means not having a precedent cause, on the maxim of the purity of words (which excludes other interpretations of the term). Hereby the water-pot, and the like are excluded. Still the definition may be too wide by including previous non-existence; so he says, ‘existent’ i.e., having connection with existence. In the case of the Predicables, Combination and Species, connection with existence is nothing but combination or inherence in one and the same object with existence. In the case of any other Genus and of existence connection with existence consists only in being the object of the cognition that it exists. This cognition is not in respect of a thing as such. “ be so;” it cannot be objected, “in other cases also. What is the use of existence?” For, existence has already been proved as the cause of assimilative understanding.—1.

Commentary: The Vivṛti of Jayanārāyaṇa:

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

Some hold that the existent is produced from the nonexistent. What they have in view is this. Seeds, etc., are not productive of effects such as shoots, etc. Were this the case, then seeds, etc., lying in a granary, would also produce shoots, etc. But since shoots appear only after the destruction of seeds sown on a field, by the disjunction of their parts, it follows that it is the destruction of seeds, etc., which is tho cause of shoots, etc., So we have the sūtra of Gautama, stating the argument of an opponent, “Production of existence (is) from non-existence, as there is no appearance without destroying.” (Nyāya-Sūtra, IV. i. 14).

Only to refute this view, he strengthens the theory of progressive origination by the series of ultimate atoms, etc.

‘Sat,’ means something in the form of existence; ‘akāraṇavat’ means a non-product; ‘nityam’ means an entity which opposes annihilation. The meaning is: the primary cause of compound bodies is not non-existent, that is to say, because, if causality of destruction were admitted, then it would entail the production of shoots even from powdered seeds.

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