Vaisheshika-sutra with Commentary

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

The Vaisheshika-sutra 9.1.1, 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 (‘perception, e.g., of antecedent non-existence...’) contained in Chapter 1—Of Ordinary Perception of Non-Existence and of Transcendental Perception—of Book IX (of ordinary and transcendental cognition...).

Sūtra 9.1.1 (Perception, e.g., of antecedent non-existence...)

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration, Word-for-word and English translation of Vaiśeṣika sūtra 9.1.1:

क्रियागुणव्यपदेशाभावात् प्रागसत् ॥ ९.१.१ ॥

kriyāguṇavyapadeśābhāvāt prāgasat || 9.1.1 ||

kriyā-guṇa-vyapadeśa-abbāvāt—in consequence of the non-existence of application or predication of action and attribute; prāk—prior, antecedently; a-sat—non-existent.

1. In consequence of the non-application of Action and Attribute (to it), (an effect is) non-existent prior (to its production.)—227.

Commentary: The Upaskāra of Śaṅkara Miśra:

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

[Full title: Perception, e.g., of antecedent non-existence is produced by other means than conjunct ion or combination]

After the determination of popular or ordinary perception produce from contact or contiguity in the form of either conjunction or combination, the author begins the ninth book of which the object is to demonstrate ordinary or popular and superordinary or hyper-popular perception produced from proximity or presentation due to other causes:

[Read sūtra 9.1.1 above]

‘An effect,’—such is the complement of the aphorism. ‘Prāk,’ i.e., prior to the production of the effect, ‘an effect,’ e.g., a water-pot, cloth, etc. ‘a-sat,’ (i.e., non-existent), that is to say, the counter-opposite or contradictory of the contemporaneous non-existence of its own producer. Here the reason is the impossibility of the application of action and attribute. If the effect, e.g., a water-pot, etc., were really existent during that time also, then it would be affirmed to possess action and attribute. As in the case of a water-pot already produced reference can be made to it in such forms as “The water-pot is at rest,” “The water-pot is in motion,” “The water-pot is seen to possess colour,” etc., there can be no reference made to it in like manner also prior to its production. It is therefore inferred that the water-pot is during that time non-existent, And this, antecedent non-existence; in such cases as while straws are in the course of weaving or threads in the course of joining, or when clay is placed on the potter’s wheel, while the activity of the potter, etc., is yet going on, is the universally experienced perceptual cognition that there will be in that place a mat, or a piece of cloth, or a water-pot, inasmuch as such cognition takes placets soon as the eyes are opened. Here proximity or presentation constituted either by conjunction or by combination cannot be the cause of the cognition. Hence proximity or presentation in which the thing in itself or the qualification or distinction of that which is connected with the sense, (indriya samboddha viśeṣanatā) is here the necessary condition of perception. It cannot be said that in this explanation there is mutual dependence (of cause and effect) in as much as the-distinction of antecedent non-existence being existent, there is perception of it and the perception being existent, there exists the distinction for the characteristic of being the distinction is here really the proper or essential form of both the cause and the effect and it is capable of producing perception in which both are mutually involved and that is-really existent even prior to the perception so it has been declared in. the Nyāya-Vārtika, “In the case of combination as well as if Non-existence, the relation of viśeṣya that which serves to specify and viśeṣya that which is specified, (is the proximity between the sense and the object).”

This same antecedent non-existence is productive of its counteropposite (that is, the object not yet existent). For when a water-pot is produced, it is not produced just at that very moment. Even though the other (partial) causes existed at the time, the imperfectness of the cause, being pursued, should pursue only the imperfectness consisting of the antecedent non-existence of the water-pot itself. If it be objected that the (antecedently non-existent) water-pot itself would then be an impediment to its own production; our reply is that since, by its non-existence at the time, it constitutes the absence of impediment, its causality should not be thrown away. Nor can it be objected that the water-pot itself constituting the non-existence of its antecedent non-existence, it would follow that its antecedent non-existence will again appear when the water-pot is destroyed; for, the destruction of the water-pot also is repugnant to its antecedent non-existence, so that there can be no appearance of a contradictory also during the existence of another contradictory. For the contradiction between them is not merely spatial, so that they might be simultaneous like (the genera of) bovine-ness and horse-ness. The contradiction is temporal also, and therefore how can they be existent at one and the same time?—1.

Note.—In this and the few following aphorisms, the author deals with the topic of non-existence. Now, non-existence is primarily divided into two kinds, saṃsarga-abhāva and anyonya-abhava. Anyonya-abhāva or reciprocal non-existence is characterised as nonexistence of which the counter-opposite (i.e., the object non-existent) is determined by the relation of identity; in other words, it is equivalent to absence of identity, that is, difference. Saṃsarga-abhāva or relational non-existence is non-existence other than reciprocal non-existence, and it is sub-divided as antecedent, consequent, and absolute non-existences.

Commentary: The Bhāṣya of Candrakānta:

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

Non-Existence is not the seventh predicable inasmuch as absolute non-existence, e.g., a castle in the air, is not a predicable at all, while non-existence of the existent, in the forms of non-production, destruction, and absence of identity, cannot exceed the number of the six-predicables.

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