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Samkhya-Yoga Philosophy


By mahAmahopAdhyAya j~nAnaku~njastha shrIgopInAtha kavirAja

In the history of Indian Philosophy, the controversy over the doctrine of causality is very old indeed. Although the nature of the controversy has varied from time to time, the fundamental problem has persisted. It is this: what is the relation between the cause and the effect? Does the cause contain the effect in its implicit form or is the effect a new thing altogether? What are the presuppositions of the genetic process? Does it imply simply a gradual unfoldment of what lies within, as eternally existing, or is it a creation ex nihil?

We know that various answers can be given to these questions according to the differences of our viewpoint. The naiyAyika, with his commonsense and realistic assumptions, would naturally be inclined to favor the view which maintains an absolute difference between the material cause and the effect. To him, the cause and the effect are two distinct concepts, though bound together by a mysterious tie of relationship; for it cannot be gainsaid, the naiyAyika would say, that though the effect is distinct from its cause, indeed from everything else in creation, by virtue of its own apparent individuality, it still inheres in it during its existence, and that even when it does not exist, i.e. before its production and after its destruction, its non-existence, technically known as prAgbhAva and dhvamsa, is predicable of its cause alone. As to what constitutes this bond of affinity, nothing is said beyond the fact that it is in the nature of an effect to be thus intimately related to its own material cause. It is an ultimate fact and has to be accepted as such.

This appeal to “the nature of things” on the part of the naiyAyika amounts practically to a confession of weakness of his theory. The yogin, who is an advocate of satkAryavAda, rejects the naiyAyika hypothesis and affirms that the effect, in so far as its essence is concerned, is identical with the cause from which it comes forth. The s-called production and destruction do not really mean that the product comes into and passes away from existence. Every product being an aspect of the supreme prakr^iti in which it exists somehow involved and identified as an eternal moment, creation out of nothing and annihilation is an absurdity. Production, therefore, is differentiation and dissolution is re-integration. The process of becoming, with which the problem of causality has to deal, does indeed imply a change, but it is a change conceived as the transition of a dharma from an unmanifest to a manifest state and from the manifest back into the unmanifest condition. The substrate of change is everywhere and always an existing unit.

The sum and substance of the satkAryavAdin’s contention seems to be this. We all must start from the assumption, under the necessity of our thought, that being comes from being and not from not-being, and that an absolute void giving rise to being is inconceivable. The denial of this principle would land us in contradictions. We conclude, therefore, that the effect is real or sat.

In the text-books of the school, we find a set of five arguments brought forward to establish the reality (sattA) of the effect, even before its origin:

1. The fact that what is asat or unreal cannot be subject to the causal operation or kAraka vyapAra.
2. The fact that an appropriate material (upAdAna) is resorted to for bringing about a certain effect; in other words, that every material is not by nature capable of producing every effect. This means that the material cause, which is somehow related to the effect in question, brings about that effect. But if the effect did not exist, there would be no relation and consequently no production. An unrelated material is no material at all.
3. And if the necessity of the relation between the material and the effect be not admitted, it would imply that the fitness of the material is not a condition of production and that any effect could result from any cause. This would be subversive of all order and so against our experience.
4. This difficulty cannot be got over by the assumption of shakti, as the mImAmsakas seem to do. They declare that an effect, before origin, is indeed non-existent or asat and that the cause is therefore indeed unrelated. Still, there would be no irregularity, for we admit, they say, that the cause, in so far as it possesses a Shakti favorable to a certain effect, does produce that effect. As to the question whether the cause possesses a particular Shakti or not, it can only be answered a fortiori, for it is inferred by observation of the effect.
5. The last argument is that the effect is nothing different from the cause. If the cause be existent, there is no reason to maintain that the effect, which is only a mode of the cause, should be non-existent (asat).

We have already said that according to sAMkhya, unlike nyAya-vaisheShika, the relation between cause and effect is declared to be identity (tAdatmya). The naiyAyika, with his pragmatic attitude towards reality, makes utility the criterion of existence and approaches the problem in a semi-Buddhistic fashion. To him, therefore, the effect, say a jar, is altogether a distinct entity from its cause, clay, for both do not serve the self-same purpose. This is artha-kriyA bheda. Besides, there are other grounds, which help a realist philosopher to differentiate one object from another. These are buddhi (pratIti), vyapadesha and arthakriyA vyavasthA. On these grounds too, the naiyAyika seeks to establish the difference of the effect from the cause. Thus, the notion of jar is distinct from that of clay and consequently corresponding to this notional or logical difference, the naiyAyika would say, there must be a real difference in the objective world. In other words, jar and clay, as objective realities, must be mutually different [Note: So too, differences of names and functions point to a difference in reality - edit].

These are some of the stock arguments of the naiyAyika. But they do not appear to have much weight against the sAMkhya-yoga position. They lose their point as soon as they are aimed at a system in which the so-called Realism finds little support. The arthakriyAbheda is really no sure test of objective difference, for the same object may have different arthakriyAs; nor is arthakriyA vyavasthA a test, for different collocations of the same cause may serve different purposes. The difference of names, viz. clay and jar, is no proof of difference either, for in that case, a forest would have to be postulated as different from the individual trees composing it.

The true relation between the cause and the effect, therefore, is that the effect is a dharma, an aspect of the cause and constitutes a mode of it. The primart prakR^iti being the equilibrium of the three guNas, the effects or vikAras are nothing but various modifications and collocations of it. In essence, the cause and the effect are identical, for both consist of guNas and it is in difference of collocation (samsthAna bheda) that the difference between the two, as it reveals itself to our consciousness, consists. And this difference in collocation is a peculiar manifestation. That of which it is a manifestation remains always in the background, unmanifest. In the last resort, the cause, the prakR^iti, the Materia Prima, is the unmanifest and the effect, the vikAra, is the manifested world, as always held within the bosom of that unmanifest, universal being [Note: Observe the use of the word bosom; shrImAn discusses elsewhere the inspiration drawn by shAkta tantra and Mother Worship from sAmkhya and yoga].

The doctrine of satkArya, therefore implies, as we often find in Indian Philosophy, that the universe, with an infinite number of cosmic systems belonging to it, is always existing in prakR^iti as its aspects. The evolution of a universe out of void has no meaning. The Buddhists, together with the naiyAyika and the vaisheShika, believe that the product has no existence prior to its origination and that it loses its existence as soon as it is destroyed. What this really means and how far it is justified we shall try to explain elsewhere. But we may just observe here that the whole doctrine of satkArya is a blow to this position.

To make the Yoga thesis clearer, we give here a brief analysis of its concept of substance or dharmin. In the technical nomenclature of Indian Philosophy, the term dharmin bears the sense of substrate, subject, that in which something is held, that of which something is predicated etc. Dharma means the aspect of dharmin, predicate, content and so forth. All predication, and therefore all judgment, involves the affirmation (vidhAna) or denial (niShedha) of a particular dharma with reference to a particular dharmin. In fact, every preposition, which is an expression of judgment, bears testimony to the fact of predication. Now, though predication is made and our entire phenomenal existence is necessarily based upon this, the subject of predication remains always, so far as its nature and essence are concerned, a point of controversy. When it is said that the flower is red, the proposition is certainly intelligible to commonsense, but on closer examination, the meaning of the proposition furnishes a topic for discussion. It reveals the same old problem which nAgasena raised before Menander more than 2000 years ago. What is that to which I am attributing redness? What is meant by the flower? Is it a mere bundle (samghAta) of sensible qualities or is there a real objective ground, a substrate, to which the qualities are attached by some natural relations? There are two answers that are generally given to this question. The first answer is of the Buddhists and in a certain sense of the vaiyAkaraNas. The second answer comes from the naiyAyika. The Vedantic position on this question is one of compromise between Idealism and Realism, but it tends towards the former. And the yoga view too is more or less idealistic, though with an important qualification.

In other words, the Buddhists deny the existence of a substance away from the qualities and a whole as a distinct from the parts. Bu the Realists, to whom the external world has an objective, extra-mental value, are not satisfied with this view. They posit a real substance in which various qualities inhere and which is not a mere collection of guNas but has an independent existence. So too with the whole (avayavI) which results, as a distinct and independent object, from the combination of parts. In vedAnta, also, the former view is favored. AchArya shankara, in bR^ihadAraNyaka bhAShya, plainly denies substantiality to the atoms and describes them as mere guNas. The Yoga theory is clearer on the point. It is said indeed that dharma is the guNa or a set of guNas by which the dharmin is made known to us and that this guNa may be any of the sensible qualities, viz., color, sound, etc. or any of their combinations. But this ought not to imply that there is any fundamental distinction between dharma and dharmin. Both these are, paramArthataH, one. They are different only in vyavahAra. And since this difference between dharma and dharmin and between one dharma and another is founded on the appearance and disappearance of the dharmas, which is due to time limitation, it is evident that in eternity, where there is no distinction between past and future, all the dharmas are in a sense identical, not only with one another but even with the dharmin to which they are referred. This ultimate dharmin is the unmanifest prakR^iti whose infinite modes (vikArAH) are the infinite dharmas, of which those which are present to our consciousness are called present and the rest is characterized either as past or as future. The dharmas are, therefore, only the varying manifestations of the guNas of primary Matter. That is, prakR^iti as modified in a particular manner is known as a particular dharma or vikAra.

The Yoga philosophy, especially the system propounded by pata~njali and vyAsa, accepts in the main the views of the rival school of the sAmkhyas. The yoga view of causality is, therefore, in all essential features almost identical with the sAmkhya.

From what we have said regarding satkAryavAda, it must have been made clear that the yoga (and sAmkhya) notion of causality has a  distinct character of its own. The word cause means indeed a necessary pre-condition of a subsequent event; this meaning is common to the other systems; it also accepts the anvaya and vyatireka as the guiding principles for the discovery of causality. But the characteristic doctrine remains to be noted.

If we observe the world of change and analyze it carefully, we find that every change involves a double element:

a. A transitional one
b. A permanent one

When clay is molded into the form of a jar, we are accustomed to speak of this molding as an instance of change. Evidently here too, there are two elements present, viz., clay and the forms that appear and disappear in it. The forms are all transitional, they come and go, but the matter, the clay, for instance, is relatively permanent. It is, therefore, said to be the substrate of these changes of forms, through all of which its unity remains unbroken. Before the production of jar, clay had a definite form viz, lump, which disappeared and made room for the appearance of a new form, viz., jar, and the destruction of the jar again is nothing but the disappearance of the jar form and the appearance of a fresh one in its place, and so on till Universal Dissolution when Matter will absorb within itself all its forms and regain its pristine formless and blank character. But during creation, it stands as the background for the play of these countless fleeting forms. From this will be obvious what the relation between matter, the dharmin, and the form, the dharma is. Every change being a kind of causation, true causal relation must be understood as meaning the relation of the form to the matter and not as the Buddhists would contend, of one form with another. In the chain of causation, of course, one form may be spoken of as the cause of another, but it is not by virtue of itself but of the matter which is its content. In the technical language of sAmkhya-yoga, all causal relation is prakR^iti vikR^iti bhava, prakR^iri being the cause and vikR^iti the effect.

But the meaning of the term prakR^iti is very often misunderstood. It is generally supposed to stand for the samavAyi kAraNa of the vaisheShika or for the material cause of the Scholastics. There is no doubt that what is meant by samavAyi kAraNa falls under prakR^iti, but the latter includes the so-called nimittas as well. If we leave aside for the present the question of asamavAyi kAraNa, which is a peculiarity of the vaisheShika alone, we may conveniently divide prakR^iti into a two-fold aspect, upAdAna and nimitta.

Thus although prakR^iti is one and the question of causal classification is, therefore, out of place is sAmkhya, it becomes intelligible why we find mention of a two-fold division of the causal principle. This division is really a concession to the demands of empiric consciousness, and is resorted to just as in vedAnta, truly speaking, sAmkhya-yoga, as much as vedAnta, is an advocate of the identity of nimitta and upAdAna. In other words, the distinction between nimitta and upAdAa is a pseudo-distinction, and has no existence on the plane of pure prakR^iti which is universal Being and Essence. It is only when prakR^iti has evolved herself into the first stadium, into the mahat, that we find this distinction, of nimitta and upAdAna, like every other distinction, probably brought out. The function of the nimitta, therefore, is not to serve, as with the vaisheShika, as an external principle of movement, the effectuating factor in the universal Becoming. prakR^iti is self-moved (svataH pariNAminI), motion is inherent in it by nature and does not come to it from without. It (as rajas) is an aspect of its Being. The efficiency of nimitta, and this is all that we mean by causal operation, consists only in the removal of the prohibens in the way of prakR^iti (tamaH, AvaraNa) and in the consequent liberation of the vikAras, the forms, held so long in confinement within the womb of prakR^iti.

For practical purposes, therefore, we may distinguish in our system between two kinds of causes at work, the material and the efficient. What Aristotle designated as formal causes does not seem to possess here a causal character at all. And we shall find that the so-called final causes of Aristotle fall under the category of nimitta.

Let us try to understand the position more clearly. We have said that the material cause, the prakR^iti qua upAdAna, possesses an eternal
motion inherent in itself and is not an inert substance required to be moved from outside. It possesses in potential infinite forms towards the manifestation of which it has a natural proneness; but this manifestation is held in check by a retarding force which, as we shall find later on, is identical with the merit or demerit of jIva with whose personal experience the manifestation is directly concerned. As soon as this force is counteracted by an opposite force, e.g., merit by demerit and vice versa, the path of evolution becomes clear and the material transforms itself into the appropriate effect. The block of stone for instance, contains involved within itself any kind of image, but it is able to manifest a particular image, and this manifestation is called production, only when the particular AvaraNa which stands in the way of its manifestation is removed by the sculptor’s chisel. The removal of this AvaraNa constitutes the efficiency of the nimitta, and is the sum and substance of all causal operation. The nimittas do not lend any impulse to the material nor can they bring out what is not implicitly contained in it. The apt illustration in the yogabhAShya (4.3) of the water in a reservoir on a higher level flowing of itself into the lower fields when a leakage or an outlet is made in the embankment, will clear up our point. Further, since every subsidiary prakR^iti, finite cause, is ultimately permeated by and coincident with pure prakR^iti, it naturally follows that every individual thing in nature contains every other thing potentially. The arguments in sAnkhyakArikA viz. upAdAnaniyamAt etc. are in consonance with our ordinary experience which justifies this restriction. An effect, to be brought forth, requires an appropriate material (and appropriate subsidiary causes). This is so, because we are dealing with limited prakR^iti and with limited human resources. But to the yogin, to whom the entire prakR^iti is open, it is easy to evolve anything from anything.

Thus, we need not seek for a principle of effectuation in prakR^iti outside of its own nature (svabhAva). This independence, on the part of the prakR^iti, of an extrinsic influence is called her svAtantrya or freedom. Vij~nAna bhikShu shows (yogavArttika) that the only possible cause of pravR^itti is the nature of the guNas (guNasvAbhAvyam tu pravR^ittikAraNamuktam guNAnAm). It is universally admitted that the particles of matter (aNu) are in perpetual motion in space. This motion is the vague vibration characteristic of the atoms and is to be distinguished from the definite motion which brings two atoms together (dravyArambhaka) so as to form a substance. This motion  does not serve any moral purpose, i.e., does not produce bhoga; hence merit and demerit cannot be its cause. Nor is this motion due to a special act of God’s will, for it would be assuming too much. It is more reasonable, therefore, to think of it as natural. Vij~nAna bhikShu further points out that the nimittas are not found to be necessary and indispensable in the manifestation of an effect, for the yogin, by a mere act of his will, can bring forth anything that he pleases and for creation he does not stand in need of any human instruments. Similarly, in the beginning of creation, things, e.g., seeds, are produced by God’s will merely, without the help of any positive precedent conditions, e.g. similar other seeds. All this goes to corroborate the view that the nimittas have not a direct causality in the production of an object. They help, each in its own way, to rouse the evolving power of prakR^iti, viz., karma (merit and demerit) by breaking the AvaraNa which is a dharma opposed to itself, God’s will by breaking all kinds of AvaraNa beginning with the greatest one i.e. state of equilibrium, kAla by rousing karmas etc., and the ordinary instruments, danas etc., by retarding the possibility of manifestation of other effects.

But what is the aim of all this manifestation? What is its end? An answer to this would furnish us with what Aristotle calls final causes of creation. It is admitted that all movement presupposes an end to be realized; without an end there can be no activity:

prayojanamanuddishya na mando.api pravartate |

This end is however variously conceived:

1. Firstly, it is pleasure or pain, which the jIva is bound to experience in consequence (i.e. as the fruits or phala) of his previous karma. In common parlance, this experience is known as bhoga and jIva as bhoktA.
2. The author of yogabhAShya sets forth that this aim is twofold, pleasure or absence of pain. The former is bhoga and the latter is apavarga. It is either of these two which is the object of a man’s striving (puruShArtha). Pleasure or bhoga, when further analyzed, would be found to embrace the three varieties of end, viz. dharma, artha and kAma. But the Supreme end is indeed apavarga.

In the sAnkhya kArikA (42), it is clearly stated that the puruShArtha actuates the li~Nga (pravartaka). This artha is:

a. Experience of pleasure and pain on the ascertainment of viShayas, or
b. Denial of viShayas on the ascertainment of distinction between prakR^iti and puruSha.

In other words, every movement is either towards viShaya bhoga or towards bhoga tyAga i.e. peace. But as bhoga is the necessary precedent of tyAga, and must eventually be followed by it, sooner or later, it may be said with reason that the end of all movement is this tyAga, which in its highest form is dissociation from prakR^iti and self-realization. It is the One Event to which the whole creation moves.

The perpetual unrest and agitation which we observe around us will have their close only when this Supreme End is attained. The course of evolution, for each individual, will terminate when he realizes the essential nature of his own self:

tataH pariNAmakramasamAptiH guNAnAm |

For apart from the individual for whom it is intended, the evolution of Nature has no other meaning. As to the further question whether Nature as a whole will ever cease we have nothing to say here. This concept will be discussed separately in connection with the doctrine of praLaya.

Without going into further detail at this point we may note that the conception of causality in sAnkhya yoga is as much mechanical as it is teleological. Leaving out the other auxiallry factors and confining ourselves to karman alone we kind that it both efficient (though negatively so as already pointed out) as well as final. Everything in Nature has its end. It will be found that even the objective  inequalities in creation are not explicable except on the hypothesis of the determining principle. A thing is what it is, not by chance but, as it were, by necessity. If the external world exists, and has come into being, to serve as the object of experience (pleasure or pain) of a conscious subject and would vanish for him, as soon as that purpose is fulfilled, it is easy to follow that its varieties must be occasioned by that principle, moral in its nature, which governs the varieties of such experience; and consequently all instruments and efficient factors must work in subordination to this Supreme Governor. So far, therefore, the whole scheme of Nature, appears to be teleological.

But karman is not the last word. It is worked off partly in natural course by fruition and is ultimately transcended by the light of Supreme Widsom which reveals the Self as it is and as distinct from prakR^iti. This is the final term of the evolutionary series. From this point of view, too, the scheme of Nature would be found to be pervaded by finality.

This analysis of ours leaves out of account what Aristotle calls formal causes. Though the forms, as conceived in the sAnkhya-yoga and even in the nyAya-vaisheShika are not considered to have a causal character strictly, they are not important in the order of creation, so far as the specialties of the individuals are concerned. They will be discussed elsewhere.

It is universally admitted that the world of sensible reality is a world of perpetual change, and it is also practically assumed, as we said, that every change involves a twofold element, viz., one that is transient and the other that is relatively permanent. The material, which is the subject of change, endures, while the effect comes and goes. A careful and systematic study of this problem of change led in ancient India to the formulation of three broad theories viz., ArambhavAda, pariNAmavAda and vivartavAda.

The ArambhavAda or the doctrine of origination (genesis) is the view of the naiyAyika and vaisheShika to whom the effect is entirely a different thing from the productive material. It is immaterial whether the effect produced is a substance or a quality or an action; in all cases it is a new thing altogether and is distinct from the substance from which it arises. This view is a necessary corollary from the asatkAryavAda. That the effect is found to inhere, so long as it continues in existence, in its material cause and is not capable of separation from it, simply proves that there is an intimate relation between the two and not that the two are identical.

A strong argument in favor of ArambhavAda seems to be furnished from the atomic theory. This theory postulates the existence of an infinite number of eternal particles of matter as the ultimate constituents of all substantial products (karyadravya), that is, every product is explained as due to a peculiar combination resulting in contact (Arambhaka samyoga) of these particles. And since it is impossible to consider the product as a mere grouping of the parts, and the reason why this is impossible consists in the disparity between the two, viz., that the particles are imperceptible and many, while their collection is perceived as one: it is more compatible with commonsense to suppose that the parts, by reason of combination result in the formation of the whole which is a new entity, pure and simple.

But what is the bearing of this doctrine on the problem of change? The question is whether change is predicable of the whole (avayavI) or of the ultimate particles or of both.

The vaisheShika says that the particles change and that the resultant whole also consequently changes. This is of the nature of chemical change and is due to the influence of tejas. The constant change going on in the world is in the end reducible to this type. In other words, if Z represents the whole consisting of parts represented by, say, a, b, c and d, we might say that the change of a, b, c, d into a1, b1, c1, and d1 by the assumption of new qualities would necessarily involve the destruction of X and of the origin of a new whole, called Y. this theory, therefore, assumes a double series of change, one in the parts and one in the whole. But why does a and c change into a1, c1 etc.? it is not natural, of course, for this would violate the postulate that no motion is inherent in a thing. To explain this change, the vaisheShika assumes the contact of a and c with the particles of tejas which penetrate into the body by means of pores, break the contact of the atoms and produce in them a change of qualities. According to vasheShika, every substantial product is porous and pervious. The atoms, as thus changed, are united again and form a fresh whole. This tejas is not only what we ordinarily call fire. It is ultimately the Solar Energy which, therefore, stands at the root of all physical and chemical changes in the world.

But the naiyAyika does not agree in this. He holds, against the vaisheShika, the solidity of substantial product and its impenetrability by heat principles which act upon the body as a whole and produce in it changes of qualities. Thus, though the substance is constant, from its origin till destruction, it is subject to change so far as its qualities are concerned.

[Note: The vedAntin does not admit with the vaisheShika that difference of size is the cause of difference in the substance. Hence the dharmin, say the jar, remaining the same, its former rUpa is destroyed and is replaced by a new rUpa; similarly the animal organism remaining the same. Its leanness (kArshya) is due to falling off (apachaya) of particles and its fatness (sthaulya) due to accretion (upachaya) of new particles. Thus, the body of a person when one year old would be identical with his body in his eighteenth year, although there may be an entire change of particles and difference of size. To rephrase, it is the same body in different states termed avasthA].

The problem of change has received a good deal of attention and careful treatment in the hands of sAMkhya and especially of yoga. pariNAma means disappearance of one dharma, followed by the appearance of another, within the same subject or dharmin:

avasthitasya dravyasya pUrvadharma nivR^ittau dharmAntarotpattiH pariNAmaH [yoga bhAShya, III-13]

The word is used to indicate the process when it refers to the predicate, dharma. In popular usage and in later literature, this word is found synonymous with vikAra:

upajanApAshAli dharma eva cha vikAra ityuchyate [brahmavidyAbharaNa]

The pariNAma is threefold, according as it concerns dharma, lakShaNa and avasthA. The definition of pariNAma given above is that of dharma pariNAma. lakShaNa pariNAma is the name of the change in regard to lakShaNa or time sequence, i.e. past, present and future. The grammatical tenses correspond to this pariNAma in nature. The lakShaNa too is not conceived as an ultimate unit and is further analyzable into what we may call avasthA or states, viz. new or old. Each such state is supposed to be ultimate and momentary. This kind of pariNAma is not really expressible in language. This being the case the evolution of Nature may be supposed to consist of a series of such successive moments. In this ceaseless stream of pariNAma, everything is being carried away from the future through the present into the past. But the future (anAgata) and the past (atIta) being nothing but unmanifest prakR^iti, every pariNAma is a passage from the unmanifest into manifestation and return into the unmanifest. This represents a circle, of which one half, viz., passage from unmanifest into manifestation, i.e. from the future into the present, stands for what is known as visadR^isha pariNAma and another half i.e. return from manifestation into the unmanifest, i.e. from the present to the past, for sadR^isha pariNAma. This is true of all the three kinds of pariNAma.

Thus the triple pariNAma represents a series of three circles not mutually exclusive but really concentric, dharma pariNAma being the outermost and the avasthA apriNAma the inmost of the group. But dharma and avasthA are relative concepts and are identical. The author of yoga bhAShya clearly states that the change of dharma in a dharmin, of lakShaNa in a dharma and of avasthA in a lakShaNa is the same process, being characterized by modification of the substance and involving a transition of states:

dharmino.api dharmAntaraM avastA, dharmasyApi lakShaNAntaraM avasthA ityeka eva dravyapariNAmo bhedenopadarshita iti | paramArthastu eka eva pariNAmaH |

balarAma points out that the three pariNAmas are really cases of avasthA apriNAma or they are all to be labeled as dharma pariNAma, since all the mutations are in the dharmin as their permanent abode.

This change is incessant and uncaused. It pervades the whole realm of Nature. It is said that nothing that is made of giNas is ever, even for a single moment, at rest and this is for the simple reason that guNas are by nature fickle:

dharmalakShaNAvasthA pariNAmaiH shUnyaM na kShaNamapi gunavR^ittaM avatiShThate [yoga bhAShya]

Even in the state of dissolution when the manifested universe is resolved into prakR^iti, this change or mutation still continues, this is sadR^isha pariNAma. It is only puruSha or the Self which is truly immutable, being beyond prakR^iti. brahmAnanda bhAratI, in his saralasAMkhya, seems to deny that in the state of equilibrium (sAmyAvasthA) there could be pariNAma. He says that the admission of pariNAma, even if sadR^isha, would militate against the theory of Equilibrium of guNas in pralaya, for pariNAma (vaiShamya) and sAmya are contradictory. bhArati’s objection seems to me unfounded as it rests on a misunderstanding of the meaning of pariNAma.

A dharma of state, unless it is present, must be either past or future; but in all these states the dharmin of which these are affirmed, is constant. A dharma is a particular shakti pertaining to a substance and is inferred to exist in it from its action, viz., from the production of a particular effect. It is subject to mutation, but is never annihilated. The present (or udita i.e. actual) dharma is one which is described as savyApAramanubhavan and as savyApAra; this is the object of our immediate consciousness, and is differentiated on one hand, from the past or shAnta dharma which has ceased to be active (kR^itvA vyApArAn uparataH) and on the other, from the future (possible or avyapadeshya) dharma which has not yet commenced to operate. Of these dharmas the present only is felt as distinct i.e. vishishTa from prakR^iti by reason of its manifest character, and one might say that this alone exists. And we know that the Buddhists actually denied the others. The past and the future dharmas are not directly known. The truth in the matter seems to be that these dharmas rest in prakR^iti as in union with it and are not distinguishable, not only from one another but even as dharmas. Their essence is the essence of the dharmin.

Hence it follows that the dharmas are twofold, according as they manifest (abhivyakta) or unmanifest (anabhivyakta) and the dharmin is the substance which persists (anvayi) in them both and consists of a double nature viz., it is a sAmAnya as well as a visheSha i.e., as a sAmAnya it persists in and is identical with shAnta and avyapadeshya dharma and as a visheSha it persists in and is the same as udita dharma. In other words, every effect or manifest product, in so far as it is a manifestation, is an individual (visheSha) and considering its past and future unmanifest condition is identical with the universal Being or prakR^iti (sAmAnya). The relation of cause and effect being identity in difference (derived from its identity with cause) by virtue of which it is perceived as one with everything else in nature.

The above will suffice to bring out the meaning of the statement that all things are essentially identical and consequently all are in all. The root principle of yoga philosophy and practice is thus found to be recognition of the fact that everything is full of infinite possibilities, and personal exertion is meant simply to give them, by removing the obstructions, actuality. As to how this is done we shall discuss elsewhere.

The perpetuity of flux is this found to be an established fact in Nature. Our mind as well as the outer world are both equally fluent. Let us now try to discover how these momentary changes contribute to various results. The question is: if the dharmin is one and suffers changes of state moment by moment, it follows that these changes are all uniform, and in that case how are we to account for the varieties of creation? The origin of multiplicity in effects from one or uniform cause is an illegitimate hypothesis. Concerning this it is said that diversity of modification is due to diversity of krama. Krama is the relative sequence between one dharma and another and is ultimately a unit of change. It should be noted that dharma includes lakShaNa and avasthA also. It is the sequence of kShaNas. One dharma may be said to be a krama of another provided that it immediately follows it. The krama of dharma and lakShaNa pariNAmas is sensible, but that of avasthA pariNAma is extremely subtle and supersensuos. None but a yogin can perceive the subtle change that a substance is undergoing every moment. But such karmas, though ordinarily imperceptible, are not to be ignored. Their cumulative effect, from which they are inferred, is great. It is their permutations and combinations, endless in number, which give rise to this manifold of our sensible experience.

Thus understood krama is a movement of the guNas. Referring to a dharma, we may define krama as its movement, from moment to moment, from the anAgata state towards manifestation (vartamAnatA) and then towards atIta. In the atIta or the shAnta stage of the dharma, where all movement comes to a standstill, there is no krama and it is for this reason that it is described as irrevocable. That krama belongs to the present dharma is universally admitted. But the yogin points out that even the anAgata dharma, a dharma which has not yet come to be manifested and is yet in the womb of prakR^iti as an avyapadesha dharma, possesses krama and is subject to the law of fluctuation. Had it not been so, an anAgata dharma would never have become vartamAnatA at all. An anAgata dharma becoming vartamAnatA is tantamount to the evolution of primordial Nature. A detailed study of this point and the secrets of creation will be furnished later, when it will also be shown that just as lapse into the past is the final term of the life history of dharma, so the anAgatAvasthA of the dharma is the initial term of its history. And this anAgatAvasthA may be conceived firstly as prakR^iti and then as an ideal dharma (bodha) i.e. the same dharma when it is in the mahat.

The philosophy of krama is very deep. It is said that the guNas being eternal and always in motion by nature, the krama of their modification never comes to an end. Their pariNAma is eternal. But their evolutes viz. buddhi etc. are not permanent. That is, the krama of every substantial product ceases one day when it becomes dissolved. Every product, buddhi downwards, is meant to serve as an end or a means to an end of the self (be it bhoga or apavarga) and is thereby justified in its existence. The realization of puruShArtha is the raison d’etre of the existence and continuance of the manifested world, and as soon as this is accomplished Ifinally by dharma megha) it is resolved into its components viz., the guNa particles. But this is for one man, for him only who has reached his goal. There are other jIvas who may still be in the middle of their journey, some who are still moving outwards in search of bhoga or earthly enjoyment and some who, having turned on the back path struggling in the pursuit of the saving knowledge. For such jIvas, the manifested world will have to continue. And the number of jIvas being infinite, there will never come a time when there will be no more a manifest, objective world. But this does not violate the possibility of periodic dissolution of the world.

We have seen above that the krama of modification of the dR^ishya ends as soon as the puruShArtha is realized. But as the krama has an end, has it also a beginning? The dR^ishya being only a product or evolute of the relation between puruSha and prakR^iti, the question recurs: what is the origin of this relation and when did it originate? We pointed out that the anAgatAvasthA is the beginning of the krama of the dharma. Does this avasthA refer to a definite point of time or is it simply a vague assumption following from the necessity of thought alone? Put more pointedly, the question refers itself to the moral explanation of the bondage and consequent limitations imposed on the self. In reply to this pertinent question, the sAMkhya yoga, like other kindered systems, asserts that we cannot posit an absolute beginning of this series of kShaNas, that since every kShaNa is explicable only on the hypothesis of a preceding kShaNa no absolutely first kShaNa is conceivable. The causal series must be held to be infinite ab ante.

Moreover, what is the nature of this relation between puruSha and prakR^iti (i.e. between puruSha and sattva)? The relation is given in every judgment of ours, which is a vR^itti of the buddhi and implies a coordination of subject and object. Such a coordination of two distinct and mutually exclusive principles is not possible except through confusion or non-discrimination (avidyA, viparyaya). Thus this relation, which is the source of phenomenal consciousness and misery, is due to mithyA jnAna. But the origin of mithyA jnAna can be explained only as a consequent of another mithyA jnAna and that of another, and in this way the series would be stretched infinitely backward and we would not be able to arrive at its first term at all. The guNas being always in relation to puruSha (because both are eternal), their effects too must always have been in relation with it:

dharminAM anAdisamyogAt dharmamAtrANAM apyAnAdiH samyogaH | [yogabhAShya II,22]

But the usual argument set forward in support of the beginningless character of samsAra consists in the inexplicability of the inequalities of pleasure, pain etc. on the hypothesis of a beginning in time. The inevitable conclusion which follows from the above is practically a confession of ignorance. However smartly we may tackle the problem, the mystery remains ever the same. Different attempts at solution simply change the form of the difficulty, but the mystery is never fully cleared. Yet from an intellectual and rational point of view, the doctrine of anAditva remains the only valid theory on the point.

Note: The doctrine of anAdisamyoga states thus:

dR^igdarshanashaktayoH nityatvAdanAdiH samyogo vyAkhyAtaH | [yogabhAShya]

The naiyAyikas, as a rule, reject the possibility of contact being without a beginning. According to them samyoga, which is aprAptipUrvaka prAptiH, must be due to motion, either of one or both. But ajasamyoga is also sometimes admitted. For eternity of samsAra, one can refer to nyAyabhAShya [3,1,27]; nyAya vArtika [1,1,2 and 1,1,19]; nyAyamanjarI etc. The relation which is expressed in yoga as a contact between puruSha and prakR^iti (or rather sattva i.e. chitta) appears in nyAya as the contact of the Self with the means or with the body.