Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Publisher's Note

Something About Late Shri V.R. Gandhi
I - The Sankhya Philosophy
  II - The Yoga Philosophy
  III - The Naya Philosophy
  IV - Mimamsa
  V - The Vedanta Philosophy
  VI - Buddhism
  VII - Jainism
  Sanskrit Terms

I - The Sankhya Philosophy






1.   We begin this evening with the Sankhya philosophy. Kapila, the reputed author of this philosophy was probably a Brahmin, Though nothing is known about him. He is the supposed author of two works‑ the original Sankhya Sutras called (Sankhya Pravachan) and a shorter work called (Tatvsmas). The Sankhya philosophy together with Yoga, Naya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta nominally accepts Veda as its guide. It is the Philosophy of (Sankhya), i.e. enumeration or analysis of the Universe. Sir Monier Williams calls it by the name of synthetic enumeration. Sir William Jones calls it the Numeral Philosophy. It has been partly compared with the metaphysics of Pythagoras, partly in its Yoga with the system of Zeno. Others compare it with that of Berkeley.


2.   It starts with the proposition that the world is full of miseries of three kinds‑ the three kinds of miseries:

(1) (Adhyatmic) due to one's self,

(2) (Adhibhotic ) due to the products of elements and

(3) (Adhidaevic ) due to supernatural causes‑and that the complete cessation of pain of theses three kinds is the complete end and object of man. (Trividhasya adhyatmic Adhibhotic, Adhidaevic, roopsay, dukhsay, atyantnivriti atyantPurushrth.)1


This doctrine of Sankhya is similar to the tenets held by the Buddhists whose main doctrine is that the world is full of miseries. This is also the starting point of Spinoza. In his work `The Improvement of the Understanding' he says: "After experience had taught me that all the usual surroundings of social life are vain and facile seeing that none of the objects of my fears contain in themselves anything either good or bad, except in so far as the mind is affected by them, I finally resolved to inquire whether there might be some real good which the discovery and attainment would enable me to enjoy continuous, supreme and un‑ending happiness." That is his starting point, just the starting point where the Sankhya starts. He goes on to say: " I thus perceived that I was in a state of peril and I compelled myself to seek with all my strength for a remedy, however uncertain it might be, as a sick man struggling with a deadly disease when he sees that death will surely be upon him unless a remedy be found, is compelled to seek such a remedy with all his strength, in as much as his whole hope lies therein. All the objects pursued by the multitude not only bring no remedy that tends to preserve our being, but even act as hindrance, causing the death not seldom of those who are possessed by them." He continues: "All these evils seem to have arisen from the fact that our happiness or unhappiness has been made the mere creature of the thing that we happen to be loving. When a thing is not loved, no envy if another bears it away, no fear, no hate; yes, in a world no tumult of soul. These things all come from loving that which perishes, such as the objects of which I have spoken. But love towards a thing eternal feasts the mind with joy alone, nor hath sadness any part therein. Hence this is to be prized above all and to be sought for with all our might."


3.   How was such a theory invented? In the West it has always been the case that the peculiar circumstances of the philosopher's life lead him into a peculiar belief, in the East the calm and quiet scenery and bountiful nature lead him to patiently inquire into the mysteries of the universe. Their contemporaries judge them from a false vantage ground. Spinoza in his owns age was denounced as a atheist, profane person, monster. Long afterwards however his works were re‑discovered, greedily read, and admired by great poets like Goethe and by ardent and even romantic philosophers like Schelling. The Sankhya system too was considered by its commentators atheistic. But the present generation looks charitably upon it and tries to see some if not all-eternal truths in it.


4.   I told you in the beginning that the Sankhya starts with the proposition that the world is full of miseries of three kinds. These are the results of the properties of matter (Prakriti) and not of its correlate intelligence of consciousness (Purush)2. Matter is eternal and co‑existent with spirit. It was never in a state of non‑being but always in a state of constant change, it is subtle and insentient. According to this view, Prakriti existed before the evolution of the universe and will continue so to exist for ever, but with time it has so much been changed that the unemancipated (Atma) (soul) is but ill able to comprehend its nature. It has lost its original state and has become earthy. In other words, Prakriti has assumed diverse shapes both gross and subtle3.


5.   Kapila's theory is strictly a theory of evolution. He says: (Navstuno vstusidhi) ‑‑ A thing is not made out of nothings.4 Avastunobhavat vastusidhirbhavotpatirnav sambhavti   It is not possible that out of nothing, i.e. an entity should arise. (Yadyabhavat bhavotpatistarhi karan rupan karyai drishyat iti jagtopyavastusvanlllll ) ‑‑ If an entity were to arise out of a non‑entity, then since the character of a cause is visible in its product the world also will be unreal5. When the Vedantist ‑the monist or the idealist‑tell Kapila, `Let the world too be unreal, what harm is that to us?', he replies : Abadhat adushtkaran.janyatvach navstuutvama‑ The world is not unreal because these is no fact contradictory to its reality and because it is not the false result of depraved causes (leading to a belief in what ought not to be believed)6. (Ahuktao rajatmiti gyanai naidan rajatmiti gyanat  naidan rajatbadh na chatr naidan bbhavroopan jagditi ksyapi gyanan yain bhavroopbadh syat)  When there is the notion in regard to a shell of a pearl‑oyster (which sometimes glitters like silver) that it is silver, its being silver is contradicted by the subsequent and more correct cognition that this is not silver. But in  the case in question‑that of the world regarded as a reality, no one ever has the cognition "this world is not in the shape of an entity", by which cognition if any one ever really had such its being an entity might be opposed7. (Dushtkaran.janyatvach mithyaityavgamyatai yatha kamladidoshat peetshankhgyanan ksyachit, atr cha jagatgyanasya sarvaishan srvada stvann doshosti)‑ And it is held that that is false which is the result of a depraved cause, e.g. someone's cognition of a white conch‑shell as yellow, through such a fault as the jaundice which depraves his eye‑sight. But in the case in question‑that of the world regarded as a reality, there is no such temporary or occasional depravation of the sense because all at all times cognize the world as a reality. Therefore the world is not an unreality8.


Again he says: Nasdutpado nrinshrigavt ‑ The production of that which does not already exist potentially is impossible like the horn of a man.9 Upadananiymat ‑ Because there must of necessity be a material out of which a product is developed.10 Srvatr srvada srvasanbhvat- Because everything is not possible everywhere and always (which might be the case if materials could be dispensed with).11 The meaning is this : Srvatr srvasmin Daiichi srvada srvasmin kalai srvanutpatairlokdrshanat ‑ In the  world we see that everything is not possible everywhere and at all times. And Shaktasy shakyekaran.at ‑ Because anything possible must be produced from something competent to produce it.12


In short, the Hindu philosopher's belief in the eternity of the world's substance arises from the fixed article `Ex nihilo nihil fit,' nothing is produced out of anything. All the ancient philosophers of Greece‑ who are believed to have borrowed their theories from India‑seem to have agreed upon this point. Lucretius starts with laying down the same principal. He says: "It things proceed from nothing, everything might spring from everything and nothing would require a seed. Men might arise first from sea, and fish and birds from earth, and flocks and herds break into being from sky; every kind of beast might be produced at random in cultivated places or deserts. The same fruits would not grow on the same trees but would be changed. All things would be able to produce all things."


6.   Sankhya philosophy then starts with an original primordial tattva or eternally existing essence called Prakriti‑ a word means that which evolves or produces everything else. Some philosophers translate this Prakriti by nature. Certainly, nature is anything but a good equivalent for Prakriti, which donates something very different from matter or even germ of mere material substances. It is an intensely subtle original essence, wholly distinct from soul yet capable of evolving out of itself consciousness and mind as well as the whole visible world.13 In my opinion it is not even the name for anything which ever existed by itself. For Kapila himself in his work says: Parnparyaipaikatr parinishthaiti sangyamatram


In the manifestation of objects there must be a succession of causes without any end; and in Hindu logic the ruling idea is that you must suppose a point to exist where you should halt and Prakriti is only a halting point; therefore, it is in Kapila's words only a sangyamatram, i.e. merely a name given to the point in question, a mere sign to donate the cause which is the root which must be assumed rootless, merely to conform to the rule of Hindu logic.14


7.   Let us now see how Kapila defines this Prakriti. It is Satvrajstamasan Prakriti is the state of equipoise of Satv, Rajas, Tames goodness or passivity, passion, energy or activity and darkness or grossness.15 These three qualities passivity, activity and grossness‑ are not qualities in the ordinary sense. Qualities in the ordinary sense are attributes of Prakriti, they are rather the cords which when in a state of equipoise constitute Prakriti. On account of the disturbance of this state of equilibrium the whole world comes out. Kapila says: Prakritairmhan mahatohankar ahankarat panchtanmatran.i ubhyamindrayam tanmatraibhye sthoolbhootani Purush iti panchvinshtirgan. From Prakriti proceeds Mind mehat, from Mind self‑consciousness, from self‑consciousness the five subtle elements Sthoolbhotani16 and two sets of organs Indriyas external and internal, and from subtle elements gross elements sthoolbhootani 16. Thus Prakriti is the first basic primordial essence, and second principal evolved out of it is Mind, from Mind come out the third principal Ahankara, self‑consciousness or individuality, from individuality come our five subtle elements and two sets of organs. These five subtle elements are Shabd, Sparsh, Roop Ras Gandha‑ sound, tangibility, form or color, taste and smell or odour17. The two sets of organs are external organs and internal organs. The external organs are again organs of sense and organs of action. The organs of sense are ear, skin, eye, nose, tongue; the organs of action are larynx, hand, foot, and the excretory and generative organs. These ten are external organs. The eleventh is the mind‑ the internal organ18. From the five subtle elements are produced five gross elements‑ Akash (ether), Vayu (air), Taijas (fire or light), Apas (water), Prithvi (earth)19. The twenty-fifth is the Purush ‑ the Soul, which is neither producer nor produced but eternal like Prakriti. It is quite distinct from the producing or produced elements and creation of the phenomenal world, though liable to be brought into connection with them.