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



8.   The arguments which Kapila brings forward for the existence of soul as a separate entity, distinct from Prakriti, are these; First, Sanhatprarthatvat  that which combined and is therefore discreditable is finally for the sake of some other which is not discerptible20. The second argument Trigun.adivipryat Soul is something else than Prakriti because there is in Soul the reverse of the three qualities passivity, activity and grossness21. The third argument is Adhishthanach -Soul is not material because of its superintendence over Prakriti (and a superintendent is an intelligent being while Prakriti is unintelligent)22. The fourth argument is Bhoktribhavat - Soul is not material because of its being the experiencer23. It is the Prakriti that is experienced, the experiencer is soul.


What then is the nature of soul? Kapila answers: Jadprkashayogat parkas  Since light does not pertain to the unintelligent, light is the essence of soul24. The followers of the Vaisheshika system think that intelligence is only an attribute of soul; really it is without quality25. It is essentially intelligent. If soul be unintelligent, it would not be a witness of its own comfort in profound and dreamless sleep26. He does not agree with the Vedantists when they say that soul is one only for it is eternal, omnipresent, changeless, void of blemish; on the contrary, he says that from the fact [that] when one person is born another dies and a third one becomes old at the same time [it follows that] there is a multiplicity of souls27. If soul were one only, when one is born all must be born28. Both the Vedantists and the Sankhya are followers of the Veda and in the Veda there are passages like Aikamaivadviteeyan brahm (chhandogyopanishad 6.2.1), naih nanasti kinchan  (Vrihadan.ykopnishad 4.4.19) mritio sa mritiomapnoti ye  eh nanaiv pashyati (kathopnishad 2.1.10) ‑ Brahma is one without a second; there is nothing here diverse; death after death does he, the deluded man obtain who here sees as if it were a multiplicity. Kapila gives an ingenious interpretation to these passages. He says that his view of the multiplicity of souls is not opposed to the above passages of the Upanisads because those texts refer to the genus of all souls, i.e. to the fact that all souls are of the same nature29. On the contrary he says in the Puranas we find passages to the effect that Vamadeva has been liberated, Shuck has been liberated. If soul were one, since the liberation of all would take place on the liberation of one the mention of diverse liberation's would be self‑contradictory30.


9.   The soul is not considered by the Sankhya bound to matter. It is not bound, nor is it liberated. It is free. It has a delusive semblance of being bound. The nature of the soul is constant freedom and indifference to pleasure and pain alike31.


10.  These are the basic principals of the Sankhya philosophy. In short, according to its doctrines Prakriti and Purush are enough in themselves to and the idea of a creator is looked upon by the Sankhya as a mere redundant phantom of philosophy32.


11.  We may now enter into the details of this philosophy. In the first place let us ask Kapila what the motive is for the creation of the universe. He mentions two motives; they might have appeared satisfactory to him but to me his reply is not rational. He says that Prakriti created the universe for the emancipation of the soul which is really though not apparently emancipated or, secondly, for the removal of itself, i.e. for the sake of removing the actually real pain which consists of itself, as his commentator explains it33. It the soul is essentially free and essentially light, there was no necessity for Prakriti to interfere with the soul's infinite bliss.


That soul is really though not apparently emancipated means that it is really emancipated but appears to be not so. Gandhi's interpretation of the phrase seems to be somewhat far‑fetched, but he is apparently following some commentator. The more natural interpretation of the phrase should be: "Or we may say that Prakriti created the universe for the sake of itself , that is, for the sake of the removal of pain that really belongs to itself."As we have noted, in the Sankhya philosopher's eyes pain is a phenomenon belongsing to Prakriti rather than to Purush.


12.  Let us examine the other stages of creation. I told you in the beginning that from Prakriti sprang the Great Mind. What is this Great Mind? Kapila says: It is intellect and judgement or ascertainment is its peculiar modification; and Dharma, gyan, Vairagya, Aeshvarya i.e. merit, knowledge, dispassion and supernatural power arise out of it when there is in it a superlative degree of the first if the three qualities, i.e. Satv, purity or passivity. But demerit, ignorance, non‑dispassion and want of supernatural power arise out of it when there is in it a preponderance of the other two qualities34. From the great principal ‑the Greet Mind, we were told, is produced Ahankara i.e. self‑consciousness. It is what makes the Ego. It is the same as Antakaran i.e. the internal instrument35. We were also told that the eleven organs and five subtle elements are produced from self‑consciousness. But there is this distinction that the eleventh organ, the mind proceeds from self‑consciousness in which the first quality Satv, purity or passivity‑ preponderates, while the other ten organs proceed from self‑consciousness in which the second quality‑activity or passion‑predominates, and the five subtle elements proceed from self‑consciousness in which the third quality‑darkness or grossness‑ predominates36. I have already enumerated the eleven organs. The popular opinion is that the organs are formed of gross elements. But the Sankhya doctrine is that is not so because the Veda does not support that view and we know that Kapila could not assume an attitude of direct opposition to the Vedas37. There was another popular opinion about this mind‑organ. It was that it is eternal, but Kapila says that none of the  organs is eternal because the Vedas say so and because we see that they are destroyed.38 Further he says that mind is the leading organ while the other ten are kinds of powers.39 All these organs are mere instruments. As a king even without himself taking an active part becomes a warrior simply by employing an army, so does the soul, although quiescent, through the different organs, become a seer, a speaker, a judge and the like, merely by reason of its proximity with these organs40.


There are some special properties belonging to the Great Intellect, self‑consciousness and the mind. Attention or thought is the special property of the Intellect, conceit of personality is the property of self‑consciousness, and decision and doubt of the mind41, while the five airs‑ known as Pran etc. ‑ are the common properties of all of them42. The modifications of the organs are Prman. Vipreya, Vikalp, Nidra, Smriti, evidence,  chimera, sleep and memory. Some of them are painful, and others not painful43. When these modifications cease to exist the soul comes to a state of self‑quiet44. The Yoga philosophy has the same doctrine. The very word Yoga means concentration and is defined as the suppression of the modifications of the thinking principal45.


13. We will go still deeper into Kapila's philosophy. We have enumerated in the beginning the 25 principals commencing with Prakriti and ending with Purusa. Prakriti as Prakriti in a state of equilibrium is unable to produce anything. It is only when equilibrium is disturbed that the creation follows. Purush‑the soul‑itself is neither the producer nor the produced. Whence is the human body created according to this philosophy? Kapila says that out of the remaining twenty‑three principals a pair of bodies sthool shreer and Sooksham shreer gross body and subtle body originates.46 In fact the twenty‑three principals act as the seed. out of which the body is produced and the fact that the soul becomes conditioned by the 23 principals is the cause of its going from one body to another in fact the cause of all mundane existence47, and this mundane existence continues for each soul so long as it does not discriminate the difference between soul and Prakriti48. It should be noted how ‑ever that according to Kapila's theory the soul is not really fettered by matter, it only has a wrong impression that it is fettered. Really it is quite free. Only it does not realize this fact so long as it is in mundane existence. We come again to the pair of bodies‑ the gross body and the subtle body. The gross body usually though not always arises from father and mother, while the subtle body is a creation out of the principals49. Pleasure and pain belong to the subtle


Body, not to the gross body50. In the beginning of the creation there was but one subtle body which consisted of the collection of seventeen elements‑eleven organs, five subtle elements and the Buddhi, i.e. the great intellect the understanding51. But through the diversity of actions later on the one subtle body became differentiated into many52. The subtle body does not exist independently, It has its tabernacle‑ the gross body for residing therein. As a shadow or a picture does not stand without a support, so the subtle body at death leaves one gross body and passes into another53. It cannot in fact exist independently because its essence is Satvprakash pure light and all luminous ether is seen only as associated with earthy substance.54 The gross body is a composition of the five gross elements.55


14.  What aims then are accomplished by the subtle body transmigrating from one  gross body to another? Kapila says Gyananmukti. From knowledge (acquired through mundane existence) comes the liberation, i.e. the discrimination between soul and non‑soul.56 Bondage is also one of the aims of this transmigration but it arises on account of misconception57. Kapila altogether discards the theory of the efficacy of works as a means of salvation. To him only knowledge is the sole means of libertaion.58 Even meditation is not the direct cause of liberation, though it is useful as secondary cause, for it removes desire, which really hinders knowledge59. So it is worth practicing, which can be done by stopping all modifications of the Mind60. This is done by dharna asan and Svkarm restrain, posture and the fulfillment of duties.61 By restrain I mean the restrain of breath by means of expulsion and retention under certain rules.62 By posture is meant the peculiar position in sitting gives pleasure,63 and by the fulfillment of the duties is meant by the performance of actions prescribed for one's religious order.64 This meditation can be acquired only through Vairagya  and abhyasa dispassion and constant practice.65 Through meditation knowledge is acquired. But if misconception interferes, bondage will be the result. What is this misconception? It is fivefold Avidya Asmat, Rag, Dvaish and Abhinivaish ignorance, egoism, attachment, aversion and fear of dissolution.66 Why should this misconception play its part at all? Simply because the powers called Tushti and Siddhi are impeded and hence arises the disability which cause misconception. Much can be said with reference to these powers of Tushti and Siddhi. But our time will not permit us to go into any details.67 We shall come to some of them when we shall talk on the Yoga philosophy.


15.  There is however one point to which, I should draw your attention. I mean the nature of the Sankhya Mukti the liberation of the soul. His theory is not, as misunderstood by Western orientalists, the theory of absorption. The soul on liberation does not merge into the Universal Spirit or into the Absolute, for in his system there is no such thing as the Supreme Spirit or the Absolute. Not only does he not propound such a theory as the final object but on the contrary he refutes it.68 He thinks that by merging into the primordial original essence, the Prakriti, the souls will have to rise again and pass through different mundane existence.69 It is only when the right discrimination of soul and non‑soul takes place that there will be the final emancipation of the soul.70