Thursday, July 06, 2006

Birth of the Tattvas.

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

She Says -
''The knowledge of things imperceptible is by means of Inference; as that of Fire (when not directly perceptible) is by means of smoke'' - Thus declares the Sankhya. And since we are attempting here to gain an understanding of things (e.g Prakruti, Purusha, Atma etc) not cognizable by the senses, we must first establish that instrument of right knowledge - Inference (anumana). This inference can be more clearly described as ' the recognition of a sign', as the knowledge that there is a fire in such and such locality where we cannot directly perceive the fire, is brought about by the 'recognition of the sign' occasioned by the smoke. It can be further understood that, that which is true but is not established by inference, will be established by 'revelation'. But here, we will deal mainly with inference to establish the ground realities.

Forget all the stories you have heard before about this creation that begin by saying ' In the beginning there was nothing'....... Consider for a moment that there was in the 'beginning' Two things - Prakruti (Nature) and Purusha (Soul). Now, listen as the Sankhya exposes the rest of the Tattvas (principles) on which all creation is based on.
Prakruti (Nature) is the state of equipoise of Sattva (goodness), Rajas (passion) and Tamas (darkness). The state of equipoise of sattva, rajas and tamas means their state of being neither less not more (one than the other)- put simply, the state of not being an effect/product in which one or other of them predominates. Thus it is clear that Prakruti is the triad of gunas (qualities), quite distinct from the products (to which this triad gives birth to).
From this Prakruti (on the energisation of the gunas) proceeds the Mahat (the Great One/ Mind). This is the principle of Understanding or Buddhi.
From the Mind (Mahat) comes Ahamkara or self consciousness. This self consciousness can be understood to be the conceit of a separate personality.
Of this Ahamkara, the five Tanmatras (subtle elements) and the ten Indriyas ( organs) are products. The five tanmatras or subtle elements are (the principles of) Sound, Touch, Colour, Taste and Smell. The ten indriyas or organs are actually divided into two sets of five indriyas (internal and external). They are also termed Jnyanendriya and Karmendriya (the organs of perception and the organs of action respectively). The organs of perception are the sense organs - Ears, Skin, Eyes, Tongue and Nose and these are called the Jnyanendriyas. The organs of action are Hands, Feet/Legs, Mouth, Anus and Reproductive organs and these are called the Karmendriyas.
The five Tanmatras (subtle elements) give birth to the five Sthula Buthas (Gross elements) which are Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.
And then there is the Purusha (Soul) which is something that is quite apart and different to either the products or the cause.
Thus the 24 (or 25 if the indriyas were taken to be 11 - will be explained later) tattvas or principles are born which are the aggregate of everything else - that is to say, without these tattvas there is nothing.
Now on the 'inference' relating to the tattvas (please note that the following are based closely on the sankhya doctrine) -
The knowledge of the existence of the five 'subtle elements' is by inference from the five 'gross elements' or the sthula buthas. That is, the Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Ether are proven to exist by perception and thereby (i.e, from that perception;for perception must precede inference, as sated in the Nyaya sastras) the 'subtle elements' are inferred. The application of the process of inference in this case is as follows:
1. The Gross elements are those which have not reached the absolute limit of simplification or the atomic state, and they consist of things (namely, the subtle elements or Atoms) which have distinct qualities (like for example, the earth element has the distinctive and innate quality of odour, and so on for the others).
2. Because they are gross - And everything that is gross is always formed of something less gross or more simply more subtle. Like the jars, webs etc - i.e, the gross web is formed of the less gross threads and so on)

The knowledge of the existence of Self consciousness (Ahamkara) is by inference from the external and internal organs (indriya) and from these the subtle elements as mentioned above. The application of the process of inference to this case is as follows -
1. The subtle elements(tanmatras) and the organs(indriyas) are made up of things consisting of Self consciousness:
2. Because they are the products of Self consciousness:
3. Whatever is not so (i.e. whatever is not made of self consciousness) is not thus (i.e. it is not a product of self consciousness) as the Soul (Purusha) which not being made up of thereof is not a product of it!
* But then, if it is so; i.e. if it is that all objects, such as jars, are made up of Self consciousness, while Self consciousness depends on 'Understanding' or 'Intellect' or 'Mind', the first product of Prakruti, then some may say that, since it would be the case that the self consciousness of the potter is the material (cause) of the jar, the jar then made by him would disappear, on the death of the potter, whose internal organ (or Understanding) then surceases. And this the objector might go on to say, is not the case; because another man (after the death of the potter) recognizes that ' this is that same jar (which you may remember was made by our deceased acquaintance)'
In reply to such an objection the Sankhya says - It is not thus, because on one's death, there is an end of only those modifications of his internal organ ('Intellect') which could be the cause (as the jar no longer can be) of the emancipated soul's experiencing good or ill. But it is not an end of the modifications of intellect on general nor is it an end of intellect altogether. Thus we are spared the trouble of further argument so far as concerns the objection on the assumption that the intellect of the potter surceases on his death. We can go further to admit, for the sake of argument, the surcease of the 'intellect' of the dead potter, without conceding any necessity for the surcease of his pottery.
Also to be understood as - 'Let the Self consciousness (Ahamkara) of the Deity be the cause why jars and the like (all objects) continue to exist, and not the self consciousness of the potter (who may lose their self consciousness, whereas the Diety, the sum of all life, never loses His/Her Self consciousness as long as living continues (which it will endlessly).

The knowledge of the existence of Intellect is by inference from Self Consciousness. That is to say by inference from the existence of self consciousness, which is a product, there comes the knowledge of 'Intellect' (Buddhi) or the great 'inner organ' (antahkarana). Hence it is called 'Mahat' or the 'Great one'. The existence of this is recognized under the character of the cause of this product (namely, self consciousness).
The application of this inference is as follows:
1. The thing called Self consciousness is made up of things that consist of the moods of judgment (or Mind).
2. Because it is a thing which is a product of judgment.
3. Whatever is not so (i.e. whatever is not made out of judgment or mental assurance) is not thus (i.e. not a product of mental assurance). Like the Soul (Purusha) which is not made out of this or anything antecedent.
* The reasoning behind it is as follows - Every one, having first determined anything under a concept (i.e. under such a form of thought as is expressed by a general term), after that makes the judgment, 'This is I', or 'This is to be done by me', and so forth, so much is quite settled. Now having in the present instance, to look for some cause of the thing called ' Self consciousness' which manifests in the various judgements just referred to, and since the relation of cause and effect subsists between the two functions ( the occasional conception and the subsequent occasional judgment, which is a function of the self consciousness), it is assumed, merely that the relation of cause and effect exists between the two substrate to which the two sets of functions belong. It hence follows, as a matter of course, that the occurrence of a function of the effect must result from the occurrence of a function of the cause.