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Books > Philosophy > Samkhya > Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)
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Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)
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Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)
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Introduction

The lucid writing of Vachaspati Misra does not stand in need of much in the shape of an Introduction. But under the cover of this title, I propose to give a brief synopsis of the cardinal doctrines of the Sankhya Philosophy, in the hope that a reading of this resume would prepare the mind of the student for the reception of the abstruse truths, in which the ‘Tattvakaumudi abounds. Any corrections or suggestions for alteration &c., will be most gratefully received.

To begin with, the Sankhya Jays down a fourfold division of categories based on their respective causal and productive efficiency. This division is into—(1) Productive—(2) Productive and—Produced—(3) Produced—(4) Neither Productive— nor—Produced. This classification includes all the twenty-five Principles—called Tattwas,—Prakriti or Nature being the productive, since the Sankhyas allow of no other purely productive agency. The Productive—and—Produced are the other Principles—Buddhi &c. These partake of the nature of both—thus Buddhi is productive in as much as out of it evolves Ahankdra and it is produced in as much as it itself evolves out of Prakriti. The purely non-productive Principles are the eleven sense-organs and the fivé elements. These are purely non-productive because none of these can give birth to a substance essentially different from them. The Purusha (Spirit) is neither productive nor produced. In fact it is without attributes. All accessories are the effects of the three Gunas, and the Spirit is by its very nature free from these and as such without any accessories.

Having thus classified the various principles, we now turn to the consideration of the various principles separately.

First of all then we must examine the nature of the all- powerful creative agent of the Sankhyas or, more properly, the creative force of the Universe. Then first of all—how is this force constituted? It is naturally made up of the three Gunas—Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas; and when the Pradhaua is in its natural state, lying dormant, these three attributes are in an equilibrium. When occasion presents itself ¢. e. when the Adrishta of the soul acts upon the Pradhana, the equilibrium. is disturbed, and it is this disturbance that gives rise to the various kinds of creations. The diversity of created objects is thus rendered quite explicable. As already mentioned, all accessories are due to the predominance of one or other of the three Gunas—the predominance of Sattwa giving rise to the kind of creation in. which that attribute predominates, and so forth. Without proceeding any farther, we must stop to consider the nature and properties and the Modus operandi of these Gunas.

The three attributes—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas have respectively the character of Happiness, Unhappiness and Delusion; and have their operations characterised respectively by enlightenment, activity and restraint ; and are so constituted that the one always operates in suppression of the other, and at the same time depending upon this latter. To explain this contrariety of properties-—The universe would be in an unceasing round of activity, if the only operating force were the Rajas; in order to provide against this, Nature provides herself with a restraining agency in the shape of the Tamoguna which by its nature is dull and passive. The natures of the different objects of the universe are thus ascertained in accordance with the excess of one or the other of these attributes. Again, if there were no enlightening agency in the shape of Sattwa, Nature would be nothing better than a mass of blind force acting in a haphazard manner. Thus we have established the necessity of the three Attributes.

Here an objector comes forward and says—How can the attributes, endowed as they are with mutually counteracting properties, cooperate and bring about such a grand and stupendous stracture as our Universe? The reply is that it is a very common fact that. two or more substances though mutually contradictory, do cooperate towards a single end—e. g. the wick and the oil—both taken separately are as much against the action of one another as towards fire, but when they are together they help to brighten the fire. In the same manner, though the Gunas are mutually counteractive, yet when combined, they act towards a single end, supplying each other’s deficiencies.

The necessity of postulating three different forces is further supported by another reason. We see that in nature there are three distinct properties—of pleasure, pain and dulness. All other properties are reducible to these three heads. Again we find that these are properties so much opposed to one another that all could never be the effect of a single agency. Thus then we must postulate three different forces or constituent elements of Nature, to which severally we could trace the three distinct properties. To these three constituents of Nature we give the names—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. We find in the universe the above three properties, and as all the properties of the effect must be a direct resultant of a like property in its cause, so we at once arrive at the conclusion that the cause of the Universe—the Pradhana—must be endowed with the three Attributes.

So much for the action of the Gunas. We must now turn our attention towards the all-important Prakriti—the Key- stone of the Sankhya Philosophy.

What, then, is this Prakriti? Does it stand for the Theistic God? Or for the Banddha "Sensations"? Or does it correspond to the Vedantic "Maya"? To all this we reply—It is all these, and It is neither of these. It resembles the Vedantic Maya in as much as it is the one root of the Universe, which is asserted of Maya also though, as of an illusory world. But the fact of its being the root of the Universe is akin to that of the Sankhya-Prakriti. It is not the God. Since it is said to be without intelligence, a mere dead Matter equipped with certain potentialities due to the Gunas. In short, Prakriti is the one rootless Root of the Universe (objective as well as subjective)—-endowed with the three Gunas and evolving through these, every kind of existence—save of course, the Purusha—Spirit.

**Contents and Sample Pages**




















Samkhyatattva-Kaumudi of Vachaspati Misra (Sanskrit Text with English Translation)

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NAS287
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2008
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236
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Introduction

The lucid writing of Vachaspati Misra does not stand in need of much in the shape of an Introduction. But under the cover of this title, I propose to give a brief synopsis of the cardinal doctrines of the Sankhya Philosophy, in the hope that a reading of this resume would prepare the mind of the student for the reception of the abstruse truths, in which the ‘Tattvakaumudi abounds. Any corrections or suggestions for alteration &c., will be most gratefully received.

To begin with, the Sankhya Jays down a fourfold division of categories based on their respective causal and productive efficiency. This division is into—(1) Productive—(2) Productive and—Produced—(3) Produced—(4) Neither Productive— nor—Produced. This classification includes all the twenty-five Principles—called Tattwas,—Prakriti or Nature being the productive, since the Sankhyas allow of no other purely productive agency. The Productive—and—Produced are the other Principles—Buddhi &c. These partake of the nature of both—thus Buddhi is productive in as much as out of it evolves Ahankdra and it is produced in as much as it itself evolves out of Prakriti. The purely non-productive Principles are the eleven sense-organs and the fivé elements. These are purely non-productive because none of these can give birth to a substance essentially different from them. The Purusha (Spirit) is neither productive nor produced. In fact it is without attributes. All accessories are the effects of the three Gunas, and the Spirit is by its very nature free from these and as such without any accessories.

Having thus classified the various principles, we now turn to the consideration of the various principles separately.

First of all then we must examine the nature of the all- powerful creative agent of the Sankhyas or, more properly, the creative force of the Universe. Then first of all—how is this force constituted? It is naturally made up of the three Gunas—Sattwa, Rajas, and Tamas; and when the Pradhaua is in its natural state, lying dormant, these three attributes are in an equilibrium. When occasion presents itself ¢. e. when the Adrishta of the soul acts upon the Pradhana, the equilibrium. is disturbed, and it is this disturbance that gives rise to the various kinds of creations. The diversity of created objects is thus rendered quite explicable. As already mentioned, all accessories are due to the predominance of one or other of the three Gunas—the predominance of Sattwa giving rise to the kind of creation in. which that attribute predominates, and so forth. Without proceeding any farther, we must stop to consider the nature and properties and the Modus operandi of these Gunas.

The three attributes—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas have respectively the character of Happiness, Unhappiness and Delusion; and have their operations characterised respectively by enlightenment, activity and restraint ; and are so constituted that the one always operates in suppression of the other, and at the same time depending upon this latter. To explain this contrariety of properties-—The universe would be in an unceasing round of activity, if the only operating force were the Rajas; in order to provide against this, Nature provides herself with a restraining agency in the shape of the Tamoguna which by its nature is dull and passive. The natures of the different objects of the universe are thus ascertained in accordance with the excess of one or the other of these attributes. Again, if there were no enlightening agency in the shape of Sattwa, Nature would be nothing better than a mass of blind force acting in a haphazard manner. Thus we have established the necessity of the three Attributes.

Here an objector comes forward and says—How can the attributes, endowed as they are with mutually counteracting properties, cooperate and bring about such a grand and stupendous stracture as our Universe? The reply is that it is a very common fact that. two or more substances though mutually contradictory, do cooperate towards a single end—e. g. the wick and the oil—both taken separately are as much against the action of one another as towards fire, but when they are together they help to brighten the fire. In the same manner, though the Gunas are mutually counteractive, yet when combined, they act towards a single end, supplying each other’s deficiencies.

The necessity of postulating three different forces is further supported by another reason. We see that in nature there are three distinct properties—of pleasure, pain and dulness. All other properties are reducible to these three heads. Again we find that these are properties so much opposed to one another that all could never be the effect of a single agency. Thus then we must postulate three different forces or constituent elements of Nature, to which severally we could trace the three distinct properties. To these three constituents of Nature we give the names—Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas. We find in the universe the above three properties, and as all the properties of the effect must be a direct resultant of a like property in its cause, so we at once arrive at the conclusion that the cause of the Universe—the Pradhana—must be endowed with the three Attributes.

So much for the action of the Gunas. We must now turn our attention towards the all-important Prakriti—the Key- stone of the Sankhya Philosophy.

What, then, is this Prakriti? Does it stand for the Theistic God? Or for the Banddha "Sensations"? Or does it correspond to the Vedantic "Maya"? To all this we reply—It is all these, and It is neither of these. It resembles the Vedantic Maya in as much as it is the one root of the Universe, which is asserted of Maya also though, as of an illusory world. But the fact of its being the root of the Universe is akin to that of the Sankhya-Prakriti. It is not the God. Since it is said to be without intelligence, a mere dead Matter equipped with certain potentialities due to the Gunas. In short, Prakriti is the one rootless Root of the Universe (objective as well as subjective)—-endowed with the three Gunas and evolving through these, every kind of existence—save of course, the Purusha—Spirit.

**Contents and Sample Pages**




















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