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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

A plasticity of intelligence stuff sattva


style="text-align: justify;">thought; thus the images of thought are limited, separate, have movement, and have more or less clear cut forms. The images do not extend in space, but they can represent space. The translucent and plastic element of thought (_sattva_) in association with movement (_rajas_) would have resulted in a simultaneous revelation of all objects; it is on account of mass or tendency of obstruction (_tamas_) that knowledge proceeds from image to image and discloses things in a successive manner. The buddhi (thought-stuff) holds within it all knowledge immersed as it were in utter darkness, and actual knowledge comes before our view as though by the removal of the darkness or veil, by the reflection of the light of the puru@sa. This characteristic of knowledge, that all its stores are hidden as if lost at any moment, and only one picture or idea comes at a time to the arena of revelation, demonstrates that in knowledge there is a factor of obstruction which manifests itself in its full actuality in gross matter as mass. Thus both thought and gross matter are made up of three elements, a plasticity of intelligence-stuff (_sattva_), energy-stuff (_rajas_), and mass-stuff (_tamas_), or the factor of obstruction. Of these the last two are predominant in gross matter and the first two in thought.

Feelings, the Ultimate Substances [Footnote ref 1].

Another question that arises in this connection

is the position of feeling in such an analysis of thought and matter. Samkhya holds that the three characteristic constituents that we have analyzed just now are feeling substances. Feeling is the most interesting side of our consciousness. It is in our feelings that we think of our thoughts as being parts of ourselves. If we should analyze any percept into the crude and undeveloped sensations of which it is composed at the first moment of its appearance, it comes more as a shock than as an image, and we find that it is felt more as a feeling mass than as an image. Even in our ordinary life the elements which precede an act of knowledge are probably mere feelings. As we go lower down the scale of evolution the automatic actions and relations of matter are concomitant with crude manifestations of feeling which never rise to the level of knowledge. The lower the scale of evolution the less is the keenness of feeling, till at last there comes a stage where matter-complexes do not give rise to feeling


[Footnote 1: _Karika_, 12, with Gau@dpada and Naraya@natirtha.]


reactions but to mere physical reactions. Feelings thus mark the earliest track of consciousness, whether we look at it from the point of view of evolution or of the genesis of consciousness in ordinary life. What we call matter complexes become at a certain stage feeling-complexes and what we call feeling-complexes at a certain stage of descent sink into mere matter-complexes with matter reaction. The feelings are therefore the things-in-themselves, the ultimate substances of which consciousness and gross matter are made up. Ordinarily a difficulty might be felt in taking feelings to be the ultimate substances of which gross matter and thought are made up; for we are more accustomed to take feelings as being merely subjective, but if we remember the Sa@mkhya analysis, we find that it holds that thought and matter are but two different modifications of certain subtle substances which are in essence but three types of feeling entities. The three principal characteristics of thought and matter that we have noticed in the preceding section are but the manifestations of three types of feeling substances. There is the class of feelings that we call the sorrowful, there is another class of feelings that we call pleasurable, and there is still another class which is neither sorrowful nor pleasurable, but is one of ignorance, depression (_vi@sada_) or dullness. Thus corresponding to these three types of manifestations as pleasure, pain, and dullness, and materially as shining (_prakas'a_), energy (_prav@rtti_), obstruction (_niyama_), there are three types of feeling-substances which must be regarded as the ultimate things which make up all the diverse kinds of gross matter and thought by their varying modifications.

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