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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

And all conscious manifestation to sattva


Prak@rti and its Evolution.

Sa@mkhya believes that before this world came into being there was such a state of dissolution--a state in which the gu@na compounds had disintegrated into a state of disunion and had by their mutual opposition produced an equilibrium the prak@rti. Then later on disturbance arose in the prak@rti, and as a result of that a process of unequal aggregation of the gu@nas in varying proportions took place, which brought forth the creation of the manifold. Prak@rti, the state of perfect homogeneity and incoherence of the gu@nas, thus gradually evolved and became more and more determinate, differentiated, heterogeneous, and coherent. The gu@nas are always uniting, separating, and uniting again [Footnote ref 2]. Varying qualities of essence, energy, and mass in varied groupings act on one another and through their mutual interaction and interdependence evolve from the indefinite or qualitatively indeterminate the definite or qualitatively determinate. And though co-operating to produce the world of effects, these diverse moments with diverse tendencies never coalesce. Thus in the phenomenal product whatever energy there is is due to the element of rajas and rajas alone; all matter, resistance, stability, is due to tamas, and all conscious manifestation to sattva. The particular gu@na which happens to be predominant in any phenomenon becomes manifest in that phenomenon and others become latent, though their presence is inferred

by their

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[Footnote 1: _Yogavarttika,_ II. 19, and _Pravacanabha@sya,_ I. 61.]

[Footnote 2: _Kaumudi_ 13-16; _Tattvavais'aradi_ II. 20, IV. 13, 14; also _Yogavarttika,_ IV. 13,14.]

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effect. Thus, for example, in a body at rest mass is patent, energy latent and potentiality of conscious manifestation sublatent. In a moving body, the rajas is predominant (kinetic) and the mass is partially overcome. All these transformations of the groupings of the gu@nas in different proportions presuppose the state of prak@rti as the starting point. It is at this stage that the tendencies to conscious manifestation, as well as the powers of doing work, are exactly counterbalanced by the resistance of inertia or mass, and the process of cosmic evolution is at rest. When this equilibrium is once destroyed, it is supposed that out of a natural affinity of all the sattva reals for themselves, of rajas reals for other reals of their type, of tamas reals for others of their type, there arises an unequal aggregation of sattva, rajas, or tamas at different moments. When one gu@na is preponderant in any particular collocation, the others are co-operant. This evolutionary series beginning from the first disturbance of the prak@rti to the final transformation as the world-order, is subject to "a definite law which it cannot overstep." In the words of Dr B.N.Seal [Footnote ref 1], "the process of evolution consists in the development of the differentiated (_vai@samya_) within the undifferentiated (_samyavastha_) of the determinate (_vies'a_) within the indeterminate (_avis'esa_) of the coherent (_yutasiddha_) within the incoherent (_ayutasiddha_). The order of succession is neither from parts to whole nor from whole to the parts, but ever from a relatively less differentiated, less determinate, less coherent whole to a relatively more differentiated, more determinate, more coherent whole." The meaning of such an evolution is this, that all the changes and modifications in the shape of the evolving collocations of gu@na reals take place within the body of the prak@rti. Prak@rti consisting of the infinite reals is infinite, and that it has been disturbed does not mean that the whole of it has been disturbed and upset, or that the totality of the gu@nas in the prak@rti has been unhinged from a state of equilibrium. It means rather that a very vast number of gu@nas constituting the worlds of thought and matter has been upset. These gu@nas once thrown out of balance begin to group themselves together first in one form, then in another, then in another, and so on. But such a change in the formation of aggregates should not be thought to take place in such a way that the later aggregates appear in supersession of the former ones, so that when the former comes into being the latter ceases to exist.


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