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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

The tejas atom radiant heat and light

the _s'abda_ or _akas'a tanmatra_

(the sound-potential) is first generated directly from the bhutadi. Next comes the _spars'a_ or the _vayu tanmatra_ (touch-potential) which is generated by the union of a unit of tamas from bhutadi with the akas'a tanmatra. The _rupa tanmatra_ (colour-potential) is generated similarly by the accretion of a unit of tamas from bhutadi; the _rasa tanmatra_ (taste-potential) or the _ap tunmatra_ is also similarly formed. This ap tanmatra again by its union with a unit of tamas from bhutadi produces the _gandha tanmatra_ (smell-potential) or the _k@siti tanmatra_ [Footnote ref 2]. The difference of tanmatras or infra-atomic units and atoms (_parama@nu_) is this, that the tanmatras have only the potential power of affecting our senses, which must be grouped and regrouped in a particular form to constitute a new existence as atoms before they can have the power of affecting our senses. It is important in this connection to point out that the classification of all gross objects as k@siti, ap, tejas, marut and vyoman is not based upon a chemical analysis, but from the points of view of the five senses through which knowledge of them could be brought home to us. Each of our senses can only apprehend a particular quality and thus five different ultimate substances are said to exist corresponding to the five qualities which may be grasped by the five senses. In accordance with the existence of these five elements, the existence of the five potential states or tanmatras was also conceived
to exist as the ground of the five gross forms.

The five classes of atoms are generated from the tanmatras as follows: the sound-potential, with accretion of rudiment matter from bhutadi generates the akasa-atom. The touch-potentials combine with the vibratory particles (sound-potential) to generate the


[Footnote 1: Dr Seal's _Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus_.]

[Footnote 2: There were various ways in which the genesis of tanmatras and atoms were explained in literatures other than Sa@mkhya; for some account of it see Dr Seal's _Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus_.]


vayu-atom. The light-and-heat potentials combine with touch-potentials and sound-potentials to produce the tejas-atom. The taste-potentials combine with light-and-heat potentials, touch-potentials and sound-potentials to generate the ap-atom and the smell-potentials combine with the preceding potentials to generate the earth-atom. The akas'a-atom possesses penetrability, the vayu-atom impact or mechanical pressure, the tejas-atom radiant heat and light, the ap-atom viscous attraction and the earth-atom cohesive attraction. The akasa we have seen forms the transition link from the bhutadi to the tanmatra and from the tanmatra to the atomic production; it therefore deserves a special notice at this stage. Sa@mkhya distinguishes between a kara@na-akas'a and karyakas'a. The kara@na-akas'a (non-atomic and all-pervasive) is the formless tamas--the mass in prak@rti or bhutadi; it is indeed all-pervasive, and is not a mere negation, a mere unoccupiedness (_avara@nabhava_) or vacuum [Footnote ref 1]. When energy is first associated with this tamas element it gives rise to the sound-potential; the atomic akas'a is the result of the integration of the original mass-units from bhutadi with this sound-potential (_s'abda tanmatra_). Such an akas'a-atom is called the karyakas'a; it is formed everywhere and held up in the original kara@na akas'a as the medium for the development of vayu atoms. Being atomic it occupies limited space.

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