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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

When from mahat some tanmatras have evolved


aha@mkara and the five tanmatras are technically called _avis'e@sa_ or indeterminate, for further determinations or differentiations of them for the formation of newer categories of existence are possible. The eleven senses and the five atoms are called _vis'e@sa,_ i.e. determinate, for they cannot further be so determined as to form a new category of existence. It is thus that the course of evolution which started in the prak@rti reaches its furthest limit in the production of the senses on the one side and the atoms on the other. Changes no doubt take place in bodies having atomic constitution, but these changes are changes of quality due to spatial changes in the position of the atoms or to the introduction of new atoms and their re-arrangement. But these are not such that a newer category of existence could be formed by them which was substantially different from the combined atoms.


[Footnote 1: Dr B.N. Seal in describing this akas'a says "Akas'a corresponds in some respects to the ether of the physicists and in others to what may be called proto-atom (protyle)." Ray's _History of Hindu Chemistry_, p. 88.]


The changes that take place in the atomic constitution of things certainly deserve to be noticed. But before we go on to this, it will be better to enquire about

the principle of causation according to which the Sa@mkhya-Yoga evolution should be comprehended or interpreted.

Principle of Causation and Conservation of Energy [Footnote ref 1].

The question is raised, how can the prak@rti supply the deficiencies made in its evolutes by the formation of other evolutes from them? When from mahat some tanmatras have evolved, or when from the tanmatras some atoms have evolved, how can the deficiency in mahat and the tanmatras be made good by the prak@rti?

Or again, what is the principle that guides the transformations that take place in the atomic stage when one gross body, say milk, changes into curd, and so on? Sa@mkhya says that "as the total energy remains the same while the world is constantly evolving, cause and effect are only more or less evolved forms of the same ultimate Energy. The sum of effects exists in the sum of causes in a potential form. The grouping or collocation alone changes, and this brings on the manifestation of the latent powers of the gu@nas, but without creation of anything new. What is called the (material) cause is only the power which is efficient in the production or rather the vehicle of the power. This power is the unmanifested (or potential) form of the Energy set free (_udbhuta-v@rtti_) in the effect. But the concomitant conditions are necessary to call forth the so-called material cause into activity [Footnote ref 2]." The appearance of an effect (such as the manifestation of the figure of the statue in the marble block by the causal efficiency of the sculptor's art) is only its passage from potentiality to actuality and the concomitant conditions (_sahakari-s'akti_) or efficient cause (_nimitta-kara@na_, such as the sculptor's art) is a sort of mechanical help or instrumental help to this passage or the transition [Footnote ref 3]. The refilling from prak@rti thus means nothing more than this, that by the inherent teleology of the prak@rti, the reals there are so collocated as to be transformed into mahat as those of the mahat have been collocated to form the bhutadi or the tanmatras.

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