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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

What does potential state mean


Sa@mkhya assumption that effects are but the actualized states of the potential cause, and that the causal entity holds within it all the future series of effects, and that thus the effect is already existent even before the causal movement for the production of the effect, is also baseless. Sa@mkhya says that the oil was already existent in the sesamum and not in the stone, and that it is thus that oil can be got from sesamum and not from the stone. The action of the instrumental cause with them consists only in actualizing or manifesting what was already existent in a potential form in the cause. This is all nonsense. A lump of clay is called the cause and the jug the effect; of what good is it to say that the jug exists in the clay since with clay we can never carry water? A jug is made out of clay, but clay is not a jug. What is meant by saying that the jug was unmanifested or was in a potential state before, and that it has now become manifest or actual? What does potential state mean? The potential state of the jug is not the same as its actual state; thus the actual state of the jug must be admitted as non-existent before. If it is meant that the jug is made up of the same parts (the atoms) of which the clay is made up, of course we admit it, but this does not mean that the jug was existent in the atoms of the lump of clay. The potency inherent in the clay by virtue of which it can expose itself to the influence of other agents, such as the potter, for being transformed
into a jug is not the same as the effect, the jug. Had it been so, then we should rather have said that the jug came out of the jug. The assumption of Sa@mkhya that the substance and attribute have the same reality is also against all experience, for we all perceive that movement and attribute belong to substance and not to attribute. Again Sa@mkhya holds a preposterous doctrine that buddhi is different


from intelligence. It is absolutely unmeaning to call buddhi non-intelligent. Again what is the good of all this fictitious fuss that the qualities of buddhi are reflected on puru@sa and then again on buddhi. Evidently in all our experience we find that the soul (_atman_) knows, feels and wills, and it is difficult to understand why Sa@mkhya does not accept this patent fact and declare that knowledge, feeling, and willing, all belonged to buddhi. Then again in order to explain experience it brought forth a theory of double reflection. Again Sa@mkhya prak@rti is non-intelligent, and where is the guarantee that she (prak@rti) will not bind the wise again and will emancipate him once for all? Why did the puru@sa become bound down? Prak@rti is being utilized for enjoyment by the infinite number of puru@sas, and she is no delicate girl (as Sa@mkhya supposes) who will leave the presence of the puru@sa ashamed as soon as her real nature is discovered. Again pleasure (_sukha_), sorrow (_du@hkha_) and a blinding feeling through ignorance (_moha_) are but the feeling-experiences of the soul, and with what impudence could Sa@mkhya think of these as material substances? Again their cosmology of a mahat, aha@mkara, the tanmatras, is all a series of assumptions never testified by experience nor by reason. They are all a series of hopeless and foolish blunders. The phenomena of experience thus call for a new careful reconstruction in the light of reason and experience such as cannot be found in other systems. (See _Nyayamanjari,_ pp. 452-466 and 490-496.)

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