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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Will produce prosperity through adrsta


3: _Vais'e@sika sutra_ (II. ii. 9 and V. ii. 26).]


systems that we have can we trace any upholding of this ancient view [Footnote ref 1]. These considerations as well as the general style of the work and the methods of discussion lead me to think that these sutras are probably the oldest that we have and in all probability are pre-Buddhistic.

The _Vais'e@sika sutra_ begins with the statement that its object is to explain virtue, "dharma" This is we know the manifest duty of Mima@msa and we know that unlike any other system Jaimini begins his _Mima@msa sutras_ by defining "dharma". This at first seems irrelevant to the main purpose of Vais'e@sika, viz, the description of the nature of padartha [Footnote ref 2]. He then defines dharma as that which gives prosperity and ultimate good (_nihsreyasa_) and says that the Veda must be regarded as valid, since it can dictate this. He ends his book with the remarks that those injunctions (of Vedic deeds) which are performed for ordinary human motives bestow prosperity even though their efficacy is not known to us through our ordinary experience, and in this matter the Veda must be regarded as the authority which dictates those acts [Footnote ref 3]. The fact that the Vais'e@sika begins with a promise to describe dharma and after describing the nature of substances, qualities and actions and also the _ad@r@s@ta_ (unknown virtue) due

to dharma (merit accruing from the performance of Vedic deeds) by which many of our unexplained experiences may be explained, ends his book by saying that those Vedic works which are not seen to produce any direct effect, will produce prosperity through adrsta, shows that Ka@nada's method of explaining dharma has been by showing that physical phenomena involving substances, qualities, and actions can only be explained up to a certain extent while a good number cannot be explained at all except on the assumption of ad@r@s@ta (unseen virtue) produced by dharma. The


[Footnote 1: S'vetas'vatara I.i.2]

[Footnote 2: I remember a verse quoted in an old commentary of the _Kalapa Vyakara@na_, in which it is said that the description of the six categories by Ka@nada in his _Vais'e@sika sutras_, after having proposed to describe the nature of dharma, is as irrelevant as to proceed towards the sea while intending to go to the mountain Himavat (Himalaya).

"_Dnarma@m vyakhyatukamasya @sa@tpadarthopavar@nana@m Himavadgantukamasya sagaragamanopamam_."]

[Footnote 3: The sutra "_Tadvacanad amnayasya prama@nyam_ (I.i.3 and X.ii.9) has been explained by _Upaskara_ as meaning "The Veda being the word of Is'vara (God) must be regarded as valid," but since there is no mention of Is'vara anywhere in the text this is simply reading the later Nyaya ideas into the Vais'e@sika. Sutra X.ii.8 is only a repetition of VI.ii.1.]

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