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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Dravya is the general effect of dravya

Philosophy in the Vais'e@sika sutras.

The _Vais'e@sika sutras_ begin with the ostensible purpose of explaining virtue (_dharma_) (I.i. 1) and dharma according to it is that by which prosperity (_abhyudaya_) and salvation (_ni@hs'reyasa_) are attained. Then it goes on to say that the validity of the Vedas depends on the fact that it leads us to prosperity and salvation. Then it turns back to the second sutra and says that salvation comes as the result of real knowledge, produced by special excellence of dharma, of the characteristic features of the categories of substance (_dravya_), quality (_gu@na_), class concept (_samdanya_), particularity (_vis'e@sa_), and inherence (_samavayay_) [Footnote ref 1]. The dravyas are earth, water, fire, air, ether, time, space, soul, and mind. The gu@nas are colour, taste, odour, touch, number, measure, separations, contact, disjoining, quality of belonging to high genus or to species [Footnote ref 2]. Action (_karma_) means upward movement


[Footnote 1: _Upaskara_ notes that vis'e@sa here refers to the ultimate differences of things and not to species. A special doctrine of this system is this, that each of the indivisible atoms of even the same element has specific features of difference.]

[Footnote 2: Here the well known qualities of heaviness

(_gurutva_), liquidity (_dravatva_), oiliness (_sneha_), elasticity (_sa@mskara_), merit (_dharma_), and demerit (_adharma_) have been altogether omitted. These are all counted in later Vais'e@sika commentaries and compendiums. It must be noted that "_gu@na_" in Vas'e@sika means qualities and not subtle reals or substances as in Sa@mkhya Yoga. Gu@na in Vas'e@sika would be akin to what Yoga would call _dharma_.]


downward movement, contraction, expansion and horizontal movement. The three common qualities of dravya, gu@na and karma are that they are existent, non-eternal, substantive, effect, cause, and possess generality and particularity. Dravya produces other dravyas and the gu@nas other gu@nas. But karma is not necessarily produced by karma. Dravya does not destroy either its cause or its effect but the gu@nas are destroyed both by the cause and by the effect. Karma is destroyed by karma. Dravya possesses karma and gu@na and is regarded as the material (_samavayi_) cause. Gu@nas inhere in dravya, cannot possess further gu@nas, and are not by themselves the cause of contact or disjoining. Karma is devoid of gu@na, cannot remain at one time in more than one object, inheres in dravya alone, and is an independent cause of contact or disjoining. Dravya is the material cause (samavayi) of (derivative) dravyas, gu@na, and karma, gu@na is also the non-material cause (_asamavayi_) of dravya, gu@na and karma. Karma is the general cause of contact, disjoining, and inertia in motion (_vega_). Karma is not the cause of dravya. For dravya may be produced even without karma [Footnote ref 1]. Dravya is the general effect of dravya. Karma is dissimilar to gu@na in this that it does not produce karma. The numbers two, three, etc, separateness, contact and disjoining are effected by more than one dravya. Each karma not being connected with more than one thing is not produced by more than one thing [Footnote ref 2]. A dravya is the result of many contacts (of the atoms). One colour may be the result of many colours. Upward movement is the result of heaviness, effort and contact. Contact and disjoining are also the result of karma. In denying the causality of karma it is meant that karma is not the cause of dravya and karma [Footnote ref 3].

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