II-2 Śrī Bhāshya | Rāmānuja | 4

Topic 4 - Refutation of the Bauddha Realists

Sutra 2,2.18

समुदाय उभयहेतुकेऽपि तदप्राप्तिः ॥ १८ ॥

samudāya ubhayahetuke'pi tadaprāptiḥ || 18 ||

samudāye—The aggregate; ubhaya-hetuke—having for its cause the two; api—even; tat-aprāptiḥ—it will not take place.

18. Even if the (two kinds of) aggregates proceed from their two causes, there would result the non-formation (of the two aggregates).

We so far have refuted the Vaiśeṣikās, who hold the doctrine of atoms constituting the general cause. Now the followers of Buddha also teach that the world originates from atoms, and the Sūtras therefore proceed to declare that on their view also the origination, course, and so on, of the world cannot rationally be accounted for. These Bauddhas belong to four different classes. Some of them hold that all outward things, which are either elements (bhūta) or elemental (bhautika), and all inward things which are either mind (citta) or mental (caitta),--all these things consisting of aggregates of the atoms of earth, water, fire and air--are proved by means of Perception as well as Inference. Others hold that all external things, earth, and so on, are only to be inferred from ideas (vijñāna). Others again teach that the only reality are ideas to which no outward things correspond; the (so-called) outward things are like the things seen in dreams. The three schools mentioned agree in holding that the things admitted by them have a momentary existence only, and do not allow that, in addition to the things mentioned, viz. elements and elemental things, mind and mental things, there are certain further independent entities such as ether, Self, and so on.--Others finally assert a universal void, i.e. the non-reality of everything.

The Sūtras at first dispose of the theory of those who acknowledge the real existence of external things. Their opinion is as follows. The atoms of earth which possess the qualities of colour, taste, touch and smell; the atoms of water which possess the qualities of colour, taste and touch; the atoms of fire which possess the qualities of colour and touch; and the atoms of air which possess the quality of touch only, combine so as to constitute earth, water, fire and air; and out of the latter there originate the aggregates called bodies, sense-organs, and objects of sense-organs. And that flow of ideas, which assumes the form of the imagination of an apprehending agent abiding within the body, is what constitutes the so- called Self. On the agencies enumerated there rests the entire empiric world.--On this view the Sūtra remarks, 'Even on the aggregate with its two causes, there is non-establishment of that'. That aggregate which consists of earth and the other elements and of which the atoms are the cause; and that further aggregate which consists of bodies, sense-organs and objects, and of which the elements are the cause-- on neither of these two aggregates with their twofold causes can there be proved establishment of that, i. e. can the origination of that aggregate which we call the world be rationally established. If the atoms as well as earth and the other elements are held to have a momentary existence only, when, we ask, do the atoms which perish within a moment, and the elements, move towards combination, and when do they combine? and when do they become the 'objects of states of consciousness'? and when do they become the abodes of the activities of appropriation, avoidance and so on (on the part of agents)? and what is the cognising Self? and with what objects does it enter into contact through the sense-organs? and which cognising Self cognises which objects, and at what time? and which Self proceeds to appropriate which objects, and at what time? For the sentient subject has perished, and the object of sensation has perished; and the cognising subject has perished, and the object cognised has perished. And how can one subject cognise what has been apprehended through the senses of another? and how is one subject to take to itself what another subject has cognised? And should it be said that each stream of cognitions is one (whereby a kind of unity of the cognising subject is claimed to be established), yet this affords no sufficient basis for the ordinary notions and activities of life, since the stream really is nothing different from the constituent parts of the stream (all of which are momentary and hence discrete).--That in reality the Ego constitutes the Self and is the knowing subject, we have proved previously.

 Sutra 2,2.19

इतरेतरप्रत्ययत्वादिति चेत्, न, उत्पत्तिमात्रनिमित्तत्वात् ॥ १९ ॥

itaretarapratyayatvāditi cet, na, utpattimātranimittatvāt || 19 ||

itaretara-pratyayatvāt—Because of successive causality; iti cet—if it be said; na—no; utpatta-mātra-nimittatvāt—because they are merely the efficient cause of the origin.

19. If it be said (that the formation of aggregates is possible) because of the successive causality (of Nescience etc. in the Bauddha series),

(we say), no, because they are merely the efficient cause of the origin (of the immediately subsequent thing in the series, and not of the aggregation).

'If it be said that through the successive causality of Nescience and so on, the formation of aggregates and other matters may be satisfactorily accounted for.' To explain. Although all the entities (acknowledged by the Bauddhas) have a merely momentary existence, yet all that is accounted for by avidyā. Avidyā means that conception, contrary to reality, by which permanency, and so on, are ascribed to what is momentary, and so on. Through avidyā there are originated desire, aversion, etc., which are comprised under the general term 'impression' (saṁskāra); and from those there springs cognition (vijñāna) which consists in the 'kindling' of mind; from that mind (citta) and what is of the nature of mind (caitta) and the substances possessing colour, and so on. viz. earth, water, etc. From that again the six sense-organs, called 'the six abodes'; from that the body, called 'touch' (sparśa); from that sensation (vedanā), and so on. And from that again avidyā, and the whole series as described; so that there is an endlessly revolving cycle, in which avidyā, and so on, are in turn the causes of the links succeeding them. Now all this is not possible without those aggregates of the elements and elemental things which are called earth, and so on; and thereby the rationality of the formation of those aggregates is proved.

To this the second half of the Sūtra replies 'Not so, on account of (their) not being the causes of aggregation'.- This cannot rationally be assumed, because avidyā, and so on, cannot be operative causes with regard to the aggregation of earth and the other elements and elemental things. For avidyā, which consists in the view of permanency and so on, belonging to what is non-permanent, and desire, aversion and the rest, which are originated by avidyā cannot constitute the causes of (other) momentary things entering into aggregation; not any more than the mistaken idea of shell-silver is the cause of the aggregation of things such as shells. Moreover, on the Bauddha doctrine, he who views a momentary thing as permanent himself perishes at the same moment; who then is the subject in whom the so-called saṁskāras. i.e. desire, aversion, and so on, originate? Those who do not acknowledge one permanent substance constituting the abode of the saṁskāras have no right to assume the continuance of the saṁskāras.

 Sutra 2,2.20

उत्तरोत्पादे च पूर्वनिरोधात् ॥ २० ॥

uttarotpāde ca pūrvanirodhāt || 20 ||

uttarotpāde—At the time of the production of the subsequent thing; ca—and; purva-nirodhāt—because the antecedent one has ceased to exist.

20. And because at the time of the production of the subsequent thing (even in the series of successive causality) the antecedent thing has already ceased to exist, (it cannot be the cause of the subsequent thing).

For the following reason also the origination of the world cannot be accounted for on the view of the momentariness of all existence. At the time when the subsequent momentary existence originates, the preceding momentary existence has passed away, and it cannot therefore stand in a causal relation towards the subsequent one. For if non-existence had causal power, anything might originate at any time at any place.--Let it then be said that what constitutes a cause is nothing else but existence in a previous moment.--But, if this were so, the previous momentary existence of a jar, let us say, would be the cause of all things whatever that would be met with in this threefold world in the subsequent moment-cows, buffaloes, horses, chairs, stones, etc.!--Let us then say that a thing existing in a previous moment is the cause only of those things, existing in the subsequent moment, which belong to the same species.--But from this again it would follow that one jar existing in the previous moment would be the cause of all jars, to be met with in any place, existing in the following moment!--Perhaps you mean to say that one thing is the cause of one subsequent thing only. But how then are we to know which thing is the cause of which one subsequent thing?--Well then I say that the momentarily existing jar which exists in a certain place is the cause of that one subsequent momentary jar only which exists at the very same place!--Very good, then you hold that a place is something permanent! (while yet your doctrine is that there is nothing permanent).--Moreover as, on your theory, the thing which has entered into contact with the eye or some other sense-organ does no longer exist at the time when the idea originates, nothing can ever be the object of a cognition.

 Sutra 2,2.21

असति प्रतिज्ञोपरोधो यौगपद्यमन्यथा ॥ २१ ॥

asati pratijñoparodho yaugapadyamanyathā || 21 ||

asati—If non-existence (of cause) be assumed; pratijña-uparodhaḥ—contradiction of the proposition; yaugapadyam—simultaneity; anyathā—otherwise.

21. If non-existence (of cause) be assumed, (the effects being produced in spite of it) (there will result) contradiction of their (Bauddhas’) proposition. Otherwise (there would result) simultaneity (of cause and effect).

If it be said that the effect may originate even when a cause does not exist, then--as we have pointed out before--anything might originate anywhere and at any time. And not only would the origination of the effect thus remain unexplained, but an admitted principle would also be contradicted. For you hold the principle that there are four causes bringing about the origination of a cognition, viz. the adhipati-cause, the śākāhārī-cause, the ālambana-cause, and the samanantara-cause. The term adhipati denotes the sense-organs.--And if, in order to avoid opposition to an acknowledged principle, it be assumed that the origination of a further momentary jar takes place at the time when the previous momentary jar still exists, then it would follow that the two momentary jars, the causal one and the effected one, would be perceived together; but as a matter of fact they are not so perceived. And, further, the doctrine of general momentariness would thus be given up. And should it be said that(this is not so, but that) momentariness remains, it would follow that the connexion of the sense-organ with the object and the cognition are simultaneous.

Sutra 2,2.22

प्रतिसंख्याप्रतिसंख्यानिरोधाप्राप्तिः, अविच्छेदात् ॥ २२ ॥

pratisaṃkhyāpratisaṃkhyānirodhāprāptiḥ, avicchedāt || 22 ||

pratisaṃkhyā (nirodha)-apratisaṃkhyānirodha-aprāptiḥ—Conscious destruction and unconscious destruction would be impossible; avicchedāt—owing to non-interruption. 

22. Conscious and unconscious destruction would be impossible owing to non-interruption.

So far the hypothesis of origination from that which is not has been refuted. The present Sūtra now goes on to declare that also the absolute (niranvaya) destruction of that which is cannot rationally be demonstrated. Those who maintain the momentariness of all things teach that there are two kinds of destruction, one of a gross kind, which consists in the termination of a series of similar momentary existences, and is capable of being perceived as immediately resulting from agencies such as the blow of a hammer (breaking a jar, e.g.); and the other of a subtle kind, not capable of being perceived, and taking place in a series of similar momentary existences at every moment. The former is called pratisankhyā- destruction; the latter apratisankhyā-destruction.--Both these kinds of destruction are not possible.-- Why?--On account of the non-interruption, i.e. on account of the impossibility of the complete destruction of that which is. The impossibility of such destruction was proved by us under II, 1, 14, where we showed that origination and destruction mean only the assumption of new states on the part of one and the same permanent substance, and therefrom proved the non-difference of the effect from the cause.--Here it may possibly be objected that as we see that a light when extinguished passes away absolutely, such absolute destruction may be inferred in other cases also. But against this we point out that in the case of a vessel of clay being smashed we perceive that the material, i.e. clay, continues to exist, and that therefrom destruction is ascertained to be nothing else but the passing over of a real substance into another state. The pioper assumption, therefore, is that the extinguished light also has passed over into a different state, and that in that state it is no longer perceptible may be explained by that state being an extremely subtle one.

 Sutra 2,2.23

उभयथा च दोषात् ॥ २३ ॥

ubhayathā ca doṣāt || 23 ||

ubhayathā—In either case; ca—and; doṣāt—because of objections.

23. And in either case (i.e. whether Nescience with its offshoots meets with conscious or unconscious destruction resulting in final release) because of the objections (that arise, the Bauddha position is untenable).

It has been shown that neither origination from nothing, as held by the advocates of general momentariness, is possible; nor the passing away into nothing on the part of the thing originated. The acknowledgment of either of these views gives rise to difficulties. If the effect originates from nothing, it is itself of the nature of nothing; for it is observed that effects share the nature of what they originate from. Pitchers and ornaments, e.g. which are produced from clay and gold respectively, possess the nature of their causal substances. But you hold yourself that the world is not seen to be of the nature of nothingness; and certainly it is not observed to be so.--Again, if that which is underwent absolute destruction, it would follow that after one moment the entire world would pass away into nothingness; and subsequently the world again originating from nothingness, it would follow that, as shown above, it would itself be of the nature of nothingness (i.e. there would no longer be a real world).--There being thus difficulties on both views, origination and destruction cannot take place as described by you.

Sutra 2,2.24

आकाशे चाविशेषात् ॥ २४ ॥

ākāśe cāviśeṣāt || 24 ||

ākāśe—In the case of Ākāśa (space); ca—also; aviśeṣāt—there being no difference.

24. The case of Ākāśa also not being different (from the twofold destruction, it also cannot be a non-entity).

In order to prove the permanency of external and internal things, we have disproved the view that the two forms of destruction called pratisankhyā and apratisankhyā mean reduction of an existing thing to nothing. This gives us an opportunity to disprove the view of Ether(space) being likewise a mere irrational non-entity, as the Bauddhas hold it to be. Ether cannot be held to be a mere irrational non- entity, because, like those things which are admitted to be positive existences, i.e. earth, and so on, it is proved by consciousness not invalidated by any means of proof. For the formation of immediate judgments such as 'here a hawk flies, and there a vulture,' implies our being conscious of ether as marking the different places of the flight of the different birds. Nor is it possible to hold that Space is nothing else but the non-existence (abhāva) of earth, and so on; for this view collapses as soon as set forth in definite alternatives. For whether we define Space as the antecedent and subsequent non- existence of earth, and so on, or as their mutual non-existence, or as their absolute non-existence--on none of these alternatives we attain the proper idea of Space. If, in the first place, we define it as the antecedent and subsequent non-existence of earth, and so on, it will follow that, as the idea of Space can thus not be connected with earth and other things existing at the present moment, the whole world is without Space.

If, in the second place, we define it as the mutual non-existence of earth, and so on, it will follow that, as such mutual non-existence inheres in the things only which stand towards each other in the relation of mutual non-existence, there is no perception of Space in the intervals between those things(while as a matter of fact there is). And, in the third place, absolute non-existence of earth, and so on, cannot of course be admitted. And as non-existence (abhāva) is clearly conceived as a special state of something actually existing, Space even if admitted to be of the nature of abhāva, would not on that account be a futile non-entity (something 'tukkha' or 'nirupākhya').

Sutra 2,2.25

अनुस्मृतेश्च ॥ २५ ॥

anusmṛteśca || 25 ||

anusmṛteḥ—On account of memory; ca—and.

25. And on account of memory (the permanency of the experiencer has to be recognized).

We return to the proof of the, previously mooted, permanence of things. The 'anusmriti' of the Sūtra means cognition of what was previously perceived, i.e. recognition. It is a fact that all things which were perceived in the past may be recognised, such recognition expressing itself in the form 'this is just that (I knew before).' Nor must you say that this is a mere erroneous assumption of oneness due to the fact of the thing now perceived being similar to the thing perceived before, as in the case of the flame (where a succession of flames continually produced anew is mistaken for one continuous flame); for you do not admit that there is one permanent knowing subject that could have that erroneous idea. What one person has perceived, another cannot judge to be the same as, or similar to, what he is perceiving himself. If therefore you hold that there is an erroneous idea of oneness due to the perception of similarity residing in different things perceived at different times, you necessarily must acknowledge oneness on the part of the cognising subject. In the case of the flame there is a valid means of knowledge to prove that there really is a succession of similar flames, but in the case of the jar, we are not aware of such a means, and we therefore have no right to assume that recognition is due to the similarity of many successive jars.---Perhaps you will argue here as follows: The momentariness of jars and the like is proved by Perception as well as Inference. Perception in the first place presents as its object the present thing which is different from non-present things, in the same way as it presents the blue thing as different from the yellow; it is in this way that we know the difference of the present thing from the past and the future. Inference again proceeds as follows--jars and the like are momentary because they produce effects and have existence (sattva); what is non- momentary, such as the horn of a hare, does not produce effects and does not possess existence. We therefore conclude from the existence of the last momentary jar that the preceding jar-existences also are perishable, just because they are momentary existences like the existence of the last jar.--But both this perception and this inference have already been disproved by what was said above about the impossibility of momentary existences standing to one another in the relation of cause and effect. Moreover, that difference of the present object from the non-present object which is intimated by Perception does not prove the present object to be a different thing (from the past object of Perception), but merely its being connected with the present time. This does not prove it to be a different thing, for the same thing can be connected with different times. The two reasons again which were said to prove the momentariness of jars are invalid because they may be made to prove just the contrary of what they are alleged to prove. For we may argue as follows--From existence and from their having effects it follows that jars, and so on, are permanent; for whatever is non-permanent, is non-existent, and does not produce effects, as e.g. the horn of a hare. The capacity of producing effects can in fact be used only to prove non-momentariness on the part of jars, and so on; for as things perishing within a moment are not capable of acting, they are not capable of producing effects. Further, as it is seen in the case of the last momentary existence that its destruction is due to a visible cause (viz. the blow of a hammer or the like), the proper conclusion is that also the other momentary jars (preceding the last one) require visible causes for their destruction; and (as no such causes are seen, it follows that) the jar is permanent and continuous up to the time when a destructive cause, such as the blow of a hammer, supervenes. Nor can it be said that hammers and the like are not the causes of destruction, but only the causes of the origination of a new series of momentary existences dissimilar to the former ones--in the case of the jar, e.g. of a series of momentary fragments of a jar; for we have proved before that the destruction of jars, and so on, means nothing but their passing over into a different condition, e.g. that of fragments. And even if destruction were held to be something different from the origination of fragments, it would yet be reasonable to infer, on the ground of immediate succession in time, that the cause of the destruction is the blow of the hammer.

Hence it is impossible to deny in any way the permanency of things as proved by the fact of recognition. He who maintains that recognition which has for its object the oneness of a thing connected with successive points of time has for its objects different things, might as well say that several cognitions of, let us say, blue colour have for their object something different from blue colour. Moreover, for him who maintains the momentariness of the cognising subject and of the objects of cognition, it would be difficult indeed to admit the fact of Inference which presupposes the ascertainment and remembrance of general propositions. He would in fact not be able to set forth the reason required to prove his assertion that things are momentary; for the speaker perishes in the very moment when he states the proposition to be proved, and another person is unable to complete what has been begun by another and about which he himself does not know anything.

Sutra 2,2.26

नासतः, दृष्टत्वात् ॥ २६ ॥

nāsataḥ, dṛṣṭatvāt || 26 ||

na-Not; asataḥ—from non-existence; dṛṣṭatvāt—because this is not seen.

26. (Existence does) not (result) from non-existence, because this is not seen.

So far we have set forth the arguments refuting the views of the Vaibhāṣikas as well as the Sautrāntikas--both which schools maintain the reality of external things.--Now the Sautrāntika comes forward and opposes one of the arguments set forth by us above, viz. that, on the view of general momentariness. nothing can ever become an object of cognition, since the thing which enters into connexion with the sense-organ is no longer in existence when the cognition originates.--It is not, he says, the persistence of the thing up to the time of cognition which is the cause of its becoming an object of cognition. To be an object of cognition means nothing more than to be the cause of the origination of cognition. Nor does this definition imply that the sense-organs also are the objects of cognition. For a cause of cognition is held to be an object of cognition only in so far as it imparts to the cognition its own form (and this the sense-organs do not). Now even a thing that has perished may have imparted its form to the cognition, and on the basis of that form, blue colour, and so on, the thing itself is inferred. Nor can it be said (as the Yogācāras do) that the form of subsequent cognitions is due to the action of previous cognitions (and not to the external thing); for on this hypothesis it could not be explained how in the midst of a series of cognitions of blue colour there all at once arises the cognition of yellow colour. The manifold character of cognitions must therefore be held to be due to the manifold character of real thing.--To this we reply 'not from non-entity; this not being observed.' The special forms of cognition, such as blue colour, and so on, cannot be the forms of things that have perished, and therefore are not in Being, since this is not observed. For it is not observed that when a substrate of attributes has perished, its attributes pass over into another thing. (Nor can it be said that the thing that perished leaves in cognition a reflection of itself, for) reflections also are only of persisting things, not of mere attributes. We therefore conclude that the manifoldness of cognitions can result from the manifoldness of things only on the condition of the thing persisting at the time of cognition.--The Sūtras now set forth a further objection which applies to both schools.

Sutra 2,2.27

उदासीनानाम् अपि चैवं सिद्धिः ॥ २७ ॥

udāsīnānām api caivaṃ siddhiḥ || 27 ||

udāsīnānām—Of the effortless; api—even; ca—and; evam—thus; siddhiḥ—attainment of the goal.

27. And thus (if existence should spring from non-existence, there would result) the attainment of the goal even by the effortless.

Thus, i.e. on the theory of universal momentariness, origination from the non-existent, causeless cognition, and so on, it would follow that persons also not making any efforts may accomplish all their ends. It is a fact that the attainment of things desired and the warding off of things not desired is effected through effort, and so on. But if all existences momentarily perish, a previously existing thing, or special attributes of it, such as after-effects (through which Svarga and the like are effected) or knowledge (through which Release is effected) do not persist, and hence nothing whatever can be accomplished by effort. And as thus all effects would be accomplished without a cause, even perfectly inert men would accomplish all the ends to be reached in this and in the next life, including final release. Here terminates the Adhikaraṇa of 'the aggregates.'