10. Non-Substance (Adravya) | Śrī Vaishnavism


10. The Non-Substance (Adravya)

After the treatment thus given to (the Category) Substance (Dravya), that of non-substance will now be taken up.

Non-substance is divisible into ten clasps only viz.: -

1-3 (qualities inherent in matter)

(1) Sattva (pure),
(2) Rājas (motive) and
(3) Tamas (dark)

(4, 5, 6,7, 8):

(4) Sound,
(5) Touch,
(6) Colour,
(7) Taste,
(8) Odour,

(9) conjunction (Saṁyoga), and
(10) Force (Śakti ).

Sattva or Pureness is the non-Substance (or Quality) which is the root-cause of brightness, happiness, buoyancy etc., non-sensible, and other than force etc.

Sattva is of two kinds:

(1) Absolute Pureness (Śuddha-Sattva) and
(2) Mixed or Alloyed Pureness (Miśra-sattva).

Absolute Pureness is the Pureness inherent in Substance, devoid from restlessnessness (Rājas) and darkness (Tamas). This (exists) in the Eternal Expanse (i.e. Spiritual Regions).

Metaphorically (or secondarily) it is ascribed to God (Īśvara), its Initiator.

The Mixed Pureness is so called by reason of the association of pureness with Rājas and Tamas, This pervades the Triune (=matter) and is figuratively (or secondarily) attributed to the soul (Jīva) consorting with it (matter).

Rājas or restlessness is the non-Substance (or Quality), which is the root-cause of passion, desire, greed, activity etc., non-sensible and other than force etc.

Tamas, darkness (or Dross) is the non-Substance (or Quality), which is the root-cause of infatuation, inattention, listlessness etc., non- sensible and other than force etc.

These three (qualities) permeate matter conterminously; adhere to the soul (which is) in bondage with matter; non-eternal; constantly fluxing; equipoised in the state of Dissolution (pralaya); agitated in the state of Creation (sṛṣṭi); useful for the processes of Creation, Continuance and Dissolution;

and are the cause of the mutual contrarieties existing (in the Universe) determined by the dispensations or bent of God’s Will.

These (properties) are common (to this Triad). (The differences are):

- The Sattva Quality is the cause of blessedness born of lucid knowledge etc., and productive of Redemption (moksha).

- The Rājas Quality is the cause of pain etc., born of attachment etc., begot by karma, and the means of bringing the supra-mundane (fruits) such as Svarga, Nāraka, etc.

The Tamas Quality is the cause of ignorance, lethargy etc., and productive of Damnation (Nāraka).

Hence Sattva etc., are Qualities; and not possessed of the characteristics of Substance.

Sound which abides in all the Five Elements is that which we cognize by the sense of hearing. It is of two descriptions:

(1) articulate and
(1) non- articulate.

The Fifty Letters (of the alphabet comprise the articulate (sound), and this is utterable by means of the palate etc., by gods, men etc.

The non-articulate (sound) is such as that emanating from a drum etc.

By the ear is sound, so described, apprehensible.
Either by the sense (of hearing) emanating air vibrant, is sound perceived.

But Scriptures speak of sound as Substance; how then can it be non-substance (i. e. quality)?

The escape (from this objection) consists in showing that the composition of Prāṇava (Aum) by its components A (अ) etc., is made through what is signified (by A etc., viz.; Ākāśa).

Touch is that Quality which we perceive by the sense of touch (in skin), other and separate (than those of the other senses). This is of 3 kinds:

(1) cold,
(2) warm and
(3) equable (temperature).

The cold touch is (perceivable) in water,
the warm in fire,
the equable in earth and air.

Also it (touch) is divisible into:

(1) what is modified, or effected (a product  =  pākaja) and
(2) What is unmodified or uneffected (causal of elementary a-pākaja),

The former is in earth;
the latter is in the other three (viz., ether, fire and water).

The touch pertaining in a special manner, to (such things as) nectar, poison, pearl, silk, stone, cow, Brāhmaṇa, Chaṇḍāla etc., is classifiable under the head “effected.”

Colour is that Quality which is perceived by our sense of sight (eye) alone, other and separate (than the other qualities).

Colour is of 4 kinds:

(1) white,
(2) red,
(3) yellow and
(4) dark.

White of varieties is the colour found in silver, conch, shell, moon etc.
Red of varieties is found in fire, rose, pomegranate, bandhu-Jīva, coral, ruby etc.
Yellow of varieties is the colour found in gold, saffron, turmeric etc.
Dark of varieties is the colour found in sapphire, bee, cloud, night (or darkness), tamāla, grass etc.

Some, following the Śruti, hold the view that yellow is a species of red.

As an alternative (classification), colour is twofold:

(1) Radiant and
(2) Non-radiant.

Radiant is (what is found) in (self-) luminous (objects);
Non-radiant is (what is found) in such (things) as the eye, water, etc.

Thus fourfold is colour, and therefore the view some maintain that there is a fifth colour the variegated, is rejected.

For reasons similar, the idea that there is a variegated odour, touch and savour, is debarred.

Taste is the Quality perceptible to our sense of taste (tongue), other and of different species (than the rest of the qualities).

Taste is of 6 kinds:

(1) sweet,
(2) sour,
(3) saline,
(4) bitter,
(5) pungent, and
(6) astringent.

The sweet varieties are of (such articles as) sugar-cane, milk, sugar etc.
The sour varieties are of the mango, tamarind, Myrobalan-fruit etc.
The saline varieties are of salt, saline products etc.
The bitter varieties are of champaka, margosa etc.
The pungent varieties are of ginger, pepper, mustard etc.
The astringent varieties are of the yellow Myrobalan (gallnut) vibhītakī, mango-sprout etc.

Odour is the Quality apprehensible by our sense of smell (nose), other and of a different order (than the other qualities).

Odour is of two kinds:

(1) odour and
(2) mal-odour.

The varieties of odour (or fragrance) are of sandal, musk, saffron, champaka etc.
The mal-odours are what may be found in others than these.

Odour is specifically of the earth, and varieties spring out of its modifications.

The perception of odour in air, water etc., is by reason of its impregnation with earth and is tropically so (used) like the expression “iron burns.”

Though all qualities may abide in all the elements in virtue of their (elements’) 5-foldness, (the assignment of) particular qualities (to particular elements) is by reason of (their) predominance. There is thus no contradiction.

The change of quality, consequent on maturation, (or modification a substance may undergo) occurs in its own sub-stratum (i.e. in the same substance).

When this (change) is explicable by the non-disappearance of its own substratum, the tenet that the atoms (themselves) undergo change is untenable.

Conjunction (Saṁyoga) is the (Quality which is the) cause of the cognition of the conjunct (objects).

The quality of Conjunction is universal to the Six Substances (see Chapter 4):

(1) Matter;
(2) Time;
(3) Pure Matter;
(4) Attributive Consciousness;
(5) Soul;
(6) God;

The contradiction of its non-existence as well as existence in the substratum, is accountable by the fact of the substratum having diverse parts.

Conjunction (a Quality) is both of the non- eternal and of the eternal character:

The former (subsists) in limited (objects) by the impulse of both the “conjunct” (objects) as two goats or two duellists (rushing towards each other for combat), or by the impulse of one, as of a hawk perching on a post.

Some talk of a Conjunction originating from a Conjunction, for example the conjunction of a book with the body, arising from its (book’s) conjunction with the hand;

but we say No, inasmuch as one conjunction -  hand with book - implies the other, and no two successive conjunctions, therefore, one springing from the other (need predication).

For similar reasoning, the origination of a Disjunction from another Disjunction is also discarded. Disjunction (Vibhāga or Viyoga) is none other than the negation of Conjunction of bodies; hence it is not a distinct Quality.

The Eternal (kind of) Conjunction is between infinite (vibhu) substances:

Conjunction of eternal (lit. non-originated=ajā) substances, is admitted by Śruti (Vedas);

by Inference also the Conjunction of eternal substances is established thus: -

An infinite substance has conjunction with an infinite substance,
For it is substance,
Like the jar
”; (or),

An infinite substance is conjoined with God (Īśvara),
For it is substance,
Like the jar
”; (or),

God (Īśvara) is conjoined with Time etc.,
For He is substance,
Like the jar

By such (ratiocinations), the Conjunction of infinite substances is established.

Now, Śakti or Force is that particular non-Substance (i. e. Quality) which stands as the reason of all causation. This is made evident both by Inference as well as Scriptures (Āgama).

That Force (or Power) which is not palpable to the senses, is that by which fire ceases to burn when obstructed by the presence of such things as gems, charms etc., though there is no paucity of substance to help its nature (i. e., help fire to burn).

The existence of such (power) is evident in the magnet. This power abides in (all) the Six Substances (listed above).

The abidance (of Force) in God (Bhagavān) is established by the Vishnu Purāṇa, etc. Hence the Quality known as Force (or Power) is discoverable universally.

But if it be asked how when Qualities have been enumerated as 24, only 10 have been recognised, the reply is:

that as already shown, the Six (Qualities) Thought, Pleasure, Pain, Desire, Aversion and Will (or Effort) are but states of Consciousness - qualities or attributes of the Soul (Jīvātmā).

Virtue and Vice, contingent (respectively) on the Grace and Wrath of God, are resolvable into the Consciousness of God.

The Power of Imagination is resolvable into a state of Consciousness,

the Power of Momentum is accountable from the cause of Momentum (Energy), and the Power of Elasticity is accounted for by means of Conjunction.

The Five (Qualities), Sound, Touch, Colour, Savour, and Odour are admitted as evident to the senses.

Disjunction and Separateness are resolvable into the Negation of Conjunction.

Priority and Posteriority are accountable by particularities of Space and Time.

Number, Extension, Fluidity and Viscidity are accountable by the very nature of the substances to which they pertain.

Gravity is properly resolvable into Force.

Hence (the analysis of Non-Substance into) Ten Qualities, accords with reason.

Amongst these, Sattva, Rājas and Tamas, - the Qualities of Matter, - are also (by attribution) Qualities of the Soul.

But expressions like:

Knowledge of the pure sort” (Sattva-rūpam jñānam),
Pure is the time” (sātvikaḥ-kālaḥ) etc.,

- are, on account of accident (upādhi), of a metaphorical description.

The Five - Sound etc., pertaining to matter, are well known as the Qualities of the Five Elements.

The Absolutely Pure Matter of course exists in the Eternal Expanse (=Spiritual Universe), and in God who is its Actuator (Will).

Conjunction and Force are universal (or common) to the Six Substances.

Such is the distribution.

- Non-Substance has thus been demonstrated.

Thus ends Chapter 10,
The Treatment of Non-Substance (A-dravya) in the
“Light of the School of Rāmānuja”