The Sankhya Sutras of Kapila, Book 3

Translated by James R. Ballantyne

Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3 | Book 4 | Book 5 | Book 6 |

a. In the next place, the gross product of Nature, viz., the great elements and the dyad of bodies, is to be described; and, after that, the going into various wombs, and the like; [this description being given] with a view to that less perfect degree of dispassionateness which is the cause of one's engaging upon the means of knowledge; and, after that, with a view to perfect freedom from passion, all the means of knowledge are to be told: so the Third [Book] commences:

The elements whence.

Aph. 1. * The origination of the diversified [world of sense] is from that which has no difference.

a. '[Which] has no difference,' i.e., that in which there exists not a distinction, in the shape of calmness, fierceness, dulness, &c., viz., the Subtile Elements, called 'the five somethings, simply;' from this [set of five] is the origination p. 225 of 'the diversified,' [so called] from their possessing a difference, in the shape of the calm, &c., viz., the gross, the great Elements: such is the meaning. For, the fact of consisting of pleasure, or the like, in the shape of the calm, and the rest, is manifested, in the degrees of greater, and less, &c., in the gross Elements only, not in the Subtile; because these, since they have but the one form of the calm, are manifest to the concentrated, [practitioners of meditation, but to no others].

b. So then, having stated, by composing the preceding Book, the origin of the twenty-three Principles, he states the origination, therefrom, of the dyad of bodies:

The Body whence.

Aph. 2. * Therefrom, of the Body.

a. 'Therefrom,' i.e., from the twenty-three Principles, p. 226 there is the origination of the pair of Bodies, the Gross [Body] and the Subtile: such is the meaning.

b. Now he proves that mundane existence could not be accounted for otherwise than on the ground of the twenty-three Principles.

Mundane existence whence.

Aph. 3. * From the seed thereof is mundane existence.

a. 'Thereof,' i.e., of the Body; 'from the seed,' i.e., from the Subtile one, as its cause, in the shape of the twenty-three Principles, is 'mundane existence,' i.e., do the going and coming of Soul take place; for it is impossible that, of itself, there should be a going, &c., of that which, in virtue of [its] all-pervadingness, is immovable: such is the meaning. For Soul, being conditioned by the twenty-three Principles, only by means of that investment migrates from Body to Body, with a view to experiencing the fruits of previous works.

p. 227

b. He states, also, the limit of mundane existence.

Mundane existence till when.

Aph. 4. * And, till there is discrimination, there is the energizing of these, which have no differences.

a. The meaning is, that, of all Souls whatever, void of the differences of being Lord, or not Lord, &c., [though, seemingly, possessed of such differences,] 'energizing,' i.e., mundane existence, is inevitable, even till there is discrimination [of Soul from its seeming investments]; and it does not continue after that.

b. He states the reason of this:

The reason of this.

Aph. 5. * Because of [the necessity of] the other's experiencing.

a. The meaning is: because of the necessity that the p. 228 other, i.e., that that very [Soul], which does not discriminate, should experience the fruit of its own [reputed] acts.

b. He states, that, even while there is a Body, during the time of mundane existence, fruition [really] is not:

Soul's bondage only seeming.

Aph. 6. * It [Soul,] is now quite free from both.

a. 'Now,' i.e., during the time of mundane existence. Soul is quite free 'from both,' i.e., from the pairs, viz., cold and heat, pleasure and pain, &c.: such is the meaning.

b. He next proceeds to describe, separately, the dyad of Bodies:

The Gross and the Subtile Bodies distinguished.

Aph. 7. * The Gross [Body] usually arises from father and mother; the other one is not so.

p. 229

a. The Gross one arises from father and mother, 'usually,' i.e., for the most part; for there is mention also of a Gross Body not born of a womb: and 'the other,' i.e., the Subtile Body, is 'not so,' i.e., does not arise from a father and mother; because it arises from creation, &c.: such is the meaning.

b. He decides [the question], through disguise by which one of the Bodies, Gross and Subtile, the conjunction of the pairs [pleasure and pain, &c.,] with Soul takes place.

Which of the bodies is the cause of Soul's bondage.

Aph. 8. * To that which arose antecedently it belongs to be that whose result is this; because it is to the one that there belongs fruition, not to the other.

a. 'To be that whose result is this,' i.e., to have pleasure and pain as its effect [reflected in Soul], belongs to that Subtile Body alone whose origin was 'antecedent,' i.e., at the commencement of the creation [or annus magnus]. Why? Because the fruition of what is called pleasure and pain belongs only to 'the one,' i.e., the Subtile Body, but not to 'the other,' i.e., the Gross Body; because all are p. 230 agreed that there is neither pleasure nor pain, &c., in a body of earth: such is the meaning.

b. He tells the nature of the Subtile Body just mentioned:

The Subtile Body how constituted.

Aph. 9. * The seventeen, as one, are the Subtile Body.

a. The Subtile Body, further, through its being container and contained, is twofold. Here the seventeen, [presently mentioned,] mingled, are the Subtile Body; and that, at the beginning of a creation, is but one, in the shape of an aggregate; [as the forest, the aggregate of many trees, is but one]: such is the meaning. The seventeen are the eleven organs, the five Subtile Elements, and Understanding. Self-consciousness is included under Understanding.

p. 231

b. But [one may ask,] if the Subtile Body be one, how can there be diverse experiences accordingly as Souls are [numerically] distinct, [one from another]? To this he replies:

How there come to be individuals.

Aph. 10. * There is distinction of individuals, through diversity of desert.

a. Although, at the beginmng of the creation [or annus magnus], there was but one Subtile Body, in the shape of that investment [of Soul (see Ved nta-s ra, 62.) named] Hiraṉyagarbha, still, subsequently, moreover, there becomes a division of it into individuals, a plurality, partitively, in the shape of individuals; as, at present, there is, of the one Subtile Body of a father, a plurality, partitively, in the shape of the Subtile Body of son, daughter, &c. He tells the cause of this, saying, 'through diversity of desert;' meaning, through actions, &c., which are causes of the experiences of other animal souls. 3

p. 232

b. But then, on this showing, since the Subtile one alone, from its being the site of fruition, is [what ought to be denoted by the term] Body, how is the term Body applied to the Gross one? To this he replies:

Why the Gross Body is called a Body.

Aph. 11. * From its being applied to it, [viz., to the Subtile one], it is applied to the Body, which is the tabernacle of the abiding thereof.

a. But then, what proof is there of another body, other than the one consisting of the six sheaths, serving as a tabernacle for the Subtile Body? With reference to this, he says:

The Subtile Body dependent on the Gross Body.

Aph. 12. * Not independently [can the Subtile Body exist], without that [Gross Body]; just like a shadow and a picture.

a. That is to say: the Subtile Body does not stand independently, 'without that,' i.e., without a support; as a shadow, or as a picture, does not stand without a support. And so, having abandoned a Gross Body, in order to go p. 233 to another world, it is settled that the Subtile Body takes another body, to serve as its tabernacle: such is the import.

b. But then [it may be said], of the Subtile Body, since it is limited substance, as the Air, or the like, let the Ether [or Space], without [its] being attached [to anything], be the site: it is purposeless to suppose [its] attachment to anything else. To this he replies:

For it must have a material support.

Aph. 13. * No, even though it be limited; because of [its] association with masses; just like the sun.

a. Though it be limited, it does not abide independently, without association; for, since, just like the sun, it consists of light, it is inferred to be associated with a mass: such is the meaning, All lights, the sun and the rest, are seen only under the circumstances of association [of the luminiferous imponderable] with earthy subtances; and the Subtile Body p. 234 consists of 'Purity,' which is Light: therefore it must be associated with the Elements.

b. He determines the magnitude of the Subtile Body:

Size of the Subtile Body.

Aph. 14. * It is of atomic magnitude; for there is a Scripture for its acting.

a. 'It,' the Subtile Body, is 'of atomic magnitude,' i.e., limited, but not absolutely an atom; because it is declared to have parts. Wherefore? 'For there is Scripture for its acting;' i.e., because there is Scripture about its acting. When a thing is all-prevading, it cannot act; [action being motion]. But the proper reading is, 'because there is Scripture for its moving.'

p. 235

b. He states another argument for its being limited:

Another proof of this.

Aph. 15. * And because there is Scripture for its being formed of food.

a. That is to say: it, viz., the Subtile Body, cannot be all-pervading; because there is a Scripture for its being partially formed of food; for, if it were all-pervading, it would be eternal. Although Mind, &c., are not formed of the Elements, still it is to be understood that they are spoken of as formed of food, &c.; because they are filled with homogeneous particles, through contact with food; [as the light of a lamp is supplied by contact with the oil].

b. For what purpose is the mundane existence, the migrating from one body to another [Gross] body, of Subtile p. 236 Bodies, which are unintelligent? With reference to this, he says:

Why the Subtile Body migrates.

Aph. 16. * The mundane existence of is for the sake of Soul; just like a king's cooks.

a. That is to say: as the cooks of a king frequent the kitchens for the sake of the king, so the Subtile Bodies transmigrate for the sake of Soul.

b. The Subtile Body has been discussed in respect of all its peculiarities. He now likewise discusses the Gross Body, also:

The Gross Body whence.

Aph. 17. * The Body consists of the five elements.

p. 237

a. That is to say: the Body is a modification of the five elements mingled.

b. He mentions another opinion:

Another opinion.

Aph. 18. * Some say it consists of four elements.

a. This [is alleged] with the import that the Ether does not originate [anything].

Another opinion.

Aph. 19. * Others say that it consists of one element.

a. The import is, that the body is of Earth only, and the other elements are merely supporters. Or 'of one element' means, of one or other element: [see the Rosicrucian doctrine in the Tarka-sangraha, 13., &c].

p. 238

b. He tells us what is proved by the fact that the Body consists of the Elements:

Intellect not the result of organization.

Aph. 20. * Intellect is not natural [a natural result of organization]; because it is not found in them severally.

a. That is to say: since we do not find intellect in the separated Elements, intellect is not natural to the Body, which consiste of the Elements, but is adventitious.

b. He states another refutation [of the notion that Intellect is a property of the Body]:

A further argument.

Aph. 21. * And [if the Body had intellect natural to it,] there would not be the death, &c., of anything.

a. That is to say: and, if the Body had intellect natural to it, there would not be the death, the profound sleep, &c., 'of anything,' of all things. For death, profound sleep, &c., imply the body's being non-intelligent; and this, if it were, by its own nature, intelligent, would not take p. 239 place; because the essential nature of a thing remains as long as the thing remains.

b. Pondering a doubt, as to the assertion [in 20], viz., 'because it is not found in them severally,' he repels it:

An illustrative objection disposed of.

Aph. 22. * If [you say that Intellect results from organization, and that] it is like the power of something intoxicating, [the ingredients of which, separately, have no intoxicating power, we reply, that] this might arise, on conjunction, if we had seen, in each [element, something conducive to the result].

a. But then, as an intoxicating power, though not residing in the substances severally, resides in the mixed substance, so may Intellect, also, be; if any one say this, it is not so. If it had been seen in each [constituent], its appearance in the compound might have had place; but, in the case in question, it is not the case that it is seen in each. p. 240 Therefore, in the illustration [of something intoxicating resulting from mixture], it being established, by the Institutes, &c., that there is, in each ingredient, a subtile tendency to intoxicate, it is settled only that, at the time when these combine, there will be a manifestation of the [latent] power of intoxicating; but, in the thing illustrated, it is not established, by any proof whatsoever, that there is intelligence, in a subtile [or undeveloped] state, in the elements separately: such is the meaning.

b. It was stated [ 16,] that the Subtile Bodies transmigrate for the sake of Soul. In regard to this, he tells, in two aphorisms, by what operation, dependent on the birth of the Subtile Bodies, which means their transmigrations into Gross Bodies, what aims of Soul are accomplished:

p. 241

Purpose of the Subtile Body's taking a gross one.

Aph. 23. * From knowledge [acquired during mundane existence, comes] salvation, [Soul's chief end].

a. That is to say: by the transmigration of the Subtile Body, through birth, there takes place the direct operation of discrimination [between Soul and Non-soul]; [and] thence, in the shape of emancipation, Soul's [chief] End.

Bondage whence.

Aph. 24. * Bondage [which may be viewed as one of the ends which Soul could arrive at only through the Subtile Body,] is from Misconception.

a. Through the transmigration of the subtile body, from misconception, there is that [less worthy] end of soul, in the shape of bondage, consisting of pleasure and pain: such is the meaning.

b. Liberation and Bondage, [resulting] from knowledge and misconception [respectively], have been mentioned. Of these, in the first place, he explains Liberation [arising] from knowledge:

p. 242

Knowledge has neither cooperator nor substitute, in liberating Soul.

Aph. 25. * Since this [viz., knowledge,] is the precise cause [of liberation], there is neither association [of anything else with it, e.g., good works,] nor alternativeness, [e.g., of good works, in its stead].

a. In respect of there being neither association nor alternativeness, he states an illustration:

This illustrated.

Aph. 26. * The emancipation of Soul does not depend on both [knowledge and works, or the like]; as [any end that one aims at is not obtained] from dreams and from the waking state, [together, or alternatively, which are, severally,] illusory and not illusory.

a. But, even if it be so, [some one may say,] there may be association, or alternativeness, of knowledge of the truth with that knowledge which is termed Worship of [the One, all-constitutive, divine] Soul; since there is no illusoriness in this object of Worship. To this he replies:

p. 243

Man's conception of the All is faulty.

Aph. 27. * Even of that other it is not complete.

a. Even of 'that other,' i.e., of the [just-mentioned] object of worship, the non-illusoriness is not complete; because imaginary things, also, enter into [our conception of, and overlie, and disguise,] the object of worship, the [One, all-constitutive] Soul: such is the meaning.

b. He states in what part [of it] is the illusoriness of the [object of] Worship, [just referred to]:

Where the fault applies.

Aph. 28. * Moreover, it is in what is fancied that it is thus [illusory].

a. That is to say: 'moreover, it is thus,' i.e., moreover, there is illusoriness, in that portion of the thing meditated which [portion of it] is fancied by the Mind, [while it does not exist in reality]; for, the object of worship having been declared in such texts as, 'All this, indeed, is Brahma,' 3 the illusoriness belongs entirely to that portion [of the impure conception of 'the All' which presents itself, to the undiscriminating, under the aspect] of the world.

p. 243

b. Then what profit is there in Worship? With reference to this, he declares [as follows]:

The fruit of Worship.

Aph. 29. * From the achievement of [the worship termed] meditation there is, to the pure [Soul], all [power]; like Nature.

a. Through the effecting of the worship which is termed meditation, there becomes, to the 'pure,' i.e., the sinless, Soul, all power; as belongs to Nature: such is the meaning. That is to say: as Nature creates, sustains, and destroys, so also the Purity of the understanding of the worshipper, by instigating Nature, creates, &c. [But this is not Liberation, or Soul's chief end.]

b. It has been settled that Knowledge alone is the means of Liberation. Now he mentions the means of Knowledge:

p. 245

Removal of obstacles to knowledge.

Aph. 30. * Meditation is [the cause of] the removal of Desire.

a. That is to say: Meditation is the cause of the removal of that affection of the mind by objects, which is a hinderer of knowledge.

b. With advertence to the fact that knowledge arises from the effectuation of Meditation, and not from merely commencing upon it, he characterizes the effectuation of Meditation:

Meditation at what point perfected.

Aph. 31. * It [Meditation,] is perfected by the repelling of the modifications [of the Mind, which ought to be abstracted from all thoughts of anything].

a. He mentions also the means of Meditation:

Practices conducive to meditation.

Aph. 32. * This [Meditation,] is perfected by Restraint, Postures, and one's Duties.

p. 246

a. That is to say: Meditation results from the triad, which shall be mentioned, viz., Restraint, &c.

b. By means of a triad of aphorisms he characterizes, in order, Restraint, &c.:

Restraint of the breath.

Aph. 33. * Restraint [of the breath] is by means of expulsion and retention. 3

a. That it is 'of the breath' is gathered from the notoriousness [of its being so].

b. He characterizes Postures, which come next in order:


Aph. 34. * Steady and [promoting]* ease is a [suitable] Posture.

a. That is to say: that is a Posture which, being steady, is a cause of pleasure; such as the crossing of the arms.

p. 247

b. He characterizes one's Duty:

One's duty.

Aph. 35. * One's Duty is the performance of the actions prescribed for one's religious order.

a. Simple.

Knowledge by Concentrantion how attained.

Aph. 36. * Through Dispassion and Practice.

a. Simply through mere Practice, in the shape of Meditation, accompanied by Dispassion, Knowledge, with its instrument, Concentration, takes place in the case of those who are most competent [to engage in the matter]: such is the meaning. Thus has liberation through knowledge been expounded.

b. After this, the cause of Bondage, viz., Misconception, declared in [the assertion,] 'Bondage is from Misconception,' [ 24], is to be expounded. Here he first states the nature of Misconception:

p. 248

Misconception defined.

Aph. 37. * The kinds of Misconception are five.

a. That is to say: the subdivisions of Misconception, which is the cause of Bondage, are Ignorance, Egoism, Desire, Aversion, and Fear of Dissolution; the five mentioned in the Yoga, [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book II., 3 2 ].

b. Having stated the nature of Misconception, he states also the nature of its cause, viz., Disability:

The varieties of Disability.

Aph. 38. * But Disability is of twenty-eight sorts. 5

a. Simple; [as explained in the Yoga].

p. 249

b. In a couple of aphorisms he mentions [those] two. Acquiescence and Perfection, on the prevention of which come two sorts of Disability of the Understanding:


Aph. 39. * Acquiescence is of nine sorts.

a. He will, himself, explain how it is of nine sorts.


Aph. 40. * Perfection is of eight sorts.

a. This, also, he will, himself, explain.

b. Of the aforesaid, viz., Misconception, Disability, Acquiescence, and Perfection, since there may be a desire to know the particulars, there is, in order, a quaternion of aphorisms:

p. 250

Their subdivisions.

Aph. 41. * The subdivisions [of Misconception] are as [declared] aforetime.

a. The subdivisions of Misconception, which, in a general way, have been stated as five, are to be understood to be particularized 'as aforetime,' i.e., just as they have been declared by preceding teachers: they are not explained here, for fear of prolixity: such is the meaning.

Of this further.

Aph. 42. * So of the other [viz., Disability].

a. That is to say: 'so,' i.e., just as aforetime [ 41], the divisions 'of the other,' viz., of Disability, also, which are twenty-eight, are to be understood, as regards their particularities.

Acquiescence divided.

Aph. 43. * Acquiescence is ninefold, through the divisions of 'the internal and the rest.'

p. 251

a. This aphorism is explained by a memorial verse [No. 50 2 ].

Perfection divided.

Aph. 44. * Through Reasoning, &c., [which are its subdivisions,] Perfection [is eightfold].

a. That is to say: Perfection is of eight kinds, through its divisions, viz., Reasoning, &c. This aphorism, also, 'has been explained in a memorial verse,' [No. 51 4 ].

p. 252

b. But then, how is it said that Perfection consists only of 'Reasoning, &c.,' seeing that it is determined, in all the Institutes, that the eight Perfections, viz., [the capacity of assuming] atomic bulk, &c., result from recitations, austerity, meditation, &c.? To this he replies:

The enumeration defended.

Aph. 45. * Not from any other [than what we have just stated does real Perfection arise; because what does arise therefrom, e.g., from austerities, is] without abandonment of something else, [viz., Misconception].

a. 'From any other,' i.e., from anything. different from the pentad, 'Reasoning, &c.,' e.g., from Austerity, &c., there is no real Perfection. Why? 'Without abandonment of something else;' i.e., because that Perfection [which you choose to call such] takes place positively without abandonment of something else, i.e., of Misconception: therefore [that Perception], since it is no antagonist to mundane existence, is only a semblance of a Perfection, and not a real Perfection: such is the meaning.

p. 253

b. Now the individuated creation, which was mentioned concisely in the assertion, 'There is distinction of individuals through diversity of desert,' [ 10], is set forth diffusely:

The creation viewed in its parts.

Aph. 46. * [The creation is that] of which the subdivisions are the demons, &c.

a. Supply, such is that creation, of which 'the subdivisions,' the included divisions, are the demons, &c. This is explained in a memorial verse, [No. 53 3 ].

p. 254

b. He states that the aforesaid subdivided creation, also, is for the sake of Soul:

This creation, also, for Soul's sake.

Aph. 47. * From Brahm down to a post, for its [Soul's,] sake is creation, till there be discrimination [between Soul and Nature].

a. He mentions, further, the division of the subdivided creation, in three aphorisms:

The celestial world.

Aph. 48. * Aloft, it [the creation,] abounds in [the quality of] Purity.

a. That is to say: 'aloft,' above the world of mortals, the creation has chiefly [the Quality of] Purity.

The infernal world.

Aph. 49. * Beneath, it [the creation,] abounds in Darkness.

a. 'Beneath,' that is to say, under the world of mortals.

p. 255

The world of mortals.

Aph. 50. * In the midst, it [the creation,] abounds in Passion.

a. 'In the midst,' that is to say, in the world of mortals.

b. But then, for what reason are there, from one single Nature, creations diverse in having, affluently, purity and the rest? With reference to this, he says:

Why Nature operates diversely.

Aph. 51. * By reason of diversity of desert is Nature's [diverse] behaviour; like a born-slave.

a. Just by reason of diverse desert is the behaviour of Nature, as asserted, in the shape of diversity of operation. An illustration of the diversity is [offered in the example], 'like a born-slave.' That is to say: as, of him who is a slave from the embryo-state upwards, there are, through the aptitude arising from the habit 3 of being a dependant, various sorts of behaviour, i.e., of service, for the sake of his master, so [does Nature serve soul in various ways].

p. 256

b. But then, if the creation aloft is abundant in Purity [the element of joy], since Soul's object is really thereby effected, what need is there of Liberation? To this he replies:

Why Heaven is to be shunned.

Aph. 52. * Even there there is return [to miserable states of existence]: it is to be shunned, by reason of the successive subjections to birth, [from which the inhabitants of Heaven enjoy no immunity].

a. Moreover:

Transitoriness of heavenly bliss.

Aph. 53. * Alike [belongs to all] the sorrow produced by decay and death.

p. 257

a. Common to all alike, those that are aloft and those beneath, beginning with Brahm and ending with a stock, is the 'sorrow produced by decay and death'; therefore, moreover, it [heaven,] is to be shunned: such is the meaning.

b. What need of more? The end is not effected by absorption into the cause, either; as he tells us:

Absorption into Nature ineffectual.

Aph. 54. * Not by absorption into the cause is there accomplishment of the end; because, as in the case of one who has dived, there is a rising again.

a. In the absence of knowledge of the distinction [between Soul and Nature], when indifference towards Mind, &c., has resulted from worship of Nature, then absorption into Nature takes place; for it is declared: 'Through Dispassion there is absorption into Nature.' Even through this, i.e., the absorption into the cause, the end is not gained; 'because there is a rising again; as in the case of one who has dived.' As a man who has dived under water rises again, exactly so do Souls which have been absorbed into Nature reappear, [at the commencement of a new annus magnus], in the condition of Lords; because it is p. 258 impossible that one's Faults should be consumed, without a familiarity with the distinction [between Soul and Nature], in consequence of the reappearance of Passion, by reason of the non-destruction of habits, 1 &c.: such is the meaning.

b. But then, the cause is not by anyone caused to act. Being independent, then, why does she [Nature,] make that grief-occasioning resurrection of her own worshipper? To this he replies:

Nature free to act, yet guided by an end.

Aph. 55. * Though she be not constrained to act, yet this is fitting; because of her being devoted to another.

p. 259

a. Though Nature is 'not constrained to act,' not instigated, not subject to the will of another, yet 'this is fitting;' it is proper that he who is absorbed in her should rise again. Why? 'Because of her being devoted to another;' i.e., because she seeks Soul's end. The meaning is that he who is absorbed in her is again raised up, by Nature, for the sake of Soul's end, which consists in knowledge of the distinction [between Nature and Soul]. And Soul's end, and the like, are not constrainers of Nature, but occasions for the energizing of her whose very being is to energize; so that there is nothing detracted from her independence.

b. He mentions, further, a proof that Soul rises from absorption into Nature:

The gain of absorption into Nature.

Aph. 56. * [He who is absorbed into Nature must rise again;] for he becomes omniscient and omnipotent [in a subsequent creation].

p. 260

a. For 'he,' viz., he who, in a previous creation, was absorbed into the Cause, in a subsequent creation becomes 'omniscient and omnipotent;' the Lord, the First Spirit.

b. But then, if that be so, it is impossible to deny 2 a Lord, [which, nevertheless, the S nkhyas seem to do]. To this he replies.

In what sense there is a Lord.

Aph. 57. * The existence of such a Lord is a settled point.

a. It is quite agreed, by all, that there is an emergent Lord, he who had been absorbed into Nature; for the ground of dispute [between S nkhyas and the rest,] is altogether about an eternal Lord: such is the meaning.

b. He expounds diffusely the motive for Nature's creating, which was mentioned only indicatorily in the first aphorism of the Second Book:

p. 261

Nature's disinterestedness.

Aph. 58. * Nature's creating is for the sake of another, though it be spontaneous; for she is not the experiencer; like a cart's carrying saffron [for the sake of its master].

a. But then, it is quite impossible that Nature, being unintelligent, should be, spontaneously, a creator; for we see that a cart, or the like, operates only by reason of the efforts of another. To this he replies:

Nature's spontaneous action illustrated.

Aph. 59. * Though she be unintelligent, yet Nature acts; as is the case with milk.

a. That is to say: as milk, without reference to men's efforts, quite of itself changes into the form of curd, so Nature, although she be unintelligent, changes into the form of Mind, &c., even without the efforts of any other.

p. 262

b. This is not rendered tautological by this aphorism, 'As the cow for the calf,' [Book II., 37]; because there the question was only of the operation of instruments, and because cows are intelligent.

c. By means of the exhibition of another illustration, he mentions the cause of the thing asserted as aforesaid:

Another illustration.

Aph. 60. * Or as is the case with the acts [or on-goings] for we see them of Time, &c.

a. Or as is the case with the acts [or on-goings,] of Time, &c., the spontaneous action of Nature is proved from what is seen. The action of Time, for example, takes place quite spontaneously, in the shape of one season's now departing and another's coming on: let the behaviour of Nature, also, be thus; for the supposition conforms to observed facts: such is the meaning.

p. 263

b. But, still, a senseless Nature would never energize, or would energize the wrong way; because of there being [in her case,] no such communing as, 'This is my means of producing experience, &c.' To this he replies:

Nature acts from habit.

Aph. 61. * From her own nature she acts, not from thought; like a servant.

a. That is to say: as, in the case of an excellent servant, naturally, just from habit, 2 the appointed and necessary service of the master is engaged in, and not with a view to his own enjoyment, just so does Nature energize from habit alone.

p. 264

Or through the influence of Desert.

Aph. 62. * Or from attraction by Deserts, which have been from eternity.

a. Here the word 'or' is for connecting [this aphorism with the preceding one]. Since Desert has been from eternity, therefore, moreover, through attraction by Deserts, the energizing of Nature is necessary and rightly distributed: such is the meaning. 3

b. It being thus settled, then, that Nature is creative for the sake of another, he tells us, in the following section, 4 that, on the completion of that other's purpose, Liberation takes place through Nature's quite spontaneously ceasing to act:

p. 265

Nature desists when the end is gained.

Aph. 63. * From discriminative knowledge there is a cessation of Nature's creating; as is the case with a cook, when the cooking has been performed.

a. When Soul's aim has been accomplished, by means of indifference to all else, through discriminative knowledge of Soul, Nature's creating ceases; as, when the cooking is completed, the labour of the cook ceases: such is the meaning.

b. But, at that rate, since Nature's creating ceases through the production of discriminative knowledge in the case of a single Soul, we should find all liberated. To this he replies:

Liberation of one involves not that of all.

Aph. 64. * Another remains like another, through her fault.

a. But 'another,' i.e., one devoid of discriminative knowledge, remains 'like another,' i.e., just like one bound by p. 266 Nature. Why? 'Through her fault,' i.e., through the fault which may be described as her not accomplishing that soul's aim: such is the meaning.

b. He mentions the fruit of Nature's ceasing to act:

Liberation constists of what.

Aph. 65. * [The fruit of Nature's ceasing to act], the solitariness of both [Nature and Soul], or [which comes to the same thing,] of either, is liberation.

a. 'Of both,' i.e., of Nature and Soul, the 'solitariness,' i.e., the being alone, the mutual disjunction, in short, this is liberation.

b. But then, how would Nature, having attained indifference, through the mood in the shape of discrimination, on the liberation of a single Soul, again engage in creation, for the sake of another Soul? And you are not to say that this is no objection, because Nature consists of different portions, [it is not another Nature, but the same]; because we see, that, even out of the [mortal] constituents of the p. 267 liberated person, viz., his dust, &c., things are created for the experience of another. To this he replies:

p. 268

How Nature affects one, and not the other.

Aph. 66. * Moreover, [when Nature has left off distressing the emancipated,] she does not desist, in regard to her creative influence on another; as is the case with the snake, [which ceases to be a terror,] in respect of him who is aware of the truth in regard to the rope [which another mistakes for a snake]. 5

a. Nature, though, in respect of one Soul, she have desisted, in consequence of discriminative knowledge, does not desist as regards her creative influence on another Soul, but does create in respect of that one; as the snake [so to speak,] does not produce fear, &c., in the case of him who is aware of the truth in regard to the rope, but does produce it, in respect of him who is ignorant [that what p. 269 he looks upon is a rope, and not a snake]: such is the meaning. And Nature is likened to a snake, because of her disguising Soul, which is likened to a rope. Certain unintelligent persons, calling themselves Ved nt s, having quite failed to understand that such is the drift of such examples as those of the rope, the snake, &c., suppose that Nature is an absolute nothing, or something merely imaginary. The matters of Scripture and of the legal institutes are to be elucidated by means of this [or that] example offered by the S nkhyas, who assert the reality of Nature: it is not the case that the matter is simply established to be as is the example; [the analogy of which is not to be overstrained, as if the cases were parallel throughout].

p. 270

Another consideration why Nature should act.

Aph. 67. * And from connexion with Desert, which is the cause.

a. 'Desert,' which is the cause of creation, in consequence of the conjunction of this, also, she creates, for the sake of another Soul [than the emancipated one]: such is the meaning.

b. But then, since all Souls are alike indifferent, inasmuch as they do not desire [Nature's interference], what is it that here determines Nature to act only in regard to this one, and to desist in regard to that one? And Desert is not the determiner; because here, too, there is nothing to determine of which Soul what is the Desert; [Desert being inferrible only from, and, therefore, not cognizable antecendently to, its fruits]. To this he replies:

Nature's selection how determined.

Aph. 68. * Though there is [on Soul's part, this] indifference, yet want of discrimination is the cause of Nature's service.

p. 271

a. That is to say: although Souls are indifferent, yet Nature, just through [her own] non-discrimination, saying, 'This is my master,' 'This is I myself,' serves Souls, [towards their eventual emancipation], by creation, &c. And so, to what Soul, not having discriminated herself [therefrom], she has the habit 1 of showing herself, in respect just of that one does Nature energize; and this it is that determines her: such is the import.

b. Since it is her nature to energize, how can she desist, even when discrimination has taken place? To this he replies:

Nature energizes only till the end is attained.

Aph. 69. * Like a dancer does she, though she had been energizing, desist; because of the end's having been attained.

a. Nature's disposition to energize is only for the sake of Soul, and not universally. Therefore is it fitting that p. 272 Nature should desist, though she has been energizing, when the end has been attained, in the shape of the effectuation of Soul's aim; as a dancer, who has been performing, with the view of exhibiting a dance to the spectators, desists, on the accomplishment of this: such is the meaning.

b. He states another reason for the cessation:

This illustrated.

Aph. 70. * Moreover, when her fault is known, Nature does not approach [Soul]; like a woman of good family.

a. That is to say: Nature, moreover, ashamed at Soul's having seen her fault, in her transformations, and her taking the shape of pain, &c., does not again approach Soul; 'like a woman of good family;' i.e., as a [frail] woman of good family, ashamed at ascertaining that her fault p. 273 has been seen by her husband, does not approach her husband. 2

b. But then, if Nature's energizing be for the sake of Soul, Soul must be altered by Bondage and Liberation, [and not remain the unalterable entity which you allege it to be]. To this he replies:

Soul's relation to Bondage.

Aph. 71. * Bondage and Liberation do not actually belong to Soul, [and would not even appear to do so,] but for non-discrimination.

a. Bondage and Liberation, consisting in the conjunction of Pain, and its disjunction, do not 'actually,' i.e., really, belong to Soul; but, in the way mentioned in the fourth aphorism, they result only from non-discrimination: such is the meaning.

p. 274

b. But, in reality, Bondage and Liberation, as declared, belong to Nature alone: so he asserts:

Bondage is really Nature's.

Aph. 72. * They really belong to Nature, through consociation; like a beast.

a. Bondage and Liberation, through Pain, really belong to Nature, 2 'through consociation,' i.e., through her being hampered by the habits, &c., which are the causes of Pain; as a beast, through its being hampered by a rope, experiences Bondage and Liberation: such is the meaning.

b. Here, by what causes is there Bondage? Or by what is there Liberation? To this he replies:

p. 275

How Nature binds and liberates herself.

Aph. 73. * In seven ways does Nature bind herself; like the silk-worm: in one way does she liberate herself.

a. By Merit, Dispassion, Supernatural Power, Demerit, Ignorance, Non-dispassion, and Want of Power, viz., by habits, causes of Pain, in the shape of these seven, 'does Nature bind herself' with Pain; 'like the silk-worm;' i.e., as the worm that makes the cocoon binds itself by means of the dwelling which itself constructs. And that same Nature liberates herself from Pain 'in one way,' i.e., by Knowledge alone: such is the meaning.

b. But then, that which you assert, viz., that Bondage and Liberation result from Non-discrimination alone, is improper; because Non-discrimination can neither be p. 276 quitted nor assumed, and because, in the world, Pain, and its negative, Pleasure, &c., can, themselves, be neither quitted nor assumed: otherwise, [if you still insist on retaining the opinion objected to], there is disparagement of sense-evidence. Having pondered this, he himself [not leaving it to a commentator,] explains what was asserted in the fourth aphorism:

An objection met.

Aph. 74. * Non-discrimination is the cause [not the thing itself]; [so that] there is no disparagement of sense-evidence.

a. What was asserted before was this, that Non-discrimination is only the occasion of Bondage and Liberation in souls, and not that Non-discrimination itself is these two; therefore 'there is no disparagement of sense-evidence;' [for, though we see that Pain and Pleasure cannot be directly assumed or quitted, yet we also see that causes of them can be assumed or quitted]: such is the meaning.

p. 277

b. He mentions, among the means conducive to Discrimination, Study, which is the essence of them:

Means of Discrimination.

Aph. 75. * Discrimination is perfected through abandonment [of everything], expressed by a 'No, No,' through study of the [twenty-five] Principles.

a. Discrimination is effected through study of the Principles, in the shape of abandoning, by a 'No, No,' in regard to things unintelligent, ending with Nature, the conceit [that Nature, or any of her products, is Soul]. All the others [enumerated in the list of means] are only supplemental to Study: such is the meaning.

b. He states a speciality in regard to the perfecting of Discrimination:

p. 278

The means not efficacious everywhere.

Aph. 76. * Through the difference of those competent [to engage in the matter at all], there is no necessity [that each and every one should at once be successful].

a. Since there is a division, among those competent, into the sluggish, &c., though study be made, there is no certainty that, in this very birth, Discrimination will be accomplished: such is the meaning. Therefore, every one should, by strenuousness in study, acquire for himself the highest degree of competency: such is the import.

b. He states that Liberation takes place solely through the effecting of Discrimination, and not otherwise:

Imperfect Discrimination inefficacious.

Aph. 77. * Since what [Pain] has been repelled returns again, there comes, even from medium [but imperfect,] Discrimination, experience, [which it is desired to get entirely rid of].

a. But sluggish Discrimination [lower even than the p. 279 middling variety], antecedently to direct intuition, consists only of Hearing, Pondering, and Meditating: such is the division [of Discrimination].

Of Liberation during life.

Aph. 78. * And he who, living, is liberated.

a. That is to say: he, also, who, while living, is liberated is just in the condition of medium Discrimination.

b. He adduces evidence for there being some one liberated, though still living:

Proof that this may be.

Aph. 79. * It is proved by the fact of instructed and instructor.

a. That is to say: it is proved that there are such as are liberated during life, by the mention, in the Institutes, on the subject of Discrimination, of the relation of preceptor p. 280 and pupil; i.e., because it is only one liberated during life that can be an instructor [in this matter].

Further proof.

Aph. 80. * And there is Scripture. 2

a. There is also Scripture for there being persons liberated during life.

b. But then, merely through hearing, too, one might become [qualified to be] an instructor. To this he replies:

A suggestion repelled.

Aph. 81. * [And not through merely hearing is one qualified to become an instructor]: otherwise, there were blind tradition.

a. That is to say: otherwise, since even a person of sluggish Discrimination [but who, yet, had heard,] would be an instructor, we should have a blind handing down [of doctrines which would speedily become corrupted or lost].

p. 281

b. But then, when, through Knowledge, one's works [which are the cause of mundane existence,] have perished how can there [still] be life? To this he replies:

How life is compatible with Liberation.

Aph. 82. * Possessed of a body, [the emancipated sage goes on living]; like the whirling of a wheel.

a. Even on the cessation of the action of the potter, the wheel, of itself, revolves for some time, in consequence of the motal inertia resulting from the previous action. So, after knowledge, though actions do not arise, yet, through the [self-continuant] action of antecedent acts, possessing an energizing body, he remains living, yet liberated; 2 [and, if he did not, but if every one who gained true knowledge were, on gaining it, to disappear, true knowledge would cease to be handed down orally; and Kapila, probably, did not contemplate books, or did not think these a secure depository of the doctrine]: such is the meaning.

p. 282

b. But then, since the continuance 1 of experience, &c., is put an end to by that 'Meditation with distinct recognition of the object,' which [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book I., 17, 2 ] is the cause of knowledge, how can one retain a body? To this he replies:

Difficulty of shuffling off this mortal coil.

Aph. 83. * This [retention of a body] is occasioned by the least vestige of impression.

a. That is to say: the retention of a body is caused by even the least remains of those impressions 4 of objects which are the causes of having a body.

b. He recapitulates the sense of the declarations of the Institute:

p. 283


Aph. 84. * That which was to be done has been done, when entire Cessation of Pain has resulted from Discrimination; not otherwise, not otherwise.

a. So much for the Third Book, on Dispassion.


Share This

Suggestions for Further Reading


3 See, for another rendering, the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 36. Ed.

p. 242

3 Chh ndogya Upanishad, iii., xiv., 1. Ed.

p. 246

3 Aniruddha and Ved nt Mah deva transpose Aphorisms 33 and 34. Ed.

* Remove the brackets which enclose 'promoting.' Compare {Book VI., Aph. 24}.

p. 248

2 The five are there called 'afflictions' (kleśa). Ed.

5 See, for these, Dr. Ballantyne's edition of the Tattwa-sam sa, 63. Ed.

p. 251

2 Quoted below, from the S nkhya-k rik , with Mr. John Davies's translation:

'Nine varieties of acquiescence are set forth; four internal, named from Nature, means, time, and fortune; five external, relating to abstinence from objects of sense. Ed.

4 Here appended, with Mr. Davies's translation:

'The eight perfections (or means of acquiring perfection) are reasoning ( ha), word or oral instruction (śabda), study or reading (adhya-yana), p. 252 the suppression of the three kinds of pain, acquisition of friends, and liberality (d na). The three fore-mentioned (conditions) are checks to perfection.' Ed.

p. 253

3 It here follows, with the translation of Mr. Davies:

'The divine class has eight varieties; the animal, five. Mankind is single in its class. This is, in summary, the world (sarga, emanation,) of living things.' Ed.

p. 255

3 V san . Vide supra, p. 29, note 2. Ed.

p. 258

1 To render sansk ra. Ed.

p. 260

2 Pratishedha, on which vide supra, p. 112, note 3. Ed.

p. 263

2 As here, so again just below, this word renders sansk ra. Ed.

p. 264

3 See the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 36. Ed.

4 Read, instead of 'in the following section,' 'by an enunciation.' Ed.

p. 267

5 Of this Aphorism, and of the comment on it, MSS. of Vijn na's treatise afford a much better text than that here reprinted. In one of its more approved forms, that which Vijn na seems to elect, the original enunciation runs thus: 'Furthermore, she [Nature,] does not give over effecting creation, with reference to another, [i.e., another soul than that of the spiritual sage, though she creates for such a sage no longer; and she acts, in so doing,] analogously to a snake, with reference to him who is unenlightened as to the real p. 268 character of the rope' [which is mistaken for it; this illusory snake keeping him constantly in a state of alarm, though it ceases to affect him who has discovered that it is nothing more formidable than a yard or two of twisted hemp]. More closely, so far as regards the construction of the original: 'Furthermore, in like manner as a snake goes on influencing him who . . . . . [Nature persists] in effecting creation.' &c.

That upar ga, as embodied in the expression sṛishṭyupar ga, signifies 'causing,' 'effecting,' in the view of both Aniruddha and Ved nti Mah deva, who define it by karaṇa.

The Aphorism in question, mainly as just exhibited, together with preferable deviations from the comment as given by Dr. Ballantyne, will be found at p. 13 of the variants appended to my edition of the S nkkya-pravachana-bh shya. Ed.

p. 271

1 V san . Vide supra, p. 29, note 2. Ed.

p. 273

2 See the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 61.

p. 274

2 Read: 'Bondage and Liberation belong to Nature alone; because to it, in truth, belongs misery.' Ed.

p. 280

2 None of the commentators but Vijn na recognizes an Aphorism in these words; and it is very doubtful whether even he does so. Ed.

p. 281

2 For another rendering, see the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 31. Ed.

p. 282

1 V san . Vide supra, p. 29, note 2. Ed.

2 Which here follows, with Dr. Ballantyne's translation: '[Meditation, of the kind called] that in which there is distinct recognition [arises, in its fourfold shape,] from the attendance of (1) argumentation (vitarka). (2) deliberation (vich ra), (3) beatitude ( nanda), and (4) egotism (asmit ).' Ed.

4 This is to render the technicality sansk ra. Ed.

Source: The Sankhya Aphorisms of Kapila with illustrative extracts from the commentaries translated by James R. Ballantyne third edition edited by Fitzedward Hall [London, Tr bner & Co.] [1885]

Disclaimer: While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly, we do not guarantee the accurancy or the authenticity of the text or accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text. This text has been reproduced for general reading purposes only and readers are advised to refer the original text for any research or academic studies and references.