The Sankhya Sutras of Kapila, Book 2
a. The subject-matter [of the Institute] has been set forth [in Book I.]. Now, in order to prove that it is not the Soul that undergoes the alterations [observable in the course of things], he will tell, very diffusely, in the Second Book, how the creation is formed out of the Primal Principle. There, too, the nature of the products of Nature is to be declared fully, with a view to the very clear discrimination of Soul from these. Therefore, according to [the verses],1
c. we remark, that, with reference to the character, &c., of Emancipation, all the three [things mentioned in these verses] require to be known. And here, in the first place, with advertence to the consideration, that, if Nature, which is unintelligent, were to create without a motive, we should find even the emancipated one bound, he states the motive for the creation of the world:
The motive for creation.
Aph. 1.* Of Nature [the agency, or the being a maker, is] for the emancipation of what is [really, though not apparently,] emancipated, or else for [the removal of] itself.
a. The expression 'the being a maker' is borrowed from the last aphorism of the preceding Book. Nature makes the world for the sake of removing the pain, which is [really] a shadow [Book I., 58], belonging to the Soul, which is, in its very nature, free from the bonds of pain; or [to explain it otherwise,] for the sake of removing pain [connected] by means of but a shadowy link; or [on the other hand,] it is 'for the sake of itself,' that is to say, for the sake of removing the actually real pain [which consists] of itself.
c. But then, if creation were for the sake of Emancipation, then, since Emancipation might take place through creation once for all, there would not be creation again and again; to which he replies:3
Successive creation why.
Aph. 2.* Because this [Emancipation] is [only] of him that is void of passion.
a. Emancipation does not take place through creation once for all; but it is [the lot only] of him that has been extremely tormented many times by the various pain of birth, death, sickness, &c.; and, therefore, [successive creation goes on] because Emancipation actually occurs in the case only of him in whom complete dispassion has p. 187 arisen through the knowledge of the distinctness of Nature and Soul: such is the meaning.
Force of the foregoing reason.
a. Even the hearing [of Scripture, in which the distinctness of Nature from Soul is enounced,] comes [not to all alike, but only] through the merit of acts done in many births, [or successive lives]. Even then dispassion is not established through the mere hearing, but through direct cognition; and direct cognition does not take place suddenly, because of the forcibleness of false impressions that p. 188 have existed from eternity, but [the required direct cognition takes place] through the completion of Concentration; and there is an abundance of obstacles to Concentration [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book II]: therefore, only after many births do dispassion and Emancipation take place at any time of any one at all: such is the meaning.
Another reason for continuous creation.
Aph. 4.* Or as people have, severally, many dependants.
a. As householders have, severally, many who are dependent upon them, according to the distinctions of wife, children, &c., so, also, the Qualities, viz., Goodness, &c., [Book I., 61. b.] have to emancipate innumerable Souls, severally. Therefore, however many Souls may have been emancipated, the onflow of creation takes place for the emancipation of other Souls; for Souls are [in number,] without end: such is the meaning. And so the Yoga aphorism [Book II., 22] says: 'Though it have ceased p. 189 to be, in respect of him that has done the work, it has not [absolutely] ceased to be; because it is common to others besides him.'
b. But then why is it asserted that Nature alone creates, when, by the text, 'From that or this Soul proceeded the Ether,'2 &c., it is proved that Soul, also, creates? To this he replies:
Nature, not Soul, creates.
Aph. 5.* And, since it [the character of creator,] belongs, really, to Nature, it follows that it is fictitiously attributed to Soul.
b. But then, if it be thus, how is it laid down that Nature's creativeness, moreover, is real; since we are told [in Scripture,] that creation, moreover, is on a level with a dream? To this he replies:
The reality of Nature's creativeness.
Aph. 6.* Since it is proved from the products.
a. That is to say: because the real creative character of Nature is established just 'from the products,' viz., by that evidence [see Book I., 110,] which acquaints us with the subject [in which the creative character inheres]; for products are real, inasmuch as they produce impressions and exhibit acts. [The reality of eternal things is established here, just as it is by Locke, who says: 'I think p. 191 God has given me assurance enough as to the existence of things without me; since, by their different application, I can produce, in myself, both pleasure and pain (artha), which is one great concernment of my present state.' These existing products being admitted, the S nkhya argues that they must have a cause; and, as this cause means neither more nor less than something creative, whatever proves the existence of the cause proves, at the same time, its creative character.]
b. But then [it may be said], on the alternative [see 1] that Nature works for herself, she must energize with reference to the emancipated Soul, also. To this he replies:
Who escape nature.
Aph. 7.* The rule is with reference to one knowing; just as escape from a thorn.
a. The word chetana here means 'one knowing;' because the derivation is from chit, 'to be conscious'. As one and the same thorn is not a cause of pain to him who, being 'one knowing,' i.e., aware of it, escapes from that same, but actually is so in respect of others; so Nature, also, is escaped by 'one knowing,' one aware, one who has accomplished the matter: to him it does not consist of pain; but to others, who are not knowing, it actually is a cause of pain: such is p. 192 the 'rule,' meaning, the distribution. Hence, also, of Nature, which is, by its own nature, bound [inasmuch as it consists of bonds], the self-emancipation is possible; so that it does not energize with reference to the emancipated Soul [ 6. b.].
b. But then [suggests some one], what was said [at 5], that, in respect of Soul, the creative character is only fictitiously attributed, this is not proper; because it is fitting, that, by the conjunction of Nature, Soul, also, should be modified into Mind, &c.; for a modification of wood, &c., resembling earth, &c., through the conjunction of earth, &c., is seen: to which he replies:
Soul not creative, though associated with what is so.
Aph. 8.* Even though there be conjunction [of Soul] with the other [viz., Nature], this [power of giving rise to products] does not exist in it immediately; just like the burning action of iron.
a. Even though there be conjunction with Nature, there belongs to Soul no creativeness, 'immediately,' i.e., directly. An illustration of this is, 'like the burning action of iron:' as iron does not possess, directly, a burning Power; but this is only fictitiously attributed to it, being through the fire conjoined with it: such is the meaning. But, in the example just mentioned, it is admitted that there is an alteration of both; for this is proved by sense-evidence: but, in the instance under doubt, since the case is accounted for by the modification of one only, there is cumbrousness in postulating the modification of both; because, otherwise, by the conjunction of the China-rose, it might be held that the colour of the crystal was changed.
b. It has already been stated [ 1] that the fruit of creation is emancipation. Now he states the principal occasional cause of creation:
Aph. 9.* When there is passion, or dispassion, there is concentration, [in the latter case, and] creation, [in the former].
a. When there is passion, there is creation; and, when there is dispassion, there is 'concentration,' i.e., the abiding [of Soul] in its own nature [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book I., 32]; in short, emancipation, or the hindering of the modifications of the thinking principle [Yoga Aphorisms, Book I., 22]: such is the meaning. And so the import is, that Passion is the cause of creation; because of their being3 simultaneously present or absent.
Order of creation.
Nature's products not for themselves.
Aph. 11.* Since creation is for the sake of Soul the origination of these [products of Nature] is not for their own sake.
a. 'Of these,' i.e., of Mind, &c., since the creativeness is 'for the sake of Soul,' i.e., for the sake of the emancipation of Soul, the 'origination,' i.e., the creativeness, is not for the sake of themselves; since, inasmuch as they are perishable, they [unlike Nature, (see 1)] are not susceptible of emancipation: such is the meaning.
Relative time and space whence.
Aph. 12.* [Relative] Space and Time [arise] from the Ether, &c.
a. The Space and Time which are eternal [and absolute], being the source of the Ether, are, really, sorts of qualities of Nature: therefore it is consistent that Space and Time should be all-pervading. But the Space and Time which are limited arise from the Ether, through the conjunction of this or that limiting object: such is the meaning. By the expression '&c.,' [in the aphorism,] is meant 'from the apprehending of this or that limiting object.'
b. Now he exhibits, in their order, through their nature and their habits, the things mentioned [in 10] as 'in the order of Mind, &c.':
Mind or Intellect defined.
Aph. 13.* Intellect is judgment.
a. 'Intellect' is a synonym of 'the Great Principle' [or Mind (see Book I., 71)]; and 'judgment,' called [also] ascertainment, is its p. 197 peculiar modification: such is the meaning. But they are set forth as identical, because a property and that of which it is the property are indivisible.1 And it is to be understood, that this Intellect is 'Great,' because it pervades all effects other than itself, and because it is of great power.
Products of intellect.
Aph. 14.* Merit, &c., are products of it.
a. The meaning is, that Merit, Knowledge, Dispassion, and Supernatural Power, moreover, are formed out of intellect, not formed of self-consciousness (ahank ra), &c.; because intellect alone [and not self-consciousness,] is a product of superlative Purity, [without admixture of Passion and Darkness].
Opposite products of intellect.
a. That same 'Great one,' i.e., the Great Principle [or intellect], through being tinged with Passion and Darkness, also becomes 'reversed' [see 14. a.], i.e., vile, with the properties of Demerit, Ignorance, Non-dispassion, and want of Supernatural Power: such is the meaning.
Aph. 16.* Self-consciousness is a conceit.
a. 'Self-consciousness' is what makes the Ego, as a potter [makes a pot]; the thing [called] the internal* instrument (antaẖ-karaṉa): and this, inasmuch as a property and that of which it is the property are indivisible, is spoken of as 'a conceit,'1 [viz., of personality], in order to acquaint us that this is its peculiar modification. Only when a thing has been determined by intellect [i.e., by an act of judgment (see 13. a.)], do the making of an Ego and the making of a Meum take place.
Product of Self-consciousness.
Aph. 17.* The product of it [viz., of Self-consciousness,] is the eleven [organs], and the five Subtile Elements.
a. The meaning is, that the eleven organs, with the p. 200 five Subtile Elements, viz., Sound, &c., are the product of Self-consciousness.
The Mind whence.
Aph. 18.* The eleventh, consisting of [the principle of] Purity, proceeds from modified Self-consciousness.
a. The 'eleventh,' i.e., the completer of the eleven, viz., Mind, [or the 'internal organ,' which is not to be confounded with 'the Great one,' called also Intellect and Mind, alone,] among the set consisting of sixteen [ 17], consists of Purity; therefore it is produced from Self-consciousness 'modified,' i.e., pure: such is the meaning. And hence, too, it is to be reckoned that the ten organs are from the Passionate Self-consciousness; and the Subtile Elements, from the Dark Self-consciousness.
Of the Organs.
Aph. 19.* Along with the organs of action and the organs of understanding another is the eleventh.
a. The organs of action are five, viz., the vocal organ, the hands, the feet, the anus, and the generative organ; and, the organs of understanding are five, those called the organs of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. Along with these ten, 'another,' viz., Mind, is 'the eleventh,' i.e., is the eleventh organ: such is the meaning.
The Ny ya view rejected.
Aph. 20.* They [the organs,] are not formed of the Elements; because there is Scripture for [their] being formed of Self-consciousness.
A text explained.
Aph. 21.* The Scripture regarding absorption into deities is not [declaratory] of an originator.
a. That Scripture which there is about absorption into deities is not 'of an originator,' that is to say, it does not refer to an originator; because [although a thing, e.g., a jar, when it ceases to be a jar, is usually spoken of as being resolved into its originator, viz., into earth, yet] we see the absorption of a drop of water into what, nevertheless, is not its originator, viz., the ground; [and such is the absorption into a deity from whom the Mind absorbed did not originally emanate].
No organ eternal.
Aph. 22.* [None of the organs is eternal, as some hold the Mind to be;] because we have Scripture for their beginning to be, and because we see their destruction.
a. All these organs, without exception, have a beginning; for the Scripture says, 'From this are produced the vital air, the mind, and all the organs;'2 &c., and because we are certified of their destruction by the fact that, in the conditions of being aged, &c., the mind, also, like the sight and the rest, decays, &c.: such is the meaning.
The Sense not to be confounded with its site.
Aph. 23.* The Sense is supersensuous; [it being the notion] of mistaken persons [that the Sense exists] in [identity with] its site.
a. Every Sense is supersensuous, and not perceptible; but only in the opinion of mistaken persons does the Sense exist 'in its site,' e.g., [Sight,] in the eye-ball, in the condition of identity [with the eye-ball]: such is the meaning. The correct reading is: '[The sense is something supersensuous; to confound it with] the site, [is a mistake].'
All the organs are not one organ.
Aph. 24.* Moreover, a difference being established if a difference of powers be [conceded], there is not a oneness [of the organs].
a. Even by the admission that a diversity of powers belongs to one single organ, the diversity of organs is established; because the powers are, assuredly, organs; therefore, there is not a singleness of organ: such is the meaning.
Theoretical considerations cannot upset facts.
Aph. 25.* A theoretical discordance is not [of any weight,] in the case of what is matter of ocular evidence.
Diversified operation of Mind.
Aph. 26.* The Mind identifies itself with both
How this happens.
Aph. 27.* By reason of the varieties of transformation of [which] the Qualities [are susceptible], there is a diversity [of their product, the Mind,] according to circumstances.
a. As one single man supports a variety of characters, through the force of association, being, through association with his beloved, a lover; through association with one indifferent, indifferent; and, through association with some other, something other, so the Mind, also, through association with the organ of vision, or any other, becomes various, from its becoming one with the organ of vision, or any other; by its being [thereby] distinguished by the modification of seeing, or the like. The argument in support of this is, 'of the Qualities,' &c.; the meaning being, because of the adaptability of the Qualities, Goodness, &c., to varieties of transformation.p. 207
What the organs deal with.
Aph. 28.* Of both [sets of organs the object is that list of things], beginning with Colour, and ending with the dirt of Taste.
The Organs and their possessors.
Aph. 29.* The being the seer, &c., belongs to the Soul; the instrumentality belongs to the Organs.
a. For, as a king, even without himself energizing, becomes a warrior through his instrument, his army, by directing this by orders simply, so the Soul, though quiescent, through all the organs, of vision, &c., becomes a seer, a speaker, and a judger, and the like, merely through the proximity called 'Conjunction;' because it moves these, as the lodestone [does the iron, without exerting any effort].
Difference in the internal organs.
Aph. 30.* Of the three [internal organs] there is a diversity among themselves.
a. The aspect of Intellect is attention1; of Self-consciousness, conceit [of personality]; of the Mind, decision and doubt.
A character common to the three.
Aph. 31.* The five airs, viz., Breath, &c., are the modifications, in common, of the [three internal] instruments.
a. That is to say: the five, in the shape of Breath, &c., which are familiarly known as 'airs', because of their circulating as the air does, these [animal spirits] are the joint or common 'modification,' or kinds of altered form, 'of the instruments,' i.e., of the triad of internal instruments.
b. The opinion is not ours, as it is that of the Vaiśeshikas, p. 210 that the modifications of the organs take place successively only, and not simultaneously. So he says:
Sense-impressions, &c., not excusively successive.
Aph. 32.* The modifications of the organs take place successively and simultaneously.
The ideas which constitute the world.
a. That the modifications are of five sorts is declared by Patanjali's aphorism, [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book I., 62]
Soul's relation thereto.
a. That is to say: during the state of repose of these modifications, it [the Soul], the reflexion of these having ceased, is abiding in itself; being, at other times, also, as it were, in isolation, [though seemingly not so]. And to this effect there is a triad of Aphorisms of the Yoga, [viz., Book I., 2, 3, and 46].
Aph. 35.* And as [by] a flower, the gem.
a. The 'and' implies that this is the reason [of what was asserted in the preceding aphorism]; the meaning being, as the gem [is tinged, apparently,] by a flower. As the gem called rock-crystal, by reason of a flower of the Hibiscus, becomes red, not abiding in its own state, and, on the removal thereof, becomes colourless, abiding in its own state, in like manner [is the Soul apparently tinged by the adjunction of the Qualities].
b. But then [it may be asked], by whose effort does the aggregate of the organs come into operation; since Soul is motionless, and since it is denied3 that there is any Lord [or Demiurgus]? To this he replies:
What moves the Organs to operate.
Aph. 36.* The Organs also arise, for the sake of Soul from the development of desert.
a. The meaning is, that, just as Nature energizes 'for the sake of Soul,' so 'the Organs also arise;' i.e., the energizing of the Organs is just in consequence of the development of the deserts of the soul: [see Yoga Aphorisms, Book II., 13. b.]. And the desert belongs entirely to the investment; [the Soul not really possessing either merit or demerit].
Aph. 37.* As the cow for the calf.
a. As the cow, for the sake of the calf, quite spontaneously secretes milk, and awaits no other effort, just so, for the sake of the master, Soul, the Organs energize quite spontaneously: such is the meaning. And it is seen, that, p. 214 out of profound sleep, the understanding of its own accord wakes up.
The number of the Organs.
Aph. 38.* Organ is of thirteen sorts, through division of the subordinates.
a. The triad of internal organs, and the ten external organs, combined, are thirteen. He says 'sorts,' in order to declare that, of these, moreover, there is an infinity, through [their] distinction into individuals. He says 'through division of the subordinates,' with a reference to the fact, that it is understanding which is the principal organ; the meaning being, because the organs [or functions,] of the single organ, called understanding, are more than one.
b. But then, since understanding [it seems,] alone is the principal instrument in furnishing its object [of emancipation] to Soul, and the instrumentality of the others is secondary, in this case what is [meant by] secondariness?1 [Why are they said to be instrumental at all?] In regard to this he says:
Efficiency of the Organs whence.
Aph. 39.* Because the quality of being most efficient is conjoined with the organs; as in the case of an axe.
a. The quality of the [principal] organ, the understanding, in the shape of being most efficient on behalf of soul, exists, derivatively, in the [other derivative] organs. Therefore it is made out that an organ is of thirteen kinds: such is the connexion with the preceding aphorism:
b. 'As in the case of an axe.' As, although the blow itself, since it is this that puts an end to our non-possession of the result, is the principal efficient in the cutting, yet the axe, also, is an efficient, because of its close proximity to the quality of being the principal efficient, so [here, also]: such is the meaning. He does not here say that Self-consciousness is secondarily efficient, meaning to imply that it is one with the internal organ.*
Preeminent efficiency of Mind illustrated.
Aph. 40.* Among the two [the external and the internal organs], the principal is Mind; just as, in the world, among troops of dependants.
a. 'Among the two,' viz., the external and the internal, 'Mind,' i.e., understanding, simply, is 'the principal,' i.e., p. 217 chief; in short, is the immediate cause; because it is that which furnishes Soul with its end; just as, among troops of dependants, some one single person is the prime minister of the king; and the others, governors of towns, &c., are his subordinates: such is the meaning.
b. Here the word 'Mind' does not mean the third internal organ, [( 30. a.) but Intellect, or 'the Great One.']
A reason why Understanding is the principal.
Aph. 41.* [And Intellect is the principal, or immediate and direct, efficient in Soul's emancipation;] because there is no wandering away.
a. That is to say: because it [understanding,] pervades p. 218 all the organs; or because there is no result apart from it.
Aph. 42.* So, too, because it [the understanding,] is the depository of all self-continuant impressions.
a. Understanding alone is the depository of all self-continuant impressions, and not the Sight, &c., or Self-conconsciousness, or the Mind; else it could not happen that things formerly seen, and heard, &c., would be remembered by the blind, and deaf, &c.
Aph. 43.* And because we infer this [its preeminence] by reason of its meditating.
a. That is to say: and because we infer its preeminence, 'by reason of its meditating,' i.e., its modification in the shape of meditation. For the modification of thought called 'meditation' is the noblest of all the modifications [incident to Soul, or pure Thought, whose blessedness, or state of emancipation, it is to have no modification at all]; and the Understanding itself which, as being the depository thereof, is, further, named Thought [chitta, from the p. 219 same root as chint 1], is nobler than the organs whose modifications are other than this: such is the meaning.
Meditation not essential to Soul.
Aph. 44.* It cannot be of its own nature.
b. But then, if thus the preeminence belongs to understanding alone, how was it said before [at 26,] that it is the Mind that takes the nature of both [sets of organs, in p. 220 apparent contradiction to the view propounded at 39]? To this he replies:
An organ may be, relatively, principal, or secondary.
Aph. 45.* The condition [as regards Soul's instruments,] of secondary and principal is relative; because of the difference of function.
a. In respect to the difference of function, the condition, as secondary, or principal, of the instruments [of Soul] is relative. In the operations of the Sight, &c., the Mind is principal; and, in the operation of the Mind, Self-consciousness, and, in the operation or Self-consciousness, Intellect, is principal [or precedent].
Every one reaps as he has sowed.
Aph. 46.* The energizing [of this or that Intellect] is for the sake of this [or that Soul]; because of [its] having been purchased by the works [or deserts] of this [or that Soul]; just as in the world.
a. The meaning is, that, 'the energizing,' i.e., all operation, of the instrument is for the sake of this [or that] Soul; because of [its] having been purchased by this [or that] Soul's works [or deserts]; just as in the world. As, in the world [or in ordinary affairs], whatever axe, or the like, has been purchased by the act, e.g., of buying, by whatever man, the operation of that [axe, or the like], such as cleaving, is only for the sake of that man [who purchased it]: such is the meaning. The import is, that therefrom is the distributive allotment of instruments [inquired about under 45. b.]
b. Although there is no act in Soul, because it is immovable, p. 222 still, since it is the means of Soul's experience, it is called the act of Soul; just like the victories, &c., of a king [which are, really, the acts of his servants]; because of Soul's being the owner [of the results of acts; as the king is of the results of the actions of his troops].
Aph. 47.* Admitting that they [the various instruments of Soul, all] equally act, the preeminence belongs to Intellect; just as in the world, just as in the world.
a. Although the action of all the instruments is the same, in being for the sake of Soul, still the preeminence belongs to Intellect alone: just as in the world. The meaning is, because it is just as the preeminence, in the world, belongs to the prime minister, among the rulers of towns, and the rest, even although there be no difference so far as regards their being [all alike workers] for the sake of the king. Therefore, in all the Institutes, Intellect alone is celebrated as 'the Great One.' The repetition p. 223 [viz., 'just as in the world, just as in the world,'] implies the completion of the Book.
Suggestions for Further Reading
- Essays On Dharma
- Esoteric Mystic Hinduism
- Introduction to Hinduism
- Hindu Way of Life
- Essays On Karma
- Hindu Rites and Rituals
- The Origin of The Sanskrit Language
- Symbolism in Hinduism
- Essays on The Upanishads
- Concepts of Hinduism
- Essays on Atman
- Hindu Festivals
- Spiritual Practice
- Right Living
- Yoga of Sorrow
- Mental Health
- Concepts of Buddhism
- General Essays
1 Here add, 'in the Moksha-dharma, &c.'; and read, instead of 'we remark . . . . Emancipation,' 'there is the declaration that.'
The verses quoted are from the Mah bh rata, xii., 7879, and occur in Chap. ccxvi., in the Section entitled Moksha-dharma. Ed.
3 For another rendering of the original of a., b., and c., see my translation of the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 62. Ed.
2 Taittir ya Upanishad, ii., 1. But read: 'From this, from this same self.' &c. Ed.
1 See, for a different rendering, the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 45. Ed.
2 I.e., 'influence.' Ed.
1 For another version, see the Rational Refutation, &c., p. 45. Ed.
* 'An internal' is better.
2 Muṇḍaka Upanishad, ii., i., 3. Ed.
4 Literally the same words are found in the Yoga Aphorisms, Book I., 5. Ed.
2 Namely: 'Evidence, misprision, chimera, unconsciousness, memory.' Ed.
6 'Concentration (yoga) is the hindering of the modifications of the thinking principle.' 'Then [i.e., at the time of Concentration,] p. 212 it [the Soul,] abides in the form of the spectator [without a spectacle].' 'At other times [than that of Concentration] it [the Soul,] is in the same form as the modifications [of the internal organ].' Dr. Ballantyne's translation is here quoted. Ed.
1 Instead of 'in this case,' &c., read, 'what is the character of these [i.e., organs]? Ed.
* Instead of 'it is one with the internal organ,' read 'the internal organ is really one.' The implication is, that buddhi, ahank ra, and manas really make one whole, called manas, in the wider sense of that term.
1 The two words are, respectively, from chit and chint, which are cognate. 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.] 
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.
Translate the Page