Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda: Criticism And Refutation Of Sāṃkhya Philosophy

ṇa sayaṃ baddho kamme ṇa sayaṃ pariṇamadi kohamādihiṃ.
 jadi esa tujjha jῑvo appariṇāmῑ tadā hodi..

aparinamaṃtamhi sayaṃ jῑve kohādiehi bhāvehiṃ.
 saṃsārassa abhāvo passajjade saṃkhasamao vā..

poggalakammaṃ koho jῑvaṃ pariṇamaedi kohattaṃ.
 taṃ sayamapariṇamaṃtaṃ kiha pariṇāmayadi koho..

aha sayamappā pariṇamadi kohabhāveṇa esa de buddhῑ.
 koho pariṇāmayade jῑvaṃ kohattamidi micchā..

kohuvajutto koho māṇuvajutto ya māṇamevādā.
 māuvajutto māyā lohuvajutto havadi loho..

(In these verses, the author addresses his disciple who has a leaning towards Sāṃkhya philosophy-)

(Jadi tujjha) If you believe that (esa jῑvo kamme sayam ṇa baddho) this state [worldly existence] of soul-in-bondage is not its own mutation and (kohamādῑhiṃ sayaṃ ṇa pariṇamadi) that it does not mutate as psychic condition such as anger and the like (tadā appariṇāmῑ hodi) then the soul will be depicted as absolutely immutable.

(Kohādiehi bhāvehiṃ jῑve sayaṃ apariṇamaṃtamhi) And absence of mutation of the soul into psychic conditions such as anger and the like (saṃsārassa abhāvo pasajjade) would ultimately lead to non-existence of the worldly state of the soul (vā saṃkhasamao) i.e. in other words [your belief] is identical with Sāṃkhya philosophy.

(Poggalakammaṃ koho) Again if you believe that karmic matter in the state of anger (dravya karma) (jῑvaṃ kohattaṃ pariṇāmaedi) is the substantive cause for producing psychic condition of anger etc. in the soul, then (sayamapariṇamaṃtaṃ taṃ kohattaṃ kiha pariṇāmayadi) how can the said state of anger mutate an immutable soul?

(Aha) And again (sayaṃ appā) the soul, itself, (kohabhāveṇa pariṇamadi) mutates into the psychical states of anger (de esa buddhῑ) is what you believe, then (koho jῑvaṃ kohattaṃ parināmayade idi micchā) to say that [physical] anger is the causal agent for producing psychical state of anger will be false.

(Therefore it is proved that) (kohuvajutto ādā koho havadi) The soul which manifests its consciousness as the psychic state of anger is anger, (māṇuvajutto māṇameva) which manifests arrogance is arrogance (māuvajutto māyā), which manifests deceit is deceit (lohuvajutto loho) which manifests greed is greed.


In these ten verses, Ācārya Kundakunda has criticized as well as refuted the Sāṃkhya philosophy. He has chosen this system because there is much in it which is similar to Jain philosophy. But the fundamental differences between the two systems are irreconcilable as we shall presently see.

We have, on more than one occasion, referred to the non-absolutist realism of the Jain philosophy, called anekāntavāda or the law of multiple nature of reality. It corrects the partiality of absolutist philosophies by supplementing the other side of reality, which escaped them. Anekāntavāda insists that the nature of reality/ truth is to be determined in conformity with the evidence of experience undeterred by the considerations of abstract logic. Loyalty to experience and to fundamental concepts of philosophy alike makes the conclusion inevitable that absolutism must be surrendered. A real-such as a soul-is neither eternal nor non-eternal in absolute sense, but partakes of both the characteristics; and this does not mean any offense to the canons of logic. The dual nature of things is proved by a reductio ad absurdum of the opposite views. Thus the law of causation, whether in the moral or in the physical plane, is divested of its raison d'etre, if absolutism as adhered to. An absolute real (e.g. eternally and absolutely immutable puruṣa) can neither be a cause nor an effect. An effect already in existence has no necessity for a cause, and an eternal cause, unamenable to change, is self-contradictory, in as much as an eternal cause would produce an eternal effect. But both the terms 'eternal cause' and 'eternal effect' have no meaning. Hence, the truth is that the effect is both pre-existent and pre-non-existent. So far as it is a passing phase of the causal substances and so far as it is a novel emergence it is pre-non-existent. But so far it is a continuation of the causal substance, it is pre-existent. The same is true of identity and difference. The effect and the cause are identical and different both. There is no contradiction as identity qua substance and difference qua modes are attested by indubitable experience. The contradiction would be insuperable of both identity and difference qua substance were insisted. But Jain philosophy of anekānta never does this. It is a pity that rival systems, instead of profiting by the wisdom of the Jain philosopher, have maligned him without trying to understand his real import. He is criticized for insisting that cause and effect are identical in the same reference and in all its implications and on the ground of advocating the identity and difference of the cause and effect both as substance. But this has never been done by the Jains [1] and so the criticism is based on hasty and false interpretation.

After this brief digression in the correct interpretation of non-absolutism of Jains, let us revert to our original subject of refutation of Sāṃkhya views. In the cosmic drama, both systems recognize two primordial categories as the principal actors, viz., (i) a principle of consciousness, called the soul (jῑva) by the Jains and puruṣa by the Sāṃkhaya and (ii) its opposite-devoid of consciousness but endowed with sense-data—called pudgala and prakṛti respectively. Both again, recognize and accept the intrinsic purity of the self and its capacity to recover its essential nature. But whereas Sāṃkhya system insists on the eternally pure and absolutely immulatable nature of puruṣa, non-absolutist Jains believe in the mutability of the soul. According to Sāṃkhya system, prakṛti somehow belongs to the puruṣa who enjoys it though keeping quite unaffected by and aloof from it. In fact, they emphasize that the puruṣa appears as involved without being really so.[2]  It always remains as it is absolutely immutable. It is the prakṛti that knows, thinks and wills and it is again the prakṛti that retires to the state of eternal motionlessness. Thus the whole concept is meaningless, because the fact of bondage of the puruṣa is not admitted. But the fundamental hypothesis of Sāṃkhya system does not warrant the acceptance of bondage for the puruṣa. And consequently, it becomes impossible for the system to account for the constant urge for emancipation and the means prescribed for its fulfilment. Is there any need or justification for earnest straining for the release of the prakṛti which is only an unconscious instrument of fulfillment of the interests of puruṣa! Puruṣa is inactive consciousness, intelligizing the prakṛti, i.e., if the puruṣa is responsible for anything in the drama, it is this element of intelligizing. Intelligizing, however, does not mean any action or effort on the part of puruṣa. Moreover, although this puruṣa is of the nature of consciousness, the functions of knowing, thinking and willing do not belong to him. The Sāṃkhya system intended to preserve the immutable character of the puruṣa by keeping him free from all functions whatsoever. But it did so at the cost of a number of unsurmountable difficulties. Some of the self-contradictory weak points of Sāṃkhya philosophy can be summed up thus: Consciousness does not know the objects, the buddhi is unconscious. Bondage and emancipation do not belong to the puruṣa. How can consciousness (puruṣa) be without knowledge (jñāna) and the knowing buddhi without consciousness? How can the puruṣa enjoy the prakṛti if he is absolutely immutable? The high and lofty philosophy of Sāṃkhya, explaining away the difficulties, have little fascination for the Jain philosopher. Ācārya Kundakunda, also takes a dim view of the Sāṃkhya philosophy and admonishes a junior asectic (who has leaning towards that system) and refutes the immutability of the soul as illogical and illegitimate. If only the Sāṃkhya would accept the law of non-absolutism, all their self-contradictory conceptions could be validated. It is the absolute immutability of puruṣa that makes the entire philosophy meaningless.

Accepting the intrinsic purity of the soul to be as real as the state of bondage, Ācārya Kundakunda finally asserts that, though transcendentally the anger and the like are not identical with the soul, empirically all the four passions are real modifications of the soul because of its real mutability.


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Samayasara - by Acharya Kundakunda Publishers:
Jain Vishva Bharati University First Edition: 2009

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anekānta
  2. Anekāntavāda
  3. Anger
  4. Buddhi
  5. Consciousness
  6. Deceit
  7. Dravya
  8. Dravya karma
  9. Greed
  10. Jain Philosophy
  11. Jñāna
  12. Karma
  13. Karmic matter
  14. Kundakunda
  15. Non-absolutism
  16. Prakṛti
  17. Pudgala
  18. Puruṣa
  19. Sayam
  20. Science
  21. Soul
  22. Sāṃkhya
  23. Ācārya
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