Definition - S. N.
This is the theory of the sAMkhya school.
It is in contrast to asatkArya vAda which is
the theory held by the nyAya-vaisheShika school.
According to asatkArya vAda the effect is not
pre-existent in its material cause, but it is
altogether a new creation. That is to say, the
effect, kArya, is asat, non-existent, in the
cause. The cause becomes non-existent and from
that non-existence a new product emerges as a
new creation. sAMkhya rejects this theory, pointing
out that, if the effect is not already in the
cause, then anything can be produced from anything
else; curd can be produced from water and oil
from sand. So the sAMkhya-s hold that the effect,
kArya, must exist (sat) in the cause. The sAMkhya-s
further hold that there is a real transformation
or pariNAma of the cause into the effect and that both the
cause and the effect are real.
advaita vedAnta accepts one part of satkArya
vAda, namely, that the effect pre-exists in the
cause, as is clear from the quotations from Shri
Shankara’s bhAShya given below:
bhAShya on Br. Up. 1.2.1—
“The effect exists before it is produced.
The manifestation of the effect (from the cause)
points to its pre-existence”.
“Obstruction is of two kinds. When an
effect, such as a pot, has become manifest from
its cause, clay, darkness and the wall, etc.,
are obstructions, while before its manifestation
from the clay the obstruction consists in the
particles of clay remaining as some other effect
such as a lump. Therefore the effect, pot, although
existent, is not perceived before its manifestation,
as it is hidden”.
From the above statements it is clear that
the effect exists in the cause according to advaita
The other part of the sAMkhya theory of satkArya
vAda, namely, that there is an actual transformation
of the cause into the effect and that the effect
is also real, is not accepted by advaita vedAnta.
According to advaita the effect is only a different
configuration of the cause and is not real. The
effect is only a vivarta or transfiguration of
the cause and not a transformation. This is clear
from the following statements in the bhAShya:
Ch. 6.1.4--- The effect is non-different from
its material cause. All modification is mere
Ch. 6.2.2--- The same existence continues in
a different configuration. As, for instance,
a snake forms into a coil, and clay continues
in different forms as dust, lump, potsherds,
etc. A snake is the same whether it is coiled
or stretched out. A man sitting does not become
different when he lies down. Similarly gold remains
as gold whether it is in the form of a chain
or a bangle or any other ornament.
A pot is merely a configuration of clay and has
no reality apart from clay.
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