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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -8



We have refuted the Lokayata doctrine which holds that  there is no inference. Now we  proceed to refute amongst the Buddhists who are their (carvāka’s) close allies, the Madhyamikas1, who refuse to recognize both perception and inference. So as to refute (our) counter-attacks against Perception (accepted by the materialists who have been refuted in the previous chapter) what he says is this:


1VII-X Chapters of the Paramata-Bhanga.


            What Buddha who has been acclaimed (by his disciples) as the well-known Sarvajna (all-knower) says is alone truth (pramana). He (Madhyamikan) establishes universal  Negation (sarva-sunyatva   NOVEMBER, 2004  BETWEEN


V. SHANTHA RAM, S/Odoctrine of Buddha (Sugata) by a progressive negation of (i) permanence (of objects (ii) of things that are perceived (iii) of external objects, (iv) of relationship between quality and substance etc., even like the example of the sanyāsin who slowly stretches his limbs2. Further, as in the passage,


 “I Know This”: All groups of things which are held to be the knower, the knowledge and the known, re found to be other than all the four countings such as (1)existent, (2) non-existent, (3) existent non-existent, (4) other than existent-nonexistent.  (4) other than existent-nonexistent.

This (therefore) is the essence 9of the doctrine of the Buddha). Not existent, not non-existence, not existent-non existence, (but that which is) beyond these four-fold countings (kotis) is what the Madhyamikan knows to be the truth (tattvam).


1Translated by some as he mediocre (Gough).

2 Sarvadarsana samgraha : “by a show profession like the intrusive steps of a mendicant.” The absolute extreme nature of the doctrine of Nihilism can only be taught by stages, and conversion is a slow process of can only be taught by stages, and conversion is a slow process of leading a disciple. To accept the common sense position  and then to refute it is Socratean method. Buddha was the forerunner of the method. The sanysin slowly stretches his legs because of old age or other causes.


      By discrimination of these (countings), their (objects etc) nature is not known. Therefore that undiscriminated thing is known to be without any nature. In this manner the doctrine (of Madhyamikas) is explained.


      (This being the truth), therefore when the dream-creation-like objects of waking-consciousness are known to be chimerical like the sky-flower, then there is no need to seek the other-worldly things like heaven and liberation. All the activities of the sense-world, like dream-activities, move on pleasantly so long as they are not contemplated upon. This is all.


            Mokas (according to Madhymikas) is said to be that which follows from the triumph over the delusion of existence in all things, (that all things exist permanently or temporarily) and the  realization of absolute eternal Non-being.





1. We say that all these (theories) have their source in self-delusion, because (i) these make even Sarvajna, like a barren woman’s son, (a realized non-existent being!) (ii) because the mere name all-knower given to him (on the basis of which you seek to make him an absolute  authority, pramana), cannot make him that, even like the mere name ‘big tree, given to a mere plant (cannot make it big in fact), and (iii) because it cannot be said that this (theory) is superior to the others (also taught by Buddha such as he Vaibhasika, Sautrantika, and Yogacara), and (iv) since there is no saying definitely as to which (amongst these )- - (as there is no criterion by which to judge)- -is the fundamental intention of one who has  uttered (so many mutually contradicting doctrines (so as to suit his mixed audience).


2. Their doctrine that truth is that which is beyond the four countings is wrong. IN regard to things proved by  perception, these four countings can take place (and are sufficient), because a thing is existent at one place and time and non-existent at another place and another time, and because of this (it may be said to be) existent and non-existent with regard to those places and times, and (such things being many) they are different from one another (sad-asad-vyatirikta),  and as such they are distinguished by the characteristic of mutual differentiation . Is it not only to those theories which hold that a thing is absolutely existent, absolutely non-existent, absolutely existent non-existent without any reference to space-time, and absolutely other than existent-non-existent, that there would happen contradiction ! Because also of the difference in time and place (akarabheda), but countings1 do not suffer from the defects of the Jaina sapta-bhangi (seven-fold predication.)


3, If it be said that (i) when certain causes arise to being about the indescribable (posterior) non-existence, non-existence


1 Our countings are only two, not four or five. Either a thing exists or it does not. The law of  the excluded middle is absolutely applicable. Other countings are neither definite nor logical, and only seek to confuse.


would apply apply to those causes (according to the rule that non-existence  can cause only non-existence and vice versa), and (ii) because there would have to be annihilation to everything that owes its existence to a cause (that is, everything born must perish also), and (consequently) (iii) because this (occurrence of annihilation of created objects) by itself is indifferent to destruction (being itself destruction), there cannot occur annihilation to the indescribable posterior non-existence, and since (iv) what are distinguished as anterior and posterior non-being are eternal (according to the definitions already mentioned that has no end could have had no beginning can have no end and that has no end could have had no beginning), and  (v) since all objects are in their very nature enveloped by non-being at all times (svabhavagrastha), does it not follow that their existence is merely mental construction (kalpana-matram)? We reply, there is no indescribability (nirupakhyatva) regarding that non-existence which is got at by a change of state (bhavantara) and by becoming quite opposed t its existence (atirikta). The indescribability that is presumed because of the change of form of a thing is not contradictory to the (existence of its) causes and effects.   Because this is so, and the perceptual evidence (pramana) for origination of non-existence and destruction of non-existence is available for Non-existence, a thing’s present existence in the middle period, is not contradictory to its prior non-existence and to its postecedent non-existence (pradhvamsabhava).


4. The non-determination of a thing’s existence during the period of discrimintion is due to one’s  own mental defect. Self-contradiction and contradiction with the sources of  knowledge happen to him (only), who says  that a thing has characteristics of existence and non-existence (at the same time and place), that it is indescribable and unspeakable having no intrinsic nture of its own (nisvabhava).


5. If is be asked that because a thing has been previously non-existent, having been without any self-existence at that time, how it could afterwards have contact with existence or knowability of itself? We reply, at that time to a thing which exists  for itself and which has been known through sources of knowledge what has been attributed to it being only that prior to its non-existence and non-being, that thing previously was not existent as non-existent. It is only if this non-existence of the effect has existence, it would possess a contradictory nature. It can be asked as to how then the effect existed prior to its own being if it were different form its nature? If it be replied, that it did not exist, that it was other then  what it is, how can this be a reply (to the question asked)? we reply, that only if we can affirm that that effect existed in some form or other prior to its beings (as at present) such a question (as to how it existed either as undifferentiated or indescribable non-existence or otherwise) would ever require an answer. Since the purport of that question is only regarding the existence of the effect that was non-existent at that time, this can be the legitimate reply (to it). To a person who, postulating Devādatta’s existence, asks s to the place where he is, to him (we reply) that it is only if such a person is existent  that his  place can be asked. In the same way to one who postulates that a thing exists as a pot previous to its existence, and then asks us s to what nature it has, we reply thus: at  that time, as that had no existence at all, there is no possibility of raising the question about its nature. (Only to an existent thing can we address  question, to any thing that is non-existent). Therefore is also refuted Khandana’s, prattle (jalpa) that “Non-existent pots are not not-pots” (i.e., they are pots).


6. (If  it be said that) in the passage “The effect exists in this place and in this time,” if the meaning of exists (dasti) is identical with the effectuated thing (karya), then it would b redundant. It (existence) would get the quality of being predicated and negated in place and time (regarding a thing’s existence) (vidhi-niseda-sadharanam). If, on the other hand, it (existence) is different from the thing (svarupatirikta), then it is impossible to relate the two: (we reply) since existence which is of the form of relationship with place  and time, is itself a regular predicate (svabhava-visesans) of a thing, ii is possible to say that a thing exists. Since relations do not need other relations2 (to relate them to one another, the very purpose of a relation being to relate as is seen in experience), there is no fault of infinite regress either. Even the doctrines of non existence, which Madhyamikas uphold, have to accept the subject predicate relationship (between a thing and its existence or non-existence) (visesana-vasesya), in ordinary experience or non-existence) (visesana-visesya), in ordinary experience for the sake of activities of the phenomenal reality (samvrti-satta). If this  is not accepted , then, the attributes such as Non-existence etc., declared in passages “All re non-existent,” “indescribable,” can in no manner be predicated at all (of anything).


1 Khanda-Khandana-Khadya of Śrī Harsa.

2 Sine they are sva-para-nirvahaka.


7. If it be said that Non-existence that happens to a thing in place and time is the non-existence of the relationship (sambandhabhava), then that relationship should itself be thought to be non-existent in place and time, we reply, then such a non-existence according to atiriktabhavins (i.e., those who hold non-existence to be a substance other than its existence) will stand as such, (since they, the naiyayikas, believe that each thing, relation etc., has an independent and separate non-existence, abhava), and according to the bhavantara-bhavins  (that is those who hold non-existence to be merely other than existence), as testified to by actual experience, the non-existence which is other than and contradictory to its nature will remain.


Therefore the verse

“If the cause is made to possess existence within it, then it becomes non-existence. If existence is not made to inhere in the cause, then too it becomes non-existent” is wrong. It has to be read as amended thus:


“If cause is made to imply within it existence then it is existent. If the cause is not so made to imply it, then too it is existent.”

8. If it be said that what appears as effect was existent before origination, then there would be no need for any causes to bring it about; if on the other hand it were non-existent, like the earthen pots which are always earth, since it would have to be non-existent, there is no use in having causes; we reply, since a  substance is eternally existent1. there will be need for causes to bring about the changes of state in it.


9. If it be asked, were these states previously existent or nonexistent, (as in that case the dilemma will recur in respect of avasthas if not in dravya) we reply, since it is seen in actual experience that the previously non-existent becomes existent by means of causes, and later on, is made non-existent by (other) causes, this is no refutation of those who speak up to what they perceive. This (objection you have raised) affects only those who hold that the perceived is non-existent.


10. If it be asked, how can Non-existence become existent? If oneness (tadatmya) is declared between two contradictory things, would it not becomes the Jaina view “its prior non-existence is its cause”?


            We reply, it is no contradiction to say that there happens non-existence or existence to a thing due to differences in time and place2.



1Etermally existent  means that which is qualified by terms of existence (i.e. space and time) at all times and which is perceptually or otherwise verifiable. 2It is not past non-existence and past existence that are coeval and identical. It is the past non-existence  that is now present existence. The Jaina view in speaking of Non-existence being its own cause is self-refuting, as a cause is purva-kala-sat, and not purva-kala-sat, but the cause is in reality a prior existence not non-existence. Hence the contradiction between purva-kala-asat and purva-kala-sat. IN Śrī Desika’s view there is no contradiction between purva-kala-asat and uttara-kala-sat, consequent existence. By avoiding reference to time and place which is the fundamental characteristic (akara) of existence, the Jaina view ends in self-contradiction.


11. If it be said, (1) by giving up previous non-existence, there will be abandonment of one’s own nature (svabhava parityaga): (2) if it is not given up, will there not arise existence from non-existence? (In which case, tuccad utpattou tuccameva syat,  will be refuted)? We reply, since the quality (dharma) past non-existence, purvakala-asat, is at no time being given up1, there is no abandoning of one’s own nature, nor is there contradiction with present existence.


12. If it be asked, that if existence and non-existence become qualities what is then the (dharmi) substance? We reply that it is the substrate (asraya) of these two (qualities) is perceptually evident to all.


13. If it be asked, will there not happen to that attributed existence which has come about (vanderi) newly, prior existence or non-existence, contradiction or infinite regress (anavastha) respectively? (and) if (to avoid that predicament) that form is said to be different from both existence and non-existence (asad-sad-vilaksana), when it is unchanging or changing, then it would be incapable of being spoken of (anirvacaniya), without being either the non-existence that is given up (parityajya-sattva) or achieved existence (prapya-sattva)? If this coming of existence by giving up, the indefinable nature is a contradiction; even if it were born, it would be an indescribable, and thus, will there not arise the  futility of all origination (utpatti vaiyartham)? We reply, the opposition to the (present) existence is the previous non-existence which is its temporally prior opposite attribute (purva-kalavarti viruddha dharma pratiyogi). (The other questions do not arise because we do not accept the sad-asad vilaksana existence etc. divisions).

1That is, the judgment regarding a man that he was non-existent prior to his birth, is valid for all time.  It is true now and for ever, but the judgement “A is non-existent for all time” will refute the statement, that he is at present existing.


14. Existence is its own authority. If we accept our Commonsense experience, there will not arise the faults of contradiction and infinite regress in respect of a thing, which whilst demonstrating another’s  existence assures its own (sva-paranirvahakam) (as existence, relations, genus, are categories which do not require another existence, relation or genus to make them exist, relate or inhere). If a thing originates from itself,  it need not be born at all, s it is already existent. In its period of non-existence, it will get contradiction in regard to its existence.


15. If it be said that it is born out of something other than itself because of the general quality (jati) of otherness (paratvavisesattale), should not all things be born out of all other? Suppose it is replied that it is born from both (i.e.from itself as well as from the otherness, will there not arise both the faults of svasattavirodham as well as that all things should be born from all other things, i.e., any thing maybe born form anything else.) We reply it is only if we say that ‘otherness’ alone (or as such) is the cause, then this fault will arise. To speak of causality in regard to a thing which has been determined  by experience of invariable agreement and difference and by (akara, that is time and place and genus and quality etc.), means the unity of mutual interreltedness of all the several causes which bring about the effect. In which case the faults1 (mentioned by you) will not arise.


16. If it be contended that, accepting a certain observed cause (by the method of invariable agreemet and difference) and achieving a result, if one draws any inference, it can only be of the from “Since the till  seeds from which till  oil is got is the cause (invariably), and since other seeds than those are not seen to be causes  (of the till oil) should we not reject the inference that all till sees give till oil2, we reply that we have already answered this. We can infer by the perceptionof the presence of generality (samanya) that the genus till  is the cause of  till oil in the particulars (visesas), (since we always infer through the generality in the particulars, and the method of agreement and difference anvaya –vyatireki is possible only with respect of enumerated particulars which are instances, i.e., belonging to a particular class). Since in the origination of til oil, the causality of both ‘otherness’ and tilatvam is perceptively demonstrated by the method of agreement and difference, there is no way by which we can accept one of these (as cause) and reject the other. ‘Otherness’ is found to be in all particulars (i.e., it is a general causal factor); Til-seedness etc., are special causes. This is all the difference (between the two types of causes).

1 A totality of causes bring about the effect, a karana samsthana causal configuration is a unity, and none of the several components individually can bring about the effect.

2 The point is that exhaustive enumeration alone can satisfy perfect induction. But this is an impossibility.


In the same manner, to those who say thus:


“For Non-existence there is no relationship with the cause which is related to existence, and as to the birth of the unrelated, there is no possibility of determination.”

 We have already given any answer. To say that for an effect,  conjunctive (samyoga) relationship with the cause is necessary, will mean the acceptance of an unnecessary entity (ayuktanga svikranam).


17. If it be said that (1) the mutual relationship between the causes, and (2) that to regard the cause as the effect’s previous existence which has been determined by anvayavyatireki in observation, are not sufficient relationships (i.e., conditions for determining causality), then, the result will be the abandonment of the essential conditions (yuktangaprtiyagam).


18. The refutation of the dichotomy made between vikrti and avikrti (changing and unchanging) (by which question took place from the changing or the unchanging, that if it was from the modified whether and whence that modification arose and how and other regresses arise) can be learnt from the Arambhanadhikarana. (Śrī Bhasya II. I. 15 ff).

19. The view that regarding those things which do not get origination and destruction (viz., the eternal things), non-existence must be affirmed, like the horns of the hare for example, is refuted, because they (eternal things) have been affirmed to be eternal existents by (scriptural) authority.


20. Those persons who describe all things as Non-existence (asat), False (alika), Void (sunya), Chimerical (tucca), Indescribable (nirupakhya), having no intrinsic or essential nature (nisvabhava), illusion (mithya), for these, since there can be no unconditional negation if looked at from the point of view of actual experience, it is necessary to accept these as other than those place-time-formal determinations which have been negated. In which case, because of differences in place, the things (referred to by these terms) will possess reality (satta).


21. If the view of origination as determined by actual experience is not paid heed to, these will have neither any power to instruct nor any power to negate anything regarding anything.


22. The sentences “Son of a barren woman” etc., (horn of a hare, sky-flower), will not convey instruction about the otherwise-determinations (pratiniyatartha) available by giving up the actual things which are results of experience (vyutpattisidda). [i.e. the son is a real entity, so also a barren woman. We have definite meanings for these words. It is the compound of these two words or meanings that yields nonsense, that is, the compound does convey an instruction, and this instruction whilst apparently  trying to convey all impression of a real thing because of the conjunction of real entities, is self-contradicting, because son and barren woman are internally incompatible.]


            In accepting meanings which have come into being in this manner, the demonstration by incompatibility and inadmissibility between the irreconcilable terms referring to non-existent things, there are conveyed instructions regarding the qualified (real) existences alone.


23. If it be said that at one time or at one place or in a particular manner that which exists as negated should not exist at another time, at another place or in another manner, as is seen in the (example of) the hairs of the tortoise (which no where, at no time exist), and therefore that in all places no thing exists in its own nature as an object as such because of the resulting opposition (to its antecedent non-existence), should we not therefore accept Nihilism?  We reply, if it is sought to predicate of the seen world non-existence, we may, in the same manner, predicate what is actually perceived in the world, of that eternal non-existence (and perhaps more legitimately too).


24. Both the alternative would affect those who deny that there is no distinction between authority and non-authority. If it is sought to prove with the help of fallacious reasoning (hetvabhasa) such as, just like sky-flower all things are chimerical, like dream-knowledge knowledge has n object which is its locus (asraya), then, these reasonings get refuted by the faults of svarupasiddha, and drstantasiddha with respect of the Madhyamikan himself. [That is, the nature of non-existence is itself disproved by these reasonings, and because of the non-applicability of  the examples of sky-flower etc., which are themselves false-entities.]


25. If the refutation of the reality-view (that all exist) is right, then because of the destruction of  that, the unreality-view would get established (as real)! If the refutation of the unreality  view  is right, then the reality-view must be accepted.


            No third view is permissible. A thing is either real or unreal, it cannot be both. (It is either true or false, it cannot be both). To those who (like ourselves) revere authority, those refutation which are made (by you, the Madhyamikas) against other further divisions such as sad-asad-vilksana etc.) contradictory to authority, are not only acceptable but also helpful. Because of this (reason), there is no meaning in speaking about a fifth counting leaving aside ordinary perception. (cf. see 1).


26. To those (Madhyamikas), if the authority which establishes their thesis is ultimate truth, then, the theory of Unconditional Negation (to which they appeal) cannot avail. It would also be self-contradictory, (since in this respect, at least, there is no negation). If, on the other hand, it is said to be false, then also, their view cannot be sustained even if it (the false ultimate) be named samvrti-satyam, phenomenally true, (i.e. true but with a qualification, a qualification that takes away all that the qualified intends). Since in no manner we could predicate to qualified intends). Since in  no manner we could predicate to ignorance non-existence, there is no may by which we could determine these experiences (which we have), to be results of ignorance, to be results of samvrti, to be results of delusion. Because of its yielding a false ultimate, the method of proving its own  view can without any difficulty be used to prove all other systems too (which they have denounced as holding on to false ultimates). (in which case, how is that the Madhyamikan’s claims to correctness solely are valid?) It is thus necessary to know the distinction between the true and the false ultimate reality in giving the reasons for refuting other systems.


(The Viśstādvaitic disciple here questions thus):-


27. Addressing a person who says that all things do not  exist, in case we address a refutation t him, if he says that all these (refutations) have no applicability to him (as all things are non-existent, himself the proof and the refutation etc.) what then? We reply that these proofs and refutations have occasion only in respect of one who agrees to the definitions of conduct in argumentation, such as, what are fallacious and what are not etc. With one who does not agree, there can be no argumentation at all. As in the case of stones, cows, animals, children and madmen (idiots), for that person also there is no right for argumentation: this is what is to be told the followers. That is all. This has been expressed effectively:


“There is no light for the Nihilist to take part in argumentation, since there is no means by which he could: anupayatvat.”

He who has himself known that all are chimerical, tucca, if he does not perform activities with reference to perceived objects, he has no need to refute the activities of those who seek Heaven and liberation (which are all non-existent to him). Since the eternally realized non-existence (sunyatva) is not something that has to be realized (in the future) (as it has already been achieved), even one’s own system is of no utility. Since even the delusion that all are unreal is itself chimerical, there is no need to get rid of it. This Madhyamika-view is refuted by the author of the Vedānta-sūtras by his sūtra: “in all respects it is untenable”1 (II. Ii.30)


The Alvar (Nammalvr) with his Verse “Ulanenulan….” Which states that the Ultimate Being exists having all things as its body, refutes the nihilistic doctrine. The sloka “Pratitiscadhista…..”2 (Śrī-Rangarajastava II.6) should also be referred to in this context.