[Advaita-l] Pancikarana vs. Trvrtkarana (Analysis)

Antharyami sathvatha at gmail.com
Thu Jul 23 11:27:17 CDT 2009

Hari OM~

Michael ji,

Just a recap on the topic under discussion. The sixth chapter of Chandogya
Upanisad opens with the Mantra ‘Sadeva somya idamagra asit’, which goes to
explain the creation process. In the section ii of the same chapter Mantra 3
declares, ‘The existence saw ‘I shall become many, I shall be born’ that
creates fire…’ (tejoh asrja’ iti ). Ironically Taitiriya [II.i.1] as we know
has its version of creation according to which Akasa is borne out first from
the very ‘Existence’ (Brahman). While commenting to the above cited
Chandogya portion, Sankara promptly raises the purvapaksin who asks, ‘Is it
not that in another Upanisadic text, ‘From that Brahman, which is the Self,
was produced Space [Tai.Up. II.i.1] … How is it contradictorily stated now
that Fire came out first …?’ [cf. p424, Gambhirananda; 2006]. Sankara treats
the objection in three different angles vide,

a)      It is logical to assume that after creating space and air, the
existence created fire

b)      It may be that the order of creation is not what is intended to be
spoken of here

c)      Intended meaning (however) is to speak of the intermixture of three
elements that the text speaks of the creation.

>From the above points mentioned by Sankara we may seek two important
conclusions vide,

   1. From point c, it is clear that Sankara insists that Chandogya sponsors
   only Trvrtkarana.
   2. From point a it is evident that space and air are taken along with
   fire itself and that Taitiriya theory is well accommodated with Chandogya

Keeping in mind these conclusions (which cannot be disputed at all), let us
now see what Sankara says further. In Ch. VI.iv.4, Sankara raises another
objection pertaining to the above said conclusions (especially ii) – ‘Obj:
Since air and space are not included in fire etc. therefore they remain
‘excluded’ without being made three fold. Similarly smell, fluidity, sound
and touch also remain excluded…’. Sankara’s replies ‘There is no fault since
all (space and air) are included in a thing having colour (fire)…’ [cf.
p438, Gambhirananda; 2006]. Thus Sankara points out that the perception of
sound (of space) and touch (of air) are possessed qualities of fire; those
which can very well be inferred to be included in Fire itself.

Hence it is clear that Sankara is not willing to allow an independent
mixture of Five elements and insists on the three-fold creation process
alone; for the reason that air and space can well be inferred in fire.
Further, there is yet another valid reason that Sankara insists only on
Trvrtkarana because Akasa and Vayu being already subtle cannot be
disintegrated to three sub-states vide gross, medium and subtle as mentioned
in the Sruti. So it is a must that we infer the two basic elements in Fire
which has its gross form that can be disintegrated and what is inherent in
it becomes automatically modified. This is the intension of Sruti and
Bhasya-kara is emphatic about the triplication of the substances having
‘form’. Sankara here makes a reference to application of Pancikarana on
equal norms (samana nyaya) can only mean that it is inclusive extension of
Trvrtkarana. When Sankara says Akasa and Vayu can be inferred, then
Pancikarana can be done only with “inferred” material of Akasa and Vayu and
not the real one. The substances are only three, which permits only
Trvrtkarana as Sankara in his commentary clearly says ‘Trvrtkrte
trinity‘eva’ satyam’ iti.

Henceforth if at all Pancikarana is allowed to be done on similar norms
(Samana Nyaya); we must not forget that the formula operates with two
‘superficial elements’ which are merely inferred while the other three
‘real’ elements undergo ‘real’ modification and hence the very
quintuplication would automatically resort to Triplication alone. Thus
Quintuplication is inclusive to Trvrtkarana and that the former is mere
‘logical extension’ which I as a follower of Bhamati, is consistent about
following the suit of Sankara.

With Narayana Smrti,


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