Verse 15: Why must I infer an Unmanifest?

bhedānāṃ parimāṇāt samanvayat śaktitaḥ pravṛtteḥ ca |
kāraṇa-kārya-vibhāgāt-avibhāgāt-vaiśvarūpyasya ||

parimāṇāt – number/measure/amount
kāraṇa – cause
kārya – effect
vibhāga – distinction

There must be something that causes the Manifest.

  1. It can be argued that some manifest things simply cause other manifest things. Why does there need to be an unmanifest cause?
    1. Finite-ness of special objects:
      1. A potter will choose certain portions of clay to make certain clay pots. The clay, being the cause, has limited effects – it is only suitable for some things and not for others.
      2. When something comes to an end it merges back into its cause and the cause, in relation to that effect, becomes unmanifest. When a clay pot reverts to clay, that clay becomes unmanifested (in relation to that pot).
      3. If this “reverting” were to continue indefinitely, what would become of the clay? What would become of what becomes of the clay? Etc. This would imply an infinite recursion of causes and effects.
      4. However, while nature may seem infinite it is not. For example: the science of Ayurveda (derived from Samkhya) points to 6 flavors: sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent. From this finite set of 6 arises the vast (but only seemingly infinite) world of experienced flavors.
      5. Similarly, I postulate that this “reverting” is not infinite and that it has a point of convergence – a source.
      6. This postulated source does not revert into anything else.
      7. Since this “one source” does not revert (like a clay pot reverts to clay) into anything else it is, by definition, Unmanifest.
      8. And so I arrive at the Unmanifest.
    2. Cause & Effect
      1. A child is proof that a mother and father exist.
      2. Similarly the Manifest is proof that it has an existing cause
      3. The Unmanifest is the “mother and father” of the Manifest.
    3. Natural Sequence
      1. That which makes is a cause and that which is made is an effect.
      2. Cause and effect are separate and cause comes before effect.
      3. A clay pot is able to hold water but the lump of clay that precedes it is not able to do so.
      4. Similarly, having observed the Manifest there must be a cause that is separate from it and precedes it. This is the Unmanifest.
    4. Efficiency of the cause:
      1. A potter will be hired to make a clay pot, and a weaver will be hired to make cloth. A potter is not suited to make cloth and a weaver is not suited to make a clay pot.
      2. A potter will select clay to make a clay pot and a weaver will select threads to make a cloth. Clay is not suitable for making cloth and threads are not suitable for making clay pots.
      3. This demonstrates that effects have specific causes.
      4. Similarly, an Unmanifest cause is required to explain the specific produced effect that is the Manifest.
    5. Sameness (of the three Gunas).
      1. All that is Manifest has the qualities of the three Gunas.
      2. Since the effect is existent in the cause I can infer a shared origin – a cause – also having the qualities of the three Gunas.
      3. Therefore I infer that the Unmanifest is a cause (of the Manifest) that also has the qualities of the three Gunas.

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