SUBSTANTIVE AND INSTRUMENTAL CAUSES
Bhagwan Veer is
auspicious as also the preceptor Gautam.
Acharya Kundkund is
auspicious and so is the Jain religion.
Every substance in
this world manifests itself in different modifications of its own accord.
The manifestations of the substances are their actions. These actions are
called condition, change, modification or behaviour. Each substance is the
creator of its own modifications. It does not at all need the cooperation
of any other substance for these modifications. People not acquainted with
the scheme of things, in vain, become unhappy with the desire of
cooperation of others.
can be no activity without its cause. How can, therefore, the quest for
causes be regarded as of no avail ?
Speaker :-You are
correct, when you say that no activity materialises without its cause. But
do you know what a cause is? The stuff that produces the activity is the
cause thereof. These causes are of two kinds. Substantive causes and
instrumental (conventional) causes. That which itself changes its
condition is called the substantive cause. That which does not change its
own condition, but upon which suitability is imposed is called the
instrumental or conventional cause, e. g., in the making of an earthen
jar, earth is the substantive cause and wheel, stick and the pot maker are
The substance in which
the modification is born is the power of the self and the modification is
the object i.e., Upadeya. From the point of view of the conventional
cause, the same modification is the changed condition i.e., Naimittik. The
same manifestation is thus illustrated in two ways, one from the point of
view of the power of the self and the other from the point of view of the
explain this arrangement more clearly with examples ?
Speaker :-in the
emergence of the action Jar, substantive cause is earth, from which aspect
action jar is the object and pot-maker, wheel, etc., are conventional
causes. The same action of 'jar' from the point of view of the
conventional causes is the changed condition of the substance. These are
just two aspects of the same phenomenon. I think you have understood this.
sir, understood well.
apply these concepts of substantive or conventional causes on a necklace
and right faith.
substance gold is the power of the self and necklace is the desired
manifestation. Fire, goldsmith and others are conventional causes and the
necklace is the new condition. In the same manner the soul substance or
the attribute of faith is the power of the self and right faith is the
desired manifestation. The removal of perverted faith karmic matter is the
instrumental cause and right faith is the changed state.
Student :-If the
power of the self is the substance or the attribute, it is always present
and so the alleged action should always be happening.
power of the self is of two kinds
(i) the eternal self
(ii) the momental power
of the self.
That substance or
attribute that undergoes the change itself is the eternal self power.
The momental power of
the self can be illustrated in two ways :-
*An eternal current of
manifestations flows in the substances and the attributes. In that eternal
current the immediately previous momentary manifestation is the momental
power of the self and the manifestation immediately after the present
moment is the action.
**The momentary capacity
of the substance to change in that particular modification is the momental
power of the self and the manifestation is the action.
The momentary self power
is called the forceful cause also. The eternal self power is always
present, but if that is regarded as the completely forceful cause, alleged
actions will always be in the process of happening. As such the forceful
cause is the immediately previous manifestation of the substance and the
momentary ability of the substance itself. Action cannot be fruitful
without these two and it always materialises when the two are present.
We can say conclusively
that the substance itself with its previous modification is the power of
the self and the substance with the immediately next manifestation is the
desired action. Favourable external circumstances and objects are
conventional causes and the alleged modification their action.
:-Are conventional causes of two kinds
* indifferent and
they have thus been divided. Though ether, anti-ether, space and time
substances having no desires of their own and'being inactive are called
indifferent substantive causes, and the soul substance having desires and
being active, and the matter substance being active only, are called
promptor instrumental causes, yet in the emergence of the action all are
indifferent like the ether substance. Acharya Pujayapad has said in
"An ignorant being
cannot be made a learned one by teaching and in the same way a learned one
cannot be made an ignorant being, because non-self substances are only
conventional causes just as the ether substance is for self-moving soul
The Sanskrit Tika
further clarifies this saying :-
A misgiving can arise to
the effect that thus all the external causes will be eliminated. This has
been answered thus :-Others like teachers and enemies etc. are in the
emergence and destruction respectively of the alleged action are only
instrumental causes. In reality the ability of the substance is the prime
cause in the happening or non-happening of the event or action.
soul of Mahaveer Bhagwan in the previous life of a lion attained the self
with the teaching of two Digamber Jain Saints having the power to fly in
the sky. It was on account of this that he became Bhagwan Mahaveer in
later phase. Why don't you recognise their teaching as the instrumental
Speaker :- We
don't deny the importance of teaching as an instrumental cause. If
teaching alone can fetch welfare of the soul, many people listen to the
religious discourses, why don't all those attain purification of the soul
? Why did not Mahaveer start the process of the purification of the soul
in the life of Marichi ? Was there any paucity of instrumental causes ?
Was the teaching of the two Digamber Jain Saints, moving in the sky,
better than the teaching of Rishabhdeo ? Bharat Chakravarti was his
father, and the first propounder of religion Rishabhdeo was his
grandfather, and yet he sounded opposition to the teachings of Bhagwan
Rishabhdeo in the religious congregation. Was there something lacking in
the message of Rishabhdeo ?
This proves that when
the self is completely ready, the desired action materialises and that
time the favourable instrumental causes are always present; one has not to
try to find them. Where was the chance of any teaching in the cruel phase
of the lion's life ? But when the soul force of the lion became
sufficiently powerful, the instrumental cause descended from the heavens.
It was, therefore, said that the seeker of rite soul should not be
restless in finding favourable instrumental causes. Who says that
instrumental causes are not there ? However, we have not to make a search
of these. When the action in the self materialises, the favourable
instrumental causes are always there.
Action does not follow
the instrumental causes; instrumental causes are so called according to
the action. Man interested in sensual joys develops attachment seeing the
dead body of a prostitute, while a detached person develops feelings of
renunciation. The same prostitute is said to be the cause of
attachment for a man of senses and renunciation for the detached person.
If action happen in accordance with instrumental causes, each one should
have feelings of attachment or renunciation.
asserts, "Non-self substances do not forcefully obstruct the alleged
action; when our own manifestations are undesirable, then it is only an
external cause, while another man spoils his thoughts without any
instrumental cause. As such, there is no instrumental causation as a
result. Thus, it is perverted faith to find fault with non-self
Neither the instrumental
cause doe anything by force nor does the self collect or bring
instrumental causes together. The mutual relationship is very simple. This
simplicity of the relations has been beautifully portrayed by Pandit
"If karmic matter by its
own efforts hurts the sentient nature of the soul and if it fetches
external material, then karma must be animate as well as possessing
strength; but it is never like that; the relationship is very automatic.
When the karmas reach the stage of fruition, the soul itself leaves its
natural poise and behaves otherwise and the other substances also behave
in their own manner. Just as an ostrich and a she-ostrich which meet in
the wake of sunrise do so of their own nature; no body separated them out
of ill-will forcibly and nobody has brought them together in the daytime
out of compassion. Such is the relationship of the desired action with the
instrumental cause. The same holds good in the case of karmas."
Student : Why
should we involve ourselves in this controversy of the actual doers and
the instrumental cause thereof ? What is the harm if we do not know these
and what is the gain from their knowledge ?
Speaker : To
understand the correct nature of the power of the self and the
instrumental causes for the materialisation of an action, is not a battle
of wits or a controversy. The real issue is that people regard one as the
doer of the other and are unhappy on that count. If we understand the real
nature of both, this controversy will be finished.
Because a person does
not have a correct knowledge of the intrinsic power of the self and the
conventional causes of its manifestations, he throws the blame of his
guilt on the conventional causes and wants to remain innocent. A thief,
for example, cannot be free from the guilt of theft by throwing the fault
on the moonlight; in the same manner this soul cannot be free from
unhappiness and grief by throwing the responsibility of its own delusions,
attachments and aversions on the karmas. In such a state we lose the
capacity to find our own faults and to see within us.
By understanding these
in their right perspective, the pride of being able to do something in
others is gone. The inferiority due to the desire of help or support from
others is finished. The desire of association of the non-self substances
and the consequent restlessness is eliminated and natural, quiet,
undisturbed state of the soul emerges.
Time is now over. Give
deep consideration to whatever has been taught to-day, you will be happy.
Dr. H.C. Bharill