Substantive And Insturumental Causes

      • Substantive And
        Insturumental Causes
      • Edited by
        Dr. H.C. Bharill
Script Supplied by Ashok Sethi

Lesson 4

Speaker :-

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.

Student :-There 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 instrumental causes.

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 conventional cause.

Student :-Please 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.

Student :-Yes sir, understood well.

Speaker :-Then apply these concepts of substantive or conventional causes on a necklace and right faith.

Student :-The 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.

Speaker :-Well said.

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.

Speaker :-This power of the self is of two kinds

  1. the eternal self power and
  2. 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.

Student :-Are conventional causes of two kinds

* indifferent and

** promptor.

Speaker :-Yes, 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 lshtopdesh :-

“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 and matter.”

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.

Student :-The 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 cause ?

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.

Pandit Todarmalji 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 substances.”

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 Todarmalji thus:-

“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.