Book I – Chapter I

Statement of subject matter, purpose, and relation of the treatise

1. Supreme felicity is attained by the knowledge about the true nature of the sixteen categories, viz., means of right knowledge, object of right knowledge, doubt, purpose, familiar instance, established tenet, members [of a syllogism], confutation, ascertainment, discussion, wrangling, cavil, fallacy, quibble, futility, and occasion for rebuke.

2. Pain, birth, activity, faults [defects] and misapprehension [wrong notion] on the successive annihilation of these in the reverse order, there follows release.

From … wrong notion proceeds attachment to the agreeable and aversion for the disagreeable: and under the influence of this attachment and aversion, there appear the defects, such as envy, jealousy, deceit, avarice and the like.

Urged by these defects, when the man acts, he commits … misdeeds.. . .

What are meant by “activity” in this connection (in the sutra) are the results of activity,. . .

The “actvity” described above (in the form of merit and demerit) becomes the cause of mean and respectable birth (respectively);…

When there is birth, there is pain;.. .
When “true knowledge”, is attained, “wrong notions” disappear; on the disappearance of “wrong notions” the 6 ‘defects” disappear; the disappearance of “defects” is followed by the disappearance of “activity” on activity ” (rnerit and demerit); when there is no activity there is no “birth”; on the cessation of birth there is cessation of pain; cessation of pain is followed by final release, which is the “highest good”.

Definition of the instruments of right cognition

3. Perception, inference, comparison and word (verbal testimony) these are the means of right knowledge.

Among the four kinds of cognition, perception is the most important;… when [a man] has once perceived the thing directly, his desires are at rest, and he does not seek for any other kind of knowledge; …

4. Perception is that knowledge which arises from the contact of a sense with its object, and which is determinate [well defined], unnameable [not expressible in words], and non erratic [unerring].

… the name is not (necessarily present and) operative at the time that the apprehension of the thing takes place; it becomes operative (and useful) only at the time of its being spoken of, or communicated to other persons.. . .

“?¦ if the definition of sense perccption consisted of only two terms – “that which is produced by the sense object contact” and “that which is not representable by words,” then the apprehension of water [in the case of a mirage] … would have to be regarded as “sense perception.” …That cognition is erroneous in which the thing is apprehended as what it is not; while, when a thing is perceived as what it is, the perception is not erroneous.

When the man observes from a distance, and sees (something rising from the earth), the cognition that he has is in the (doubtful) form ” this is smoke, or this is dust”; inasmuch as this doubtful cognition is also produced by the contact of the sense organ with the object, it ‘would have to be regarded as sensc perception ‘ if this were defined simply as “that which is produced by the contact of the sense organ with the object.” With a view to guard against this, the author has added the further qualification that the cognition should be well defined.

5. Inference is knowledge which is preceded by perception, and is of three kinds, viz., a priori, a posteriori and “commonly seen.”

6. Comparison [analogy] is the knowledge of a thing, through its similarity to another thing previously well known.

7. Word (verbal testimony) is the instructive assertion of a reliable person.

Definition of the objects of right cognition

9. Soul (self), body, senses, objects of sense, intellect, mind, activity, fault, transmigration [rebirth], fruit, pain, and releaseare the objects of right knowledge.

10. Desire, aversion, volition, pleasure, pain, and intelligence are the marks of the soul.

11. Body is the site of gesture ractions], senses, and sentiments [objects].

“How is the body the vehicle of objects [or sentiments]?”

That is to be regarded as the vehicle of objects in which receptacle there appear the feelings of pleasure and pain caused by the contact of the sense organs with those objects; and such a receptacle is the body.

12. Nose, tongue, eye, skin, and ear are the senses produced from elements.

13. Earth, water, light, air, and ether these are the [materiall elements.

14. Smell, taste, colour, touch, and sound are objects of the senses and qualities of the earth, etc.

15. Intellect [buddhi], apprehension [upalabdhi], and knowledge [jnana] these are not different from one another.

It is not possible for cognition to belong to the unconscious instrument buddhi; as if it were, then buddhi could be a conscious entity; while there is a single conscious entity, apart from the aggregate of the body, and the sense organs. Though the sentence composing the sutra is for the purpose of providing the definition of one of the objects of cognition, yet it is taken as implying the other fact (the refutation of the Samkhya theory) by the force of the argument (implied in the mention of the synonyms). [According to the Samkhya philosophy, intellect '(buddhi), which is the first thing evolved out of primordial matter (prakrti), is altogether different from knowledge (jnana), which consists in the reflection of external objects on the self (purusa), the abode of transparent consciousness.]

16. The mark of the mind is that there do not arise (in the self) more acts of knowledge than one at a time.

… even though at one and the same time several perceptible objects… are in close proximity to the respective perceptive sense organs,. . yet there is no simultaneous cognition of them; and from this we infer that there is some other cause [namely, the mind], by whose proximity cognition appears.. If the proximity of sense organs to their objects, by themselves, independently of the contact of the mind, were the sole cause of cognitions, then it would be quite possible for several cognitions to appear simultaneously.

17. Activity is that which makes the voice, mind, and body begin their action.


Activity consists in the efforts or operation Of voice, mind, and body.

18. Faults have the characteristic of causing activity. [The faults are] attachment, aversion, and ignorance.

19. Transmigration means re births.

Having died, when [the self] is born again in an animate body, this being born again constitutes the rebirth of that [self] which is born”?¦The recurrence of this process of birth and death should be regarded as without beginning, and ending only with final release.

20. Fruit is the thing produced by activity and faults.

Fruition consists in the experiencing of pleasure and pain, as every action leads to pleasure and pain.

21. Pain has the characteristic of causing uneasiness.

… Every thing (i.e., body, etc., and also pleasure and pain), being intermingled with i.e., invariably accompanied by, never existing apart from pain, is inseparable from pain; and as such is regarded as pain itself. Finding everything to be intermingled with pain, when one wishes to get rid of pain, he finds that birth (or life) itself is nothing but pain; and thus becomes disgusted (with life) and being disgusted, he loses all attachment; and being free from attachment, he becomes released.

22. Release is the absolute deliverance from pain.

When there is a relinquishing of the birth that has been taken and the non resumption of anothcr this condition, which is without end (or limit) is known as “final release.”. . This condition of immortality, free from fear, imperishable (unchanging), consisting in the attainment of bliss, is called “Brahman.”

Definition of the pre requisites of a process of ratiocination or reasoning (nydya)

23. Doubt, which is a conflicting judgment about the precise character of an object, arises from the recognition of properties common to many objects, or of properties not common to any of the objects, from conflicting testimony, and from irregularity of percepton and non perception.

24. Purpose [or motive] is that with an eye to which one proceeds to act.

25. A familiar instance [or example] is the thing about which an ordinary man and an expert entertain the same opinion.

[The familiar instance aids in overthrowing contradicting opinions and in confirming one's opinions, and serves as "one of the essential factors of the inferential process."]

Definition of the tenet which is the basis of reasoning (nyaya)

26. An established tenet is a dogma resting on the authority of a certain school, hypothesis, or implication.

Definition of reasoning (nyaya)

32. The members (of a syllogism) are proposition, reason, example, application, and conclusion.

33. The proposition is the declaration of what is to be established.

[Example:] Sound is non eternal.

34. The reason is the means for establishing what is to be established through the homogeneous or affirmative character of the example.

[Example: Sound is non eternal] because sound has the character of being a product; as a matter of fact, everything that is a product is noneternal.

35. Likewise through heterogeneous or negative character.

For example, Sound is non eternal, because it has the character of being produced, [and] that which has not the character of being produced is always eternal, e.g., such substances as the self and the like.

36. A homogeneous [or affirmative] example is a fami liar instance which is known to possess the property to be established, and which implies that this property is invariably contained in the reason given.

… the form of the inference being: Sound is non eternal, because it has the character of being produced, just like such things as the dish. .

37. A heterogeneous [or negative] example is a familiar instance which is known to be devoid of the property to be established, and which implies that the absence of this property is invariably rejected in the reason given.

E.g., Sound is non eternal, because it has the character of being produced everything not having the character of being produced is eternal, for instance, the self….

38. The ‘re affirmation’ is that which, on the strength of the instance, re asserts the subject as being ‘so’ [i.e., as possessing the character which has been found, in the instance, to be concomitant with what is to be established] or as being ‘not so’ [i.e., as not possessing the character which has been found in the instance to be concomitant with the negation of what is to be established. [Jha]

(a) When the instance cited is the homogeneous one, which is similar to the subject, e.g., when the dish is cited as the example. . . we have the re affirmation [application] stated in the form, sound is so i.e., sound is a product.

(b) When the instance cited is the heterogeneous one, which is dissimilar to the subject,–e.g., when the self is cited as an example… the re affirmation [application] is stated in the form, sound is not so.. . .

39. Conclusion is the re stating of the proposition, after the reason has been mentioned.

Definition of processes subsidiary to reasoning (nyaya)

40. Confutation, which is carried on for ascertaining the real character of a thing of which the character is not known, is reasoning which reveals the character by showing the absurdity of all contrary characters.

41. Ascertainment [demonstrated truth] is the removal of doubt, and the determination,of a question, by hearing two opposite sides.