Samkhya Karika 14

Samkhya Karika 14, Un-manifest and the Manifest has the same Nature


Avivekyaade siddhih trigunyaat tad viparyaaya abhaavaat ||

Kaarana guna aatmakatvaat kaarasya avyaktam api siddham ||


Avivekyaade – non-distinguishability exists

Siddhih – is established or proved

Trigunyaat – of the nature of three gunas

Tad – that

Viparyaya – contrary, opposite

Abhhavaat – absence of

Kaarana – the cause

Guna – Intrinsic quality

Aatmakatvaat – being possessed of 

Kaarasya – effects

Avyaktam – The unmanifest

Api – also

Siddham – is proved or verified


Samkhya Karika 14 is talking about the relationship between the Un- manifest (Mula Prakriti) and the manifest (Prakriti or the material world).  It says that both the effect (whatever is manifested as the material world) and the cause of that effect (Mula Prakriti, the unmanifest state) has to have the same nature, this is but natural too as the entity which has evolved from some parent entity has to have a common nature with it.  This is because both; the Mula prakriti and the Prakriti in its manifested state, are made up of the same matter, quality or the three gunas


Though both these entities are made up of the same three gunas the proportions, or the equilibrium of the three separate qualities (gunas) making up the both will differ. We can see live examples of the same around us in daily life:  the nature – color - of the yarn and the cloth made out of it will be the same. Thus, the nature of the effect - the woven cloth here – has to be the same as of the yarn is it made out of. There is no difference between the nature of a cause and the nature of its effect.


 With this understanding we can easily know the cause of all the effects - manifested world – around us. But their still are certain effects whose causes seem to be not present as they may be hidden or obscured to the aspirant. The mere presence of any effect is in itself the proof of the presence of the related cause even though it may not be discernible immediately. This karika elaborates on the theory of cause and effect with relation the the existence of the manifested material world, it does not attempt to dig out the ultimate cause of the existence of the universe.


All Effects has to have a Cause


There are times when we are hard pressed to understand the cause of some effect, happening, or existence of something it remains outside the range of our perception or inference abilities. Don’t we sometimes wonder at the enormity and complexity of the world around us and think what must have caused all this to manifest. Even the cause seems out of our comprehension it still exists, the world cannot just be a random appearance out of nowhere. The system, order, and natural laws displayed within the universe is definitely rooted into some reason, or cause behind it.


As per this karika the nature of the effect is always similar to its cause; that means the nature of the unknown cause of the manifested universe – the effect - must also be similar to its own nature.  Normally the objects like a piece of cloth (effect) is similar to its cause the cotton yarn in look as well as in nature. There are number of examples of the existence of certain effects – objects – in the universe which do not resemble the look of their causes but do share the nature with them. 

A basic example of the same is the formation of water (effect) which has its cause in the intermingling of two gases; hydrogen and oxygen. Though water looks entirely different from the two gases but for sure shares its nature with them. 


Potential in the cause manifests in its Effect


The basic understanding lying latent within this Samkhya karika is that the potential or tendency which is present within the cause will also be present within its manifested effect. This understanding can help us steer our way around a number of obstacles during our journey through life. Relating this understanding with daily living one needs to know that the nature of a person depends on the cause which has manifested itself as that person. This inherited nature from the cause remains unchanged till one actually decides to work on altering it by traversing the path of yoga or spirituality.


If we know that a person whose basic nature is love and compassion will always exhibit the same, and a person whose basic nature is to be angry and irritating at trivial matters will always exhibit this nature.  This knowledge can help us modify our interactions with them in a way which can help us avoid possible trivial confrontations. Second thing we can pick from this understanding of basic nature is that we should never try to change the other persons nature just because it doesn’t suit our own. From knowing the nature of the person, we can predict what the person will behave like, this information arms us with the choices we can make to handle our interactions with them more positively.


The nature of the effect which is inherent within the cause itself directly depends on the dominant guna present within the cause and its effect.  A person whose personality is dominated by Sattva guna is more grounded and at peace with himself than someone who has a dominating Rajas or Tamas in his personaly. The good thing about this knowledge is that since the nature depends on the gunas one can change one’s nature and intellect by practicing more of Sattvic bhavas, out of the four bhavas mentioned in later Samkhya karikas, or drenching one’s intellect with more of Sattva guna in relation to other gunas. Thus, this karika is giving an inkling that right efforts in the right direction can transform one’s innate nature towards superior conscious states. 


This effort to change one’s nature should be undertaken by the person on his own volition, nobody else can strive to transform the nature of the other person.