Notes on Satkaryavada

  • Sat-karya-vada: The argument of eternal action
  • Source: Samkhya Sutras of Kapila
  • Satkāryavāda (सत्कार्यवाद, “form”) refers to the Sāṃkhya’s concept of causation.—Satkāryavāda (the doctrine that the effect pre-exists in its cause), presents the three fundamental qualities (i.e. triguṇa) as the grounds for an argument by asserting that the diversity of the phenomenal world is also nothing but the transformation of the three qualities according to the relative superiority or inferiority among their forces. In this case, an aspect of superiority or inferiority among the three qualities is expressed in the concept of saṃsthāna.
  • If something exists, it exists because of preexisting potentiality. Even if this potentiality is beyond grasp, it is considered to exist in an unmanifest state before it becomes manifest at the right time.
  • Only nothing comes from nothing
  • Something cannot be created from nothing
  • The effect (manifest) is immanent in the cause (unmanifest) and emerges from it.
  • Prakriti (manifest) in Sāñkhya philosophy is the feminine energy of the Purusha (Unmanifest). She is fully capable of producing everything, but She produces it based on purusha’s will. The prakriti is not inert, or unconscious; She rather has a subordinate will.
  • What is not meant to be, will never be – like ungrown horns on a man which will never become a reality.
  • Things cannot arise haphazardly, things can only be produced by what is capable of producing them.
  • Because the making is possible [only] of what [the cause] is capable of
  • Whatever happens, happens according to a rule.
  • Everywhere, always, everything is possible. (Samkhya Sutra 1.116)
  • User (purusha) and instrument (prakriti) are powerful to contain the causes and effects in themselves.
  • Desire causes creation

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories (samkhya)
Satkāryavāda (सत्कार्यवाद) refers to one of the philosophical systems regarding the cause and effect relation prevalent in Ancient India.—Satkāryavāda is upheld by the Sāṃkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedānta philosophers. According to Satkāryavāda the effect already exists in the cause in a potential condition. So, it is not basically new creation and different from the material cause. But effect is only an explicit manifestation of that which are contained in its material cause. For example, a pot is not different from the clay, a cloth is not different from the threads.

There are two divisions of Satkāryavāda—a) Pariṇāmavāda and b) Vivartavāda.
Pariṇāmavāda: Effect is a real transformation of its cause.
Vivartavāda: Effect is unreal

Sāṃkhya-Yoga’s view is known as Prakṛti-Pariṇāmavāda, Rāmānuja’s view is known as Brahma-Pariṇāmavāda, Śaṃkara is Vivartavādin.

It is the Sāṃkhyas who have actually established the theory satkāryavāda by different arguments. Īśvaṛakṛṣṇa has discussed the theory of satkāryavāda in his Sāṃkhyakārikā. He gives five arguments to prove this theory. The five arguments are discussed here as follows:

  • asadakaranād
  • upādāna-grahaṇāt
  • sarvasambhavābhāvāt
  • śaktasya-śakyakaraṇāt
  • kāraṇabhāvāt