In a previous post, I examined the objections of Advaitins to svarūpa-śakti in the paraṁ tattva, as presented by Śrī Jīva Goswami in his Sarva-samvādinī commentary. Here, I will examine his refutation.
Śrī Jīva starts with the Śrī Vaiṣṇava response to Advaitins:
śrī-vaiṣṇavās tv evaṁ vadanti—bhāva-rūpasyaiva tasya tattvasya gale-gṛhīta-nyāyena svarūpa-śaktis tāvad avaśyam eva tair apy aṅgīkāryā, jagad-ādi-kārya-darśanena tasyā avaśyambhāvāt kaivalye ca doṣāpatter iti |
Śrī Vaiṣṇavas speak like this: even the Advaita-vādis most definitely must accept svarūpa-śakti of that tattva which is a real existent, by the gale-gṛhīta-nyāya. This is because svarūpa-śakti must definitely be accepted based on the appearance of the world etc, which are effects, and because there is fault in kaivalya- existence of [qualityless] Brahman alone.
The gale-gṛhīta-nyāya refers to the following. Suppose someone is searching for a cow in a herd. Someone holds a cow by her neck and brings her to this person, pointing her out- “this is your cow”. Here, by holding her neck, the whole cow was brought. This is gale (in the neck) gṛhīta (held) – nyāya.
Likewise, when we perceive and accept the existence of the effect, the world, then the svarūpa-śakti becomes automatically accepted because the world is a transformation of the śakti of the advaya tattva.
tathā hi, śaktir nāma kāryānyathānupapatti-siddhau vastuno dharma-viśeṣaḥ | sā tu sarvasmin upādāne nimitte ca kāraṇe svarūpa-bhūtaiva mantavyā, kārya-viśeṣotpattau tat-kāraṇatvena vastu-viśeṣa-svīkārānarthakya-prasaṅgāt | vivarte’pi rajatādi-sphūrtāv adhiṣṭhānaṁ śukty-ādikam evāṅgīkriyate, na tvaṅgārādi | prastute’pi brahmaṇa eva jagad-adhiṣṭhānatvaṁ, na tv anyasyeti, tathaiva svarūpa-śaktitvaṁ viditam |
And this śakti is a special dharma of an object; its existence is established by the principle of kāryānyathānupapatti [the inability to come to a conclusion by any other means than the effect]. But that śakti has to be considered as intrinsic to the svarūpa of every upādāna and nimitta cause, because otherwise it would become absurd to accept a specific object as a cause in the generation of a specific effect. Even in vivarta-vāda, the foundation of the appearance of silver is accepted as the conch-shell alone, and not [other substances like] coal. Even here, Brahman alone is the foundation of the world, and not any thing else. In the same way, the quality of śakti in the svarūpa [of objects] is to be understood.
The logic here is as follows. Milk is the cause of yogurt; oil can never be the cause of yogurt. Why is milk alone the cause of yogurt? It has a certain functional capacity to produce the yogurt, which the oil does not possess. This function, is indeed the svarūpa-śakti of milk. If we deny the presence of this śakti, there is no way to explain why milk, a specific cause, produces yogurt, a specific effect. Likewise, Brahman alone is the cause of the world, and hence must have śakti to be able to produce a specific effect, which here is the world. Here ends the Śrī Vaiṣṇava opinion.
Śrī Jīva continues:
kiṁ ca, jagad-rūpe vivarte brahmaṇaḥ kiñcit-karatvam asti nāsti vā ? nāsti cet, ajñānenaiva vivartatāṁ, kiṁ tad atirikta-tad-aṅgīkāreṇa ? asti cet, āyātā tasya jñānāśrayasya śuddhasyaiva śaktiḥ | evaṁ cādvaita-śārīraka-kṛtāpy uktaṁ—
śaktiś ca kāraṇa-kārya-niyamārthā kalpyamānā nānyā asatī vā kāryaṁ niyacchet, asattvāviśeṣād anyatvāviśeṣāc ca | tasmāt kāraṇasyātma-bhūtā śaktiḥ, śakteś cātma-bhūtaṁ kāryam |[śaṅkara-bhāṣya 2.3.18] iti |
Furthermore, in the appearing of Brahman as the world, does Brahman have some function, or does it not? If it does not, let the world be an appearance from ajñāna; what is the need of accepting something other than ajñāna [i.e. Brahman as foundation of that vivarta]? If it does have function, then śakti automatically must be accepted of that pure shelter of jñāna [Brahman which is posited to be qualityless]. This is stated even by the composer of the Advaita-śārīraka:
And śakti is conceived for the purpose of regulation of an effect by its cause. The effect cannot be regulated by anything other than śakti, or in the absence of śakti [in the cause], because both these [possibilities] are non-specific [i.e. will not produce specific effects]. Therefore, śakti is intrinsic to the cause, and in the śakti, the effect is intrinsic. [śaṅkara-bhāṣya 2.3.18]
Here, he cites Śrī Śankara to support the presence of śakti in the cause of any effect. Brahman is superfluous if it is assumed to not have any function in its appearance as the world. If it is accepted to have a function, then it must have śakti, because only through śakti can Brahman regulate the world.
kiṁ ca, yatra caitanyaṁ tatraiva jñānam iti niyama-darśanena tat-sattāpi tata eveti paryavasānāt tasyāḥ sphorakatā-liṅgena svarūpa-śakti-rūpo labhyate ||ata eva kasmād ucyate brahma “bṛṁhati bṛṁhayati ca” iti | bṛhattvād bṛṁhaṇatvāc ca yad brahma paramaṁ viduḥ iti viṣṇu-purāṇaṁ ca bṛṁhaṇatvena śaktimattvaṁ darśayati | tat-sannidhāna-balenaiva tathātathā-bhāve’nyeṣām aṅgīkṛte’pi śaktir eva paryavasyatīti |
Furthermore, because there is an invariable concomitance between caitanya [Brahman] and the quality of knowership, the existence of knowership derives from the existence of caitanya [Brahman] alone. By establishing śakti [of knowership] in this way, that it is svarūpa-śakti is arrived at through its characteristic as a cause of manifestation. Therefore it is stated in śruti: “Why is this called Brahman? Because it expands ( bṛṁhati ) and causes others to expand ( bṛṁhayati)”, and in the Viṣṇu-purāṇa, “that form is called Brahman because it is limitlessly expansive and limitlessly causative of others to expand”; here the word bṛṁhaṇatvena, ‘limitlessly causative of others to expand” shows that Brahman is endowed with śakti. Even when such qualities [viz. the quality of expansion] are accepted in others [they are in them] by the grace of this Brahman only, śakti alone is concluded [in them].
The overall point is that any function done by Brahman implies śakti. Indeed, the very etymological meaning of the word Brahman reflects the fact that it is endowed with śakti.
I will conclude by translating the definition of śakti presented in Śrī Ānanda Gopāla Vedānta-tirtha’s Sanskrit commentary:
शक्तिः कारणनिष्ठः कार्योत्पादन योग्यो धर्मविशेषः, स च धर्मः प्रतिबन्धकादभावादिरूप कारणत्वात्मकः (तत्त्व दीपिका – ४)
śakti is the specific quality that is present in the cause, which has the ability to generate the effect. The quality is of the nature of causality characterized by the absence of obstacles [to the manifestation of the effect].