Yoga Sutra 3.14 indeterminable dharmas is the dharmin

Sūtra III.14

What conforms to the subsided, uprisen, and indeterminable dharma-s is the dharmin

The dharma itself is the appropriate particularization of the mere potentiality of the dharmin. This potentiality of the dharmin is the dharma itself. It is inferred as an actual existence from the difference in effects to which it gives rise, one after another in the one (dharmin).

Of these, one that is visible is the present, exercising its own special function, and it is distinguished from other dharma-s which are either subsided or indeterminable. But when it accommodates itself to the common basis, being then simply the true nature of the dharmin, what is there to be distinguished, and by what?

What, then, is the dharmin? In an enduring basis, with the cessation of one dharma, another rises up, and this is called change. What conforms to the subsided, uprisen, and indeterminable, what is always conforming to the dharma-s, subsided, uprisen or indeterminable, which thus goes with them, by nature undivided in the divided, is determined to be the dharmin. The dharma itself is the appropriate particularization of the mere potentiality of the dharmin: it can change like the coils of a rope and so on, and this potentiality of circularity, etc. of the dharmin is the dharma itself.

So it exists in the dharmin, even when unmanifest: it is inferred as an actual existence from the difference in effects to which it gives rise. As when a lump of gold produces, at another place and another time, some effect like an earring, from the difference of effects one sees that this is manifesting to bring forth products dissimilar or similar; so in the dharmin it is inferred as an actual existence. in the one dharmin there are one after another dharma-s. By these words he indicates that there are countless dharma-s in a single dharmin.

Of these, one that is visible is the present, exercising its own special function – for instance, carrying water; and it is distinguished from other dharma-s which are either subsided or indeterminable. But when it accommodates itself to the common basis the nature of the dharmin, then being simply that true nature of the dharmin having become the essential nature of the dharmin what is there to be distinguished, and by what could it be particularized? There is distinction only of forms corresponding to function, but not of something that is seen to have reverted to its cause – that is the point.

Those dharma-s of the dharmin which having been active have now ceased to function are the subsided: those that are in function are the uprisen, following on from their future time-phase. So also those that are past are following on from their present time-phase. Why should they not be following on (others in) the past? Because there is no before and after (there). There are priority and following on in the case of future and present: not so in the case of the past. So there is no following on by what is past. It is only the future which follows on the past.

Now what are the dharma-s: subsided, uprisen, or indeterminable? Those dharma-s of the dharmin which having been active have now ceased to function are the subsided; those that are in function are the uprisen, following on from their future time-phase. So also the past ones are following on from their present. Why should they not be following on (others in) the past? It is a rhetorical question: they do not do so. Because there is no before and after (there). One who is behind another is his immediate successor, and the other one is first in relation to him. In this case, no one by himself can be first, since there is no one behind him. The past (dharma-s) then cannot follow on (others in) the past, because there is no before and after (there). There are priority and following-on of future and present: not so in the case of the past. So there is no following-on by what is past.

There is a reading (of the next sentence) which goes: ‘It is only the future which follows on the present’, but that would not be relevant to the context. So the reading must be: It is only the future which follows on the past, for that is to the point. How so? When a saṃskāra of extraversion is first overcome by a saṃskāra of inhibition, that saṃskāra of extraversion comes into the time-period of the past, having left the time-period of the present. But it is something yet-to-come-again in the future, which then becomes present, though not in direct sequence (from the past). This is why it is said that it is only the future which follows on the past.

What are the indeterminable (dharma-s)? Everything has the nature of everything.

On this it has been said: every form of taste and the other sense qualities, being modifications of water and earth, are observed in plants, and these which are in the plants are in the same way in animals, and those of animals in plants. Thus everything, irrespective of genus, has the nature of everything.

How so? On this it has been said: every form of taste and the other sense qualities, being modifications of water and earth, are observed in plants. Just as the one quality of taste is met with in all sorts of forms – in, for example, sugar-cane and ginger, namely as sweetness and pungency respectively – so there is endless variety of colours such as whiteness or blackness, and so also with odours. These which are in the plants are in the same way in animals, as all the forms of taste and so on. When the plants are assimilated by them, all the forms of taste and colour, for instance, appear in the animals, and those of animals in plants which have assimilated them, in every form of taste and so on, as described by the science of forestry.

Also those of plants in plants, and of animals in animals. Thus everything, irrespective of genus, has the nature of everything. The three worlds exist on a finger’s tip, and again: ‘Brahmā created from his finger through its pores’, and a hundred other such sacred texts and traditions confirm it.

Under the constraints of place, time, form, and cause, the essences do not manifest simultaneously. What runs through these dharma-s, manifest or unmanifest, is the dharmin which is their persisting support, and whose essence is both universal and particular.

(Opponent) If everything has the nature of everything, then it should all be perceived everywhere, and there would never be the grief of separation from what is liked.

(Answer) In answer, he continues: Under the constraints of place, time, form, and cause there is restriction imposing constraint on place and so on, and so it is that the essences all the things do not manifest simultaneously. As some particular one, only on a particular occasion, at some place and time and in some form, they take a body corresponding to the causes such as dharma, as does for instance Rahu (the demon consisting of a head alone, who swallows sun and moon at eclipses). So it is that there are such things as grief at separation from what is liked. Since in each case the causes spread out to an incalculable extent, the (future) dharma-s cannot be determined.

What runs through these dharma-s, manifest or unmanifest, subsided or uprisen or indeterminable is the dharmin which is their persisting support, and whose essence is both universal and particular.

But for some (Buddhists) who hold there are dharma-s alone without any persisting support, there should be no experience. Why not? Because, when some action had been performed by one consciousness (vijñāna), how could another be made responsible in the sense of experiencing (its effects)? And there should be no memory: one person does not remember what was seen by another. And from the fact of recognition, it must be admitted that there is a permanent dharmin persisting through the dharma-changes. Thus there is no question of dharma-s alone, without any persisting support.

But for some philosophers (= vijñāna-vādin Buddhist) who hold there are dharma-s alone without any persisting support, external or internal (ādhyātmika), and for whom there is supposed to be just knowledge alone: since his dharma-s are perishing at every instant, never attaining states of past, future and present at the same time, so that there cannot be any relation like experience-experiencer, there should be no experience.

He demonstrates why there would be no such relation. Why not? When some action had been performed by one consciousness (vijñāna), how could another consciousness, which would not have been the doer, be made responsible in the sense of experiencing (its karmic effects)? It is proper that the relation should be between the fruit and the agent who has intended it. It would be absurd to have one person the agent but someone else having responsibility for the fruit.

And there would be no memory: there would be no such memory as ‘I have done what I had to do’. One person does not remember what was seen by another: Vasumitra does not remember what has been seen by Caitra. And from the fact of recognition, for we do recognize: ‘that indeed is this.’

So it is admitted has to be accepted that there is a permanent dharmin persisting through the dharma-changes. It is not, however, that its true nature changes, for we realize, for instance, that it is still gold even when it conforms to the different shapes like ornaments. Thus there is no question of dharma-s alone, without any persisting support.

 

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