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Adravya – Non Substance In Vishishtadvaita

Adravya (non-substance) and dravya (substance) are the two categories into which objects of valid knowledge are divided in the philosophy of Vishishtadvaita. There are six dravyas – nature, time, attributive consciousness, eternal sport, self and god. Non-substance, which is an attribute, is always dependent on substance and is only relative and contingent. A characteristic feature of Visishtadvaita is that non-substance is sometimes viewed as both substance and attribute, like light which is both substance and quality. Non-substances are ten in number – sattva or purity, rajas or passion, tamas or passivity, sound, touch, color, taste, smell, samyoga or conjunction and sakti or potency.

Sattva, rajas and tamas are the qualities of primordial matter. Sound, touch, color, taste and smell are the qualities of the five elements, viz., ether, air, fire, water and earth. Conjunction is the external relation between substances. Potency is the effecting agent of causation in all causal substances. Sattva is the cause of illumination and brightness of objects. It is twofold – Shuddha or pure sattva and mishra or mixed sattva. Pure sattva is that which abides in a substance devoid of activity, passion or inertia. It is god’s own form in his eternal realm. Mixed sattva is that which exists along with activity and inertia and hence, abides in the substance characterized by all the three qualities. Rajas is the cause of avarice, activity,etc. Tamas is the cause of feelings like those of infatuation and inertia. These three qualities are non-perceptible. They pervade the entire prakriti or matter; they are non-eternal. They are in a state of continuous flow; they become equipoised in the state of dissolution and are disturbed at the beginning of creation. Sattva is the cause of true knowledge. Rajas, which is of the nature of passion, is the cause of attachment to work. Tamas is the nature of ignorance and is the cause of idleness.

Sound, touch, color, taste and smell are the non-substances which are perceived by our sense organs. The next is conjunction. It is the cause of the knowledge of external relation of substances. It is a generic attribute and is found in all the six substance. The last non-substance is power or potency. Potency is that particular non-substance which is the effecting agent of causation among all causes. The qualities of conjunction and potency are common to all the six substances.