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Adrishta – Non-visible Concept In Vaiseshika Philosophy

Adrishta literally is non-visible, a concept in Vaiseshika philosophy. The Supreme Power immanent in the universe is called adrishta. The entire creation is the working out of adrishta. Even anus (the atoms), the basic building blocks of the universe, move only by His impulse. The organization of the atoms to constitute grosser or larger objects takes place in accordance with adrishta of jiva, the life-force of all beings. This concept is the analogue of a creating Ishwara accepted by some other thought systems. Originally, Vaiseshika did  not have a place for the Creator, though later adherents of the school thought that he was necessary at least as an organizer. It was felt that adrishta was inadequate for the tremendous complexity of creation.

In the Nyaya system, Udayana argues that adrishta is the cause of the experiences of happiness and sorrow.

Every effect presupposes a cause; so happiness or unhappiness must also be effects of a cause. That cause being the consequence of one’s own past deeds is adrishta.

This cause cannot be traced to the beginning of the world by an endless regress because the world has no beginning. Hence the immediately antecedent cause, adrishta, has to be granted.

Individuals differ in their experience of pleasure and pain. Hence there is no, and cannot be, a single common cause for this variance. Therefore, the manifold adrishta must be postulated to explain the variance.

Acts done by the selves produce their results, not at once but only in due course. This is not intelligible unless one assumes some persistence of the moral potency of those acts waiting to yield their results. This is adrishta, the aggregate of all the moral acts of the self. It is adrishta (unseen) because there is a time-gap between one’s deeds and their fruit – the effect is not perceived as issuing from a cause; it is inferred.

The connection of selves with the appropriate and diverse bodies requires adrishta – that is not natural causation but moral determinism.

However, Udayana declares that the principle of adrishta, though moral and not material, is yet not intelligent and conscious and that it requires governing and directing by the infinite intelligence of Ishwara, God.

Adrishta effects of one’s actions (the fruits enjoyed after death) are contrasted with drishta effects, the fruits enjoyed in this life itself. For example, Advaita says that knowledge of identity of the self with Brahman (the Great self) enables sadyo-mukti (release of the self immediately in the present life itself). This jivan-mukti (immediate release and release in the current life in the body) is called the drishta (visible) result in Vedanta. The significant implication of this is viewed as drishta result promised by Vedanta and it is always preferable to adrishta result, promised by karma mimamsa.