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Apurva In Hinduism

In Hinduism, Apurva literally means that which was non-existent earlier. It stands for the remote consequences of an act (generally restricted in actual usage to Vedic rituals only). It is of nature of punya (merit) or papa (sin). The Vedas prescribe sacrificial duties which, when performed, produce their results. For example, a person desirous of heaven is ordained to perform the jyotishtoma ritual. But the result is not obtained immediately on its completion. Hence, applying the method of arthapatti (presumption), Mimamsa concludes that a moral power should be assumed to have been generated by the performance of the ritual, and that power lingers even after the ritual is over, serving as a link between the act and the result.

Mimamsakas do not admit any divine agent like God on the ground that one single homogeneous cause, which God is, cannot account for the variety of experiences of pleasure and pain. Each individual is a unique moral agent and earns his moral deserts. Hence one has to postulate as many apurvas as there are individuals. Besides, if God were said to distribute the rewards and reprisals, He will be open to the charge of partiality and cruelty. And if the sacrificial act does not produce the result by itself, there is no point in performing it. The scripture, which enjoins it, will be rendered meaningless. Hence the potency of remote consequences of Apurva (actions). When the result is obtained, the Apurva is said to have fructified, become phalapurva.