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Re: Post 3e) Classification of reals

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Wed Jun 16 1999 - 14:37:21 PDT


Non-Substance (adravya) was defined earlier as a real 
that is not substance.   Vedanta Desika highlights 10 
fundamental non-substances; this is not an exhaustive 
list but merely a list of the most prominent ones.

List of key ones: 1-3 the three attributes of prakriti, 
4. s'abda (sound), 5. spars'a (touch),6. rUpa (colour), 
rasa (taste), ghanda (odour), samyoga (conjunction) 
and s'akti (potency.)

Given the definition and the list one may ask the 
following questions:

1.How is one to determine whether a real is a 
2. Are all attributes non substances?  
3. Can only attributes be non substances? 
1.A real must be subjected to the definition of 
substance; if it does not satisfy the properties 
outlined in the definition then it is to be classified 
as non substance.
2. No. Remember the special case outlined in the 
earlier post.  A substance can exist within another 
substance as an attribute.  For example, 
knowledge (Dharma-bhuta jnana), which is 
substance, inheres in jiva, which is also a 
3. Yes.    By Axiom 1 we have a non-substance, 
which is a real, must be either  substrate, attribute 
or a combination; however, substrate implies 
substance (i.e., impossible to perceive a substrate
that is not subject to avastha); thus only attributes can 
be non-substance.

The classification of reals is very important to understand, 
for it is the foundational layer of Vis'istAdvaita Vednata.  
The starting point of Vis'istAdvaita Vedanta is reals.  
Reals are composed only of substrate and attributes.  
Reals can be classified into two broad categories 
substance and non-substance.  Substance is composed 
of substrate and attributes and is always cognized as 
a substrate qualified by some attribute.  Non-substance is a 
real that does not meet the criteria outlined in the 
definition of substance.  Further, a non-substance 
is an attribute, but an attribute need not be a 
non-substance (as a substance can exist within another 
substance as an attribute. )  A non-substance cannot 
exist independent of substance.