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Re:Post 3 a) Classification of reals

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Tue May 04 1999 - 14:06:57 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,

In post 1, a real was defined as that which is not negated by 
any of the three valid  means of acquiring knowledge.  The 
reals (tattvas) have been classified into two broad categories:
1.  Substance (dravya)
2.  Non-Substance (adravya)

Definition 1: A substance (dravya) is a real (tattva) that is 
subject to change; this change is either perceived by the 
senses or noted in scripture.

Axiom 1 a) A substance is composed of a substratum 
(foundational layer to which the name refers)
and attribute (s).  The attribute (attributes) is within (are 
within) the substratum.  Although distinct from the 
substratum, an attribute is inseparably related to it (an 
attribute can only exist within some substratum.)

Axiom 1 b) A substance is always cognized as a 
substratum qualified by an attribute.

Definition 2: A modification (avasthA) in the substratum,
which is influenced by an external substance (that is by
a substance not within the substance under consideration), 
is an attribute of the substance. 

Definition 3: Non-substance (adravya) is that which is not 

Special cases:

1.  A substance can be within another substance as an 
attribute.  For example, Jnana (Knowledge) is a substance,
but it is within another substance Jiva (roughly individual soul)
as an attribute.

2.  A modification (avastha) is an attribute, but an attribute may
not be a modification.  For instance, cowness (the consolidated attribute)
is an attribute that is inseparable from cow, but this 
attribute is not effected by external substances; thus, it is not a


Clay is a substance (name clay refers to the substratum) that
is subject to change [relates to definition 1.] When it is shaped 
as a pot or a vase, we see a clay pot or a clay vase; 
substratum as qualified by the attribute within. [relates to 
definition 2 and the axioms.] 


1.  The source is Fundamentals of Vis'istAdvaita VedAnta: A 
Study Based on VedAnta DesikA's Tattva-MuktA KalApa.  
Although, the substance comes from the source, the 
presentation and organization is different (any errors are 
mine alone.)

2.  I had to postpone examples of Vedanta Desika's mastery 
until the next posting, because digesting these definitions 
and axioms is key to appreciating Vedanta Desika's
beautiful and sharp and impenetrable rebuttals!