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Vallabha vedānta defines cause as ‘the substrate (āśraya) of the power of manifestation’ (āvirbhāvaśakti), i.e. the power that manifests the effect. Every existent is dispensed with by Brahman, with two powers of ‘Āvirbhāva’ and ‘Tirōbhāva’ emanating from his acintya infinite power or capacity; these two are responsible for the appearance or creation and disappearance or destruction of all facts and existents in world.

The particular mode in which a substance acquires the potentiality of being the object of experience or of mundane practical activity (vyavharyogyatva).
The loss or negation of potentiality of being the object of experience which the said mode previously possessed and expressed.

Thus the conception of ‘cause’ implies that it is a fact which has the power to propel or active the manifestation of some mode or form in it’s substance or substrate. The mode or form which is thus manifested or acquires the potentiality to be the object of experience is termed as ‘effect’.

This interpreatation and explanation not only implies the necessary concepts of regular sequence and entailment but is also crowned with virtues of active-theory which emphasised that a ‘cause’ in order to produce something must be ‘active’. Thus also implying that cause which is active is also ‘willing’


Śrīmad Vallabhācārya in propounds that the only logically justifiable and valid relation between cause and effect is of tādātmya(identity) where tādātmya or identity is to be understood not in Samkarite sense of pure identity devoid of difference (bhedasahiśnuabheda).

Difference and manifoldness as available in the world-phenomenon or prapañca which is real and manifested out of Brahman’s own will and in Himself, is just and aspect of a state of His Personal and Concrete Identity; likewise,Effect is just a manifested state of Cause and the only rationally justifiable relation between them is one of identity or Tādātmya. Samavāya or ‘inherence’ from the Vallabhite standpoint is not a separate relation subsisting between ayutasiddha entities but is only the relation of ‘Identity’.

Kinds of Causes and Effects

1. Samavāyi-Kāraṇa(Inherent Cause): It is that ‘cause’ which universally and unconditionally prevades the ‘effect’ in entirety. By virtue of its uncommon and extraordinary identity it acquires its ubiquitous presence in its ‘effect’ which is, as we have mentioned, only its manifested form. The material cause or the upādāna-kāraṇa, according to Vallabhites, is only a special and particular state(avastha) and, therefore a manifestation of Samavāyi-Kāraṇa, the Inherent Cause.

Types of Causes in Vallabha Vedānta
(A). Upādāna-kāraṇa(Material Cause): As explained above the Material Cause is just and aspect of Samavāyi-Kāraṇa, is of two different kinds, viz.
(I). Pariṇāmi-Upādāna: It is the material-cause which manifests itself into an effect having the same order of reality, such as ‘gold’ or ‘milk’ or ‘lump of earth’ which transform themselves into ‘a necklace’, ‘curd’, and ‘’a jug’ respectively.
The Pariṇāmi-Upādāna is further of two kinds, viz.
(i). Avikṛta-Pariṇāmi: In this kind of the transformation the essence of the material-cause remains unchanged so that the manifested effect may be brought back to its original causal position. For Example ‘gold’. A necklace made of gold can be converted into gold again.
(ii). Vikṛta-Pariṇāmi: In this kind of transformation the essence of the material cause is subjected to change that the manifested ‘effect’ can never be brought back to its causal position. Example is ‘milk’ which is converted into ‘curd’ is never tranformable to milk again.
(II). Vivartta-Upādāna: In this Variety of the material-cause the ‘effect’ or the manifested forms belong to an order of reality different from the cause. Here there is no real transformation but only an illusory appearance of the ‘effect’ in the ‘cause’ or the substratum, for example the illusion of ‘snake’ on a ‘rope’ or the ‘silver’ in a ‘conch-shell’.

In such cases the material-cause is only the substratum of the illusory-manifestation without undergoing any real transformation.

The difference between a pariṇāmi-upādāna and the Vivartta-upādāna which form the very core of the doctorines of pariṇāmavāda and vivarttavāda are as follows:

1. The effect in vivarttavāda is an unreal transformation, whereas, in pariṇāmavāda it is the real transformation.
2. The appearance of the effect in vivarttavāda does not effect the nature of the cause at all, whereas in Vikṛta-pariṇāmavāda it actually modifies the nature of the cause.
3. The order of the being of an effect in vivarttavāda if different from the order of being of the cause, whereas, in pariṇāmavāda the two are not different.

2. Nimitta-Kāraṇa(Instrumantal Cause): The cause which is different from the Samavāyi-kāraṇa is termed as ‘Nimitta-kāraṇa’, for example the potter, the wheel, the stick, etc., in respect of the causality of ‘the pot’. The ‘objects’ and ‘the operation of senses(indriyas)’ are illustrations of the instrumental cause in case of the production of knowledge. The instrumental cause can also be classified into two kinds:

(A). The instrumnetal-cause used as an instrument or means for the production of an effect (sāmagrī) for example the stick and wheel that are used by the potter for creating ‘the pot’. This type of instrumental-cause is never subject to any change during the course of its operation.
(B). The instrumental-cause which when used as a material requirement for the production of an effect itself undergoes an transformation. The illustrations of such variety of instrumental-cause are ‘hay’ and ‘the two pieces of wood used in lightening and burning of the sacred fire (agni)’. When the fire has actually burnt, the two pieces of wood are consumed by the fire and transformed.

In Prakāśa of Aṇubhāṣya two varieties of ‘effect’ are referred, viz.,

  1. Ārabdha(Produced): The ‘effect’ which is manifested by the operation of an instrumental-cause. For example, a house; this type of effect is generally expressed by the word ‘created’(racitaṃ) in ordinary language. The special feature of this kind of effect is its causal-dependence on some kind of intellect involving consciousness and spatio-temporal-condition.
  2. Pariṇāma-Bhūta(Transformed): This type of ‘effect’ is either wholly or to a larger extent dependent on the causal activity of the material-cause(upādāna) for example ‘curd’.

In ordinary human life this two vartities of effect always appear to be opposed so much so that if an effect is transformed it can never be ‘created’ or produced and so vice-versa.

Doctrine of Āvirbhāva and Tirōbhāva

The doctrine of manifestation and concealment is the nave of the wheel of Śrīmad Vallabhācārya’s Philosophy of Creation forms the Kernel of Brahmavāda. As acknowledge by Śrīmad Viṭṭhalanātha, a proper understanding of this doctrine removes all doubts and fully convinces the hearer about the truth and validity of Brahmavāda.

The doctrine of Āvirbhāva and Tirōbhāva, as acknowledged by the Vallabhites themselves, is not only as old as the ancient Sāṃkhya where it is employed as an instrument for explaining the evolution of all effects or evolutes from Primodial Prakriti but has its source also in the Theory of Emanation of Pāñcarātra-Āgamas.

Dr. Schrader in his work Inroduction to the Pāñcarātra states

“The Pāñcarātra teaches, a chain, as it were, of emanations; each emanation except the first, originating from an anterior emanation; and thus the favourite image of the process has, with the Pāñcarātrins, become that one flame proceeding from another flame.”

The primary judgement in chapter VI of the Chāndogya Upaniṣada that the knowledge of one leads to knowledge of all, explained further by the Philosophy of Being and such pariṇāmi illustrations as the gold and ornament, earth and jar, etc. implies the tactic assumption that the doctrine of Āvirbhāva and tirōbhāva was implied by Āruṇi himself though not expounded in clear terms. In one of the mantras of this Upaniṣada, the words ‘āvirbhāva’ and ‘tirōbhāva’ are actually used to explain the appearance and disappearance of all from Ātman. Thus if in the context of of the philosophy of Brahman as the only Concrete Reality the appearance of real-creation and world-phenomenon on the foundations of satkāryavāda is to be explained, the doctrine of manifestation and concealment, coming down to us from hoary past is the only refuge which we should accept without any demur.

Avikṛta-Pariṇāmavāda(The Theory of Immutable Transformation)

Most of the Vedantins, gave credence to the theory of Satkāryavāda or the doctrine that the effect subsits in the cause implying that it is a real transformation or modification of its cause. However, when they came to grapple with the problem of explaining the fact of the modification of world from an ultimate principle which is of the nature of saccidānanda, is eternally pure, conscious and free is endless and partless they parted in their ways.

Śrīmad Vallabhācārya is conscious of the difficulty that an attempt to explain ‘creation’ as a real transformation from Brahman would mean Its modification and change(vikāra) striking at the very root of Its immutability like other vedantins who believed that the world was as real as Brahman, but to him, it is improper to suggest that the reference to the material-causality of Brahman in Upaniṣadic-texts is only secondary for this would disparage the his basic tenet that “as far as possible all the scriptural-texts should be accorded a primary meaning”. There is absolutely no question of doubting the scriptural assertion that Brahman is the material-cause. Those who are afraid that the introduction of the concept of real transformation would imply Brahman’s mutability are ignorant of the basic truth that it is an aspect of Brahman’s Greatness or Mahimā that He, while undergoing real transformation, is not subjected to any change, modification or mutation. By His Will and His mysterious power of Māyā. He veils some of His attributes and manifests some others resulting in the manifestation or āvirbhāva of the cosmic universe in essence He continues to be transcendent and unaffected by all such transformations. This doctrine of Avikṛtapariṇāmavāda or Immutable Transformation is the basic principle on the basis of which the vallabhites declare that the cosmic universe is real transformation of Brahman.

As we mentioned above, the mundane illustrations of immutable transformations are gold (transforming into ornaments), the clay (transforming into various kinds of clay-pots),etc. The effect in these cases, which can be converted into its original causal position, is just another aspect or position of the cause just as the snake sitting coiled is the same elongated snake trying to run away. These illustrations explain Śrīmad Vallabhācārya’s philosophical position that the form of the effect is inconsequential in bringing about any change in the ‘essence’ or ‘being’ of the cause which remains the same throughout in past, presence and future; a necklace was gold before, it is gold even when it is a necklace and it will be gold even after its dissolution. In the same way Brahman continues to be Brahman, in time and beyond time, without involving any idea of mutation. Even when Brahman through His Inscrutable Power and Will manifests from His sadaṃsa or existent-part the manifold variety of cosmic universe, which is real transformation, He remains absolutely immutable.

It would be logical perversion to argue that every real transformation is necessarily mutable because it disregards Brahman’s essential nature and greatness (mahimā) in His Divinity by which He transforms Himself into the cosmos without subjecting Himself to any change; His transformation is divine and extraordinary(alaukika) transcending all concepts and ideas of mundane and ordinary(laukika) transformation.

One can acquire the knowledge of His divine, extraordinary and immutable transformation and the ultimate causality of Brahman only through Śrutis or the Vaidika-texts and not through the application of the different principles of logic.