By Swami Harshananda
Asamavāyi-kāraṇa literally means ‘non-inherent cause’.
The Vaiśeṣika Darśana (a logical system of philosophy attributed to the sage Kaṇāda) recognizes seven padārthas or categories of reality, out of which samavāya or the relation of inherence forms the sixth. It is the eternal relationship that subsists between the following
- Whole and the parts
- The quality and the substance
- An action and the substance doing this action
Clay is the material cause for the jug. The two are inseparable. Hence, clay is called the samavāyi-kāraṇa, an inherent cause, of the jug. However, the color of the jug is not caused by the clay, but by the color of the clay which again exists in clay by samavāya. Hence, the color of the clay is said to be the asamavāyi- kāraṇa, a non-inherent cause, of the color of the jug.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore