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Causation
VIVARTA AND PARINAMA
Apparitional and Transformational Causation 

By what causation could the Universe arise, and from what?
 
Transformational causation, or Parinama, is what what we usually think of as causation.
It is what happens when milk is transformed into buttermilk, or when the gravitational
energy of a falling stone is transformed into kinetic energy in the fall. It represents an
actual transformation; not simply a mistake. And, although the form of the energy may
thus be changed, the amount of the energy remains constant.
 
Apparitional causation, or Vivarta, on the other hand, is what happens when you mistake
your friend Rfr a ghost. Nothing happens to your friend. But if your friend is tall and
thin, then the ghost will be tall and thin And if your friend is rolly-polly, you'll see a
rolly-polly ghost. That is because the characteristics of your friend are what you see as
the characteristics of the ghost. Something of your friend must show in the ghost.
 
Now this question arises. Can the Universe which we see have arisen by either of these
two forms of causation, and if so, by which, and from what?
 
In order for the Universe to have arisen by Parinama, something must have existed earlier
which could have been transformed into this Universe. And we need to know what that
could be.
 
And since, as was pointed out by the Einsteins in 1905, and by the physicists in India a
few thousand years earlier, the Universe is made out of energy, Shakti; and since in
Parinama the amount of energy never changes; it natually follows that for the Universe to
have arisen by Parinama, all that energy must have existed beforehand, before it could be
transformed into the Universe. So, since that energy would itself require a cause, this
problem retreats indefinitely. The Universe could not have arisen by Parinama.
 
The problem for Vivarta is very different. In order for the Universe to have arisen by
Vivarta there need only be an existence which could be mistaken for this Universe. And
we need to know what that could be.
 
Vivarta involves perception, or sentiency. And in order to mistake one thing for another,
you have to perceive the one thing, and something of that one must show in the other.
And the question, then, is this: since the Universe is made out of energy, what could have
been mistaken for that energy, and in what way could it be expected to show in our
physics.
 
If, following the trend of the modern cosmologists, we consider space and time to be part
of the Universe, then we may suppose that what we have mistaken for the Universe might
not be in space and time. That would allow us to say something about what that
existence could not be. It couldn't be changing if it's not in time, nor finite and divided if
it's not in space.
 
The question then is this: do we have any observational evidence that the changeless,
infinite, and undivided show in our physics? We do. The conservation of energy, and the
fact that energy shows inertia, are the observational evidence that the changeless shows in
our physics. The fact that the minuscule particles (the protons and electrons) have a
dispersional electrical charge, and that their electrical energy would go to zero only if
their sizes went to infinity, is the observational evidence that the infinite shows in our
physics. And, finally, gravity and the attraction between opposite charges, and the fact
that the gravitational energy of the Universe would go to zero only if the dividedness of
the Universe went to zero, is the observational evidence that the undivided shows in our
physics. None of these things, as pointed out by Richard Feynman, has any alternative
explanation in the halls of academia.
 
Heretofore, we have had no way to understand the conservation of energy or its inertia.
And, heretofore, we have had no way to understand gravity or electricity. Why, if the
particles are minuscule, do they have to be electrical? And why, if they are separated, do
they have to fall together? And, finally, why, if they are moving, do they coast.
 
If energy, then, is that underlying existence showing as changeless through the changes in
time, then we do have a way to understand the conservation of energy and its inertia.
They are simply the changeless showing through. And if that energy is the underlying
existence showing as infinite through the smallness of particles in space, then we also
have a way to understand why the electrical charge is self-repulsive, and why the
electrical energy of the particles would go to zero at infinity. They are simply the infinite
showing through. And, finally, if that energy is the underlying existence showing as
undivided, through the dispersion of the particles through space, then we even have a way
to understand gravity and the attraction between positive and negative charges. They are
simply the undivided showing through.
 
It is important to remember that the electrical energy of an electrical particle would go to
zero if, and only if, the size of that particle went to infinity. And it is important to
remember that the gravitational energy of the Universe would go to zero if, and only if,
the dividednesss of the Universe went to zero. Electricity is associated with infinitude
and gravity is associated with undividedness.
 
Now the interesting thing about hydrogen is that it is made of protons and electrons
which do not arise by Parinama. They neither arise nor disappear by Parinama within the
world of our physics. They are made out of gravity, electricity and inertia, which
themselves arise by Vivarta. The rest mass of the protons is related to their separation
from each other in the gravitational field, and to their smallness in the electrical field.
 
Everything else in the Universe is made from that hydrogen by Parinama. And the
Parinama is driven by Vivarta.
 
Now, philosophical views in India are generally catalogued according to their views on
causation. Some of the philosophers are said to be Parinama Vadins (that is: they believe
causation is transformational); and some are said to be Vivarta Vadins (that is, they
believe that causation is apparitional); and they tend to hold to only one of these forms of
causation.
 
But the Universe as we see it does not arise by only one of these causes. The hydrogen
arises by Vivarta and the rest by Parinama.
 
And the Parinama is driven by gravity, electricity and inertia, that is by the Vivarta.
 
John L. Dobson
Hollywood
February, 2000