Srshti Siddhanta (सृष्टिसिद्धान्तः)

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Srshti Siddhanta (Samskrit : सृष्टिसिद्धान्तः) discusses about the theories propounded by Darshana shastras about the origin of Universe. All darshanas which critically discuss about the Atman, Brahman and Srshti or the Origin of the world have the seeds of thought from the Upanishads.

Darshanas describe the evolution of Jivatma and the unfolding of the consciousness, the gunas that govern his actions, the Upadhis in which he dwells and the worlds that he inhabits during his long piligrimage. There are three worlds in which the Jivatma circles around on the wheel of births and deaths. These are Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Svargaloka. Upanishads the fountain-head of all Bharatiya Darshanas show Jivatma the ways to draw himself out of these cycles of punarjanma. The concepts around the origin of Srshti, Kala (time) and Matter are explained in detail in these shastras.

परिचयः || Introduction

As to Srshti, the origin of the world (Universe), a concept that arose as a natural instinct in the minds of the peoples of the past, is a curiosity that continues to drive the minds of present day thinkers. Darshanas have differed and acquired their uniqueness in the process of explaining this phenomenon of creation of universe, unfathomable and baffling many scientists.

There is, justifyably, a divergence of opinion among thinkers of different Darshana shastras: Some uphold the Theory of Creation, others maintain the Theory of Evolution.[1]

  • Creationists include the Nastikas and the Naiyayikas.
  • Evolutionists include the Samkhyas and the Vedantins.

-Nastikas hold that the world is non-existent, that it is unreal and that it came out of non-existent cause (Asat-Karyavarda).

-Naiyayikas hold that the world is non-existent, that it is not eternal and is perishable, and that it came out of the existent which is eternal and imperishable cause (Abhava-Utpattivada).

-Vedantins hold that the world is non-existent, that it is unreal (illusory appearance), and that it came out of one existent, real cause, namely Brahman (Vivartavada).

-Samkhyas hold that the world is existent, that it is real, and that it came out of the existent real cause, namely Pradhana (Sat-Karyavada).

कार्यवादः ॥ Karyavada Or Theory of Causation

Based on describing the cause for the existence of the world, different theories have been put forward which is another common feature seen in these darshanas. The basic questions involved in any theory of causation is :[2]

Does the effect pre-exist in its material cause? 
Is the effect a real transformation or an unreal appearance of its cause?

To explain these questions many theories have been put forward by different schools of darshanas both Astika and Nastika. Apart from the shad darshanas, other philosophies that have originated in Bharatavarsha have also expounded their theories of causation. They are summarized in brief as given below: (see p. 139 of Reference [2])[1]

Theories Theory of Causation Philosophy Name of the theory Explanation
Asatkaryavada (असत्कार्यवादः) or Arambhavada (आरंभवादः) or Paramanuvada (परमाणुवादः) Theory of Creation The effect (कार्यम् । karya) does not pre-exist (असत् । asat) in its material cause. The effect is a new creation. Charvakas (चार्वाकः) Svabhavavada (स्वभाववादः) Paramanuvada (परमाणुवादः) : Matter is described as an aggregate of atoms (परमाणु).
Hinayana (हीनयानबौद्धमतम्) Anitya Paramanuvada (अनित्यपरमाणुवादः) or Kshanabhangavada (क्षणभङ्गवादः)
Nyaya and Vaiseshika (न्यायम्-वैशेषिकः ) Nitya Paramanukaranavada (नित्यपरमाणुकारणवादः) or Abhava-Utpattivada
Prabhakara Mimamsa (मीमांसा) Nitya Paramanukaranavada (नित्यपरमाणुकारणवादः)
Satkaryavada (सत्कार्यवादः) Theory of Evolution The effect (कार्यम् । karya) pre-exists (सत् । sat) in its material cause. Effect is an explicit manifestation of that which is contained in its material cause. Based on the reality or unreality of the effect it is further classified into two. Samkhya and Yoga (साङ्ख्यः - योगः) Prkriti-parinamavada (प्रकृतिपरिणामवादः) Parinamavada (परिणामवादः) : Expounds that the effect is a real transformation of its cause.

Brahman really transforms Himself as the world of matter and of souls.

Ramanuja's Vishishta-advaita (विशिष्टद्वैत-सिद्धान्तः) Brahma-parinamavada (ब्रह्मपरिणामवादः)
Shunyavada (शून्यवादः) Shunya-vivartavada (शून्यविवर्तवादः) Vivartavada (विवर्तवादः) : Expounds that the effect is an unreal appearance of the cause. (illusionary)

Brahman, unreally appears, through Ignorance, as the world of matter and of souls.

Vijnanavada (विज्ञानवादः) Vijnana vivartavada (विज्ञानविवर्तवादः)
Shankara's Advaita (अद्वैतसिद्धान्तः) Brahma vivartavada (ब्रह्मविवर्तवादः)
Sadasatkaryavada (सदसत्कार्यवादः) The effect is both real as well as unreal before its production. Kumarila Bhatta's Mimamsa (मीमांसा) Sadasatkaryavada (सदसत्कार्यवादः) The effect is real as identical with the cause and unreal as a modal change thereof, though ultimately both incline towards Parinamavada.
Jainism (जैनसिद्धान्तः)
Ajativada (अजातवादः) Doctrine of Non Origination. World being an appearance is never created. Gaudapada Karikas (गौडपादकारिकाः) Ajativada (अजातवादः)

Thus we see above that different darshanas whether Astika or Nastika, have tried to explain the fundamental concepts of origin of the world and matter using pramanas and logical discussions.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Sinha, Nandalal (1915) The Sacred Books of the Hindus : The Samkhya Philosophy. (Volume XI). Allahabad : The Panini Office
  2. 2.0 2.1 Sharma, Chandradhar. (1962). The Indian Philosophy : A Critical Survey. USA: Barnes & Noble, Inc.