There are many jatis but no highest one, called satta (beingness), as acknowledged by Nyaya. Indeed, we can find groups of characteristics common to classes of beings but no set of characteristics common to all. Beings are ultimately disparate. When we call them all sat (being) we do not mean that they have something like a common essence but that each one is an individual "existing in its own way" as endowed with its own particular essence (svarupa-satta). Note the interest of this dis-essentialized notion of being. (De Smet, Guidelines p. 218)Useful for a history of the notion of being in India.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Prabhakara's dis-essentialized notion of being
Prabhakara of the Purva Mimamsa seems to imply that being is not to be regarded as yet another essence or whatness. De Smet remarks, in fact, on this dis-essentialized notion of being: