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The Vedanta Sutras, commentary by Sankaracharya (SBE34), tr. by George Thibaut [1890] at

13. And because in consequence of samavâya being admitted a regressus in infinitum results from parity of reasoning.

You (the Vaiseshika) admit that a binary compound which originates from two atoms, while absolutely different from them, is connected with them by the relation of inherence; but on that assumption the doctrine of the atoms being the general cause cannot be established, 'because parity involves here a retrogressus ad infinitum.' For just as a binary compound which is absolutely different from the two constituent atoms is connected with them by means of the relation of inherence (samavâya), so the relation of inherence itself being absolutely different from the two things which it connects, requires another relation of inherence to connect it with them, there being absolute difference in both cases. For this second relation of inherence again, a third relation of inherence would have to be assumed and so on ad infinitum.--But--the Vaiseshika is supposed to reply--we are conscious of the so-called samavâya relation as eternally connected with the things between which it exists, not as

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either non-connected with them or as depending on another connexion; we are therefore not obliged to assume another connexion, and again another, and so on, and thus to allow ourselves to be driven into a regressus in infinitum.--Your defence is unavailing, we reply, for it would involve the admission that conjunction (samyoga) also as being eternally connected with the things which it joins does, like samavâya, not require another connexion  1. If you say that conjunction does require another connexion because it is a different thing  2 we reply that then samavâya also requires another connexion because it is likewise a different thing. Nor can you say that conjunction does require another connexion because it is a quality (guna), and samavâya does not because it is not a quality; for (in spite of this difference) the reason for another connexion being required is the same in both cases  3, and not that which is technically called 'quality' is the cause (of another connexion being required)  4.--For these reasons those who acknowledge samavâya to be a separate existence are driven into a regressus in infinitum, in consequence of which, the impossibility of one term involving the impossibility of the entire series, not even the origination of a binary compound from two atoms can be accounted for.--For this reason also the atomic doctrine is inadmissible.


390:1 Which is inadmissible on Vaiseshika principles, because samyoga as being a quality is connected with the things it joins by samavâya.

390:2 Viz. from those things which are united by conjunction. The argument is that conjunction as an independent third entity requires another connexion to connect it with the two things related to each other in the way of conjunction.

390:3 Viz. the absolute difference of samavâya and samyoga from the terms which they connect.

390:4 Action (karman), &c. also standing in the samavâya relation to their substrates.

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