Satkaryavada and Annica/Annata:

There is an ontological basis for the connection between cause and effect. Shankaracarya applies this to the theory of momentariness which holds that one moment is obliterated by the next. Thus one moment cannot be the cause of the next. What is non—existent can have no effect.

If you insist that things just are, that causality is the unfounded addition of the mind to what is simply a train of events, then you must give up the impression of invariant accompaniment also. By your doctrine then things would just happen without any regularity. This would be David Hume’s position which is an espousal of the momentary with all general theories projected on to it or read into it. There is a family resemblance to ‘allata cakra’ in this fancy.  (allata cakra = circle of fire viz. the illusion created by the whirling of a brand about the head)

David Hume also had trouble with Self-Identity – how a ‘series of conscious states became conscious of itself as a series’.  Memory he saw as an indicator of identity rather than a creator of it.  The notion of soul he would have rejected as monkish subtility but memory as the creator of its own subject was likewise magical.  This subject of memory and identity and the interesting way Sankara prevised the view of Shoemaker an influential modern writer on the subject (Self Knowledge and Self Identity) must be the subject of a separate note.

Momentariness would destroy the basis and the possibility of making memory statements.  Nor could you recognize continuity in reality.  This barring of what we do without a qualm amounts to a reductio ad absurdam.

“If people engaged in judging something do not take into account the facts that are universally accepted, then even after the statement of the validity of one’s own point of view and the invalidity of one’s opponent’s view it will not appear to be convincing to the intellect of the judges or oneself.” (pg.413 B.S.B.)

Sankara applies the Satkaryavada principle whereby the effect is non-different from the cause.  By momentariness the entity of the earlier moment is swallowed up and annihilated. Thus it cannot be the cause of the entity of the later moment i.e. its effect.  If origination can come about without a cause then anything can happen anywhere.

Nihilists do not admit of any lasting or persisting cause inhering in the effect. This amounts to saying something comes out of nothing. This would be the Buddhist position which holds that the material cause must be non—existent when the effect comes into force. That is to say that the effect comes to pass from non—existence. The Vedantin counters that what is non—existent has no being and cannot bring anything to pass.

This momentariness is destructive of the intuition of self—identity. And a permanent soul has to be admitted because of the fact of remembrance (i.e. memory). “Moreover when the nihilist asserts all things to he momentary, he will have to assert the perceiver also to be  momentary. But that is an absurdity because of the fact of remembrance.”