asamavāyi-kāraṇa

(‘non-inherent cause’)

The Vaiśeṣika Darśana (a logical system of Indian philosophy attributed to the sage Kaṇāda) recognizes seven padārthas or categories of reality, out of which samavāya or the relation of inhe-rence forms the sixth. It is the eternal relationship that subsists between the whole and the parts, the quality or an action and the substance possessing or doing it and so on.

Clay is the material cause for the jug. The two are inseparable. Hence, clay is called the samavāyi-kāraṇa, an inherent cause, of the jug. However, the colour of the jug is not caused by the clay, but by the colour of the clay which again exists in clay by samavāya. Hence, the colour of the clay is said to be the asamavāyi-kāraṇa, a non-inherent cause, of the colour of the jug.