Saturday, June 2, 2007

Vedanta Paribhasha - Introduction - 2

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All.

iha khalu dharmaarthakaamamokshaakyeshu chathurvidhapurushaartheshu
moksha eva parama purushaarthah, "na sa punaraavarthathe"
ithyaadhi sruthyaa tasyaiva nithyathva avagamaath, ithareshaam thrayaanaam pratyakshena,
"tadhyatheha karmajitho lokah ksheeyathe, evamevaamuthra punyajitho lokah ksheeyathe"
ithyaadhi sruthyaa cha anithyathva avagamaath cha| sa cha brahmajnaanaadh ithi
brahma thath jnaanam thath pramaanamcha saprapancha nirupyathe|

Here, verily, of the four kinds of human goals, called Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha, Moksha alone is the supreme human goal; for its eternality is ascertained from such sruti as "He does not return again" (Chandogya VIII.15.1); whereas of the other three, non-eternality is understood both through perception and through such sruti as 'Therefore, just as the enjoyment here acquired through is consumed, even so is the enjoyment in a hereafter acquired by merit, consumed" (Chandogya,VIII.1.6). And since that results from Brahman Knowledge, Brahman, the knowledge thereof and the means to get the knowledge thereof are expounded in detail.

The actual text starts from this part after the self-introduction verses of the author. The Ultimate goal of every human beings in the world is only happiness but the object of happiness will vary from person to person and the objects of happiness are broadly classified as four purusharthas. The 4 purusharthas are Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (wealth), Kama (Sensual Pleasures) and Moksha(Liberation). The end product of all these four purusharthas is happiness only, but the happiness that is got from the first three purusharthas are temporary and whereas the happiness that is got from fourth purushartha is permanent. Though we seek happiness from various objects, our final aim is to get happiness which is permanent and since it is only Moksha which can give permanent happiness, the author here says that out of the four purusharthas Moksha is the Supreme human goal. When a person gets liberation, he will be happy ever and complete and hence there would not be any desire (as desire comes only when there is sense of incompleteness). Happiness that is got from any other object will never be permanent because, the world and its object in itself are temporary. Only that which is permanent can give permanent happiness and since the wordly objects are temporary, the other three purusharthas cannot give permanent happiness.
Moksham means liberation from the ocean of bondage. A person is liberated when he gets the Ultimate Knowlege that "I am Brahman". Therefore, the Ultimate goal is getting that knowledge that "I am Brahman". It is not a new knowledge to get as well, as we already are Brahman, but the Ultimate goal is ascertaining that we are Brahman only. Therefore, we should know about brahman and the means to get that knowledge and the author says that knowledge of Brahman and the means to get that knowledge is been cleary explained in this text.

thathra pramaakaranam pramaanam | thathra smritivyavruththam
pramaathvam anadhigata abaadhitha artha vishayaka jnaanathvam |
smritisaadhaarananthu abaadhitha artha vishayaka jnaanathvam |
neeroopasyaapi kaalasyendhriyavedhya vedhyathva abhyupagamena, dhaaraavaahikabudherapi
poorvapoorvajnaanaavishaya thaththath kshanavishesha vishayakathvena na
thathra avyaapthih | kincha sidhaanthe dhaaraavaahikabudhisthale na
jnaanabhedhah, kinthu yaavad ghata sphuranam
thaavadh ghata akaara anthah karana vrittih eka eva,
na thu naanaa, vritheh svavirodhi vritti uthpaththi paryantham
sthayithva abhupagamaath, thathaa cha thath prathiphalitha chaitanya roopam
ghataadhi jnaanamapi thathra thaavath kaaleenam ekameva ithi na avyaapthi shankaapi

Of these, the distinctive cause (karana) of valid knowledge is Pramaanam. Here, the nature of such valid knowledge, as excludes recollection, consists in being cognition having for content an entity that is not already known and is not sublated; whereas, that [nature of valid knowledge] which is common to recollection consists in being cognition having for content an unsublated entity. Since sense-cognition is admitted even for time, though it is colourless, even for [the second and subsequent cognition in] a continuous stream of cognition, there is as content what is not the content of earlier cognitions, namely the object qualifed by the particular [succeeding] instants; hence there is no non-pervasion in respect of that [continous stream of cognition, by the definition]. Further, in [our] final view, there is no break in a continous stream of cognition, rather is it that so long as there is presentation of pot, there is but a single psychosis of internal organ, having the form of pot, not many, since of a psychosis, persistence until the rise of [another] psychosis opposed to that [original] is admitted. And thus, even the cognition of pot, etc., which is of the nature of consciousness reflected in that, is but single, lasting for that period of time, hence there is not even the suspicion of non-pervasion.

Prama, in sanskrit, means valid knowledge and the means or way to get that valid knowledge or prama is called pramaanam. What exactly is Pramanam? When we see a real object which we do not know before, that cognition is called pramaanam. Pramaanam is different from recollection, as in recollection the object is already known. When we meet a new person the knowledge that we get is new and that means of getting the knowledge is Pramanam whereas when we meet our friend, though the knowledge is about a real object, since it is from recollection, it is not pramanam, it is called smriti. The only difference between smriti and pramanam is that, through pramanam there is new knowledge whereas in smriti, there is only recollection as knowledge is there in the memory.

After defining pramanam, the author anticipates a doubt, if the cognition is a continous cognition, how can it be pramanam? Suppose we see a new object for a long time, there is continuous cognition of that object. One may question, other than the first cognition, the rest cannot be considered as pramanam. To this he answers by analyzing through two angles. If we consider the cognition as discrete cognition, then at each interval of time it is a new cognition and thus it is pramanam only. In Vedanta, whenver there is a cognition, there will be corresponding vritti or modification of the mind. So as long as one object is percieved, so long the mind takes that particular form until we see a different object. Thus in both cases, it is new knowledge only and hence it Pramanam.

nanu sidhaanthe ghaadheh mithyaathvena bhaadhithathvaath katham thath jnaanam pramaanam?
uchyathe | brahmasaakshaathkaaraanantharam hi ghathaadheenaam bhaadhah, "yathra
thu asya sarvam atmaivaabhooth thath kena kam pashyeth"
ithi srutheh | na thu samsaaradhashaayaam bhaadhah, " yathra hi dvaithamiva bhavathi
thath ithara itharam pashyathi" ithi srutheh| thathaa cha " abhaadhitha" - padhena
samsaaradhashaayaam abhaadhithathvam
vivakshithvam, ithi na ghataadhi pramaayam avyaapthih | thath uktham
"dehaathma prathyato yadhvath pramaanathnena kalpithah |
lowkikam thadhvadhevedham pramaanaanthva athmanishchayaath|| " ithi |
"aa athamanishchayaath" - brahma saakshaathkaara paryantham ithyarthah
"lowkikam" ithi ghaadhi jnaanam ithyarthah |

'Now, since in final view, pot, etc., being illusory, are sublated, how can their cognition be valid knowledge?'
The reply is: There is indeed the sublation of pot, etc. after the intution of Brahman, because of the sruti, 'when, however, for him everything has become the Self, then, wherewith and what shall he see?'(brh, IV.5.15). But there is no sublation in the state of bondage (samsaara), because of the sruti, 'When indeed there is duality, as it were, then one sees the other' (Brh. IV.5.15). And thus since what is intended by the word 'unsublated' is 'not being sublated during the state of Samsaaram', there is no non-pervasion of the valid cognition of pot, etc. This has been said
"Just as the cognition of the body as the Self is assumed to be valid, even so is this worldly [cognition] valid till the ascertainment of the Self".
'Till the ascertainment of the Self' means till the intuition of Brahman
'Worldly[cognition]' means the cognition of pot etc.

Now an objection is raised. As per Vedanta, everything other than Self is an illusion. Therefore whenever we see an object of the world, the objector says, since the object is an illusion how can the means of that knowledge be pramanam? Yes the objects that are seen in the world are illusion only no doubt, but those are illusion only after a person realizes that there is only Brahman and nothing else. Paramarthika and Vyavahaarika level cannot be mixed. When a person gets liberated, there would be nothing to see at all, there would be no instrument to percieve the object. But till a person realizes his very nature of Brahman, he will see dualities. This is what is meant here, the cognition of objects before one realizes his own nature of Self. Therefore all the means for the cognition of the objects are Pramanam only in the Vyavaharika level. He further explains this that as long as one thinks that "I am body" till that time the cognition of the worldly objects are real. Therefore till the time one gets liberation, the world and the objects will be seen as real.

thaani cha pramaanaani shat - pratyaksham anumaana upamaana aagama arthapaththi anupalabdhi bhedhaath

These pramaanas are six, divided into Pratyaksha (perception), anumana (inference), upamaana (comparison), shabdha (verbal), arthapathi (postulation) and anupalabdhi (non-cognition).

Vedanta accepts six pramanams, which are Pratyaksha (perception), anumana (inference), upamaana (comparison), shabdha (verbal), arthapathi (postulation) and anupalabdhi (non-cognition).

With this the introduction part of Vedanta Paribhasha is over and after this starts the first chapter which is about the Pratyaksha pramanam. We will start with the first chapter the next day.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum


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