Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Vedanta Paribhasha - Pratyaksham - 6

Hari Aum

Prostrations to Guru. Prostrations to All

Pardon all for the long break in the learning Vedanta Paribhasha.

Therefore knowledge such as, “The hill has fire”, is also mediate so far as the fire is concerned, and immediate in respect of the hill; for the Consciousness limited by the hill etc. is not different from that limited by the state of the mind that has gone out, but in respect of the fire, since the mind doesn’t go out to form a state, the Consciousness limited by the fire and the Consciousness associated with the means of knowledge are different from each other. Thus the experience takes the form, “I see the hill”, and “I infer the fire”. But in the system of logic the apperception would be of the form “I infer the hill”.

When we see an object the mind through the openings of the sense organs goes out towards the object and takes the form of the object. This modification of the mind is called Vritti. For the perceptual knowledge, the anthah karana Vritti and the object should occupy the same space and hence the Consciousness limited by both anthah karana Vritti and Consciousness limited by the object are one and the same. The Vritti and the object should not only occupy the same space but also same time and not only that, the object should have the capability to be perceived.

Thus the conditions are
Anthah Karana Vritti and the object should occupy same space and same time.
The object should have the capability to be perceived.

After giving the conditions for the knowledge to be perceptual knowledge, he then through an example differentiates perceptual knowledge and inferential knowledge. When we see smoke in the hill, we infer that the hill has fire. The hill is perceived clearly and fire not seen at all. The anthah karana Vritti of the hill and the hill occupy the same space in the present and hence the Consciousness limited by the Vritti of the hill and the hill are the same and hence we get the perceptual knowledge that “I see the hill”. On the other hand, the mental modification in the form of fire and the fire doesn’t occupy the same space because there is no sense contact at all. The mental modification is through the inferential knowledge that there should be fire in the hill as there is smoke. Thus we have the knowledge “I see the Hill” and “I infer the fire”.

According to Nyaya system, when we see a jar, we don’t get the knowledge immediately that “This is jar”. First when the eye contacts the jar, only the quality of being Jar or the jarhood is perceived. This knowledge is called Vyavasaya (Primary knowledge). From this primary knowledge comes the knowledge that “I know the Jar” by relating this Jarhood to the Jar cognitively. This reflective knowledge is called Anuvyavasaya. Thus we see the jarhood and infer that it is a jar. In the same way when the hill is seen, according to Nyaya System, through Anuvyavasaya we get the knowledge that “I infer the Hill”.

Nyaya system accepts two cognitions first the knowledge about the quality of the object and then the knowledge about the object by relating cognitively the quality with the object. Vedanta doesn’t accept two cognitions in perception. When we see an object knowledge about the object is got directly. The problem with anuvyavasaya of Nyaya system is that, for the first cognition to give knowledge we require second cognition, also the second cognition may require a third cognition for the knowledge and so on thus going to Infinite regression. The perceiver will be standing staring at the object with infinite thoughts running in the mind to know finally that “This is such and such object”JJ.

In an inferential knowledge, however, in which the subject is not in contact with the organ, the knowledge is wholly mediate. Knowledge such as, “A fragrant piece of sandal”, is also immediate in respect of the piece of sandal, and mediate in respect of fragrance, because the latter being incapable of apprehension by the eye, the definition, mentioned before, based on capability of being perceived cannot apply here.

Here Dharmaraja criticizes another concept of Nyaya on the grounds of perception. According to Nyaya, there are two types of perception, Laukikam and Alaukikam.
Laukikam is of two kinds, External perception where the sense organs comes into contact with the object and the Internal perception where mind comes into contact with the modification of the mind in the form of external cognition, happiness, pain etc.

Alaukikam is of 3 kinds.
Samanyalakshana (Knowledge based on a common feature) – Whenever we see a jar, through the conjunction of the eye with the jar the jarhood is only seen first and then from that comes the knowledge of the jar.
Jnanalakshana (knowledge based on previous knowledge) – When we see an object say a rose, we say that “I see a fragrant rose”. Though the expression should have been “I see a rose”, still since through earlier experience of fragrant smell of rose we say that “I see a fragrant rose”.
Yogaja – Perceptual knowledge of seeing the past, future etc through Yogic power.

Now here in the example given by Dharmaraja, we are seeing a Sandal wood. According to Nyaya System, the perceptual knowledge would be “I see a fragrant sandal wood” as through sense contact sandal wood is known and through the past experience the fragrance of sandal wood is known. Thus even the fragrance also becomes part of the perception. But according to Vedanta, sandal wood alone is perception as it is in contact with the eyes. The knowledge of fragrance is not a perceptual knowledge because fragrance doesn’t have the capability of being perceived through eyes.

Prostrations to All.

Hari Aum


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