Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Vedanta Paribhasha - Pratyaksham - 12

Hari aum

Prostrations to Amma

Objection: Since knowledge due to sentence apprehends the relation subsisting between the meanings of words, how can it be indeterminate?
Reply: The answer is this. For something to be an object of knowledge that is due to sentences, the criterion is not that it should apprehend the relation between the meanings of words – for in that case even something the relation of which is not intended may become an object of such knowledge – but that it should apprehend the intention. And in the passage under discussion, beginning with, “This universe, my dear, was but Existence in the beginning” and concluding with, “It is the truth, It is the Self, and thou art That, O Svetaketu” the intended purport of the Vedantic is held to be the Pure Brahman. So how can it express something that is not the intended meaning? That sentences like “Thou are That”, convey a simple notion of identity, only means that they produce valid knowledge that does not apprehend the relation (among the meanings of the words in them). So it has been said, “That words produce valid knowledge without reference to the (mutual) relation of their meanings, is what has been spoken of as their conveying a simple notion of identity. Or it is that which comprises only the meanings of their stems. The meaning of the last foot of the verse is: Or the conveying of a simple notion of identity (by words) consists in their denoting the meanings of their stems only.

Previously we learned that nirvikalpaka jnaanam or indeterminate knowledge is that knowledge which doesn’t have connection with any attributes. Dharmaraja also answered an objection by saying again that being perceived through the organs for perception is not the criterion for perception. The criterion is that Vritti avachinna chaitanyam should not be different form Vishaya avachinna chaitanyam in the present and the vishayam should have the capability to be perceived. In the case of “This is That Devadutta’, Consciousness limited by the Vritti of Devadutta is not different from the Consciousness limited by Devadutta and has the capability of being perceived. Thus the knowledge got from the sentence “This is That Devadutta” is perception.

Now another objection is raised. Whenever we listen to a sentence, the meaning of the sentence is understood by relating the words in the sentence. In that case the knowledge obtained by the sentence “Thou Art That” is not indeterminate as there are relations to get the knowledge. If a person says “Bring the pot”, there is an object, verb and a nominative in this sentence. The objection is that the meaning of the sentence is understood by relating the meaning of the words. As an answer to this objection Dharmaraja says relations between words are not the criterion for the knowledge about the sentence but the import of the sentence. The fault of considering knowledge from the relation of words is that it may lead to misunderstanding as something that is not intended may also be understood as the meaning of the sentence. Suppose when a cricketer says “Bring me a Bat”, and if we take relation of words alone as the criteria for the knowledge, then somebody might run to bring the bird Bat as it may also fit in this sentence. Thus what is to be understood is the import of the sentence. Thus in the sentence like “Thou Art That”, the main import is Brahman. Since the main import is only to point Brahman as ones own nature which can be comprehended without the connection of the words the knowledge got is only indeterminant and not determinant. Dharmaraja quotes from Chitsukhi of Chitsukhacharya to show that sentences are not understood by the relation of the words but by the import of the sentence or what is intended to be conveyed.

That perception is again two fold – that due to the witness in the individual self (jiva-sakshin) and that due to the witness of God (Isvara Sakshin). Now the individual self is the Consciousness limited by the mind, and the witness in that is the Consciousness that has the mind as its limiting adjunct. The difference between them is that in the former the mind is a qualifying attribute and in the latter a limiting adjunct. A qualifying attribute is that which differentiates, is present, and is connected with (what is predicated in respect of) something related to it while a limiting adjunct is that which differentiates and is present but is not connected with the predicate in respect of something related to it. In the sentence, “The colored jar is transitory”, the color is a qualifying attribute, and in the sentence, “The ether enclosed by the auditory passage is the ear”. The auditory passage is a limiting adjunct. It is this limiting adjunct that is called an indicator (paricayaka) by the logicians. In the topic under consideration, since the mind is insentient and hence incapable of revealing objects, it is a limiting adjunct of Consciousness, which reveals things. This witness in the individual self is different in each individual. For if it were one, what Chaitra has known, Maitra also would recollect.

Now Dharmaraja enters into next topic. Dharmaraja explains about perception by the witness in the jiva and Isvara. Jiva is Consciousness limited by the anthah karanam and Jiva sakshi is Consciousness which has anthah karanam as the limiting adjuncts. For jiva anthah karanam is the qualifying attribute whereas for Sakshi anthah karanam is the limiting adjunct. Here Dharmaraja gives the definition of qualifying attribute and limiting adjunct. Qualifying attribute is that which differentiates one object from another but it is closely associated with the object. The example he gives is “The colored jar is transitory”. Here the color is that which differentiates from the other jars and it is that jar which is transitory. In this case the color is that which is differentiating this jar from the other jar and it is closely associated or coexists with the jar. Such a jar is transitory. So here color is the qualifying attribute. Whereas in the case of “The ether enclosed by the auditory passage in the ear” the auditory passage is that which is differentiating the space enclosed within and outside but the walls of the passage is not associated or connected with the space. Thus we have passage differentiating the space inside and outside and not connected to the space and hence the passage is just a limiting adjunct and not the qualifying attribute.

As we have learned earlier, the mind goes out through the sense organs and through the Vritti formed outside in the same place, the objects are perceived by the perceiver. But mind doesn’t have the capability of revealing or perceiving the object on its own because of it being an insentient thing. Witness Consciousness which has mind has the limiting adjunct makes the mind sentient and thus the objects are revealed. Thus ultimately it is the witness which perceives the object but still remaining unaffected as there is no association with the mind. This witness Consciousness is different in different jivas, it varies depending on the limiting adjunct or the mind. If witness consciousness are same meaning the limiting adjunct of mind being the same in chaitra and maitra, then whatever chaitra knows maitra will also know which is not possible. Thus the limiting adjunct in each individual is different and hence the witness consciousness in each individual is different.

We shall learn about Isvara sakshi in the next day.


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