A History of Indian Philosophy Part 66

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conviction or perception that can lead a man to actual practical movement. If again it is said that it is the general and imperfect perception of a thing (which has not been properly differentiated and comprehended) before me, which by the memory of silver appears to be like true silver before me and this generates the movement for picking it up, then this also is objectionable. For the appearance of the similarity with real silver cannot lead us to behave with the thing before me as if it were real silver. Thus I may perceive that gavaya (wild ox) is similar to cow, but despite this similarity I am not tempted to behave with the gavaya as if it were a cow. Thus in whatever way the [email protected] position may be defined it fails [Footnote ref l]. Vedanta thinks that the illusion is not merely subjective, but that there is actually a phenomenon of illusion as there are phenomena of actual external objects; the difference in the two cases consists in this, that the illusion is generated by the [email protected] or defect of the senses etc., whereas the phenomena of external objects are not due to such specific [email protected]

The process of illusory perception in Vedanta may be described thus. First by the contact of the senses vitiated by [email protected] a mental state as "thisness" with reference to the thing before me is generated; then in the thing as "this" and in the mental state of the form of that "this" the cit is reflected. Then the avidya (nescience) a.s.sociated with the cit is disturbed by the presence of the [email protected], and this disturbance along with the impression of silver remembered through similarity is transformed into the appearance of silver. There is thus an objective illusory silver appearance, as well as a similar transformation of the mental state generated by its contact with the illusory silver. These two transformations, the silver state of the mind and external phenomenal illusory silver state, are manifested by the perceiving consciousness ([email protected]_). There are thus here two phenomenal transformations, one in the avidya states forming the illusory objective silver phenomenon, and another in the [email protected]@[email protected] or mind state.

But in spite of there being two distinct and separate phenomena, their object being the same as the "this" in perception, we have one knowledge of illusion. The special feature of this theory of illusion is that an indefinable (_anirvacaniya-khyati_) illusory silver is created in every case where an illusory perception of silver occurs. There are three orders of reality in Vedanta, namely the

[Footnote 1: See [email protected]@mgraha_ and _Nyayamakaranda_ on akhyati refutation.]


_paramarthika_ or absolute, _vyavaharika_ or practical ordinary experience, and _pratibhasika,_ illusory. The first one represents the absolute truth; the other two are false impressions due to [email protected] The difference between vyavaharika and pratibhasika is that the [email protected] of the vyavaharika perception is neither discovered nor removed until salvation, whereas the [email protected] of the pratibhasika reality which occurs in many extraneous forms (such as defect of the senses, sleep, etc.) is perceived in the world of our ordinary experience, and thus the pratibhasika experience lasts for a much shorter period than the vyavaharika. But just as the vyavaharika world is regarded as phenomenal modifications of the ajnana, as apart from our subjective experience and even before it, so the illusion (e.g. of silver in the conch-sh.e.l.l) is also regarded as a modification of avidya, an undefinable creation of the object of illusion, by the agency of the [email protected] Thus in the case of the illusion of silver in the conch-sh.e.l.l, indefinable silver is created by the [email protected] in a.s.sociation with the senses, which is called the creation of an indefinable (_anirvacaniya_) silver of illusion.

Here the cit underlying the conch-sh.e.l.l remains the same but the avidya of [email protected]@na suffers modifications ([email protected]_) on account of [email protected], and thus gives rise to the illusory creation.

The illusory silver is thus _vivartta_ (appearance) from the point of view of the cit and [email protected] from the point of view of avidya, for the difference between vivartta and [email protected] is, that in the former the transformations have a different reality from the cause (cit is different from the appearance imposed on it), while in the latter case the transformations have the same reality as the transforming ent.i.ty (appearance of silver has the same stuff as the avidya whose transformations it is). But now a difficulty arises that if the illusory perception of silver is due to a coalescing of the cit underlying the [email protected]@[email protected] as modified by [email protected] and the object--cit as underlying the "this" before me (in the illusion of "this is silver"), then I ought to have the experience that "I am silver" like "I am happy" and not that "this is silver"; the answer is, that as the coalescing takes place in connection with my previous notion as "this," the form of the knowledge also is "this is silver," whereas in the notion "I am happy," the notion of happiness takes place in connection with a previous [email protected] of "I." Thus though the coalescing of the two "cits" is the same in both cases, yet in one case the


knowledge takes the form of "I am," and in another as "this is"

according as the previous impression is "I" or "this." In dreams also the dream perceptions are the same as the illusory perception of silver in the conch-sh.e.l.l. There the illusory creations are generated through the defects of sleep, and these creations are imposed upon the cit. The dream experiences cannot be regarded merely as memory-products, for the perception in dream is in the form that "I see that I ride in the air on chariots, etc." and not that "I remember the chariots." In the dream state all the senses are inactive, and therefore there is no separate objective cit there, but the whole dream experience with all characteristics of s.p.a.ce, time, objects, etc. is imposed upon the cit. The objection that since the imposition is on the pure cit the imposition ought to last even in waking stages, and that the dream experiences ought to continue even in waking life, does not hold; for in the waking stages the [email protected]@na is being constantly transformed into different states on the expiry of the defects of sleep, etc., which were causing the dream cognitions. This is called [email protected]_ (negation) as distinguished from _badha_ (cessation). The illusory creation of dream experiences may still be there on the pure cit, but these cannot be experienced any longer, for there being no [email protected] of sleep the [email protected]@na is active and suffering modifications in accordance with the objects presented before us. This is what is called [email protected], for though the illusion is there I cannot experience it, whereas badha or cessation occurs when the illusory creation ceases, as when on finding out the real nature of the conch-sh.e.l.l the illusion of silver ceases, and we feel that this is not silver, this was not and will not be silver. When the conch-sh.e.l.l is perceived as silver, the silver is felt as a reality, but this feeling of reality was not an illusory creation, though the silver was an objective illusory creation; for the reality in the s'ukti (conch-sh.e.l.l) is transferred and felt as belonging to the illusion of silver imposed upon it. Here we see that the illusion of silver has two different kinds of illusion comprehended in it. One is the creation of an indefinable silver (_anirvacaniya-rajatotpatti_) and the other is the attribution of the reality belonging to the conch-sh.e.l.l to the illusory silver imposed upon it, by which we feel at the time of the illusion that it is a reality. This is no doubt the _anyathakhyati_ form of illusion as advocated by Nyaya. Vedanta admits that when two things (e.g. red flower and crystal) are both present


before my senses, and I attribute the quality of one to the other by illusion (e.g. the illusion that the crystal is red), then the illusion is of the form of anyathakhyati; but if one of the things is not present before my senses and the other is, then the illusion is not of the anyathakhyati type, but of the anirvacaniyakhyati type.

Vedanta could not avoid the former type of illusion, for it believed that all appearance of reality in the world-appearance was really derived from the reality of Brahman, which was self-luminous in all our experiences. The world appearance is an illusory creation, but the sense of reality that it carries with it is a misattribution (_anyathakhyati_) of the characteristic of the Brahman to it, for Brahman alone is the true and the real, which manifests itself as the reality of all our illusory world-experience, just as it is the reality of s'ukti that gives to the appearance of silver its reality.

Vedanta Ethics and Vedanta Emanc.i.p.ation.

Vedanta says that when a duly qualified man takes to the study of Vedanta and is instructed by the preceptor--"Thou art that (Brahman)," he attains the emanc.i.p.ating knowledge, and the world-appearance becomes for him false and illusory.

The qualifications necessary for the study of Vedanta are (1) that the person having studied all the Vedas with the proper accessories, such as grammar, lexicon etc. is in full possession of the knowledge of the Vedas, (2) that either in this life or in another, he must have performed only the obligatory Vedic duties (such as daily prayer, etc. called _nitya-karma_) and occasionally obligatory duty (such as the birth ceremony at the birth of a son, called _naimittika-karma_) and must have avoided all actions for the fulfilment of selfish desires (_kamya-karmas_, such as the performance of sacrifices for going to Heaven) and all prohibited actions (e.g. murder, etc. [email protected]_) in such a way that his mind is purged of all good and bad actions (no karma is generated by the _nitya_ and _naimittika-karma_, and as he has not performed the _kamya_ and prohibited karmas, he has acquired no new karma). When he has thus properly purified his mind and is in possession of the four virtues or means of fitting the mind for Vedanta instruction (called _sadhana_) he can regard himself as properly qualified for the Vedanta instruction.

These virtues are (1) knowledge of what is eternal


and what is transient, (2) disinclination to enjoyments of this life and of the heavenly life after death, (3) extreme distaste for all enjoyments, and anxiety for attaining the means of right knowledge, (4) control over the senses by which these are restrained from everything but that which aids the attainment of right knowledge (_dama_), (a) having restrained them, the attainment of such power that these senses may not again be tempted towards worldly enjoyments (_uparati_), (b) power of bearing extremes of heat, cold, etc., (c) employment of mind towards the attainment of right knowledge, (d) faith in the instructor and [email protected]; (5) strong desire to attain salvation. A man possessing the above qualities should try to understand correctly the true purport of the [email protected] (called [email protected]_), and by arguments in favour of the purport of the [email protected] to strengthen his conviction as stated in the [email protected] (called _manana_) and then by _nididhyasana_ (meditation) which includes all the Yoga processes of concentration, try to realize the truth as one. Vedanta therefore in ethics covers the ground of Yoga; but while for Yoga emanc.i.p.ation proceeds from understanding the difference between [email protected] and [email protected], with Vedanta salvation comes by the dawn of right knowledge that Brahman alone is the true reality, his own self [Footnote ref 1]. [email protected] a.s.serts that the Vedas do not declare the knowledge of one Brahman to be the supreme goal, but holds that all persons should act in accordance with the Vedic injunctions for the attainment of good and the removal of evil. But Vedanta holds that though the purport of the earlier Vedas is as [email protected] has it, yet this is meant only for ordinary people, whereas for the elect the goal is clearly as the [email protected] indicate it, namely the attainment of the highest knowledge. The performance of Vedic duties is intended only for ordinary men, but yet it was believed by many (e.g. Vacaspati Mis'ra and his followers) that due performance of Vedic duties helped a man to acquire a great keenness for the attainment of right knowledge; others believed (e.g. Prakas'atma and his followers) that it served to bring about suitable opportunities by securing good preceptors, etc. and to remove many obstacles from the way so that it became easier for a person to attain the desired right knowledge.

In the acquirement of ordinary knowledge the ajnanas removed


[Footnote 1: See _Vedantasara_ and _Advaitabrahmasiddhi.]


are only smaller states of ajnana, whereas when the Brahma-knowledge dawns the ajnana as a whole is removed.

Brahma-knowledge at the stage of its first rise is itself also a state of knowledge, but such is its special strength that when this knowledge once dawns, even the state of knowledge which at first reflects it (and which being a state is itself ajnana modification) is destroyed by it. The state itself being destroyed, only the pure infinite and unlimited Brahman shines forth in its own true light. Thus it is said that just as fire riding on a piece of wood would burn the whole city and after that would burn the very same wood, so in the last state of mind the Brahma-knowledge would destroy all the illusory world-appearance and at last destroy even that final state [Footnote ref l].

The mukti stage is one in which the pure light of Brahman as the ident.i.ty of pure intelligence, being and complete bliss shines forth in its unique glory, and all the rest vanishes as illusory nothing. As all being of the world-appearance is but limited manifestations of that one being, so all pleasures also are but limited manifestations of that supreme bliss, a taste of which we all can get in deep dreamless sleep. The being of Brahman however is not an abstraction from all existent beings as the _satta_ (being as cla.s.s notion) of the naiyayika, but the concrete, the real, which in its aspect as pure consciousness and pure bliss is always identical with itself. Being (_sat_) is pure bliss and pure consciousness. What becomes of the avidya during mukti (emanc.i.p.ation) is as difficult for one to answer as the question, how the avidya came forth and stayed during the world-appearance.

It is best to remember that the category of the indefinite avidya is indefinite as regards its origin, manifestation and destruction. Vedanta however believes that even when the true knowledge has once been attained, the body may last for a while, if the individual's previously ripened karmas demand it.

Thus the emanc.i.p.ated person may walk about and behave like an ordinary sage, but yet he is emanc.i.p.ated and can no longer acquire any new karma. As soon as the fruits due to his ripe karmas are enjoyed and exhausted, the sage loses his body and there will never be any other birth for him, for the dawn of perfect knowledge has burnt up for him all budding karmas of beginningless previous lives, and he is no longer subject to any


[Footnote 1:_Siddhantales'a_.]


of the illusions subjective or objective which could make any knowledge, action, or feeling possible for him. Such a man is called _jivanmukta_, i.e. emanc.i.p.ated while living. For him all world-appearance has ceased. He is the one light burning alone in himself where everything else has vanished for ever from the stage [Footnote ref 1].

Vedanta and other Indian Systems.

Vedanta is distinctly antagonistic to Nyaya, and most of its powerful dialectic criticism is generally directed against it.

[email protected] himself had begun it by showing contradictions and inconsistencies in many of the Nyaya conceptions, such as the theory of causation, conception of the atom, the relation of samavaya, the conception of jati, etc [Footnote ref 2]. His followers carried it to still greater lengths as is fully demonstrated by the labours of [email protected], Citsukha, Madhusudana, etc. It was opposed to [email protected] so far as this admitted the [email protected] categories, but agreed with it generally as regards the [email protected] of anumana, upamiti, arthapatti, s'abda, and anupalabdhi. It also found a great supporter in [email protected] with its doctrine of the self-validity and self-manifesting power of knowledge. But it differed from [email protected] in the field of practical duties and entered into many elaborate discussions to prove that the duties of the Vedas referred only to ordinary men, whereas men of higher order had no Vedic duties to perform but were to rise above them and attain the highest knowledge, and that a man should perform the Vedic duties only so long as he was not fit for Vedanta instruction and studies.

With [email protected] and Yoga the relation of Vedanta seems to be very close. We have already seen that Vedanta had accepted all the special means of self-purification, meditation, etc., that were advocated by Yoga. The main difference between Vedanta and [email protected] was this that [email protected] believed, that the stuff of which the world consisted was a reality side by side with the [email protected] In later times Vedanta had compromised so far with [email protected] that it also sometimes described maya as being made up of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Vedanta also held that according to these three characteristics were formed diverse modifications


[Footnote 1: See _Pancadas'i_.]

[Footnote 2: See [email protected]'s refutation of Nyaya, [email protected]@sya_, II.



of the maya. Thus is'vara is believed to possess a mind of pure sattva alone. But sattva, rajas and tamas were accepted in Vedanta in the sense of tendencies and not as reals as [email protected] held it. Moreover, in spite of all modifications that maya was believed to pa.s.s through as the stuff of the world-appearance, it was indefinable and indefinite, and in its nature different from what we understand as positive or negative. It was an unsubstantial nothing, a magic ent.i.ty which had its being only so long as it appeared. [email protected] also was indefinable or rather undemonstrable as regards its own essential nature apart from its manifestation, but even then it was believed to be a combination of positive reals. It was undefinable because so long as the reals composing it did not combine, no demonstrable qualities belonged to it with which it could be defined. Maya however was undemonstrable, indefinite, and indefinable in all forms; it was a separate category of the indefinite. [email protected] believed in the personal individuality of souls, while for Vedanta there was only one soul or self, which appeared as many by virtue of the maya transformations. There was an adhyasa or illusion in [email protected] as well as in Vedanta; but in the former the illusion was due to a mere non-distinction between [email protected] and [email protected] or mere misattribution of characters or ident.i.ties, but in Vedanta there was not only misattribution, but a false and altogether indefinable creation. Causation with [email protected] meant real transformation, but with Vedanta all transformation was mere appearance.

Though there were so many differences, it is however easy to see that probably at the time of the origin of the two systems during the [email protected] period each was built up from very similar ideas which differed only in tendencies that gradually manifested themselves into the present divergences of the two systems.

Though [email protected] laboured hard to prove that the [email protected] view could not be found in the [email protected], we can hardly be convinced by his interpretations and arguments. The more he argues, the more we are led to suspect that the [email protected] thought had its origin in the [email protected] [email protected] and his followers borrowed much of their dialectic form of criticism from the Buddhists. His Brahman was very much like the s'unya of Nagarjuna. It is difficult indeed to distinguish between pure being and pure non-being as a category. The debts of [email protected] to the self-luminosity of the Vijnanavada Buddhism


can hardly be overestimated. There seems to be much truth in the accusations against [email protected] by Vijnana [email protected] and others that he was a hidden Buddhist himself. I am led to think that [email protected]'s philosophy is largely a compound of Vijnanavada and S'unyavada Buddhism with the [email protected] notion of the permanence of self superadded.

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A History of Indian Philosophy Part 66 summary

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