[Advaita-l] Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge - 24

rita roy bhotku at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 5 03:10:34 CDT 2008

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2008/9/29 kuntimaddi sadananda <kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com>

> We are discussing Vedanta ParibhASha of Dharmaraja Advarindra, based on my
> understanding.
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
>                 Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge – 24
> In the conclusive part of the section on perception, VP summarizes the
> essence of the perceptual knowledge.  First, perceptual knowledge is direct
> and immediate. There are two types of perceptual knowledge. One is based on
> the sense input forming the attributive content of the vRitti, which gets
> illuminated as it forms by the witnessing consciousness.  All the objects
> that are external are perceived through the sense input of their attributive
> content.  The five senses, consisting of the sense of sight, the sense of
> sound, the sense of smell, the sense of taste, and the sense of touch,
> provide their input to the mind in the form of vRitti.  Each of the five
> senses, having its field of operation specific, is connected to its
> respective sense organ.  Thus eyes can only see and ears can only hear, etc.
>  The world is seen through these five senses hence it is called in Sanskrit,
> pra-panca.  The second kind of perception that was discussed by VP
> corresponds
>  to the internal perceptions in the mind.  Mind, however, is not a sense
> organ, in the Vivarana advaitic tradition.  The mental imaginations or
> intuitions may be considered as part of the sixth sense, but those do not
> come under direct perceptual processes.   The internal perceptions include
> the pleasures and pains, emotions of anger, love, jalousie, etc., which are
> also perceived and cognized as direct and immediate, as they rise in the
> mind.  The attributive contents of these emotions or internal perceptions
> are not from sense input, although sense input could give rise to these
> internal perceptions.  For example, I may see an object of my love or hate
> in front of me, by perceptual process.  However, that object may raise
> emotions of love or hate due to my attachments, and these emotions
> constitute internal perceptions, since the attributive content of the these
> emotions are not based on sense of vision, but on emotional attachments that
> I have. The
>  vRitti that is formed with attributive content of emotions are immediately
> illumined by witnessing consciousness as it rises in the mind.
>  Perceptuality condition is met when the existence of these emotions is
> united with the consciousness of the subject.
> VP also states here that the sense of smell, sense of taste, and the sense
> of touch apprehend their respective objects while remaining where they are.
>  The sense of vision, the sense of sound have wider capacity to travel to
> the objects that are away.  We have already pointed out that, as per the
> current understanding of the science, the sound and light do travel by wave
> propagation and received by the eyes and ears forming the attributive
> content of the object.  Without the loss of generality, we can say that eyes
> and ears do have a wider vision, where the objects do not have to be in
> contact with the sense organ like the case of the taste and touch. The
> objects of smell are somewhat tricky in the sense that we smell the
> fragrance emitted by the object out there away from the nose, but the
> emitting fragrant molecules from that object have to reach the nose for one
> to perceive the attributive smell of that object. However, in all cases, the
> vRitti that
>  forms should have the attributive content from the sense input for direct
> perception of the object that is external to the mind.  Here we are using
> the mind as the reference for defining what is external and what is
> internal.
> vyAvahArika vs. prAtibhAsika
> We would like to make a distinction between the two aspects of perception
> before we go into other forms of pramaaNa, since VP has discussed about the
> perception of objects in the dream.  The creation can be broadly classified
> as Iswara sRiShTi and jiiva sRiShTi or creation by the Lord and creation by
> an individual.  Creation by the Lord constitutes the total mind and creation
> by an individual constitutes the individual mind, macro cosmic world and
> micro cosmic world, respectively. The two can also be stated from an
> individual perspective as 'it is there; therefore, I see it' and 'I see it;
> therefore, it is there'. In both cases there is a common theme – 'I see it',
> that is, 'it' is established or its existence is established by my
> perception.  This is similar to the two descriptions of the creation;
> sRiShTi dRiShTi and dRiShTi sRiShTi. Vidyaranya says in Pancadasi that what
> is out there is Iswara sRiShTi and what I experience (of what
>  is there as well as what I project) is jiiva sRiShTi.  Experience is at
> subject level and what is there is objective world of plurality which is
> nothing but Iswara sRiShTi. We need to understand the interrelation between
> the two that plays a role in the perceptual process. The confusion can
> arise, as in many western philosophies, resulting in incorrect philosophical
> positions, if we do not separate the two entities involved in the
> perception.
> Let us examine the macroscopic universe.  Iswara is defined by all
> religions as 'jagat kartaa IswaraH', the creator of this entire universe or
> 'The Cause' for the whole universe, himself being a causeless cause or
> unborn (ajo nityaH shAsvatoyam purAno ..).  Most of the religions stop with
> that description of the creator as pertaining to the intelligent cause for
> the universe.  Vedanta goes one step further to define that Iswara is not
> only intelligent cause or nimitta kAraNa, but upAdAna kAraNa or the material
> cause as well. We have thus an improved definition for Iswara as 'jagat
> kAraNam IswaraH', where kAraNam or cause involves undifferentiable
> intelligent and material cause (abhinna nimitta upAdAna kAraNa).  By
> defining that the material cause of the universe is also Iswara, and since
> material cause has to pervade the effects (just as gold pervades the
> ornaments), Vedanta puts Iswara not up in the skies but right here as the
> whole universe
>  of objects.  Thus Iswara pervades the universe as the very substantive for
> it. Ontologically, the cause and effects have different degrees of reality;
> Iswara is sentient and world is insentient. With this, Vedanta provides a
> third definition for Iswara, to the contemplative students, as 'sarva
> adhiShTAnam IswaraH', that is, Iswara forming the substantive for all the
> sentient and insentient entities in the universe. Implication of this in the
> perceptual process is very profound and is captured by Advaita Vedanta. This
> forms the basis for the objective knowledge as attributive knowledge, since
> substantive for all objects being Iswara, who is imperceptible.  (I was
> listening to Swami Paramaarthanandaji talks on Saddarshan of Bhagavan Ramana
> this morning, where Swamiji clearly endorses the above statements that
> Iswara (Brahman) is the substantive and because of this fact, all objective
> knowledge is only attributive knowledge, since sense cannot gather
>  substantives). Because of the non-substantive or only attributive
> knowledge of the objects, errors in perception can also occur at an
> individual level due to incomplete attributive knowledge of the objects
> perceived by the senses due to adventitious defects, such as poor
> illumination, etc. Because of the lack of substantive knowledge by the
> senses, the fundamental error that 'what I see (the world of objects) is
> real' also occurs. Even at a relative level, error in perception occurs by
> the same reason. I take for granted that the silver that I see is real based
> on the attributive silvery-ness gathered and due to lack of the substantive
> knowledge of nacre. Thus the error both at relative level and at absolute
> level is due to lack of substantive knowledge of the object.
>  In addition, Iswara being substantive for all objects, objects do not have
> substance of their own. They also lack inherent quality that defines them
> uniquely and precisely as their swaruupa lakshaNam (necessary and sufficient
> qualification that defines the object uniquely to differentiate it from the
> rest of the objects in the universe).  They are only names for forms or
> attributive content. For the objects constituting the universe, the
> attributes of the objects that differentiate one object from the other also
> come as part of their creation, starting from the primordial cause – maayaa.
> The blue prints for the creation of universe of objects are provided by the
> karmas of jiivas in the previous cycle; and for the previous cycle previous
> to previous cycle; thus the creation becomes beginningless.   Maaya is
> defined as the force which makes one to appear as many, with each apparent
> object differentiable from others by its attributive content. Any force
>  is always defined or recognized only by its effect, as illustrated by the
> Newton's laws of force. Newton, for example, defines the force as that which
> moves an object at rest or that which changes the magnitude or direction of
> a moving object. Or conversely, the force is recognized or defined by the
> changes in the movement. Similarly maayaa is defined that which causes one
> to appear as many, similar to gold appearing as many ornaments.  Locus for
> the force is Iswara, himself. Thus Vedanta provides the definition for
> maayaa as prakRiti (maayantu prakRitim vidyaat) that projects the world of
> plurality of movables and immovables, starting from one, under the direction
> of Iswara. Thus Iswara sRiShTi at the absolute level is nothing but Iswara
> himself appearing as many objects, with varieties of attributive content.
>  Since senses cannot grasp Iswara, the substantive of all, they gather the
> attributive content of the objects that are within the reach of the
>  senses. Since attributes are not the objects per sec, it appears that in
> the perceptual process the attributes are getting separated from the
> substantive.  Attributes cannot exist without substantive.   Since Iswara is
> all pervading or infinite and being substantive, attributes cannot be
> separated from the infinite, either.  In the relative plane, each of the
> five senses measure the attributes of the objects 'out there' depending on
> their capabilities, and the measured attributes gets locussed in the image
> 'vRitti' that forms in the mind. Thus object 'out there' with the attributes
> and the associated vRitti's in the mind with sense-measured attributes are
> inter related as the later is the image of the former created by the
> individual jiiva, in his own mind. We can consider that the objects 'out
> there' are Iswara sRiShTi and image in the mind that forms is jiiva sRiShTi,
> although the mind of the jiiva and the capacity of the mind to
>  create come from Iswara only.  Thus perceptuality condition is stated by
> VP as the existence of the object out there is imaged as the existence in
> form of the vRitti.  This existence now in the form of vRitti is united with
> the consciousness of the subject, for the subject to be conscious of the
> vRitti.  Thus, through the vRitti, conscious of object 'out there', with the
> attributes of the object that the senses could gather, becomes perceptual
> knowledge of the object. The vRitti replicates in a subtle form the object
> out there, only to the degree that the senses could capture the attributive
> content of the object perceived.  The errors can therefore arise if the
> attributive content of the vRitti do not completely replicate the original
> object. The reasons could be defects in the senses or defects in the
> auxiliary causes such as insufficient light, or some other obstructions,
> etc. Therefore what I see as the world is limited by my senses.
> At the individual level, jiiva also does exactly the same in the creation
> of the dream world, at micro cosmic level. He becomes Iswara for the
> creation of the dream world of plurality.  The intelligent and the material
> cause rests with jiiva for the dream.  We can broadly define the
> vyaavahaarika satyam or transactional or transmigrational reality
> corresponds to Iswara sRiShTi and prAtibhAsika as the individual mental
> projection of the world of plurality.  When jiiva goes to sleep, the mind of
> the jiiva, supported by the same witnessing consciousness, now forms the
> basis for the projection of the dream world of plurality.  Interestingly,
> mind not only projects the inert objects, but even the sentient entities in
> the dream world along with jiiva now localized as a separate subject who is
> experiencing the dream world of plurality.  That jiiva in the dream is awake
> and has his own body, mind and intellect separate from the beings that have
> their own bodies,
>  minds and intellects. Thus the analogy between the dream world as the
> jiiva sRiShTi and waking world as the Iswara sRiShTi is exact.  For the
> dreamer jiiva (who is actually awake in the dream) the dream world is real
> just as the waker jiiva in the waking world sees the waking world as real,
> while concluding that the dream world that he saw in his dream was not real
> since it is sublated.  This conclusion is by a waker not a dreamer. For a
> dreamer the dream world is as real as the mind that sees and feels.
> Considering the dreamer subject, he perceives the objects of the dream world
> in front of him, through his senses, similar to the process in the waking
> world- so states the ManDukya Up. In fact the Upanishad uses a parallel
> statement for dream as in the waking world with 'ekona vimshati mukhaH ..
> etc, describing the dreamer's outlook of the dream world in parallel to the
> waker's out look of the waking world. The perceptuality condition has to be
>  satisfied in the dream world too.  The dream world is external to the
> dreamer. His mind may project internal perceptions and vRittis in his mind –
> which are different from the minds of the other jiivas in his dream world.
> What is external and what is internal is now defined from the point of the
> dreamer's tiny mind. The waker's mind that went into sleep is now all
> pervading and forms the material cause for all the objects and beings,
> including their body-mind-intellect assemblies. Thus we have vyaavahaarika
> and prAtibhAsika in the dream world too where vyaavahaarika is defined as
> Iswara sRiShTi and prAtibhAsika is jiiva sRiShTi. The relative planes have
> shifted relative to each other – The systems otherwise are exactly parallel.
> What is real and what is unreal in these projections therefore depends on
> the reference plane. The absolute reality independent of any frame of
> reference, as ManDukya declares in mantra 7 as turiiyam and is the pure
>  existence-consciousness which is advaitam, one without a second. That
> alone is the absolute truth. In all other planes of reference, the limiting
> existence-consciousness manifests as the relative knowledge through the
> perceptual process. The declaration of the scriptures is - you are that.
> When one is conscious of the object, the consciousness that beams through as
> the reflected consciousness as knowledge of the object is nothing but pure
> consciousness alone, as declared by VP in the very introduction to the topic
> of perception. Every perception of object is therefore soaked in my
> consciousness for me to be conscious of the object. Hence Bhagavan Ramana
> says in his Upadesa saara:
> dRisya vAritam cittamAtmanAH|
> citta darshaNam tatva darshaNam||
> In the perception of every object (dRisyam) there is
> existence-consciousness reflected on it. Hence if we remove the attributive
> content (or look beyond the attributive content) what is there in every
> dRisyam is the pure existence-consciousness alone.  The existence of the
> object is united with the consciousness of the subject to cause perceptual
> knowledge. The substantive for both the object and the subject is pure
> existence-consciousness alone.  Ramana states that understanding of the
> substantive forms the inquiry of the nature of the reality of the
> jiiva-jagat or subject-object duality.
> Hence VP statement in the beginning – pratyakshapramaa ca atra caitanyam
> eva – knowledge of perception as 'conscious of the object' is nothing but
> pure consciousness alone  - is justified by the detailed analysis of the
> perceptual process. Shifting from the attributing content of the vRitti to
> the illuminating consciousness that forms the basis for the knowledge of the
> object – forms an essential saadhana to recognize that the substantive for
> the whole world of objects is nothing but consciousness alone. The
> scriptural declaration - Sarvam khalu idam brahma - all this is nothing but
> Brahman - becomes evident through the inquiry of the perceptual process.
>  When the objects are perceived with the attributive contents, along with
> the attributive knowledge which is represented as 'form', naming has to take
> place representing the knowledge. Naming is knowing, and perceptual
> knowledge therefore leads to name and form constituting the world of
>  objects, since the substantive is Braham, which is beyond the name and
> form.  Hence object is nothing but Brahman with name and form. The statement
> also implies that world is as perceived by a conscious entity establishing
> its existence with names and forms. Hence world is established by the
> knowledge its existence. Without a conscious entity, world cannot be
> independently established.
> We will now take up the analysis of Inference as pramaaNa.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda
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rita roy chowdhury

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