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Tuesday, 3 February 2015
The Six Khyatis : (Part - 2)
The Six Khyatis : (Part - 2)
=========== Theories of Error in Indian Philosophy ===========
(by Swami Sivananda)
In a sense, even Atmakhyati may come under Satkhyati, for it admits the reality of cognition within. The theory of Asatkhyati is advanced by the Madhyamikas or Sunyavadins, who hold that in wrong knowledge there is cognition of unreality or non-existence. The Anirvachaniya- khyati is the view of the Advaitin, that experienced objects are indeterminable and that the object of erroneous cognition is neither real, nor unreal, nor real-unreal, i.e., it is Sadasadvilakshana. Atmakhyati is the theory of the Vijnanavadins, the Vaibhasikas and the Sautrantikas, having different theories of perception that the internal concept appears as the external percept, in erroneous cognition.
Statement: According to this theory, the silver perceived in nacre is not silver really existing somewhere outside. This silver is real as an object of internal cognition, but unreal as an object of external perception. It is not absolutely non-existent, for it is perceived. It has subjective existence and objective non-existence. This silver is an object of the mind and not of the senses. It is ideal and not real, psychological and not physical; and error is the projecting outward, as a material object, of the internal mental concept which is non-material. In error, the mental is mistaken for the material. In the correction of error, it is not the silver that is negatived, but only its apparent externality of being. In correct perception (i. e, of nacre after removal of error), the silver is recognised as an internal concept. The Vaibhashikas and the Sautrantikas accept that there is an externally real basis, the 'this', the former holding that this basis is directly perceived and the latter that it is only inferred. But both these admit that the silver perceived in nacre is projected from within on the external substratum, whether this substratum is perceived or inferred. The Vijnanavadins hold that there is nothing externally real, and the cognised object is only cognition externalised by error. They hold that there is non-distinction, at the the of cognition, between cognition and the cognised, which proves that the cognised is cognition itself.
That the cognised and the cognition are non-distinct is not a fact. Cognition of the cognised and the existence of the cognised at the time of cognition naturally appear to be simultaneous; but simultaneity is not identity. The manifestation of light and the revelation of an object with its aid are simultaneous events; but the light and the object are not identical with one another. The cognitive consciousness cannot be said to be the same as the cognised object. How can something appear outside when there is nothing outside? There cannot be an appearance without some reality underlying it. We can have changing cognitions of the same object and also more than one object can be cognised by the same cognitive consciousness. This proves that objects outside are not mere internal cognitions. Objects exist prior to perception of the same; objects are in space outside, while the cognitive consciousness is within. There is thus a temporal and spatial distinction between cognition and its objects. And further, there would be no distinction between truth and error, if all objects are merely mental. Something independent of cognition is to be admitted if truth is to be distinguished from error. Without this independent existence, there cannot be common perception of things by all alike, and thus there would be no such thing as truth other than private fancy. But common perception disproves the Vijnanavada position of the ideality of external things.
Statement: This theory holds that what is cognised in erroneous cognition is absolutely non-existent. If the silver perceived in nacre were real, it could not be sublated afterwards on correct perception. As silver seen in erroneous perception is not seen in correct perception, it is clear that the silver of erroneous perception does not really exist. Due to the power of Avidya or ignorance, cognition manifests a non-existent silver. The impression of the previous perception of silver becomes responsible for the perception of an appearance of silver in erroneous judgment. As correction of error reveals the non-existence of silver in nacre, we have to conclude that Sunya or the non-existent is the object of erroneous cognition.
Avidya cannot create the non-existent silver, for the non-existent cannot be created at any time. If the unreal does not even appear, it is not possible even to say that the unreal does not appear, as one cannot say: My mother is barren. Further, cognition, which is the substratum of Avidya, cannot be caused by Avidya to manifest an unreal object. The cause cannot be directed or influenced by the effect. Hence, cognition possessing the power of Avidya cannot produce the non-existent silver in nacre. And, moreover, no kind of relation can be established between cognition and silver, for there can be no relation between the existent and the non-existent. Without a relation between the cognition and the object cognised, no cognition is possible. What is cognised in erroneous cognition is not the non-existent, and not also the truly existent, but only an appearance or Pratibhasikasatta which is devoid of Vyavaharikasatta or practical reality and value. The illusion of Vyavaharikata in Pratibhasikata is cancelled in correction of error, but it is not true that even Pratibhasikata is absent in erroneous cognition. The Pratibhasikasatta appears as an external object, and not merely as a notion or an idea within. Objective reality is of two kinds; Vyavaharika and Pratibhasika. The latter is called the unreal in practical life. Mistaking this latter for the former is error. Error is corrected when the objective basis (Vyavaharikasatta) of the appearance (Pratibhasikasatta) is discovered in one's cognitive consciousness.
6. ANIRVACHANIYA KHYATI
The Anirvachaniya Khyati which is the theory of the Advaitin is the logical conclusion arrived at through a criticism of the various other views on error. The silver seen in nacre is neither real, nor a memory, nor existent somewhere else, nor an internal idea, nor absolutely non-existent like a human horn. This silver is not different from the real alone, not different from the unreal alone, and not different from both the real and the unreal alone. One cannot definitely describe the nature of the silver perceived in nacre. It is not real, for it is sublated. It is not unreal, for it is perceived. It is not both real and unreal, for this is self-contradictory. Hence the silver in nacre is Anirvachaniya, indeterminable. Objects which have Pratibhasikasatta have the characteristics of indeterminability mentioned above, and they are Anirvachaniya. The indeterminability of appearances like this, which do not conform to the laws of empirical action, is of one kind and can be said to constitute empirical error; and the indeterminability of the objects of correct perception in waking life is of a different kind altogether, and can be said to constitute transcendental error. This latter can be understood only through reason, scripture and direct realisation. The indeterminability of the nature of the world of waking life is explained by the admission in life of a distinction between empirical reality (Vyavaharikasatta) and Absolute Reality (Paramarthikasatta). With reference to Vyavaharikasatta, Pratibhasikasatta is Anirvachaniya, and with reference to Parmarthikasatta, Vyavaharikasatta is Anirvachaniya. It is quite obvious that anything which cannot be called either real or unreal or real-unreal must be called indeterminable, Anirvachaniya.
The Anirvachaniya character of silver perceived in nacre can be established by the proof of Arthapatti, i.e., Presumption or implication. The silver in question, as it has been shown above, is not real. It is not unreal. And it is not also real-unreal. So it ought to be indeterminable. This is the process of Arthapatti. What other relation than Anirvachaniyatva can obtain between reality and appearance? Yet, this Anirvachaniyasatta has an objective basis. In the case of empirical erroneous cognition, e.g., the cognition of silver in nacre, this basis is nacre. In transcendental erroneous cognition, i.e., the cognition of the universe in Brahman, the basis is Brahman. The object of cognition in empirical erroneous cognition is cognised due to a psychological error; and the basis for this cognised object is a physical object which is empirically real. And the object of cognition in transcendental erroneous cognition is cognised due to a metaphysical error; and the basis for this cognised object is the Absolute-Consciousness which is transcendentally, absolutely real.
The unreality of the silver in nacre is different from the unreality of such things as a man's horn. The latter cannot be perceived, for it is never manifest in experience; the former is perceived, and it has some sort of objective existence. It has Pratibhasikasatta which man's horn does not have. But this Pratibhasikasatta has no Vyavaharikasatta, and so it is negatived in correct perception, i.e., in the perception of nacre as such. Silver in nacre is an Anirvachaniyavastu. Even the nacre as such does not have Paramarthikasatta, and so it, too, gets negatived in the realisation of Brahman. Nacre as such, also, is an Anirvachaniyavastu. The Anirvachaniya is not the absolute non-existent, but the indefinable empirical and apparent. The empirical belongs to Isvarasrishti and is the product of Maya, while the apparent belongs to Jivasrishti and is produced by Avidya.
The theories of Drishtisrishti (creation on perceiving) and Srishtidrishti (perception on creating) pertain to Pratibhasika and Vyavaharika objects in two different levels of perception. The silver perceived in nacre is Drishtisrishti for it exists only so long as it is seen, and it is created by perception caused by individual Avidya. But the nacre as such exists whether it is perceived by an individual or not. Hence it is independent of Drishtisrishti. As its perception is posterior to its existence, it is a case of Srishtidrishti. But this nacre is the product of the Drishti of Isvara through the cosmic Maya. And nacre cannot exist when Isvaradrishti is withdrawn; it exists only so long as Isvaradrishti exists. Thus the Vyavaharikasatta is Drishtisrishti from Isvara's standpoint, though it is the basis of Srishtidrishti from Jiva's standpoint. The Pratibhasikasatta is purely Drishtisrishti even from the standpoint of the Jiva. When nacre is seen, the silver vanishes. When Brahman is realised, the universe vanishes. When reality is known, the appearances superimposed on it vanish.
The fact that in the negation of error the silver perceived in nacre is found to be absolutely non-existent, does not prove that the silver at the time of its being perceived was absolutely non-existent. As it has been already said, the absolutely non-existent cannot manifest before the perceptive consciousness. The perceptions of dream are found to be absolutely non-existent during the waking state; but this does not prove that dream-objects are absolutely non-existent, for they were experienced during dream. The Vedanta makes a distinction, therefore, between Pratibhasikasatta and Vyavaharikasatta. Silver in nacre and dream-objects belong to the former category; nacre and all the objects of the universe belong to the latter.
Thus it is established that the silver appearing in nacre is Anirvachaniya. Otherwise the perception and sublation of one and the same thing cannot be explained. In the same way it is to be understood that the universe superimposed on Brahman is Anirvachaniya. Maya and Avidya are both Anirvachaniya, and what they manifest also should be regarded as Anirvachaniya.
" Om Shanti Shanti Shanti "