paricCheda 1 - drishyatva hetu upapattih (part 2)

We are currently examining drishyatva (knowability) as a hetu for mithyAtva. Six alternative meanings were offered for the meaning of knowability. The nyAyAmritakAra dismissed each meaning as unacceptable due to various reasons. In the last post, the siddhikAra had taken up the defence of the first of six meanings (vritti vyApyatva, being revealed by thought). 

The previous article can be reviewed here:

Now another objection is raised with the first meaning for drishyatva - vritti vyApyatva . The pUrvapakshi asks:

ननु - वेदान्तजन्याखण्डवृत्तेरुपहितविषयत्वे तदानीमुपाध्यन्तराभावेन तस्या एवोपधायकत्वात् स्वविषयत्वापत्ति:, नचेष्टापत्ति:, शाब्दबोधे शब्दानुपस्थिताभाननियमेन वृत्ते: शब्दानुपस्थिताया भानानुपपत्ते:,
The akhandAkAra vritti that is generated through vedAnta, objectifies the conditioned Brahman and is itself the upAdhi for Brahman, as no other upAdhi can be present then. It must be admitted that the vritti objectifies itself. However, this is undesirable, for it is accepted that the meaning arising in a knowledge generated by words is limited to what the words reveal. That which is not mentioned by the words cannot be revealed by them.  

The opponent makes the argument that vedic scripture generates the akhaNDAkAra vritti. This vritti destroys ignorance and its products, therefore when it arises, no other upAdhi can exist, apart from itself. If ignorance or any of its products exist, the akhaNDAkAra vritti will remove them. That being so, no other upAdhi can exist once the akhaNDAkAra vritti has performed its function. How is the vritti itself known? There being no other upAdhi to reveal it, it must be assumed that the vritti reveals itself. This is undesirable because it violates a basic principle of Indian epistemology - the knowledge generated by words is limited to what the words themselves reveal. It cannot exceed the meaning conveyed by the words. When I see a cow, I automatically know its colour. However, when I speak the words "here is a cow", the sentence does not reveal anything more than the presence of a cow here. It does not reveal any aspect of the cow (like its colour, etc.) other than that which is explicitly revealed. The mahAvAkya "aham brahmAsmi" makes no reference to the akhaNDAkAra vritti itself, it refers to the object denoted by the akhaNDAkAra vritti. However the akhaNDAkAra vritti is itself known. How?

यथाकथन्चिदुपपत्तौ वा न ततोऽज्ञानतत्कार्ययोर्निवृत्ति: स्यात् ; If it is said that the vritti is somehow revealed, then such a vritti will not be able to remove ignorance and its products. Why?

अज्ञानतत्कार्याविषयकज्ञानस्यैव तदुभयनिवर्तकत्वात्, For, knowledge that can remove ignorance and its products will necessarily not objectify ignorance or its products.

अन्यथा "अहमज्ञ: अयं घट" इत्यादिज्ञानानामप्युपहितविषयकत्वेन अज्ञाननिवर्तकत्वप्रसङ्ग: - Otherwise, even knowledge that objectifies ignorance or its products, such as "I am ignorant", or "This is a pot", which ultimately objectifies brahman conditioned by upAdhi, would be capable of removing ignorance and its products. That is an impossibility, therefore, the revelation of akhaNDAkAra vritti is an impossibility too.

To this, the siddhikAra says
इति चेन्न ; if this is the argument, no.

वृत्ते: शाब्दवृत्तावानवभासमानाया एवोपधायकत्वाभ्युपगमात् | There is an exception to the vritti for the rule in relation to knowledge generated by words. Even if the words does not explicitly refer to knowledge generated by them, the presence of the vritti is known.

तदुक्तं कल्पतरुकृद्भि: - "शुद्धं ब्रह्मेति विषयीकुर्वाणा वृत्ति: स्वस्वेतरोपाधिनिवृत्तिहेतुरुदयते, स्वस्या अप्युपाधित्वाविशेषात् |
As it has been said by Sri amalAnanda in the kalpataru -  the vritti that refers to shuddha Brahman (akhandAkAra vritti), even as it arises, it does so destroying itself and other upAdhis, because it too is an upAdhi.

एवंच नानुपहितस्य विषयता; वृत्त्युपरागोऽत्र सत्तयोपयुज्यते, न भास्यतया विषयकोटिप्रवेशेने"ति | Therefore, the unconditioned Brahman remains unobjectified. Until the upAdhi was there, Brahman was conditioned, after the vritti destroyed itself, what remains is unconditioned brahman. The usefulness of the vritti is in its existence, not by it being revealed as part of the objectified.

अयमभिप्राय: - यथा अज्ञानोपहितस्य साक्षित्वेऽपि नाज्ञानं साक्षिकोटौ प्रविशति;  जडत्वात्, किन्तु साक्ष्यकोटावेव, एवं वृत्त्युपहितस्य विषयत्वेऽपि न वृत्तिर्विषयकोटौ प्रविशति; This is the implied meaning - Similar to ignorance, which conditions the sAkshi, the witness, but ignorance itself is not part of the witness. Ignorance being inert, can only be part of the witnessed, not part of the witness. In the same way, even though the vritti conditions / objectifies Brahman, the vritti itself is not part of that which is objectified.

स्वस्या: स्वविषयत्वानुपपत्ते: किन्तु स्वयमविषयोऽपी चैतन्यस्य विषयतां सम्पादयतीति न काप्यनुपपत्ति: | Because if it was objectified, it would lead to the charge of self-objectification. Therefore, even while it does not objectify itself, the vritti is able to objectify consciousness. Therefore, there is no inconsistency.

एतेन ज्ञानाज्ञानयोरेकविषयत्वं व्याख्यातम् | This proves that knowledge and ignorance have the same object (consciousness). How?

अज्ञानमपि हि स्वोपधानदशायामेव ब्रह्म विषयीकरोति स्वानुपधानदशायां स्वस्यैवाभावात् | Ignorance objectifies Brahman only so long as it is an upAdhi of Brahman. When it is no longer an upAdhi, it does not exist itself.

तथाच ज्ञानाज्ञानयोरुभयोरप्युपाध्यविषयकत्वे सत्युपहितविषयकत्वात् समानविषयकत्वमस्त्यैव | Therefore, both ignorance and the knowledge that dispels it, objectify the upahita (conditioned Brahman), while not objectifying the upAdhis (avidyA). Thus both have the same object - as a result, knowledge is able to dispel ignorance.

The development of the argument thus far has been as follows: akhaNDAkAra vritti objectifies Brahman. However, it does not objectify itself. That is, it has Brahman has its object, but does not have the upAdhi as the object. Similarly, ignorance has Brahman as its object, but it does not have itself as an object. Again, Brahman is the object, upAdhi is not the object. Therefore such a knowledge is capable of dispelling ignorance. The examples given by the pUrvapakshi "I am ignorant", "This is a pot", etc. do not meet this criterion.

एतेनोपाधिविषयज्ञानानामज्ञानानिवर्तकत्वं व्याख्यातम् | अज्ञानस्योपाध्यविषयत्वेन समानविषयत्वाभावात् | समानविषयत्वेनैव तयोर्निवर्त्यनिवर्तकभावात् | By this, the inability of certain types of knowledge to remove ignorance is proven. In the examples given by the opponent, both ignorance ("I am ignorant") or its products ("This is a pot"), collectively, the upAdhis are objectified,  in addition to Brahman (the upahita). However, primal ignorance objectifies Brahman (upahita) but not itself (upAdhi). As the objects of these kinds of knowledge (upahita+upAdhi) and ignorance (upahita only) are different, these kinds of knowledge are unable to remove ignorance. Only if ignorance and knowledge have the same object can there be a dispelled-dispeller relationship between the two.

Until now, we have looked at knowability from the point of view of the BhAmati. Now, we will look at knowability from the point of the other sub-school within advaita, the panchapAdika vivaraNam.

********Option 1a - Knowability as revelation by a thought other than one generated by words ********
वस्तुतस्तु - शब्दाजन्यवृत्तिविषयत्वमेव दृश्यत्वम् | Actually, knowability is objectification by a vritti generated by anything except words. Therefore, even though the veda refers to Brahman, such a Brahman is not considered mithyA in this view, but absolutely real.

अन्यथा "शशविषाणम् तुच्छं" इत्यादिशब्दजन्यवृत्तिविषये तुच्छे व्यभिचारस्य दुरुद्धरत्वात् | If this is not given as the definition, a sentence such as "the hare's horn is absolutely non-existent", which happens to have the hare's horn as its object will end up conferring knowability to the hare's horn. However the hare's horn is not mithyA, but asat. Without this clarification, it would lead to the defect of vyabhichAra.

एवंच सति शुद्धस्य वेदान्तजन्यवृत्तिविषयत्वेऽपि न व्यभिचार:, तुच्छशुद्धयो: शब्दाजन्यवृत्तिविषयत्वानभ्युपगमात् | Further, even in this view, although pure Brahman is the object of a vritti that is born from the study of vedAnta, there is no vyabhichAra. Both pure Brahman and asat do not have the characteristic of being objectified by a vritti generated by anything except words.

********Option 1b - Knowability as revelation by attributive thought ********
यद्वा सप्रकारवृत्तिविषयत्वमेव दृश्यत्वम् | alternatively, knowability is the object of a vritti which contains the attributes of the object.
When a person sees an object, say a pot, three aspects are revealed - the pot (visheShya), its attributes (colour, visheShaNa) and the relation (samsarga) between the pot and its colour. The knowledge of the pot containing information of its colour is an example of saprakAraka jnAna. Therefore knowability as an indicator of mithyAtva is on the basis of the knowledge containing the attributes of the object. Brahman, being attributeless is not knowable, according to this definition. Neither is asat knowable - thus no knowledge of an asat object can contain the attributes of a non-existent entity.

प्रकारश्च सोपाख्य: कश्चिद्धर्म: | prakAra here must be taken as a property that is upAkhyA (later defined as that which appears to exist in the object).

तेन निष्प्रकारकज्ञानविषयीभूते शुद्धे निरुपाख्यधर्मप्रकारकज्ञानविषयीभूते तु तुच्छे न व्यभिचार: | There is no vyabhichAra in the case of pure brahman as it is the object of non-attributive knowledge, and asat, as it is the object of knowledge that cannot assign any existent attributes in the asat object.

अभावत्वस्यापि सोपाख्यत्वादभावत्वप्रकारकज्ञानविषयीभूते अभावे न भागासिद्धि: | Absence or abhAva is mithyA according to the advaitins. naiyyAyikas hold that absence is a property that can be said to exist in a place (where the advaitins would say "The pot is absent", the naiyyAyikas would say "The pot's absence is present"). The pUrvapakshi may claim that absence is not the object of knowledge, thus it is not mithyA and use that to impute a defect of bhAgAsiddhi - ie a part of the paksha which should be mithyA would end up as not. Such a charge would be untenable, because even under the naiyyAyika's conception of absence, the knowledge of the pot's absence would contain the attribute of absence and therefore fall under the definition of knowability.

उपाख्या चास्तीति प्रतीतिविषयत्वादीत्यन्यत् | upAkhya is that which appears to be exist.

Thus ends the defence of knowability as defined as vritti vyApyatvam, or being revealed by a vritti.

(To be continued)

Originally posted on 12th January 2018.