paricCheda 1 - pratyaksha bAdhoddhAre sattva nirvachanam (part 1)

The next chapter in the Advaita Siddhi is an examination of the nature of reality. Is the inference of mithyAtva in contradiction with the reality of the world perceived by the senses? This is the central question raised in this chapter by the opponent. In reply, the siddhikAra holds that the reality of the world perceived by the senses does not contradict the mithyAtva proved by inference. The reality of the world that can contradict mithyAtva is beyond sensory perception. Therefore, the charge of pratyaksha bAdha, contradiction by perception, does not apply.

ननु 'सन् घट' इत्याद्यध्यक्षबाधितविषया दृश्यत्वादय - इति चेत्  If this is the argument (of the opponent) - The world's unreality established by reasons such as knowability, etc. is contradicted by direct perception of the kind "The pot exists".

न ; चक्षुराद्यध्यक्षयोग्यमिथ्यात्वविरोधिसत्त्वानिरुक्ते: |
No. The existence that is capable of being known through direct perception is not contradictory to mithyAtva. (The corollary - The existence that is contradictory to mithyAtva, is not perceptible.)

तथाहि न तावत् प्रमाविषयत्वम्, तद्योग्यत्वं, भ्रमाविषयत्वं वा तादृक्सत्त्वं ;
Such an existence is by no means
1) the object of valid knowledge,
2) the capacity to be an object of valid knowledge, or
3) other than that which is revealed by invalid knowledge.

चक्षुराद्यगम्यभ्रमप्रमाघटितत्वेन चक्षुराद्ययोग्यत्वात्, वक्ष्यमाणदूषणगणग्रासाच्च |
The validity or invalidity of cognition is not perceptible, being incapable of it. Moreover, there are other defects with these definitions which will be explained further.

तथाहि - नाद्य:, असति प्रमाणाप्रवृत्ते: प्रमाविषयत्वात्प्राक् सत्त्वस्य वक्तव्यत्वेन तस्य तदन्यत्वात्,
Therefore - It is not the first; As the instruments of knowledge cannot be applied to the absolutely non-existent, before one conceives something that is the object of valid cognition, one has to presuppose existence. Therefore, existence cannot be dependent on the validity of the cognition that perceives it.

सत्त्वनिरूपणम् विना सदर्थविषयत्वरूपप्रमात्वस्य निरूपणे चान्योन्याश्रयात्, If, without establishing the definition of existence, one talks of the validity of cognitions being of the nature of revealing existing objects, then it leads to mutual dependence. If we do not prove what existence is, but say that valid cognitions are those that reveal existing objects, then the nature of validity is dependent on the nature of existence, and the nature of existence would, without any other means of establishing it, depend on the validity of cognition.
मिथ्याभूतस्य शुक्तिरजतसंसर्गस्य व्यवसायद्वारा साक्षाच्च निषेध्यत्वादिना प्रमाविषयत्वाभ्युपगमाच्च |
Existence defined as being the object of valid cognitions is flawed due to another reason. A meta cognition of a person who takes the unreal shell silver to be real is valid, but its object, the shell-silver is not real. Similarly, when the reality of shell silver is denied in a negation, that negation is valid, but it too has the unreal shell-silver as its object. Thus existence cannot be defined as being the object of valid cognitions.

To explain, when a person sees silver where shell is present, that perception ("This is silver") is an erroneous one. However, the cognition that objectifies such a cognition, the meta-cognition ("I think that this is silver"), is a valid one. The person does think so. The object of the (valid) meta-cognition is the unreal shell silver. Further, the negation of the shell-silver ("this is not silver"), is a valid cognition, but it too has the unreal shell silver as its object.

If someone argues that an unreal existence is being revealed by such cognitions, then such an unreal existence does not contradict mithyAtva either.

नापि द्वितीय:, योग्यताया अनिरूपणात् | Neither is it the second (existence defined as that which is capable of being the object of a valid cognition), because the nature of capability has not been defined yet. Moreover, such a capability is not itself perceptible.

न तृतीय:, असिद्धे:, सर्वस्यैव क्षणिकत्वादिना भ्रमविषयत्वाभ्युपगमात् | Nor is it the third, because of asiddhi - the hetu (not being the object of invalid knowledge) is not present in any object in the paksha (the world). The vijnAnavAdi buddhist holds that every object in the world is momentary, merely the object of erroneous cognition.

अतएव नासत्त्वाप्रकारकभ्रमाविषयत्वमपि ;  अन्योन्याश्रयाच्च | Therefore, existence is not the absence of non-existence. Non-existence is the object of an illusion where non-existence is not revealed. If the cognition of a non-existent object does not reveal its non-existence (asattva aprakAraka), then it is an illusion. Not being the object of such an illusion is existence. However, this is problematic, because the definition of existence is being not non-existence, and non-existence is being not existence. Thus there is mutual dependency in the concepts of existence and non-existence, and such a definition of existence is not helpful.
नापि सत्त्वप्रकारकप्रमाविषयत्वम्; आत्माश्रयात् | Nor is existence being the object of a valid cognition which reveals existence, because that is self-referential. The definition of existence refers to existence itself (as a qualifier in a cognition).

नाप्यसत्त्वाप्रकारकप्रमाविषयत्वम् सत्त्वं, अन्योन्याश्रयात् | Nor is existence the object of a valid cognition which does not reveal non-existence. If a valid cognition reveals non-existence, then its object must be non-existent. Similarly, if a valid cognition does not reveal non-existence, then its object must be existent. This too, is problematic, because like the previous definition, there is a mutual dependence between the concepts of existence and non-existence, and neither one can be proven independently, only in relation to one other.

नापि प्रतिपन्नोपाधौ त्रैकालिकसत्त्वनिषेधविरह:, आत्माश्रयात् | Nor is existence that which is not non-existent in all three periods of time in the locus of its appearance. As this definition of existence is dependent on the absence of non-existence, it is self referential.

नापि सत्ता जातिरर्थक्रियाकारित्वमसद्वैलक्षण्यं वा ; Nor is existence a universal (jAti), or that which has some utility, or that which is different from the absolutely non-existent.

एतेषां मिथ्यात्वाविरोधित्वेन तत्प्रत्यक्षेण मिथ्यात्वानुमाने बाधाभावात् | Even if these were acceptable definitions of existence, their perception would not contradict the inference of mithyAtva.

नापि वेदान्त्यभिमतमिथ्यात्वाभाव: सत्त्वम्;  तुच्छेऽतिव्याप्ते: | Nor is existence that which is not mithyA, as defined by advaitins, because absolutely non-existent objects (such as a hare's horn) are also not mithyA, but they cannot be called existent by any stretch of the imagination.

नाप्यसद्विलक्षणत्वे सत्यनारोपितत्वम् ; अनारोपितत्वं हि आरोपाविषयत्वम्, तच्चासंभवि | सर्वस्यापि क्षणिकत्वादिना आरोपविषयत्वात् | Nor is existence that which is not superimposed while being different from the absolutely non-existent; Not being superimposed means that the thing is not the object of superimposition. Such a definition would not apply anywhere, as everything in the world is considered as an object of superimposition by the momentary consciousness school of Buddhism and others.

नाप्यस्तित्वप्रकारप्रमांप्रति कदाचित् साक्षाद्विषयत्वं,  कालसंबन्धित्वं वा सत्त्वम्, अस्तित्वं च वर्तमानत्वम्, नतु सत्त्वमतो नात्माश्रय:, अतीतादिरपि कदाचिद्वर्तत एवेति नाव्याप्ति:, आरोपितं च कालत्रयासंबन्धित्वेन बाधेन बोधितमिति न द्वितीयलक्षणेऽतिव्याप्तिरिति वाच्यम्

Do not argue thus -
नाप्यस्तित्वप्रकारप्रमांप्रति कदाचित् साक्षाद्विषयत्वं, Existence is that which is sometimes the object of a valid cognition that reveals that an "object is present"
कालसंबन्धित्वं वा सत्त्वम्, Alternatively, a relation with time can be defined as existence
अस्तित्वं च वर्तमानत्वम्, नतु सत्त्वमतो नात्माश्रय:, अतीतादिरपि कदाचिद्वर्तत एवेति नाव्याप्ति:, In the first definition of existence, astitva is used not in the sense of existence, but in the sense of being present, thus the definition is not self referential. Objects in the past etc, must have been present at some time, thus the definition does not suffer from under-extension.
आरोपितं च कालत्रयासंबन्धित्वेन बाधेन बोधितमिति न द्वितीयलक्षणेऽतिव्याप्तिरिति वाच्यम् Nor does the second definition of existence extend to the superimposed (which are accepted as non-existent), because when they are sublated, they are revealed as not having existed in any period of time. Thus as the superimposed are revealed to not have any relation with time, the definition of existence does not apply to them.

The first definition of existence  (of the two mentioned now) is dependent on the validity of cognition.
प्रमात्वस्य सत्त्वघटितत्वेन चक्षुराद्ययोग्यत्वेन च पूर्वोक्तदोषात्, As the definition of valid cognition is dependent on existence, and because valid cognitions are not perceptible by sight, etc., all the defects cited previously apply to it.

वर्तमानत्वप्रकारकप्रमाविषयत्वेऽपि मिथ्यात्वाविरोधाच्च | Even if valid cognition revealing an object to be present is the definition of existence, it would not be contradictory to mithyAtva.

द्वितीयमपि न मिथ्यात्वविरोधि शुक्तिरूप्यस्यापि प्रतिभासकालसंबन्धित्वात्, बाधेन तात्विककालत्रयसंबन्धनिषेधेऽप्यतात्त्विककालसंबन्धस्यानिषेधात् | The second definition (relation with time) is also not contradictory to mithyAtva. The shell-silver too has a relationship with time when it appears. Even though a real relationship with time is negated when it is sublated, an unreal relationship with time is not negated.

नापि तात्त्विककालसंबन्धित्वं तत्, तात्त्विकस्याद्याप्यनिरूपणात्, निरूपणे वा शेषवैयर्थ्यात्  | One cannot therefore argue that a real relationship with time is existence, because what is real has not yet been proven. If it is proven, one does not need the rest of the definition (relationship with time). It would be sufficient to say existence is that which is real.

Until now, the siddhikAra had refuted the common definitions of existence made historically. Now he presents the view of the nyAyAmritakAra.

The nyAyAmritakAra says:

ननु - भवन्मते यत् सत्त्वं ब्रह्मणि, तदेवेह मम | That which is Brahman's existence in your view, is my existence here (for the world).

उक्तंहि - 'यादृशं ब्रह्मण: सत्त्वं तादृशं स्याज्जगत्यपि | तत्र स्यात्तदनिर्वाच्यं चेदिहापि तथास्तु न: || ' इति |
This is encapsulated in a sloka - "Whatever is the existence of Brahman, that is the same existence of the world. If you say that such an existence cannot be articulated, let that apply here too."

He continues:
नच - तत्रापरिच्छिन्नत्वं सत्त्वम्, तच्च न जगतीति - वाच्यम् , तुच्छस्यापरिच्छिन्नत्वेऽपि  सत्त्वानभ्युपगमान्नापरिच्छिन्नत्वं सत्त्वम्, किं त्वन्यदेव ;
Do not argue - Brahman's existence is unlimited (by space, time and objects), whereas that is not true for the world. Because, even though non-existence is not limited by space, time and objects, one does not call non-existent objects as existing. Therefore existence must be something other than freedom from limitations.  

How is an absolutely non-existent entity unlimited? As it has no temporal or spatial relationship, not being located anywhere, at any time, it cannot be said to be limited by time and space. Only an object can be different from other objects, and such a difference is called a limitation by objects. Something absolutely non-existent is not an object, and thus the nyAyAmritakAra argues that it is not limited by objects too.

तच्च ब्रह्मणीव भ्रमाधिष्ठानत्वाच्छुक्तिकादेरपि भविष्यतीति  - चेत्,
That (existence), is like Brahman's, because it happens to be the substratum of illusions, can exist in objects like shell too.

The siddhikAra responds - Such an argument is self-defeating. He says:
नूनं विवाहसमये कन्याया: पित्रा निजगोत्रं पृष्ठस्य यदेव भवतां गोत्रं तदेव ममापि गोत्रमिति वदतो वरस्य भ्राता भवान्, At the time of the wedding, a groom was questioned by the bride's father "What is your gotra", to which he replied "Whatever is your gotra, that is my gotra too". You are like his brother.

यतो जामातृश्वशुरयोरेकगोत्रत्वे विवाहानुपपत्तिवज्जगद्ब्रह्मणोरेकसत्त्वे जगतोऽसत्त्वमेव स्यात् | The wedding where the father-in-law's gotra is the same as the son-in-law's cannot take place. Similarly, if you say that whatever is the existence of Brahman is the existence of the world, then the world has no existence of its own, it is non-existent only.

तथाहि - स्वप्रकाशाद्वितीयचैतन्यरूपत्वमेव ब्रह्मण: सत्त्वम् ; Because Brahman's existence is only of the nature of self-effulgent consciousness.

तदेव चेज्जडस्यापि जगतस्तदा रजतत्वविरोधिशुक्तिसत्तया रजतस्येव जडत्वविरोधिस्वप्रकाशसत्तया जगत: स्वरूपतो मिथ्यात्वोपपत्ते: | This is akin to the situation where saying the existence of the shell-silver is the same as the existence of shell is essentially proving the unreality of the shell-silver - on account of the existence of the shell being mutually exclusive to the existence of shell-silver. If the former exists, the latter cannot. Similarly, if the nature of the world is inertness and the nature of the world's existence is consciousness (because that is the nature of Brahman's existence), then as the world's existence is contradictory to its own nature, the world must intrinsically be a logical impossibility - mithyA in other words.

The nyAyAmritakAra had said that objects in the world can be the substrata of illusions. That is being refuted next.
चैतन्यस्यैवावच्छिन्नानवच्छिन्नाज्ञानविषयत्वेन सर्वभ्रमाधिष्ठानत्वाभ्युपगमान्न भ्रमाधिष्ठानत्वेन शुक्त्यादे: सत्त्वसिद्धि: | It is consciousness alone that is the substratum of all illusions generated due to ignorance located in delimited and non-delimited consciousness. Thus, objects such as shell are really not the substrata of illusions, and the only existence that can be termed as being the substratum of illusions is Brahman's, not the world.

In the case of prAtibhAsika objects such as shell silver, it is ignorance located in consciousness delimited by the shell that leads to the illusion of shell silver. In the case of vyAvahArika objects such as this world, it is ignorance located in consciousness (non-delimited) that leads to the illusion of the world.

Until now, we have looked at various definitions of existence offered - but none of them are defect free, apply to the world or reveal an existence that is perceptible. Thus far, the charge that the world's unreality established by inference is contradicted by the perception of the world has not been proven. In the next set of posts, we will consider two kinds of perception (laukika, everyday perception that we are familiar with and alaukika, a special kind of perception postulated by the nyAya school) and their capacity to reveal existence.

To be continued.
Originally posted on 24th May 2018.