siddhantabindu - 17

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E text source - www.celextel,org 98. Obj: Is the covering removed by any of the means of knowledge (other than perception) such as inference, etc, or is it not? In the first alternative (if it is removed), even the erroneous perception such as the yellowness of a conch should be removed by the inferential knowledge that a conch is white. Confusion about the directions should also cease by inference, etc. Since the cause of the illusion is the ignorance of the substratum, the illusion should cease when the ignorance of the substratum ceases. By the same reasoning the ignorance of Brahman should cease by the mere inferential knowledge of Brahman based on reasoning and there will be no need for hearing, reflection, etc., for attaining realization. In the second alternative, knowledge of fire (from the sight of smoke) will not arise, because the obstruction in the form of the covering continues.

Note: When smoke is seen on a distant hill the presence of fire is inferred. The question asked here is, “Does this inference result in the removal of the covering of avidya on the fire or does it not”? If it does, then the fire itself should be perceptible, but it is not. Here the Siddhanti may get out of the problem by pointing out that the non-perceptibility of the fire is because of the absence of contact of the eye with the fire. But take the case of a conch which appears yellow to a person because he is suffering from jaundice. He knows that the conch is white by inference in the form ‘This is a conch, and so it must be white”. But because of this inferential knowledge the conch does not appear white to him, but continues to appear yellow. Here there is contact between the eye and the conch and so the reason given for non-perceptibility in the case of fire cannot apply here. So it means that the cover of avidya on the conch has not been removed. The same applies in the case of confusion of direction. The confusion does not cease merely because some respected person tells him what the direction is (the statement of such a person is sabda pramana, but it does not help). In both these cases, the cover of avidya is not removed by inferential knowledge. Moreover, if inferential knowledge can remove the covering of avidya, the mere inferential knowledge about Brahman obtained by reasoning should be sufficient for attaining realization and there would be no need for hearing, reflection etc. So the first alternative, that inferential knowledge removes the covering of avidya, does not stand. Taking the second alternative. if it is said that inferential knowledge does not remove the covering, it would mean that the existence of fire cannot be known even where smoke is seen. Thus both the alternatives are untenable. This is the contention of the opponent. This is answered in the next paragraph.

99. Answer: The covering is of two kinds. One is that which gives rise to the notion that a thing does not exist; this is located in, and covers, the witness-consciousness limited by the internal organ (mind). The other is that which generates the notion that a thing is not manifest; it is located in, and covers, the Brahman-consciousness limited by the object. In the cognition ‘I do not know the pot’ it is seen that both these coverings, (namely, that on the knower-consciousness and that on the object-consciousness) are there.

Note: In direct perception (pratyaksha) as well as in indirect cognition (paroksha) there has to be a modification of the mind (vritti) of the form of the object. However, in direct perception the vritti is of the mind which has gone to the object through the appropriate sense organ. In indirect cognition, since there is no means by which the mind can go to the place where the object is (since the sense organs are not in contact with the object), the vritti is of the mind which remains in its own place inside the body. In direct perception, since the consciousness limited by the knower becomes identified with the consciousness limited by the object, the covering on the knower-consciousness which is the cause of the idea of non-existence of the object, as well as the covering on the object-consciousness which is the cause of the idea that the object is not manifest, both are removed. Then both the cognitions, ‘the pot exists’ and ‘the pot is manifest’ arise. In indirect cognition through inference and all the means of knowledge other than pratyaksha, only the covering on the knower-consciousness is removed and not the covering on the object-consciousness. So only the cognition ‘the object exists’ arises and not the cognition ‘the object is manifest’. Thus when a conch appears to be yellow to a person suffering from jaundice, though the whiteness of the conch is known by inference, the covering on the conch is not removed, since there is only an indirect perception of the conch as white by inference. So the conch continues to be seen as yellow until the jaundice is cured.

100. There the first notion (that the object does not exist) is removed by direct as well as indirect cognition. It is seen that even in inference (from smoke) a cognition that there is no fire, etc., does not arise.