[Advaita-l] Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge - 26
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 19 10:22:22 CDT 2008
PraNAms to all.
We are discussing the Vedanta ParibhASha of Dharmaraja Adhvarindra, based on my understanding.
Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge – 26
We are discussing the anumaana pramaaNa as the means of knowledge, where the knowledge follows another knowledge, anumiti. Inferential knowledge takes place based on perceptual knowledge. The classical example is – I see smoke on the distant hill, and I infer that the hill on fire, even though I do not see fire. Here knowledge of smoke and the distant hill occurs by perceptual process. Hence they are objective knowledge based on attributive content. The knowledge is immediate and direct as we discussed before. However fire is not immediate and direct since I do not perceive fire. I infer that the distant hill is on fire based on the concomitant relation between smoke and fire, which is called vyaapti. The inference depends on this relation or vyaapti; and if I do not know the relation, I cannot infer that there is fire on the distant hill. Technically the terms used in formulating this means of knowledge are: hetu, linga, mark or middle term -
refers to the smoke on the distant hill; the saadhya, character or major premise - refers to fire on the distant hill. The hill itself is called paksha, the minor term. The conclusion or inference however is based on the concomitant relation between the smoke and the fire and is called vyaapti. Vyaapti in this case is, wherever there is smoke there is fire, as is observed in the kitchen. Kitchen example provides a dRiShTanta for establishing the concomitant relation between smoke and fire. We have mentioned that vyaapti is asama, meaning it is unidirectional, that is wherever there is smoke there is fire but not the other way i.e. wherever there is fire there need not be smoke. For example we do not see smoke with the red-hot iron ball.
The invariable concomitance or vyaapti between middle term or hetu (smoke) and the major term, saadhya (fire) is the back bone of inferential knowledge or syllogism. It provides a universal proposition showing the connection between the two. It has to be acquired by observation and generalization. Observation in a kitchen (in olden days fire wood is generally used for cooking) that smoke is there whenever fire is there; and this observation is now generalized that ‘wherever there is smoke there must be fire’. That forms the vyaapti or invariable concomitant relation. As per Indian logic, the universal proposition is supported by at least one observation, if there are no contradictory observations. Hence inferential knowledge, according to India logic, involves deductive and inductive reasoning; and there is no separation between the two, as in western logic. Anumaana or inferential knowledge is therefore, an inductive generalization with deductive
particularization. Particular observation is, I see smoke when there is fire in the kitchen. Deductive reasoning is whenever there is smoke in the kitchen there must be fire there. Generalization of this is to conclude wherever there is smoke there must be fire – that is independent of any condition. That generalization is by induction that smoke cannot exist independent of fire.
Advaitic position differs from NaiyAyikas in several aspects as outlined by VP. According NaiyAyikas the inferential knowledge involves several steps. With reference to the fire example, the steps involved are as follows. First we see smoke in a kitchen, etc. Second, we recollect that smoke is never without a fire. Third, we consider that the smoke is on the distant hill where fire has to be inferred by the process of what is known as paraamarsha. Thus this third step that involves paraamarsha is instrumental for the inferential knowledge. VP dismisses these procedural processes. It says we cannot establish that this paraamarsha required for the inferential knowledge. Paraamarsha involves brooding over the observations and vyaapti to arrive at the conclusion that the distant hill is on fire.
Then how does the inferential knowledge really takes place? VP says it is by vyaapaara and not paraamarsha. Vyaapaara is related to vyaapti. It involves immediate recollection or transaction with the concomitant relation between the hetu and saadhya. Hence as soon as I see the smoke on the distant hill, I remember the universal relation that smoke cannot exist without a fire and therefore infer that there is fire on the distant hill. The vyaapti is already a universalized relation based on prior particular observation. Hence VP says when vyaapti is available in the mind, then Vyaapaara (here connecting the smoke to the fire via the vyaapti) can take place in the mind without any paraamarsha needed.
For the inferential knowledge to take place one should have the knowledge of the concomitant relation. The knowledge should be available with the person as latent impression in the mind for its immediate operation or vyaapaara or use when hetu is observed. Latent impression is not recollection, but is a source for it. It is similar to saying that when I go to deep sleep state all the knowledge I have goes into latent form which can be materialized when I wake up. Hence recollection is not in the sense of what NaiyAyikas subscribe to. For the NaiyAyikas, recollection involves two aspects: its non-existent in the mind before a thing is recollected and its non-existence later after the operation of inferential knowledge. That means the recollected information was not there in the mind before or after. It is produced when it is needed and destroyed when its function is over. These are called praak abhaava and pradhvamsa abhaava, that is its
non-existence before and non-existence after. The reason they subscribe to this is due to their belief in asat kaarya vaada that is existence comes from its non-existence– as the pot case – it came into existence from its non-existence before and it goes into non-existence when it gets destroyed. Thus non-existence of a thing forms the cause for its existence later. In the current example, the recollection of vyaapti involves its coming into existence in my mind (so that I become aware of) from its non-existence and after the paraamarsha that is after the inferential knowledge has taken place, its going back to its non-existent state.
VP rejects these arguments. If existence comes from non-existence it violates the fundamental law that non-existence can never become existence (naasato vidyate bhaavaH). Besides, there is no particular reason why a specific vyaapti that is needed can come into existence since any other vyaapti can also arise from its non-existence. In addition, there is no reason to have a prior vyaapti to be established by dRiShTanta or observation. Advaita does not subscribe to asat kaarya vaada. Vyaapti is in potential form or latent form in the mind which comes into existence when needed. When there are many types of vyaaptis stored in a latent or potential form only that which is relevant will come for recollection. In the example, it is the vyaapti that relates the smoke to fire. Latent impression means it exists as latent, just as pot exists in potential form in the clay. This is called samskaara or latent impression in the mind about the concomitant
VP discusses how the processes of inferential knowledge take place. There is a latent impression in the mind formed previously by generalization of the particular observation that smoke is there only when there is fire. This latent impression is in unmanifested form However, when I have a perceptual knowledge of smoke on a distant hill, the latent impression manifests in the form of vyaapti, providing the concomitant relation between smoke and fire. Hence VP rules out the NaiyAyikas position that recollection arises from its prior non-existence state. Latent impression relating to vyaapti exists which forms a basis for recollection of the vyaapti. Similarly it dismisses their position that recollection destroys preexisting latent impression. In addition VP says latent impression has to be awakened to form a basis for recollection. If it is not awakened by the perception of the hetu and unawakened latent impression cannot give rise to inferential
knowledge, since vyaapti is not materialized in the mind. Hence one can consider awakening of the latent impression as an auxiliary cause since it forms a basis for recollection of vyaapti. Thus VP says, the inferential knowledge – ‘the hill has fire’- arises as soon as I see smoke on the distant hill, which triggers the latent impression to give rise to recollection of vyaapti. Vyaapaara takes place and the mind infers that there is a fire on the distant hill. There is no reason to have a third factor that involves paraamarsha as discussed above which is only a cumbersome addition not needed to arrive at the inferential knowledge. In the example, the inferential knowledge is only that there is a fire in the distant hill because I see smoke there. The smoke and the hill are objects of perceptual knowledge. The smoke and the hill are therefore objective knowledge based on their attributive content. The inferential knowledge that there is fire is
not an objective knowledge with attributive content of fire. This aspect we have discussed it earlier in relation to perception.
The vyaapti or invariable concomitance involves the coexistence of the saadhya, that is the thing that is inferred, in our fire case it must be valid for all situations where the existence of hetu (in our example, smoke) is observed. This concomitant relation between the two has been established by the observation of both and with out any exceptions, that is without observing any time smoke without fire. VP says it does not matter whether this coexistence of the two is observed once or many times as long as no violation of their coexistence is noted. What counts is observation of the coexistence without any violation. Other philosophers say that the observations should be more than once, and the more the better. to establish the universality of the vyaapti, without any violations. Advaita and Nyaaya agree that one observation is enough since vyaapti is both deductive and inductive as long as no exceptions are observed.
Types of inferences according to NaiyAyikas: Based on anvaya and vyatireka logic, NaiyAyikas propose three different types of vyaaptis or invariable concomitant relations.
a) anvaya-vyatireka (affirmative-negative)
b) kevala anvaya (purely affirmative)
c) kevala vyatireka (purely negative)
In the first case the concomitant relation between the hetu and saadhya are related to each other both affirmatively and negatively. This is determined by observation of their co-presence and co-absence. In the case of smoke and fire the positive concomitant relation involves ‘smoke is fire is, as in the kitchen’. The negative concomitant relation involves ‘smoke is not fire is not, as on the lake’. That is, there is agreement in the presence as positive or affirmative vyaapti and also there is agreement in their absence as negative vyaapti. Both establish the relation between smoke and the fire. Advaitin do not subscribe for the requirement of both. They only subscribe for the affirmative and not for the negative. When there is smoke there must be fire is the affirmative and is sufficient for the inferential knowledge. I see the smoke on the distant hill and based on the anvaya vyaapti or affirmative invariable concomitance that whenever
there is smoke there must be fire. Therefore I can infer that there is fire on the hill. NaiyAyikas say that even the negative concomitance can cause inferential knowledge. I see the smoke on the distant hill. Now applying the negative concomitance we have to infer as, ‘if there is no smoke there must not be fire, as on the lake’. Since there is smoke on the hill there must be fire. First it is a round about logic. Second, the vyatireka or negative logic is faulty for many reasons. For one, if three is no smoke on the lake, many things may not be there along with the absence of fire. Hence co-absence may not be generic to smoke in relation to fire. Hence the inter relation between smoke and the fire is not invariable for the concomitance to work. Hence Advaita rejects this requirement of negative concomitant relation to arrive at the inferential knowledge. For adviatins, the negative concomitance discussed above comes under postulation than
vyaapti. In order to establish inferential knowledge between hetu and saadhya, all we need is positive concomitant relation between the two.
Purely affirmative concomitant relation is the second type according to NaiyAyikas. Purely affirmative concomitance involves saadhya, the thing to be inferred to be present everywhere or to put it technically, it is not counter positive to non-existence. Counter positive to non-existence in simple terms is existence, as it is opposite to non-existence. They give example for purely affirmative concomitance as – ‘the jar is nameable, because it is knowable’; because nameability (saadhya or thing that is inferred) is everywhere, since whatever is knowable is nameable. Since the absence of knowability and nameability is no where to be observed, the knowledge of negative concomitance is not possible. Hence NaiyAyikas argue that this is the case of pure affirmative concomitance. Advaitin obviously reject this. For them that which is counter positive to non-existence is existence itself, which is Brahman, and which is non-dual and by definition cannot
have any qualifications what so ever. There is no co-presence of anything else with Brahman. Hence they do not subscribe to kevala anvaya or purely affirmative concomitance.
Similarly there is also purely negative inference or kevala vyatireka, according to NaiyAyikas, inference is solely based on the negative invariable concomitance. The example they give is – ‘God is Omnipresent, because He is the creator’. The vyaapti for this is purely negative invariable concomitance, ‘whoever is not Omnipresent is not the creator’. No knowledge of positive or affirmative invariable concomitance is possible in this case – if there is it would read for example as He is Omnipresent, therefore He is the creator’- such statement is not possible since co-presence of ‘Omniscience’ and ‘creatorship’ is no where to be observed. Advaitins reject the purely negative concomitance as the basis of inference, since such a knowledge is not possible.
Hence Adviatins reject both purely affirmative (kevala anvaya) and purely negative (kevala vyatireka) invariable concomitant relationships between two entities – hetu and saadhya. They only subscribe for positive (not purely positive) or anvaya vyaapti or invariable concomitance. VP establishes this by rejecting the NaiyAyikas position. For more detailed discussion of the above, please refer to Methods of Knowledge by Swami Satprakashananda.
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