'Ignorance itself gets transformed into Knowledge' - Vidyaranya.

V. Krishnamurthy profvk at YAHOO.COM
Fri Dec 6 10:25:18 CST 2002

The following is in fact a supplement to my ABCPN – 10 , under Comments to
Sloka No.28. It is taken from Vidyaranya’s introduction to the  study of
Upanishads. The English translation is by Alladi Mahadeva Sastry.

.  A thing is said to be unknown, as the Vedantic authorities declare,
when veiled by ajnana or ignorance; and it is said to be known when
illumined by the organ of knowledge. And both these facts are illumined by
the Witness, by the unfailing Consciousness. Every thing always presents
itself to the Witness, to Consciousness, either as known or unknown. Such
is the main truth taught in the scriptures. Thus it is Consciousness by
which a thing is realized as unknown; and by all organs of knowledge we
cognize what has remained unknown. 
. The result of a thing being unknown
is the veiling of the thing and nothing else. The inert unconscious matter
being in itself veiled and dark, how can there be a new veiling of it? On
the other hand, Consciousness, which is luminous, is affected by something
else  veiling it, just as, a white cloth is affected by the dyeing ink.
Rahu may darken the moon, never the dark clouds. Thus it is Consciousness
that is the unknown and the inert matter is formed of ajnana.  Whatever is
the cause or the effect should be regarded as the inert matter”
 (I do not quite comprehend the inclusion of the words ‘the cause or’ in
this last sentence.  I am happy with the sentence without these three
words! --  VK)
“By the whole of that inert matter the self-luminous Consciousness is
veiled. By Consciousness thus veiled, both itself and the inert matter
shine forth, just as both the moon and Rahu – the shadow eclipsing it –
shine by the moon.  Thereby Consciousness neither becomes extinct nor
loses its light, any more than the moon. If the moon becomes absorbed by
the shadow  of Rahu, it is only to our vision that it appears to be so
absorbed. Similarly, to the vision of the ignorant alone, Consciousness
appears to be unknown. Thus it is the one self-existent Consciousness
which is the thing unknown before by the senses etc., and on whose
becoming known by them afterwards, they constitute the sources of
knowledge. Though all organs of knowledge proceed to grasp only the pure
Consciousness, still, all of them apprehend it only in association with
some inert material forms in virtue of their many blemishes.  Though the
eye proceeds only to perceive the mother-of-pearl, still, owing to its
blemishes, it perceives but partially the mother-of-pearl in association
with silver. The eye and all other organs of knowledge, except the
Upanishads, are defective. The knowledge to which they give birth
apprehends Consciousness only in association with colour etc. Accordingly,
just as the deluded man thinks his own perception of illusory silver as an
authority to its existence, so men think with regard to colour and other
material forms which they perceive. Philosophers agree that every
cognition is true as far as the substratum is concerned; it is only with
regard to its mode, -- as for instance, when the mother-of-pearl is
perceived in the mode of silver, -- that illusion occurs. So all
cognitions are right so far as the One Existence – the one substratum of
all attributes – is concerned; they are wrong so far as they concern the
colour etc., which is perceived along with the One Existence. Thus, by
sound reasoning, it is to be concluded that all organs of knowledge are
such only as regards Brahman; while the ignorant regard them as such with
regard to the colour etc., in the same way that the deluded man thinks
that his vision, which is right only as far as the basic substance – viz.,
mother-of-pearl – is concerned, is right in perceiving silver. Those who
know how to reason hold that the senses etc., are right as far only as
they grasp Brahman, whereas the unreasoning men declare that they are
right as far only as they perceive colour. In short, because Consciousness
is the thing before unknown, it is the thing to be known by all organs of
perception, which operating, the thing ceases to be unknown. 

praNAms to all seekers of spirituality

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