[Advaita-l] Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge - 22

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Sep 11 20:52:22 CDT 2008

PraNAms to all

We are discussing the Vedanta ParibhASha of Dharmaraja Advarindra, based on my understanding.
                             Knowledge and the means of knowledge-22

                                     Perception in a Dream

Perceiving something other than what it is an error, and is called adhyaasa, error of superimposition. Thus the perception of silver when it is nacre is due to adhyaasa.  I am projecting silver on the object there where there is no silver. The projection is done by my mind.  In general, error arises due to ignorance or nescience of the nature of the object that is being perceived. Since I do not know that it is nacre, I take it as silver based on the partial or dominant sense input of silvery shining-ness of the object. I do not know that it is nacre is due to what is called as adventitious defect.  That is it is due to defects in the auxiliary causes that are involved in the operation of perception, such as insufficient light, etc. Because of these defects, senses are unable to gather all the attributive knowledge of the nacre that would have revealed the true nature of the object as nacre. I am gathering only a predominant attribute – the silvery
 shining-ness of the object – which is also the characteristic of silvery objects.  Thus there is some similarity in the attributive content of the object there and the object projected.  This similarity is called ‘saadRisyam’. Hence the criterion for seeing something other than what it is comes from auxiliary or adventitious factors that are involved in perception.  Here VP gives an example of a dream projection of objects where one sees, say a chariot, which is not really there but projected by the mind and hence is illusory. The adventitious cause of this projection is ‘sleep’ itself. Thus the discussion naturally leads to the analysis of objects perceived in dream.

Objection: In the dream, one does not perceive the objects, but only recollects them from memory. There object like chariot, etc are those that were seen before and there is a memory associated with that previous perception. The recollection is only in the form of words or associated with the words. One need not assume that one is creating a chariot in the dream since dream is in the mind of the dreamer.  Besides, the chariot is too big to fit in the mind of the dreamer; it is cumbrous. Hence there is no question of creation of an object, chariot, in the dream, but it is only a recollection from the memory. 

Reply: Not so.  If the object chariot is only a recollection, then I would not make a statement that ‘I see a chariot’ or ‘I saw a chariot in my dream. In addition, it would violate the scriptural statements that establishes the creation of the objects such as chariot in a dream. na tatra rathA na rathayogA na panthAnO  bhavanti, atha rathAn rathayogAn pathassRijate .. Br. Up. IV-3-10. There (in the dream state) there are neither chariots, nor the horses to pull those chariots nor the roads for them to go.  Therefore the chariots, the horses to pull those and the roads for them to travel are created (in the dream). Therefore, like the silver appearing in the nacre, the chariot etc. are experienced in a dream are also projection of the mind. They remain as real for the perceiver as long as the dream lasts or the projection lasts.  Generally these projections are negated by subsequent knowledge arising from further perception. In the case of dream
 objects, the objects may exist as long as the dream lasts. In the case of silver projected on the nacre, it would last until subsequent experience involving further attributive knowledge of that object establishes that the object is nacre and not real silver. 

Objection: If the real chariot is seen in the dream, there should be eyes to see and the chariot should also be spatially located for the seeing eyes to see.  Since there is no ‘space’ in side the mind, leave alone accommodating the whole chariot, one has to assume some imaginary space where chariot in the dream can be located. Where is the substratum to support the chariot spatially, and also object-wise?  Essentially what is substantive of the chariot for its existence and for its perception, even if one argues that the chariot is a superimposition, similar to silver being superimposed on nacre?  

Replay: The objection is not valid.  The infinite-consciousness which is self-effulgent is the substratum of the chariot, etc. Because in the dream, the chariot is experienced, it is not unreal like son of a barren woman. Since chariot and the objects alike are experienced as existent in the dream, the consciousness manifesting as existence forms a substratum for all. The space where they are located is also part of that experience and hence is a superimposition on the consciousness because of which one is conscious of the space.  The fact that one sees the chariot in the dream, even the eyes that see the chariot are also of the same order of reality as the objects that are seen – all are projected as existent ‘this’ and existent ‘that’ on the substantive consciousness.  Since the experience is in the subtle form as ‘this’, the knowledge of the experience will also be – ‘this is a chariot’ and not ‘I am a chariot’, even though the
 limiting consciousness of the jiiva forms the substantive for all, as was discussed before.  Some are of the opinion that dream chariots and other objects seen in the dream are transformation of maayaa preserving the same order of reality as the cause (pariNAms of maayaa), while others are of the opinion that they are transformation (pariNAma) through the medium of mind. ManDukya presents the analysis more precisely which we will take it later.

Objection: According to the above interpretation that chariots and other objects are superimposed on the pure consciousness for one to be conscious of them. Since this substantive, pure limiting existence-consciousness, saakshii, is not recognized in the dream (tat saakshaatkaara abhaavena), the objector says the objects projected in the dream will also remain in the waking state. The dream state may be gone; but according to your theory, the objects are not imagined in the dream but are projected as real for the dreamer with the same substantive, the limiting consciousness-existence. The substantive does not change from dream to waking.   Hence, in principle, there is no difference between the objects projected in the waking state with substantive limiting witnessing consciousness and objects projected in the dream state. States may change but objects should remain since the substantive remains the same. Therefore one should see all the objects created
 in the dream in the waking state also.  The millions of dollars that we won in the dream-lottery can now be cashed in the bank in the waking state; if your theory is valid. 

Reply: In response to the objection, VP discusses two types of destructions that are possible.  One type of destruction involves destruction of perceived object along with the material cause and the other type is destruction of the object perceived without the destruction of the material cause. The first is called nullification where the material cause is removed or completely eliminated (baadha) and the second is cessation or ending that particular perception where the material cause is not nullified.  The nullification of the material cause occurs only when the substantive is realized or recognized. The reality of the superimposed object arose only because of the non-recognition of the substantive due to nescience.  Since the substantive for the whole world is pure consciousness, there is no other material for the objective world other than maayaa or nescience.  Hence knowledge of the substantive which is pure consciousness, the material cause which is
 maayaa gets nullified. This is the first type of destruction involving the knowledge of the substantive. If I realize that it is clay, then I recognize that there is no material pot other than its name and form. Knowledge of the substantive eliminated any reality attributed to the object pot other than name and form of its substantive clay. It becomes potty-clay than clay pot. There is no substantive pot other than clay.  
There is a second type of perception due to adventitious defects. If one is color blind, due to the eye-defect one sees objects with colors which are not there. If this defect is corrected, that correction does not eliminate the object but only eliminates the wrong color assigned to the object. Similarly when there are double vision of objects due to defective eyes, correction of the eye-sight eliminates the vision of duality but not the object that was perceived.  Hence VP says, the substantive limiting consciousness-existence, saakshii, is not realized as substantive for the objects of the dream, and therefore the objects may not be nullified because of that reason by awakening from dream.  There is, however, no reason why they cannot be destroyed by the elimination of the adventitious defects that produced them in the first place, just as double vision of objects is destroyed by correction of eye-sight, since the adventitious defect in the eye that
 produced the double perception of objects is removed. Just as jar can be eliminated by beating it with a club, even though we have not realized the substantive clay, what is there to prevent cessation of the object projected in the dream by the elimination of the adventitious defect that caused the dream projection, namely the sleep?  

We will continue further discussion on this topic in the next post. 

Hari Om!

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