[Advaita-l] The Foundations of Adhyāsa - 6 (Vedānta Theory of Perception)
sjayana at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 21 11:03:04 EDT 2018
(Continued from previous post.)
It is a given fact that SEEING HAPPENS (not accepting this is Nihilism, which is not the viewpoint of the Materialists anyway,
who claim that material entities that exist independent of one’s perception are now being perceived). How does it happen,
according to Advaita Vedānta? The answer is given:
BSB 3.3.54 (continued):
Vedāntin: Moreover, Perception takes place where there are certain auxiliaries such as lamps and the
like, and does not take place where those are absent, without its following therefrom that Perception
is an attribute of the lamp or the like. Analogously the fact that Perception takes place where
there is a Body, and does not take place where there is none, does not imply that it is an
attribute of the Body; for like lamps and so on the Body may be used (by the Self) as a mere auxiliary.
Sankara considers the material entities to be auxiliary conditions of Perception:
The Object’s Form is an auxiliary condition of Perception, but the Object’s Form does not “See”.
Light is an auxiliary condition of Perception, but Light does not “See”.
The Eye is an auxiliary condition of Perception, but the Eye does not “See”.
The Brain is an auxiliary condition of Perception, but the Brain does not “See”.
All material entities, including the various organs of the Body, have been exhausted, without fully explaining Perception.
Since Perception is accepted as valid, one must necessarily acknowledge the existence of the end of the above
sequence of auxiliary conditions, i.e. the GROUND OF PERCEPTION:
The SELF is the FINAL SEER!
The Nature of the Self as the Ground of Perception is accepted by Sri Ramana Maharshi (“Who am I?”):
“When the world which is what-is-seen has been removed, there will be Realization of the Self which is the Seer.”
Although The Argument used the example of Seeing, any other form of Perception such as Hearing, Smelling, etc., can also be used with
the same effect. Ramana Bhagavan presents “Tasting” as an instance where Consciousness is required (Day by Day with Bhagavan, 5-3-46):
“The honey is something inert and unconscious, a Conscious Being is required to taste it and enjoy it.
On the other hand, the Self is Consciousness and Bliss itself, and it is absurd to argue that when one
becomes That, the Self, one will not be able to enjoy Bliss and that one must remain separate to enjoy it.”
Sankara provides an instance where Perception does not involve the sense organs of the Body.
BSB 3.3.54 (continued):
Vedāntin: Nor is it true that the Body is absolutely required as an auxiliary of Perception; for in dreams,
we have manifold Perceptions while the Body lies motionless. The view of the Self being something separate
from the Body is therefore free from all objections.
Suppose a person is lying asleep on the bed in a dark room, dreaming of a bright sunny day with flying birds. A scientist examines
the sleeping person, and observes a body, a bed, a brain, blood, flesh, etc., but cannot “see” the flying birds on the bright
sunny day that the sleeping person “sees”. Here again, a third-person description of the material reality does not include the
This kind of “Dream Seeing” is another example of a Perception that is not clearly explained by Materialism.
(To be Continued)
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