[Advaita-l] Objects-attributes and taadaatmya sambandha

Kuntimaddi Sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 10 01:12:48 EDT 2020

I am coping a couple of pages my notes on the Vedana Paribhasha, written more than two decades ago, relevant to taadaatmya sambandha - for those who are interested. 
I am aware that what is written below is not agreeable to many. That is expected. 
Hari Om!
>From My notes on Vedanta Paribhasha. 


Re-examination of the Perceptual Process (based upon somequestions raised on the previous material) – Part 4

6. Objection: According to Advaita there is atAdAtmya sambandha [relationship of identity] between the object and theattributes. Hence Advaita does not say that one can only perceive theattributes and not the object. VP says clearly that the object is perceived; itnever says that only the attributes are perceived and the object is real withinvyavahAra.

Response: tAdAtmyasambandha has to be understood correctly. An attributive locus is an objectthat is perceived. For example, the material gold remains out there when I perceivethe object ring. ‘Ring’ is only notional – a pada [word] with no padArtha[thing corresponding to the meaning of the word] of its own, even at vyavahAralevel. The attributes of the ring that are perceived by the senses are ‘asthough’ now locussed onto the vRitti to form the object ring that isperceived. It could be semantics here. 

ThetAdAtmya sambandha between the locus and its attributes remains during theperceptual process since the notional ring outside is now a notional ringinside. The only difference is that the ring outside has its attributes whilethe ring inside the mind has to be based on the attributive knowledge gatheredby the senses. Defects in the senses or in the associated signal processing canimpact the ring object seen in the mind, even though the outside ring isperfect. Neither the ring outside nor the ring inside has a matter of its own (there is no ringly-substance) since objects are notional. 

The‘ring matter’ outside is gold whereas the ‘ring matter’ inside is existenceitself as part of the vRitti, i.e. subtle matter. tAdAtmya sambandha remainsfor both ring outside and the ring inside since the attributes perceived and theobject was seen have an avinAbhAva sambandha [necessary connection] or anon-separability relationship of the object outside and object inside. This isaccomplished without any matter or substance transfer because the objects arenotional. This is not pAramArthika; it is vyAvahArika only.

7. Objection: Thisis an important objection that was not clearly addressed before. If we do not perceivethe substance, how do we ever know that there is sucha thing as substance? In fact, how do we ever know that there are two things –substance and attributes – if all objective knowledge is attributive?

Response: Here,we need to differentiate between knowledge and transaction in order tounderstand clearly. Knowledge involves mental processes, which are subtle. Thisincludes perception. If there is a ring on the table, I perceive the ringthrough the process described above. Now when I pick up the ring and put it onmy finger, the transaction that is involved is not just a perceptualtransaction. For others who are witnessing it, it may be but not for the onewho is transacting. There is an experience of wearing the ring that goes withthe transaction. sambandha is now established between what is perceived andwhat is transacted. If the object cannot be transacted but only perceived, itwill remain only as a perceived object. VP defines the pramANa clearly as‘anadhigata, abAdhita, arthavishAyaka jnAnatvam’ – that which is not knownbefore, that which is not contradicted and that which has a meaning in thesense that it has transactional reality.

This transactional reality is established by the transaction. Theerror or bhrama in Advaita Vedanta is clearly related to negatability bycontradictory experience. For example, if I see a snake and later discover thatit is a rope via a transaction (say by beating it with a stick), what wasperceived before is now recognized as an error. If there is no contradictory the transaction involved (i.e. a transaction that contradicts the perception of asnake), then the perception of what is actually a rope remains as a snake inthe mind of the perceiver.

Whoever comes to our house feels like touching the flowersdisplayed on our coffee-table to find out if they are real or if they are thosethat are made in Japan. By feeling the texture, they are able to discriminatereal vs. Japanese flowers. From the perceptual process alone. i.e. just bylooking at the flowers, the attributes are not sufficiently discriminative tobe able to differentiate. If one could make the texture identical as well, thenone would need to do further tests in order to differentiate them. This examplefurther proves that attributive knowledge is not substantial knowledge. AdvaitaVedanta is self-consistent, logical in its analysis and also is in tune withthe current state of understanding of science.

As a child gains knowledge of the world, appropriate transactions establish thevalidity of their perceptions. Both are within vyavahAra or transactionalreality. We are not concerned with paramArtha here although, in theperceptuality requirement, VP does address the pAramArthika aspect too. Thereis no other vyApti [general example] required to establish the concomitantrelation between the vRRitti in the mind and the object out there, sinceperception is immediate and direct. We are also not violating anyepistemological issues either. To suppose that the subtle mind perceived agross substantive along with the subtle attributes would indeed be bothunscientific and illogical. Also, we would not want our minds clogged by allthe substantives that we perceive!



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list