[Advaita-l] Definition of sAkshI

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Tue Feb 6 05:11:15 EST 2024

Namaste Sudhanshu ji,

There are two views with respect to this. In one view, the perception of
sAkshi bhAsya things like happiness, sadness needs a corresponding
sukhAkAra and dukhakAra vRtti (in addition to sukha and dukha). The
vedAntaparibhAShA takes this view.

The other view is that sukha and dukha itself is sufficient, there is no
need for there to be a sukhAkAra vRtti and dukhAkAra vRtti. The siddhikAra
takes this view, as can be discerned in the very text posted by you -
अन्त:करणवृत्त्यादौ न वृत्त्यपेक्षेति नानावस्था - there is no need to
postulate another vRtti in the case of antahkaraNavRtti etc, he says.

So what is needed for consciousness to reveal objects?

Light will illuminate everything that it directly shines upon, where there
is no direct contact with the object because of an obstruction, there is
the need for an instrument to remove the obstruction. Similarly sAkshi will
illuminate everything it directly shines upon - where there is an ajnAna
covering the object, there is the need for a vRtti, to remove the
obstruction. In the case of avidyA that is sAkshivedya, there is no need to
postulate another vRtti to reveal it as the connection between
consciousness and ignorance is direct.

This sambandha is defined in the laghuchandrikA as तथा च
प्रतिबिम्बसंबन्धेनैव वा जीवस्य भासकत्वम्।
The sambandha with consciousness that leads to the illumination of an
object is one of 1) the object (thing) being the object (viShaya) of a
vRtti bearing the reflection of consciousness 2) the object being the
delimiter of consciousness or 3) the object reflecting consciousness.

That is, for a thing to be illuminated by consciousness, there has to be a
direct sambandha (it being a delimiter of or being capable of reflecting
consciousness) or a remote sambandha through a vRtti bearing the reflection
of consciousness.

The second thing that is needed is for the object itself to be capable of
reflecting consciousness.

To explain, in commenting on the words स्वतश्चिद्बिम्बाग्राहके चैतन्यस्य
तदाकारत्वायोगात् of the siddhi, the laghuchandrikA says स्वतः स्वरूपेण
चिद्बिम्बाग्राहके  चित्प्रतिबिम्बायोग्ये वृत्तिं वृत्तिसंश्लेशं ।
तदाकारत्वायोगात् स्वतश्चिद्बिम्बाग्राहके  प्रतिबिम्बितत्वायोगात् ।
सूर्यादेः जलादिसंयुक्तमृदादाविव जीवचितो वृत्तिसंश्लिष्टे घटादौ
प्रतिबिम्बस्य संभवः - where the object is incapable of reflecting
consciousness, it is not possible for consciousness to be reflected without
the intervention of a vRtti. Like clay etc can reflect sunlight only if it
is wet, the reflection of consciousness can take place in pots only when
the latter come into contact with vRtti-s.

So why is there a necessity for avidyAvRtti in the case of the perception
of shuktirUpya, but not in the case of sukhAdi? The laghuchandrikA raises a
question here and answers it -
ननु - सुखादेरिव शुक्तिरूप्यादेरपि स्वच्छत्वसंभवात्तत्र वृत्तिकल्पना न
युक्तेति - चेन्न। अस्वच्छव्यावहारिकरजतादिजातीयं  कामयमानस्य पुरुषस्य
प्रवृत्तिरस्वच्छरजतादावेव जायत इति अनुरोधेन भ्रमस्थले तादृशमेव रजतादिकं
कल्प्यते ।
The postulation of where a vRtti is needed and where it not, is dependent
on whether there is a direct contact with the object or where there is no
direct contact, whether the object is intrinsically able to reflect

Unlike the case of sukha etc, the silver seen in an illusion is incapable
of reflecting consciousness - because the person who sees the silver
desires a vyAvahArika silver that is intrinsically incapable of reflecting
consciousness, one must provide for the illusory silver to be similar to
the real silver, and thus also not be capable of reflecting consciousness -
and hence there is a need for a vRtti.

This does not mean that avidyA itself is incapable of reflecting
consciousness - we have seen several instances where
avidyA-pratibimbita-chaitanya, avidyA-pratiphalita-chaitanya is spoken
about. Therefore, there is no need to postulate an avidyAvRtti for
sAkshichaitanya to reveal avidyA.


On Tue, 6 Feb 2024, 14:29 Sudhanshu Shekhar, <sudhanshu.iitk at gmail.com>

> Namaste Venkatraghavan ji.
> //That is, is the vRtti the *means* for the sAkshi to know? Or are you
> saying that vRtti is the *object* of the sAkshi?//
> In my understanding, it is the former. Just as pramAtA needs
> antah-karaNa-vritti to know pramAtri-gamya-vishaya, sAkshI needs
> avidyA-vritti to know sAkshi-bhAsya-vishaya. So, if sAkshI were to know
> illusory silver, it would need rajatAkArA-avidyA-vritti and the illusory
> silver will be known by rajatAkArA-avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya. If
> sAkshI has to know avidyA, an avidyAkArA-avidyA-vritti would be required
> and avidyAkArA-avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya would be knowing avidyA.
> //If it is the latter, that is fine, but if it is the former, that is only
> true for those objects that are not sAkshibhAsya.//
> As I described above, in case of sAkshibhAsya objects alone, avidyA-vritti
> is required. In case of vishaya which are not sAkshibhAsya but
> pramAtri-gamya, antah-karaNa-vritti is required.
> अत एवं ‘इदं रजत' मिति भ्रमे इदमाकारवृत्यवच्छिन्नचैतन्येन रजतभानानुपपत्तेः
> #रजताकाराप्यविद्यावृत्तिरभ्युपेयते; स्वतश्चिद्विम्बाग्राहके चैतन्यस्य
> तदाकारत्वायोगात्, स्वतश्चिद्बिम्बग्राहके त्वन्तःकरणवृत्त्यादौ न
> वृत्त्यपेक्षेति नानवस्था ।
> //There is no requirement that the sAkshi needs to have a vRtti as a means
> to know something which is sAkshi bhAsya. As the siddhikAra says - न च
> वृत्तेरपि वृत्त्यन्तरप्रतिबिम्बितचिद्भास्यत्वे अनवस्था, स्वस्या एव
> स्वभानोपाधित्वात्। To know avidyAvRtti, the avidyAvRtti itself is
> sufficient.//
> avidyA-vritti is a special case wherein another avidyA-vritti is not
> needed to know it despite it being sAkshI-bhAsya. However, for every other
> sAkshi-bhAsya-vishaya, that respective vishaya-AkArA-avidyA-vritti would be
> a mandatory requirement.
> न पुनरनवस्था; अविद्यावृत्तिप्रतिभासके चैतन्ये अविद्यावृत्तेः स्वत एव
> उपाधित्वेन वृत्त्यन्तरानपेक्षत्वात् ।
> //Separately, and I can't say if this is the case for sure, I think the
> differing definitions of sAkshi as avidyA-upahita-chaitanya and
> avidyA-pratibimbita-chaitanya could simply be from the standpoint of
> avacChedavAda and AbhAsa vAda respectively.//
> ....differing definitions of sAkshi as avidyA-upahita-chaitanya and
> #avidyA-pratibimbita-chaitanya# ...... AchArya has consistently used the
> term avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya and not
> avidyA-pratibimbita-chaitanya. The upAdhi are different, in one case, it is
> avidyA-upahita-chaitanya... while in the other, it is
> avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya. Had it been avachchhedavAda and
> AbhAsavAda, the upAdhi would have been identical.
> It seems to me -- vritti is a must for actual knowing. In case of sAkshI,
> there are two types of knowing -- one is mere illumination and second is
> actual knowing. While avidyA-upahita-chaitanya is the illuminator,
> avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya is the actual knower of
> sAkshi-bhAsya-vishaya just as antah-karaNa-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya
> actually knows the pramAtri-gamya-vishaya.
> Since, avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya is adhyasta in
> avidyA-upahita-chaitanya, as avidyA-vritti is nothing but a pariNAma of
> avidyA, avidyA-vritti-pratibimbita-chaitanya can be called as sAkshI.
> Regards.

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