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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

The determinate knowledge savikalpa jnana


When

it is said that right knowledge is an invariable antecedent of the realization of any desirable thing or the retarding of any undesirable thing, it must be noted that it is not meant

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[Footnote 1: Brief extracts from the opinions of two other commentators of _Nyayaybindu_, Vinitadeva and S'antabhadra (seventh century), are found in _Nyayabindu@tikatippani_, a commentary of _Nyayabindutika_ of Dharmmottara, but their texts are not available to us.]

[Footnote 2: _Nyayabindu@tika@tippani_, p. 11.]

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that right knowledge is directly the cause of it; for, with the rise of any right perception, there is a memory of past experiences, desire is aroused, through desire an endeavour in accordance with it is launched, and as a result of that there is realization of the object of desire. Thus, looked at from this point of view, right knowledge is not directly the cause of the realization of the object. Right knowledge of course directly indicates the presentation, the object of desire, but so far as the object is a mere presentation it is not a subject of enquiry. It becomes a subject of enquiry only in connection with our achieving the object presented by perception.

Perception (_pratyaks'a_) has been defined by

Dharmakirtti as a presentation, which is generated by the objects alone, unassociated by any names or relations (_kalpana_) and which is not erroneous (_kalpanapo@dhamabhrantam_) [Footnote ref 1]. This definition does not indeed represent the actual nature (_svarupa_) of perception, but only shows the condition which must be fulfilled in order that anything may be valid perception. What is meant by saying that a perception is not erroneous is simply this, that it will be such that if one engages himself in an endeavour in accordance with it, he will not be baffled in the object which was presented to him by his perception (_tasmadgrahye arthe vasturupe yadaviparyastam tadabhrantamiha veditavyam_}. It is said that a right perception could not be associated with names (_kalpana_ or _abhilapa_). This qualification is added only with a view of leaving out all that is not directly generated by the object. A name is given to a thing only when it is associated in the mind, through memory, as being the same as perceived before. This cannot, therefore, be regarded as being produced by the object of perception. The senses present the objects by coming in contact with them, and the objects also must of necessity allow themselves to be presented as they are when they are in contact with the proper senses. But the work of recognition or giving names is not what is directly produced by the objects themselves, for this involves the unification of previous experiences, and this is certainly not what is presented

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[Footnote 1: The definition first given in the _Pramanasamucaya_ (not available in Sanskrit) of Di@nnaga (500 A.D.) was "_Kalpanapodham_." According to Dharmakirtti it is the indeterminate knowledge (_nirvikalpa jnana_) consisting only of the copy of the object presented to the senses that constitutes the valid element presented to perception. The determinate knowledge (_savikalpa jnana_), as formed by the conceptual activity of the mind identifying the object with what has been experienced before, cannot be regarded as truly representing what is really presented to the senses.]


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