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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

The Jains had said that the soul was veiled by karma matter

these are composed is the subtlest.

These images of the mind could not have appeared as conscious, if there were no separate principles of consciousness in connection with which the whole conscious plane could be interpreted as the experience of a person [Footnote ref 1]. We know that the Upani@sads consider the soul or atman as pure and infinite consciousness, distinct from the forms of knowledge, the ideas, and the images. In our ordinary ways of mental analysis we do not detect that beneath the forms of knowledge there is some other principle which has no change, no form, but which is like a light which illumines the mute, pictorial forms which the mind assumes. The self is nothing but this light. We all speak of our "self" but we have no mental picture of the self as we have of other things, yet in all our knowledge we seem to know our self. The Jains had said that the soul was veiled by karma matter, and every act of knowledge meant only the partial removal of the veil. Sa@mkhya says that the self cannot be found as an image of knowledge, but that is because it is a distinct, transcendent principle, whose real nature as such is behind or beyond the subtle matter of knowledge. Our cognitions, so far as they are mere forms or images, are merely compositions or complexes of subtle mind-substance, and thus are like a sheet of painted canvas immersed in darkness; as the canvas gets prints from outside and moves, the pictures appear one by one before the light and arc illuminated. So it is with our knowledge. The
special characteristic of self is that it is like a light, without which all knowledge would be blind. Form and motion are the characteristics of matter, and


[Footnote 1: _Tattakaumudi_ 5; _Yogavarttika_, IV. 22; _Vijnanam@rtabha@sya_, p. 74; _Yogavarttika_ and _Tattvavais'aradi_, I. 4, II. 6, 18, 20; _Vyasabha@sya,_ I. 6, 7.]


so far as knowledge is mere limited form and movement it is the same as matter; but there is some other principle which enlivens these knowledge-forms, by virtue of which they become conscious. This principle of consciousness (_cit_) cannot indeed be separately perceived _per se_, but the presence of this principle in all our forms of knowledge is distinctly indicated by inference. This principle of consciousness has no motion, no form, no quality, no impurity [Footnote ref 1]. The movement of the knowledge-stuff takes place in relation to it, so that it is illuminated as consciousness by it, and produces the appearance of itself as undergoing all changes of knowledge and experiences of pleasure and pain. Each item of knowledge so far as it is an image or a picture of some sort is but a subtle knowledge-stuff which has been illumined by the principle of consciousness, but so far as each item of knowledge carries with it the awakening or the enlivening of consciousness, it is the manifestation of the principle of consciousness. Knowledge-revelation is not just the unveiling or revelation of a particular part of the self, as the Jains supposed, but it is a revelation of the self only so far as knowledge is pure awakening, pure enlivening, pure consciousness. So far as the content of knowledge or the image is concerned, it is not the revelation of self but is the blind knowledge-stuff.

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