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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Including ahamkara and the senses


The Cognitive Process and some characteristics of Citta.

It has been said that buddhi and the internal objects have evolved in order to giving scope to the experience of the puru@sa. What is the process of this experience? Sa@mkhya (as explained by Vacaspati) holds that through the senses the buddhi comes into touch with external objects. At the first moment of this touch there is an indeterminate consciousness in which the particulars of the thing cannot be noticed. This is called _nirvikalpa pratyak@sa_ (indeterminate perception). At the next moment by the function of the _sa@mkalpa_ (synthesis) and _vikalpa_ (abstraction or imagination) of manas (mind-organ) the thing is perceived in all its determinate character; the manas differentiates, integrates, and associates the sense-data received through the senses, and

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thus generates the determinate perception, which when intelligized by the puru@sa and associated with it becomes interpreted as the experience of the person. The action of the senses, ahamkara, and buddhi, may take place sometimes successively and at other times as in cases of sudden fear simultaneously. Vijnana Bhik@su differs from this view of Vacaspati, and denies the synthetic activity of the mind-organ (manas), and says that the buddhi directly comes into touch with the objects through the senses. At the first moment of touch the perception is indeterminate,

but at the second moment it becomes clear and determinate [Footnote ref 1]. It is evident that on this view the importance of manas is reduced to a minimum and it is regarded as being only the faculty of desire, doubt and imagination.

Buddhi, including ahamkara and the senses, often called _citta_ in Yoga, is always incessantly suffering changes like the flame of a lamp, it is made up of a large preponderance of the pure sattva substances, and is constantly moulding itself from one content to another. These images by the dual reflection of buddhi and puru@sa are constantly becoming conscious, and are being interpreted as the experiences of a person. The existence of the puru@sa is to be postulated for explaining the illumination of consciousness and for explaining experience and moral endeavour. The buddhi is spread all over the body, as it were, for it is by its functions that the life of the body is kept up; for the Sa@mkhya does not admit any separate prana vayu (vital breath) to keep the body living. What are called _vayus_ (bio-motor force) in Vedanta are but the different modes of operation of this category of buddhi, which acts all through the body and by its diverse movements performs the life-functions and sense-functions of the body.

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[Footnote 1: As the contact of the buddhi with the external objects takes place through the senses, the sense data of colours, etc., are modified by the senses if they are defective. The spatial qualities of things are however perceived by the senses directly, but the time-order is a scheme of the citta or the buddhi. Generally speaking Yoga holds that the external objects are faithfully copied by the buddhi in which they are reflected, like trees in a lake


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