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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

As it always remains in its own transcendental purity


Nyaya

argues that in the Sa@mkhya view knowledge originates by the transcendent influence of puru@sa on a particular state of buddhi; this is quite unintelligible, for knowledge does not belong to buddhi as it is non-intelligent, though it contains within it the content and the form of the concept or the percept (knowledge). The puru@sa to whom the knowledge belongs, however, neither knows, nor feels, neither conceives nor perceives, as it always remains in its own transcendental purity. If the transcendental contact of the puru@sa with buddhi is but a mere semblance or appearance or illusion, then the Sa@mkhya has to admit that there is no real knowledge according to them. All knowledge is false. And since all knowledge is false, the Sa@mkhyists have precious little wherewith to explain the origin of right knowledge.

There are again some Buddhists who advocate the doctrine that simultaneously with the generation of an object there is the knowledge corresponding to it, and that corresponding to the rise of any knowledge there is the rise of the object of it. Neither is the knowledge generated by the object nor the object by the knowledge; but there is a sort of simultaneous parallelism. It is evident that this view does not explain why knowledge should

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express or manifest its object. If knowledge and the object are both but corresponding points in a parallel series, whence comes

this correspondence? Why should knowledge illuminate the object. The doctrine of the Vijnana vadins, that it is knowledge alone that shows itself both as knowledge and as its object, is also irrational, for how can knowledge divide itself as subject and object in such a manner that knowledge as object should require the knowledge as subject to illuminate it? If this be the case we might again expect that knowledge as knowledge should also require another knowledge to manifest it and this another, and so on _ad infinitum_. Again if prama@na be defined as _prapa@na_ (capacity of being realized) then also it would not hold, for all things being momentary according to the Buddhists, the thing known cannot be realized, so there would be nothing which could be called prama@na. These views moreover do not explain the origin of knowledge. Knowledge is thus to be regarded as an effect like any other effect, and its origin or production occurs in the same way as any other effect, namely by the joint collocation of causes intellectual and physical [Footnote ref 1]. There is no transcendent element involved in the production of knowledge, but it is a production on the same plane as that in which many physical phenomena are produced [Footnote ref 2].

The four Prama@nas of Nyaya.

We know that the Carvakas admitted perception (_pratyak@sa_) alone as the valid source of knowledge. The Buddhists and the Vais'e@sika admitted two sources, pratyak@sa and inference (_anumana_); Sa@mkhya added _s'abda_ (testimony) as the third source;

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[Footnote 1: See _Nyayamanjari_, pp. 12-26.]

[Footnote 2: Discussing the question of the validity of knowledge Ganges'a, a later naiyayika of great fame, says that it is derived as a result of our inference from the correspondence of the perception of a thing with the activity which prompted us to realize it. That which leads us to successful activity is valid and the opposite invalid. When I am sure that if I work in accordance with the perception of an object I shall be successful, I call it valid knowledge. _Tattvacintama@ni_, K. Tarkavagis'a's edition, _Prama@nyavada_.


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