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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Namely sa@myukta vis'e@sa@na as qualifying contact


the name of the object as heard

from a person uttering it, just at the time when the object is seen) or name association, and determinate [Footnote ref 1]. If when we see a cow, a man says here is a cow, the knowledge of the sound as associated with the percept cannot be counted as perception but as sound-knowledge (_s'abda-prama@na_). That right knowledge which is generated directly by the contact of the senses with the object is said to be the product of the perceptual process. Perception may be divided as indeterminate (_nirvikalpa_) and (_savikalpa_) determinate. Indeterminate perception is that in which the thing is taken at the very first moment of perception in which it appears without any association with name. Determinate perception takes place after the indeterminate stage is just passed; it reveals things as being endowed with all characteristics and qualities and names just as we find in all our concrete experience. Indeterminate perception reveals the things with their characteristics and universals, but at this stage there being no association of name it is more or less indistinct. When once the names are connected with the percept it forms the determinate perception of a thing called savikalpa-pratyak@sa. If at the time of having the perception of a thing of which the name is not known to me anybody utters its name then the hearing of that should be regarded as a separate auditory name perception. Only that product is said to constitute nirvikalpa perception which results from the perceiving process
of the contact of the senses with the object. Of this nirvikalpa (indeterminate) perception it is held by the later naiyayikas that we are not conscious of it directly, but yet it has to be admitted as a necessary first stage without which the determinate consciousness could not arise. The indeterminate perception is regarded as the first stage in the process of perception. At the second stage it joins the other conditions of perception in producing the determinate perception. The contact of the sense with the object is regarded as being of six kinds: (1) contact with the dravya (thing) called sa@myoga, (2) contact with the gu@nas (qualities) through the thing (_sa@myukta-samavaya_) in which they inhere in samavaya (inseparable) relation, (3) contact with the gu@nas (such as colour etc.) in the generic character as universals of those qualities, e.g. colourness (rupatva), which inhere in the gu@nas in the samavaya relation.

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[Footnote 1: Ganges'a, a later naiyayika of great reputation, describes perception as immediate awareness (_pratyak@sasya sak@satkaritvam lak@sa@nam_).]

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This species of contact is called sa@myukta-samaveta-samavaya, for the eye is in contact with the thing, in the thing the colour is in samavaya relation, and in the specific colour there is the colour universal or the generic character of colour in samavaya relation. (4) There is another kind of contact called samavaya by which sounds are said to be perceived by the ear. The auditory sense is akas'a and the sound exists in akas'a in the samavaya relation, and thus the auditory sense can perceive sound in a peculiar kind of contact called samaveta-samavaya. (5) The generic character of sound as the universal of sound (s'abdatva) is perceived by the kind of contact known as samaveta-samavaya. (6) There is another kind of contact by which negation (_abhava_) is perceived, namely sa@myukta vis'e@sa@na (as qualifying contact). This is so called because the eye perceives only the empty space which is qualified by the absence of an object and through it the negation. Thus I see that there is no jug here on the ground. My eye in this case is in touch with the ground and the absence of the jug is only a kind of quality of the ground which is perceived along with the perception of the empty ground. It will thus be seen that Nyaya admits not only the substances and qualities but all kinds of relations as real and existing and as being directly apprehended by perception (so far as they are directly presented).


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