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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

All knowledge is indeed arthaprakas'a


most important thing about the Nyaya-Vais'e@sika theory of perception is this that the whole process beginning from the contact of the sense with the object to the distinct and clear perception of the thing, sometimes involving the appreciation of its usefulness or harmfulness, is regarded as the process of perception and its result perception. The self, the mind, the senses and the objects are the main factors by the particular kinds of contact between which perceptual knowledge is produced. All knowledge is indeed _arthaprakas'a,_ revelation of objects, and it is called perception when the sense factors are the instruments of its production and the knowledge produced is of the objects with which the senses are in contact. The contact of the senses with the objects is not in any sense metaphorical but actual. Not only in the case of touch and taste are the senses in contact with the objects, but in the cases of sight, hearing and smell as well. The senses according to Nyaya-Vais`e@sika are material and we have seen that the system does not admit of any other kind of transcendental (_atindriya_) power (_s'akti_) than that of actual vibratory


movement which is within the purview of sense-cognition [Footnote ref 1]. The production of knowledge is thus no transcendental occurrence, but is one which is similar to the effects produced by the conglomeration and movements of physical causes. When I perceive an

orange, my visual or the tactual sense is in touch not only with its specific colour, or hardness, but also with the universals associated with them in a relation of inherence and also with the object itself of which the colour etc. are predicated. The result of this sense-contact at the first stage is called _alocanajnana_ (sense-cognition) and as a result of that there is roused the memory of its previous taste and a sense of pleasurable character (_sukhasadhanatvasm@rti_) and as a result of that I perceive the orange before me to have a certain pleasure-giving character [Footnote ref 2]. It is urged that this appreciation of the orange as a pleasurable object should also be regarded as a direct result of perception through the action of the memory operating as a concomitant cause (sahakari). I perceive the orange with the eye and understand the pleasure it will give, by the mind, and thereupon understand by the mind that it is a pleasurable object. So though this perception results immediately by the operation of the mind, yet since it could only happen in association with sense-contact, it must be considered as a subsidiary effect of sense-contact and hence regarded as visual perception. Whatever may be the successive intermediary processes, if the knowledge is a result of sense-contact and if it appertains to the object with which the sense is in contact, we should regard it as a result of the perceptual process. Sense-contact with the object is thus the primary and indispensable condition of all perceptions and not only can the senses be in contact with the objects, their qualities, and the universals associated with them but also with negation. A perception is erroneous when it presents an object in a character which it does not possess (_atasmi@mstaditi_) and right knowledge (_prama_) is that which presents an object with a character which it really has

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