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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

But the systematic elaboration of it was made by Kumarila


this hypothesis of a pure self, as essentially distinct and separate from knowledge as ordinarily understood, can hardly be demonstrated in our common sense experience; and this has been pointed out by the Nyaya school in a very strong and emphatic manner. Even Sa@mkhya did not try to prove that the existence of its transcendent puru@sa could be demonstrated in experience, and it had to attempt to support its hypothesis of the existence of a transcendent self on the ground of the need of a permanent entity as a fixed object, to which the passing states of knowledge could cling, and on grounds of moral struggle towards virtue and emancipation. Sa@mkhya had first supposed knowledge to be merely a combination of changing reals, and then had as a matter of necessity to admit a fixed principle as puru@sa (pure transcendent consciousness). The self is thus here in some sense an object of inference to fill up the gap left by the inadequate analysis of consciousness (_buddhi_) as being non-intelligent and incessantly changing.

Nyaya fared no better, for it also had to demonstrate self on the ground that since knowledge existed it was a quality, and therefore must inhere in some substance. This hypothesis is again based upon another uncritical assumption that substances and attributes were entirely separate, and that it was the nature of the latter to inhere in the former, and also that knowledge was a quality requiring (similarly with other attributes)

a substance in which to inhere. None of them could take their stand upon the self-conscious nature of our ordinary thought and draw their conclusions on the strength of the direct evidence of this self-conscious


thought. Of course it is true that Sa@mkhya had approached nearer to this view than Nyaya, but it had separated the content of knowledge and its essence so irrevocably that it threatened to break the integrity of thought in a manner quite unwarranted by common sense experience, which does not seem to reveal this dual element in thought. Anyhow the unification of the content of thought and its essence had to be made, and this could not be done except by what may be regarded as a makeshift--a transcendent illusion running on from beginningless time. These difficulties occurred because Sa@mkhya soared to a region which was not directly illuminated by the light of common sense experience. The Nyaya position is of course much worse as a metaphysical solution, for it did not indeed try to solve anything, but only gave us a schedule of inferential results which could not be tested by experience, and which were based ultimately on a one-sided and uncritical assumption. It is an uncritical common sense experience that substances are different from qualities and actions, and that the latter inhere in the former. To base the whole of metaphysics on such a tender and fragile experience is, to say the least, building on a weak foundation. It was necessary that the importance of the self-revealing thought must be brought to the forefront, its evidence should be collected and trusted, and an account of experience should be given according to its verdict. No construction of metaphysics can ever satisfy us which ignores the direct immediate convictions of self-conscious thought. It is a relief to find that a movement of philosophy in this direction is ushered in by the Mima@msa system. The _Mima@msa sutras_ were written by Jaimini and the commentary (_bha@sya_) on it was written by S'abara. But the systematic elaboration of it was made by Kumarila, who preceded the great S'a@nkaracarya, and a disciple of Kumarila, Prabhakara.

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