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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

But whensoever there were collocations of prama@na


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style="text-align: justify;">external object was also blue. Knowledge does not determine the external world but simply enforces our convictions about the external world. So far as knowledge leads us to form our convictions of the external world it is prama@na, and so far as it determines our attitude towards the external world it is prama@naphala. The question how knowledge is generated had little importance with them, but how with knowledge we could form convictions of the external world was the most important thing. Knowledge was called prama@na, because it was the means by which we could form convictions (_adhyavasaya_) about the external world. Nyaya sought to answer the question how knowledge was generated in us, but could not understand that knowledge was not a mere phenomenon like any other objective phenomenon, but thought that though as a gu@na (quality) it was external like other gu@nas, yet it was associated with our self as a result of collocations like any other happening in the material world. Prama@na does not necessarily bring to us new knowledge (_anadhigatadhi-gant@r_) as the Buddhists demanded, but whensoever there were collocations of prama@na, knowledge was produced, no matter whether the object was previously unknown or known. Even the knowledge of known things may be repeated if there be suitable collocations. Knowledge like any other physical effect is produced whenever the cause of it namely the prama@na collocation is present. Categories which are merely
mental such as class (_samanya_), inherence (_samavaya_), etc., were considered as having as much independent existence as the atoms of the four elements. The phenomenon of the rise of knowledge in the soul was thus conceived to be as much a phenomenon as the turning of the colour of the jug by fire from black to red. The element of indeterminate consciousness was believed to be combining with the sense contact, the object, etc. to produce the determinate consciousness. There was no other subtler form of movement than the molecular. Such a movement brought about by a certain collocation of things ended in a certain result (_phala_). Jnana (knowledge) was thus the result of certain united collocations (_samagri_) and their movements (e.g. contact of manas with soul, of manas with the senses, of the senses with the object, etc.). This confusion renders it impossible to understand the real philosophical distinction between knowledge and an external event of the objective world. Nyaya thus fails to explain the cause

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of the origin of knowledge, and its true relations with the objective world. Pleasure, pain, willing, etc. were regarded as qualities which belonged to the soul, and the soul itself was regarded as a qualitiless entity which could not be apprehended directly but was inferred as that in which the qualities of jnana, sukha (pleasure), etc. inhered. Qualities had independent existence as much as substances, but when any new substances were produced, the qualities rushed forward and inhered in them. It is very probable that in Nyaya the cultivation of the art of inference was originally pre-eminent and metaphysics was deduced later by an application of the inferential method which gave the introspective method but little scope for its application, so that inference came in to explain even perception (e.g. this is a jug since it has jugness) and the testimony of personal psychological experience was taken only as a supplement to corroborate the results arrived at by inference and was not used to criticize it [Footnote ref 1].

Sa@mkhya understood the difference between knowledge and material events. But so far as knowledge consisted in being the copy of external things, it could not be absolutely different from the objects themselves; it was even then an invisible translucent sort of thing, devoid of weight and grossness such as the external objects possessed. But the fact that it copies those gross objects makes it evident that knowledge had essentially the same substances though in a subtler form as that of which the objects were made. But though the matter of knowledge, which assumed the form of the objects with which it came in touch, was probably thus a subtler combination of the same elementary substances of which matter was made up, yet there was in it another element, viz. intelligence, which at once distinguished it as utterly different from material combinations. This element of intelligence is indeed different from the substances or content of the knowledge itself, for the element of intelligence is like a stationary light, "the self," which illuminates the crowding, bustling knowledge which is incessantly changing its form in accordance with the objects with which it comes in touch. This light of intelligence is the same that finds its manifestation in consciousness as the "I," the changeless entity amidst all the fluctuations of the changeful procession of knowledge. How this element of light which is foreign to the substance of knowledge


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