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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

If there was no ajnana to obstruct


The

presence of this ajnana may also be inferred from the manner in which knowledge of objects is revealed in consciousness, as this always takes place in bringing a thing into consciousness which was not known or rather known as indefinite before we say "I did not know it before, but I know it now." My present knowledge of the thing thus involves the removal of an indefinite which was veiling it before and positing it in consciousness, just as the first streak of light in utter darkness manifests itself by removing the darkness[Footnote ref 1]. Apart from such an inference its existence

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[Footnote 1: See _Pancapadikavivara@na, Tattvadipana_, and _Advaitasiddhi_.]

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is also indicated by the fact that the infinite bliss of Brahman does not show itself in its complete and limitless aspect. If there was no ajnana to obstruct, it would surely have manifested itself in its fullness. Again had it not been for this ajnana there would have been no illusion. It is the ajnana that constitutes the substance of the illusion; for there is nothing else that can be regarded as constituting its substance; certainly Brahman could not, as it is unchangeable. This ajnana is manifested by the perceiving consciousness (_sak@si_) and not by the pure consciousness. The perceiving consciousness is nothing

but pure intelligence which reflects itself in the states of avidya (ignorance).

Locus and Object of Ajnana, Aha@mkara, and Anta@hkara@na.

This ajnana rests on the pure _cit_ or intelligence. This cit or Brahman is of the nature of pure illumination, but yet it is not opposed to the ajnana or the indefinite. The cit becomes opposed to the ajnana and destroys it only when it is reflected through the mental states (_v@rtti_). The ajnana thus rests on the pure cit and not on the cit as associated with such illusory impositions as go to produce the notion of ego "_aham_" or the individual soul. Vacaspati Mis'ra however holds that the ajnana does not rest on the pure cit but on the jiva (individual soul). Madhava reconciles this view of Vacaspati with the above view, and says that the ajnana may be regarded as resting on the jiva or individual soul from this point of view that the obstruction of the pure cit is with reference to the jiva (_Cinmatras'ritam ajnanam jivapak@sapatitvat jivas'ritam ucyate_ Vivara@naprameya, p. 48). The feeling "I do not know" seems however to indicate that the ajnana is with reference to the perceiving self in association with its feeling as ego or "I"; but this is not so; such an appearance however is caused on account of the close association of ajnana with anta@hkara@na (mind) both of which are in essence the same (see Vivara@naprarneyasa@mgraha, p. 48).

The ajnana however does not only rest on the cit, but it has the cit as its visaya or object too, i.e. its manifestations are with reference to the self-luminous cit. The self-luminous cit is thus the entity on which the veiling action of the ajnana is noticed; the veiling action is manifested not by destroying the self-luminous character, nor by stopping a future course of luminous career on the part of the cit, nor by stopping its relations with the vi@saya,


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