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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Thus a jug cannot appear as difference

in its own characteristics

in our experience (_svarupa-bheda_) as Prabhakara thinks; (2) the difference between two things is nothing but the absence of one in the other (_anyonyabhava_), as some Naiyayikas and Bha@t@tas think; (3) difference means divergence of characteristics (_vaidharmya_) as the Vais'e@sikas speak of it; (4) difference may be a separate quality in itself like the p@rthaktva quality of Nyaya. Taking the first alternative, we see that it is said that the jug and the cloth represent in themselves, by their very form and existence, their mutual difference from each other. But if by perceiving the cloth we only perceive its difference from the jug as the characteristic of the cloth, then the jug also must have penetrated into the form of the cloth, otherwise how could we perceive in the cloth its characteristics as the difference from the jug? i.e. if difference is a thing which can be directly perceived by the senses, then as difference would naturally mean difference from something else, it is expected that something else such as jug, etc. from which the difference is perceived, must also be perceived directly in the perception of the cloth. But if the perception of "difference" between two things has penetrated together in the same identical perception, then the self-contradiction becomes apparent. Difference as an entity is not what we perceive in the cloth, for difference means difference from something else, and if that thing from which the difference is perceived is not perceived,
then how can the difference as an entity be perceived? If it is said that the cloth itself represents its difference from the jug, and that this is indicated by the jug, then we may ask, what is the nature of the jug? If the difference from the cloth is the very nature of the jug, then the cloth itself is also involved in the nature of the jug. If it is said that


the jug only indicates a term from which difference is intended to be conveyed, then that also becomes impossible, for how can we imagine that there is a term which is independent of any association of its difference from other things, and is yet a term which establishes the notion of difference? If it is a term of difference, it cannot be independent of its relation to other things from which it is differentiated. If its difference from the cloth is a quality of the jug, then also the old difficulty comes in, for its difference from the cloth would involve the cloth also in itself; and if the cloth is involved in the nature of the jug as its quality, then by the same manner the jug would also be the character of the cloth, and hence not difference but identity results. Moreover, if a cloth is perceived as a character of the jug, the two will appear to be hanging one over the other, but this is never so experienced by us. Moreover, it is difficult to ascertain if qualities have any relation with things; if they have not, then absence of relation being the same everywhere, everything might be the quality of everything. If there is a relation between these two, then that relation would require another relation to relate itself with that relation, and that would again require another relation and that another, and so on. Again, it may be said that when the jug, etc. are seen without reference to other things, they appear as jug, etc., but when they are viewed with reference to cloth, etc. they appear as difference. But this cannot be so, for the perception as jug is entirely different from the perception of difference. It should also be noted that the notion of difference is also different from the notions of both the jug and the cloth. It is one thing to say that there are jug and cloth, and quite another thing to say that the jug is different from the cloth. Thus a jug cannot appear as difference, though it may be viewed with reference to cloth. The notion of a jug does not require the notions of other things for its manifestation. Moreover, when I say the jug is different from the cloth, I never mean that difference is an entity which is the same as the jug or the cloth; what I mean is that the difference of the cloth from the jug has its limits in the jug, and not merely that the notion of cloth has a reference to jug. This shows that difference cannot be the characteristic nature of the thing perceived.

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