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Chapter XI - The Śaṅkara School of Vedānta (continued)

note: click here for the previous chapter.

The treatment of the school of Śaṅkara Vedānta in the preceding chapter may be considered fairly sufficient for all ordinary purposes. But the reputation of this school of thought stands so high, and so many people are interested in it, that it was pointed out to me that it would be desirable to go into a little more detailed study of it. An additional justification for such a suggestion is to be found in the regrettable fact that, though numerous elementary and half-informed treatises have been published both in this country and in Europe, I do not know of any systematic study of the system in any of the modern languages of Europe or Asia which has been based on a first-hand study of the works of the great thinkers of this school who followed Śaṅkara and developed his system in a remarkably recondite manner. The comparatively small compass of this chapter in a History of Indian Philosophy cannot be expected to fulfil adequately such a demand; but still it may be expected that an attempt to bring out some of these materials by some amount of detailed study will be excusable, though it may seem slightly to disturb the general plan of this work.


The World-Appearance.

The Upaniṣads, called also the Vedānta, contain passages which indicate very different lines of thought, theistic, pantheistic, of self as the only ultimate reality, creationism, etc. The works of those commentators who wrote commentaries on the Upaniṣads before Śaṅkara and tried to interpret them on the supposition that there was one uniform, systematic, dogmatic philosophy in them are now practically all lost, and all that we can know of them is contained in the meagre references that are found in Śaṅkara’s commentaries or the works of other, later, commentators.

As an example I may refer to Bhartṛprapañca, who tried to give a realistic interpretation of the Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad by treating the world and souls as real emanations from God or Brahman[1]. Śaṅkara inherited from his predecessors the opinion that the Upaniṣads teach us one consistent systematic philosophy, but, being under the influence of Gaudapāda, differed from them on the nature of this philosophy, which he propounded so elaborately in all his commentaries on the Upaniṣads and the Brahma-sūtras.

The main thesis of Śaṅkara, as has already been pointed out in the preceding chapter, consists of the view that Brahman alone is the ultimate reality, while everything else is false. He was interested in proving that this philosophy was preached in the Upaniṣads; but in the Upaniṣads there are many passages which are clearly of a theistic and dualistic purport, and no amount of linguistic trickery could convincingly show that these could yield a meaning which would support Śaṅkara’s thesis.

Śaṅkara therefore introduces the distinction of a common-sense view (vyāva-hārika) and a philosophic view (pāramārthika), and explains the Upaniṣads on the supposition that, while there are some passages in them which describe things from a purely philosophic point of view, there are many others which speak of things only from a common-sense dualistic view of a real world, real souls and a real God as creator. Śaṅkara has applied this method of interpretation not only in his commentary on the Upaniṣads, but also in his commentary on the Brahma-sūtra. Judging by the sūtras alone, it does not seem to me that the Brahma-sūtra supports the philosophical doctrine of Śaṅkara, and there are some sūtras which Śaṅkara himself interpreted in a dualistic manner. He was never afraid of indulging in realistic interpretations; for he could easily get out of the difficulty by asserting that all the realistic conceptions found in the sūtras or in the Upaniṣad passages were merely an estimate of things from the common-sense point of view.

Though on the basis of Śaṅkara’s own statements, as well as those of his later commentators and other adherents of his school, there is hardly any room for doubt regarding the meaning and force of Śaṅkara’s philosophy, yet at least one Indian scholar has sought to prove that Śaṅkara’s philosophy was realistic[2]. That there was some amount of realism in Śaṅkara is proved by his own confession, when he criticizes the uncompromising Buddhistic idealists (vijñāna-vādins) or the so-called Buddhistic nihilists (śūnya-vādins).

I have already discussed in a general way in what sense according to the Vedānta, from the point of view of the Saṅkara school of Vedānta as interpreted by his later adherents, the world is an illusion. But in the present section I propose to discuss Śaṅkara’s own statements, as well as the statements of some of his important followers, on the subject of the nature of world-illusion. This is one of the most important points of the Śaṅkara school of philosophy and needs a discussion in some detail.

But before I take it up, I am naturally reminded of the views of Buddhist idealism and the so-called Buddhistic nihilism, and it seems desirable that Śaṅkara’s doctrine of illusion should be treated in connection with the doctrines of illusion in those systems of Buddhistic thought which preceded Saṅkara. Taking the Śūnyavāda theory of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti, we see that they also introduced the distinction between limited truth and absolute truth. Thus Nāgārjuna says in his Mādhyamika-sūtras that the Buddhas preach their philosophy on the basis of two kinds of truth, truth as veiled by ignorance and depending on common-sense presuppositions and judgments (saṃvṛti-satya) and truth as unqualified and ultimate (paramārtha-satya)[3].

The word saṃvṛti literally means “closed.” Candrakīrti explains saṃvṛti as meaning “closing on all sides” and says that it is ignorance (ajñāna) which is denoted by the term saṃvṛti here, because it covers the truth of all things[4]. In this sense the whole of the world of our experience of causes and effects, which we perceive and of which we speak, presents an appearance which is hidden by ignorance.

This world is not contradicted in our world-experience; but, as each and every entity of this world is produced by other things or entities, and they again by others, and as we cannot specify the nature of each one of them without referring to others which produced them or from which they originated, and tracing those again to other causes and so on, it is not possible to assert anything as to the nature or characteristic (svabhāva) of anything as it is. Things are known to us only as being the result of the combination of many entities or as product complexes. Nothing is produced of itself, and so the products are never by themselves self-existent, but exist only through the coming together of different entities. That which has any nature of its own cannot owe its origination to other complexes, and so there is nothing in our world-experience which has a nature of its own.

The apparent reality of the world has therefore the mysterious veil of ignorance over it, and it is this veil of ignorance which is referred to by the term loka-saṃvṛta. This is spoken of also as tathya-saṃmti (real ignorance), as distinguished from mithyā-saṃvṛti (false ignorance), properly used of the ordinary illusions and hallucinations of magic, mirage reflections, etc.[5] Those appearances which are due to sense-defects or other causes and are therefore contradicted in experience are called mithyā-saṃvṛta , because their falsehood is discovered in experience. The falsehood of the world-appearances, however, can be realized only when their real nature (paramārtha-rūpa) as a succession of essenceless products of causal complexes is properly understood.

The world holds good and remains uncontradicted and has all the appearance of reality in all our practical experiences, and it is only when it is understood that these phenomena have no nature of their own that they are considered false. All teachings in philosophy take for granted the world-appearances, subjective and objective, and try to give a rational analysis and estimate of them; and it is only through an experience of these world-phenomena and a rational understanding of them that one realizes their truth as being a mere flow of causes and effects devoid of essence.

The appearance of the world as reality is therefore true only in a limited manner during the period when the veil of ignorance is not removed from our eyes; and this is signified by designating the truth (satya) of the world as only loka-saṃvṛta. This world-appearance is however relatively true when compared with the ordinary illusions of perception (when, e.g., a piece of rope is perceived as a snake, or when one sees a mirage in a desert).

But a question arises—if the world-appearance has no essence of its own, how is it that it appears to have one, or how is it that the world-phenomena appear at all? To such a question Nāgārjuna’s answer is that the appearance of the world is like the appearance of mirages or dreams, which have no reality of their own, but still present an objective appearance of reality[6]. The world is not a mere nothing, like a lotus of the sky or the hare’s horn, which are simply non-existent (avidyamāna). Thus there is not only the ultimate truth (pavamārtha) ; there is also the relative truth of the phenomenal world (loka-saṃvṛti-satya) ; there are, further, the sense-illusions, hallucinations and the like which are. contradicted in ordinary experience (aloka-saṃmta or mithyā-saṃvṛta), and also that which is merely non-existent, like the hare’s horn.

The error (viparyāsa) of world-appearance is considered as being of four kinds, viz. the consideration of the momentary as eternal, the consideration of the painful as being pleasurable, the consideration of the unholy as holy, and of that which has no soul as having a soul[7]. And this error is due to ignorance {avidyā). Candrakīrti quotes a passage from the Ārya-dṛḍhāśaya-paripṛcchā, in which it is said that, just as a man may see in a dream that he is spending the night with the wife of the king, and, suddenly realizing that he is discovered, tries to fly for fear of his life (thus perceiving the presence of a woman, where there is none), so we are always falling into the error of asserting that we have perceived the manifold world-appearance where there is none[8].

Such analogies of error naturally suggest the supposition that there must be some reality which is mistaken as some other thing; but, as has already been explained, the Buddhists emphasized the fact that, in dreams, the illusory appearances were no doubt objectively known as objective presentations of which we had previously become aware—experiences through which we pass, though there is no reality on which these appearances rest or are imposed. It was here that Śaṅkara differed. Thus, in his introduction to the commentary on the Brahma-sūtra he says that the essence of all illusory perception is that one thing is mistaken for another, that the qualities, characteristics or attributes of one thing are taken for the qualities, characteristics or attributes of another.

Illusion is defined as the false appearance in some object of something experienced before, resembling a memory image. It is explained by some as being the false affirmation of the characteristics of one thing in regard to another; others explain it as an error due to the nonapprehension of the difference between that which is wrongly apprehended and the misapprehended object which the former is wrongly supposed to be; others think that, when one thing is misapprehended as another, the illusion consists in the fancying of the former entity as being endowed with strange characteristics (viparīta-dharmatva) ; but in all these different ways of analysis illusion fundamentally is nothing but the false appearance of one thing with the characteristics of another. So also it may be that a conch-shell appears as silver or that one moon appears as two moons[9].

Śaṅkara then suggests that, since the universal self (pratyag-ātmari) is felt through our feeling of “I” and since it is immediate in all experience (aparokṣa), it is not absolutely unrelated and unindicated (aviṣaya) in experience, and consequently it is quite possible that the non-self (anātman) and its characteristics may be illusorily imposed upon the universal self. This illusory imposition of the non-self and its characteristics on the universal self is called nescience (avidyā).

In his commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā , I. 17, Śaṅkara says that, when a piece of rope falsely appears as a snake, this is merely false imposition or appearance, not existence. The illusory appearance of the snake did not really bring into existence a snake, which later on became non-existent when right knowledge supervened. It was a mere illusion, and the rope-snake had no existence at all[10]. Śaṅkara in commenting on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā explains with approval Gaudapāda’s view that the world of common experience is as illusory as a dream. Dreams are false; for in a dream a man may have the experience of going to distant places, and yet, when he wakes up, he finds that he has been asleep for a few seconds only, and has not moved a foot from his bed.

The dream experiences are therefore false, because they are contradicted by the waking experiences. But the waking experiences, being similar to dream experiences, are equally false. For both sets of experiences involve the duality of subject and object, and are therefore fundamentally more or less the same: so that, if one of them is false, the other also is false. The world-experience is like other well-known instances of illusion—the mirage, for example. Since it had no existence in the beginning, and will not have any existence in the end, neither can it have existence in the intervening period of appearance.

The objection that our waking experiences fulfil practical purposes and have thus associated with them the pragmatic test of truth, which is absent in the case of dream experiences, is invalid; for the pragmatic tests of the waking experiences may well be contradicted by dream experiences; a man who goes to sleep after a sumptuous feast may well dream that he has been starving for days together. Both our inner world of mind and its experiences and the outer objective world are thus false creations[11]. But Gaudapāda and Śaṅkara differ from the Śūnyavādin Buddhists in this—that they think that even false creations must have some basis in truth.

If a rope appears as a snake, the false creation of the snake has some basis in the truth of the rope: there could not be false creations and false appearances without any firm basis of truth (āspada) underlying them[12]. Nāgārjuna, it will be remembered, tried to prove the falsity of all appearances on the ground of their being interdependent and not having anything which could be pointed out as their own nature. The dialectic being applicable to all appearances, there was nothing left which was not relative and interdependent, nothing which was self-evident by nature and which was intelligible by itself without reference to anything else. It is this interdependence and relativity of all appearances that was called “nothingness” or śūnyatā by Nāgārjuna.

There was nothing which could be affirmed of anything independently by itself without reference to something else; nothing therefore could be conceived as having any essence by itself. All appearances were therefore only interdependent phantom creations; and it was precisely this interdependence that proved the essencelessness of their natures. There was no basis of truth anywhere. There was nothing which had any essence. But neither Śaṅkara nor Gaudapāda appears to have tried to show why the inner world of thoughts, ideas, emotions, volitions and the outer world of objects should be considered as being illusory appearances.

Their main point seems to consist in a dogmatic statement that all appearances or experiences are false just as dream experiences are false. The imperfect analogy of waking experiences is made into an argument, and the entire manifold of appearances is declared to be false. But it is urged at the same time that these false creations must have some basis of truth; the changing appearances must have some unchanging basis on which they are imposed—and this basis is the self (ātman), or Brahman, which is the only thing that is permanent, unchanging and real. This self is the being of pure intelligence, which is one identical unit, negating all differences and duality (viśuddha-vijñapti-mātra-sattā - dvaya-rūpeṇa)[13].

Just as the false creation of “snake” appears in the case of the “rope,” so all such judgments as “I am happy,” “I am unhappy,” “I am ignorant,” “I am born,” “I am old,” “I am with a body,” “I perceive,” etc., are all merely false predications associated with the self; they are all false, changing and illusory predications, and it is only the self which remains permanent through all such judgments. The self is entirely different from all such predications; it is self-luminous and self-manifesting, shining independently by itself.

By applying the dialectic of mutual interdependence, pratītyasamutpāda, Nāgārjuna tried to prove that there was nothing which could be pointed out as the essence of anything as it is; but he did not explain how the appearances which were nothing more than phantom creations came to be what they were. How did the world-appearance of essenceless interdependent phenomena show itself? Śaṅkara did not try to prove with a keen logical dialectic that the world-appearance was false: he simply took it for granted, since the Upaniṣads proclaimed Brahman as the ultimate reality. But how did the world-appearance manifest itself? Saṅkara does not seem to go deeply into this question and simply passes it over in asserting that this world-appearance is all due to ignorance {avidyā) ; it could not be spoken of as either existing or non-existing; it was merely illusory, like the conch-shell silver.

But Padmapāda, who wrote the commentary known as Pañca-pādikā on the first four sūtras of Saṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtras, says that the precise meaning of the term “false conception” (mithyā-jñāna) in Śaṅkara’s introduction to his commentary on the Brahma-sūtras is that there is a force or power or potency (śakti) of nescience which constitutes materiality (jaḍātmikā avidyā-śaktiḥ), and that it is this potency which transforms itself into the stuff {upādāna) of the world-appearance[14]. It is well to remember in this connection that, according to Śaṅkara’s philosophy, it is not only the objective world that constitutes the world of appearance, but also the subjective world of all experiences and predicates that may be associated with the self.

Thus, when one says “I,” this ego-hood is analysed as involving two parts—the one, pure intelligence or pure consciousness; and the other, the concept of subjectivity, which is illuminated, expressed or manifested by the underlying pure intelligence with which it is falsely associated. The concept of subjectivity stands here as materiality, or objectivity, which is made to float up by the power of pure intelligence, thus causing the judgment “I am” or “I am a man[15].” This avidyā-śakti, or power of avidyā , subsists in the pure self and, on the one hand, arrests the revelation of its true nature as Brahman, and, on the other hand, transforms itself into the various concepts associated with the psychological self of our ordinary experience[16].

The illusion consists in the association of the psychological qualities of thinking, feeling, willing, etc. with the transcendent or universal self (pratyak-citi). These psychological determinations are all mutually connected with one another. Thus, to be able to enjoy pleasures, one must first act; one can only act when one has attachments, antipathies and desires, and one can have attachments and desires only when one has experienced joys and sorrows—so these psychological determinations in a beginningless cycle are always naturally associated with the transcendent self-luminous self[17].

It should be clear from the foregoing discussion that, as Padmapāda or Prakāśātman explains, ajñāna or nescience is some kind of indefinable stuff out of the transformations of which subjective psychological experiences and the world of objects have come into being. This ajñāna is not the ajñāna of the Buddhists, i.e. a wrong notion or misconception, and this adhyāsa, or illusion, is not the viparyaya of Nāgārjuna; for here it is a positive power or stuff. Thus Prakāśātman argues that all effects have at their back some cause, which forms their stuff or material; the world-appearance, being also an effect, must have some stuff out of which it has evolved or was made up; and ajñāna , lying in the transcendent self as a separate power, is such a material cause[18].

This avidyā- potency in the transcendent self is positive in its nature. This positive ajñāna is directly perceived in such immediate perceptions as “I do not know myself or others,” and can also be inferred or comprehended by implication[19]. The fact that ajñāna or avidyā is spoken of as a power inherent in the transcendent self shows that it is dependent thereon; avidyā is not, however, a power, but a substance or entity which has certain powers by which it transforms itself into the cosmic appearances, subjective and objective ; yet it is called a power, or śakti , because of its dependence (para-tantratā) on the transcendent self, and it is in consideration of the entire dependence of avidyā and its transformations on the self that the self is regarded as the material cause of all effects— the cosmic appearances of the world and the mind[20].

The self thus not only holds the ajñāna within it as a dependent function, but in spite of its self-luminosity it can be reacted upon by the ajñāna with its manifold powers in such a way that it can be veiled by this ajñāna and made the underlying basis of all world-appearances of flyñāna-transformations[21].

Appaya Dīkṣita, referring in his Siddhānta-leśa to the view of the writer of the Padārtha-tattva , summarizes the matter thus: Brahman and Māyā form together the material cause (ubhayam upādānam), and hence it is that in the world-appearance there are two distinct characteristics, “being” (sattā) from Brahman and materiality (jāḍya) from Māyā. Brahman is the cause, as the unchanging basis of the Māyā, which is the cause as being the stuff that actually undergoes transformation[22]. Vācaspati Miśra also conceives Brahman, jointly with its avidyā , to be the material cause of the world (avidyā-sahita-brahmopādānam)[23]. In his adoration hymn at the beginning of his Bhāmatī he describes Brahman as being in association with its companion, the indefinable avidyā , the unchanging cause of the entire objective universe[24].

Sarva-jñātma Muni, however, does not wish to give māyā the same degree of co-operation in the production of the world-appearance as Brahman, and considers the latter to be the real material cause of the world through the instrumentality of Māyā; for Brahman, being absolutely changeless, cannot by itself be considered as cause, so that, when Brahman is spoken of as cause, this can only be in a remote and modified sense (upalakṣaṇa), through the instrumentality of māyā[25]. The author of the Siddhānta-muktāvalī is referred to by Appaya Dīkṣita as holding that it is the māyā and māyā alone that forms the stuff of the world-appearance; and that Brahman is not in any way the material cause of the universe, but that it is only the basis of the subsistence of māyā and is only from that point of view spoken of as being the material cause[26].

It is clear that the above differences of view regarding the nature of the relation between māyā and the self or Brahman in the production of the world-appearance are mere scholastic disputes over words or modes of expression, and have but little philosophical significance. As has already been said, these questions do not seem to have arisen in Śaṅkara’s mind. He did not think it worth while to explain anything definitely regarding the nature of avidyā and its relation with Brahman, and the part that it played in supplying the material stuff of the universe. The world was an illusion, and Brahman was the basis of truth on which these illusions appeared; for even illusions required something on which they could appear. He never faced squarely the difficulties that are naturally connected with the theory, and was not therefore concerned to explain the definite relation of māyā to Brahman in connection with the production of the phantom show of the universe.

The natural objection against such views is that the term avidyā (formed by compounding the negative particle a and vidyā “knowledge”) may mean either absence of knowledge (vidyā-bhāvaḥ) or false knowledge (mithyā-jñānam); and in neither of these meanings can it be supposed to behave as the material cause or substance-stuff of anything; for a false knowledge cannot be a substance out of which other things are made[27]. The answer given by Ānandabodha Bhattāraka to such an objection is that this avidyā is not a psychological ignorance, but a special technical category, which is beginningless and indefinable (anādy-anirvācyāvidyāśra-yaṇāt).

The acceptance of such a category is a hypothesis which one is justified in holding as valid, since it explains the facts. Effects must have some cause behind them, and a mere instrumental cause cannot explain the origination of the substratum of the effect; again, effects which are not true cannot have for their material cause (upādāna-kāraṇa) that which is true, nor can they have for their material cause that which is absolutely non-existent. So, since the material cause of the world can neither be true nor be anything which is absolutely non-existent, the hypothesis is naturally forced upon the Vedāntists that the material cause of this false world-appearance is an entity which is neither existent nor non-existent[28].

Ānandabodha in his Pramāṇa-mālā quotes approvingly from the Brahma-tattva-samīkṣā of Vācaspati to show that avidyā is called avidyā or nescience because it is a hypothetic category which is neither “is” nor “is not,” and is therefore unintelligible; avidyā signifies particularly the unintelligibility of this category[29].

Ānandabodha points out that the acceptance of avidyā is merely the logical consequence of indicating some possible cause of the world-appearance—considering the nature of the world-appearance as it is, its cause can only be something which neither is nor is not; but what we understand by such a category, we cannot say; it is plainly unintelligible; the logical requirements of such a category merely indicate that that which is the material cause of this false world-appearance cannot be regarded either as existing or as non-existing; but this does not make this concept either intelligible or consistent[30]. The concept of avidyā is thus plainly unintelligible and inconsistent.


Thought and its Object in Buddhism and in Vedānta.

The Vedānta takes a twofold view of things; the first view refers to ultimate reality and the second to appearance. This ultimate reality is pure intelligence, as identical with pure bliss and pure being. This is called ultimately real in the sense that it is regarded as changeless. By pure intelligence the Vedānta does not mean the ordinary cognitional states; for these have a subjective and an objective content which are extraneous to them. This pure intelligence is pure immediacy, identical with the fact of revelation found in all our conscious states. Our apprehensions of objects are in some sense events involving both a subjective and an objective content; but their special feature in every case is a revelatory inwardness or immediacy which is non-temporal and changeless.

The fact that we see, hear, feel, touch, think, remember is equivalent to saying that there are various kinds of cognizings. But what is the nature of this cognizing? Is it an act or a fact? When I see a blue colour, there is a blue object, there is a peculiar revelation of an appearance as blue and a revelation of the “I” as perceiver. The revelation is such that it is both a revelation of a certain character as blue and of a certain thing called the blue object. When a revelation occurs in perception, it is one and it reveals both the object and its appearance in a certain character as blue. The revelation is not the product of a certain relation which happens to subsist at any time between the character-appearance and the object; for both the character-appearance as blue and the object are given in revelation. The revelation is self-evident and stands unique by itself. Whether I see, or hear, or feel, or change, the fact remains that there is some sort of an awareness which does not change.

Awareness is ever present by itself and does not undergo the changes that its contents undergo. I may remember that I had seen a blue object five minutes previously; but, when I do this, what I perceive is the image of a blue object, with certain temporal and spatial relations, which arises or becomes revealed; but the revelation itself cannot be revealed again. I may be conscious, but I cannot be conscious of consciousness. For consciousness as such, though ever present in its immediacy, cannot become an object of any other consciousness. There cannot be any such thing as the awareness of an awareness or the awareness of the awareness of an awareness, though we may multiply such phrases in language at our pleasure. When I remember that I have been to Trinity College this morning, that only means that I have an image of the way across the commons, through Church Street and Trinity Street; my movements through them are temporally pushed backward, but all this is a revelation as image at the present moment and not a revelation of a past revelation.

I cannot say that this present image in any way reveals that particular image as the object of the present revelation. But the former revelation could not be held to be distinct from the present one; for distinction is always based on content and not on revelation. Revelation as such is identical and, since this is so, one revelation cannot be the object of another. It is incorrect to say that “A is A” means that one A becomes itself over again. It is owing to the limitations of grammatical terminology that identity is thus described. Identity thus understood is different from what we understand by identity as a relation. Identity understood as a relation presupposes some difference or otherness and thus is not self-contained. And it is because it is not self-contained that it can be called a relation. When it is said that A is identical with A , it means that on all the various occasions or contents in which A appeared it always signified the same thing, or that it had the same shape or that it was the same first letter of the English alphabet.

Identity in this sense is a function of thought not existing by itself, but in relation to a sense of opponency or otherness. But revelation has no otherness in it; it is absolutely ubiquitous and homogeneous. But the identity of revelation of which we are speaking does not mean that the revelation signifies the same thing amidst a diversity of contents: it is simply the one essence identical in itself and devoid of any numerical or other kinds of difference. It is absolutely free from “now” and “then,” “here” and “there,” “such” or “not such” and “this” or “that.”

Consciousness of the self-shining self taken in this way cannot be regarded as the relation of an appearance to an object, but it is the fact of the revelation or the entity of the self. If we conceive of revelation in this way, it is an error to make any distinction in revelation as the revelation of the past or the revelation of the present moment. For moments are revealed as objects are revealed; they do not constitute revelation or form any part of it. This revelation is identical with the self-shining self to which everything else has to be related in order to be known.

“Is cognizing an act or a fact?” Before this can be answered the point to be made clear is what is meant by cognizing. If we ignore the aspect of revelation and speak of mental states which can be looked at from the point of view of temporal or qualitative change of character, we must speak of them as acts or events. If we look at any mental state as possessing certain characters and relations to its objects, we have to speak of these aspects. But, if we look at cognizing from the point of view of its ultimate truth and reality as revelation, we cannot call it either an act or a fact; for, as revelation, it is unique and unchangeable in itself. All relations and characters are revealed in it, it is self-evident and is at once in and beyond them all. Whether we dream or wake, whether we experience ai\ illusion or a truth, revelation is always there. When we look at our mental states, we find that they are always changing, but this is so only with reference to the contents. Apart from this there is a continuity in our conscious life. By this continuity the Vedānta apprehends not any sort of coherence in our ideas, but the fact of the permanence of revelation.

It may be asked what remains of revelation, if the mental states are taken away. This question is not admissible; for the mental states do not form part of revelation; they are rendered conscious by coming into relation with revelation. This category is the ultimate reality. It is not self or subject in the sense in which self or ego is ordinarily understood. For what is ordinarily understood as the ego or the “I” is as much a content of the perception of the moment as any other objective content. It is not impossible that any particular objective content may be revealed at any time without the corresponding “I perceive” being explicitly revealed at the same time. The notion of ego or “I” does not refer to an everlasting abiding independent self or person; for this notion is as changing as any other objective content.

The “I” has no definite real content as referring to an existing entity, but is only a particular mode of mind which is often associated, as a relatively abiding content, with other changing contents of the mind. As such, it is as changeable as is any other object. “I know this” only means that there is a revelation which at one sweep reveals both the “this” and the “I.”

So far as the revelation appears as revealing the “this” and the “I,” it is manifested in a subjective mental state having a particular conscious centre different from other similar centres. But, since revelation cannot in reality be individuated, all that we may say about “I” or “mine,” “thou” or “thine,” falls outside it. They are all contents, having some indefinite existence of their own and revealed by this principle of revelation under certain conditions. This principle of revelation thus has a reality in quite a different sense from that which is used to designate the existence of any other object. All other objects are dependent upon this principle of revelation for their manifestation, and their nature or essence, out of connection with it, cannot be defined or described. They are not self-evident, but are only expressed by coming into some sort of relation with this principle. We have already seen that this principle cannot be either subjective or objective. For all considerations of subject or object fall outside it and do not in any way qualify it, but are only revealed by it.

There are thus two principles, the principle of revelation and all that which is revealed by it. The principle of revelation is one; for there is nothing else like it; it alone is real in the highest and truest sense. It is absolute in the sense that there is no growth, decay, evolution or change in it, and it is perfectly complete in itself. It is infinite in the sense that no finitude can form part of it, though through it all finitude is being constantly revealed. It is all-pervading in the sense that no spatial or temporal limits can be said to affect it in any way, though all these are being constantly revealed by it. It is neither in my head nor in my body nor in the space before me; but yet there is nowhere that it is not. It has sometimes been designated as the“Self” or ātman , but only in the sense of denoting its nature as the supreme essence and transcendent reality of all— the Brahman.

Apart from this principle of revelation, all else is constituted of a substanceless indefinable stuff called māyā. In some schools of Śaṅkara Vedānta it is said that all is pure and simple illusion, that things exist only when they are perceived and dissolve into nothingness as soon as we cease to perceive them; this school has been designated the Dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi school, a doctrine which has been briefly explained in the tenth chapter of the present work[31]. One of the most important texts of this school is the Siddhānta-muktāvalī by Prakāśānanda[32].

Prakāśānanda seems to have taken his inspiration from the Yoga-vāsiṣṭha , and he denied the existence of things when they are not perceived (ajñāta-sattvānabhyupagama). He tried to show that there were no grounds for holding that external objects existed even when they were not perceived or that external objects had a reality independent of their perceptions. Examining the capacity of perception as a proof to establish this difference between perception and its object, he argued that, since the difference between the awareness and its object was a quality of the awareness, the awareness itself was not competent to grasp this quality in the object, as it was one of the constituents of the complex quality involving a difference of the awareness and its object; to assert the contrary would be a fallacy of self-dependence (ātmāśrayatva).

If the apprehended difference is a complex, such as “difference-between-awareness-and-its-object,” and if this complex is a quality which is apprehended as existing in the object, it has to be assumed that, in order that the nature of awareness may be realized, vindicated or established, it must depend upon itself involved as a constituent in the complex “difference-between-awareness-and-its-object” directly and immediately—which comes to the same thing as saying that awareness becomes aware of itself by being aware of itself; this is impossible and is called the logical fallacy of self dependence[33].

If it is held that the complex quality (“difference-of-awareness-from-the-object”) is directly perceived in the object through the senses, then it has to be assumed that the said complex quality existed in the object even before the production of the awareness, and this would involve the impossible supposition that the complex quality of which the awareness was a constituent was already present even before such an awareness had already come into being. If perception or direct awareness cannot be said to prove the difference between the awareness and its object, there can be no inference which may be supposed to do it.

For such an inference has to take form thus—

“the object is different from its own awareness, because it is associated with entirely different kinds of qualities or characteristics[34].”

But how could it be known that the object has qualities of an entirely different character from its awareness, since a difference between an awareness and its object was contested and could not be proved by perception or any other means ? Prakāśānanda further says that the argument by implication (arthāpatti), that awareness involves the acceptance of something different from the awareness of which the awareness is affirmed, because there cannot be any knowledge without a corresponding object, is invalid. In proving the invalidity of the supposition that knowledge necessarily implies an object, Prakāśānanda raises the question whether such an implication of an object as conditioning knowledge refers to the production (utpatti) of knowledge, its persistence (sthiti) or its secondary cognition. As regards the first alternative Prakāśānanda says that according to the Vedānta consciousness is ever-existent and is never a product; and, even if it is regarded as a product, the process of cognition can itself be regarded as a sufficient cause for its production.

It can by no means be urged that the presence of an external object is in all cases necessary for the production of knowledge; for, though it is arguable that in perception an object is necessary, no one will suggest that an external object is to be considered necessary in the production of inferential knowledge—a fact which shows that the presence of an external object is not indispensable for the production of knowledge as such. As regards the persistence of knowledge it is said that awareness has not the object that it knows for its locus or substance (āśraya), in such a way that the absence of the object, as apart from the awareness, would make it impossible for the awareness to persist; and, if knowledge is supposed to be persisting in anything, that something would not be a cognized object, but the cognizer itself—as in the Nyāya view, where knowledge is regarded as an attribute of the self and the self is then regarded as the substance or locus (āśraya) of knowledge.

Since again cognition and its object do not exist in the same space or in the same time (this is proved by the possibility of our knowing a past or a future object), there cannot be any such concomitance between the two that it would be right for any one to infer the external presence of an object because of there being a subjective cognition or awareness. So he argues that there is no proof that cognition and cognized objects are different.

In the above account of Prakāśānanda’s views it is clear that he does not attempt to give any positive proof in support of his thesis that the world-appearance and all objects contained in it have no existence while they are not perceived or that the being of all objects cognized is their percipi. He only tries to show that it cannot be logically established that awareness of blue and blue are two different objects; or, in other words, that it cannot be proved that the cognized object is different from its cognition. It could not legitimately be held that awareness (pratīti) was different from its object (pratyetavya). The whole universe, as we perceive it, is nothing but cognition without there being any object corresponding to it. As dreams are nothing but mere awareness, without there being any real objects behind them which manifest themselves in different ways of awareness and their objects, so also is the world of awaking consciousness[35]. The world has thus no independent substratum, but is mere cognition or mere awareness (vijñāna-mātra or bhāva-mātra).

This scheme of Vedānta philosophy is surprisingly similar to the idealism of Vasubandhu (a.d. 280-360), as taught in his Viṃśatikā with a short commentary of his own and in his Trirnśikā with a commentary by Sthiramati[36]. According to this idealism (vijñāna-vāda)  of Vasubandhu all appearances are but transformations of the principle of consciousness by its inherent movement, and none of our cognitions are produced by any external objects which to us seem to be existing outside of us and generating our ideas.

Just as in dreams one experiences different objects at different places and countries without there being any objective existence of them, or as in dreams many people may come together and perform various actions, so what seems to be a real world of facts and external objects may well be explained as a mere creation of the principle of intelligence without any objective basis at all. All that we know as subjective or objective is mere ideation (vijñapti) and there is no substantive reality, or entity corresponding to it; but that does not mean that pure non-conceptual (anabhilapyenātmanā) thought, which the saints realize, is also false[37]. It is possible that the awareness of anything may become the object of a further awareness, and that of another; but in all such cases where the awarenesses are significant (arthavatī) there is no entity or reality represented by them; this, however, should not be interpreted as a denial of the principle of intelligence or pure knowledge as such.

Vasubandhu then undertakes to show that the perceptual evidence of the existence of the objective world cannot be trusted. He says that, taking visual perception as an example, we may ask ourselves if the objects of the visual perception are one as a whole or many as atoms. They cannot be mere wholes, since wholes would imply parts; they cannot be of the nature of atoms, since such atoms are not separately perceived; they cannot be of the nature of combinations of atoms, since the existence of atoms cannot be proved[38]. For, if six atoms combine from six sides, that implies that the atoms have parts; if however six atoms combine with one another at one identical point, that would mean that the combined group would not have a size larger than that of one atom and would therefore be invisible.

Again, if the objects of awareness and perception were only wholes, then succession and sequence would be inexplicable, and our perception of separate and distinct things would remain unaccountable. So they have no real objective existence, though perception leads us to believe that they have. People are dreaming of the world of objects in the sleep of the sub-conscious habit of false imaginative construction (vitatha-vikalpābhyāsa-vāsanā-nidrayā), and in their dreams they construct the objective world; it is only when they become awake with the transcendent indeterminate knowledge (lokottara-nirvikalpa-jñāna-lābhāt prabuddho bhavati) that they find the world-construction to be as false as the dream-construction of diverse appearances.

In such a view there is no objective material world, and our cognitions are not influenced by external objects; how then are our minds influenced by good instructions and associations? and, since none of us have any real physical bodies, how can one kill another? Vasubandhu explains this by the theory that the thought-currents of one person can sometimes determine the thought-currents of another. Thus the idea of killing of a certain type may produce such a disturbance of the vital powers of another as to produce a cessation of the continuity of the thought-processes, which is called death[39]. So also the good ideas of one may influence the ideas of another for good.

In the Triṃśikā of Vasubandhu and its commentary by Sthir-amati this idealism is more clearly explained. It is said that both the soul (or the knower) and all that it knows as subjective ideas or as external objects existing outside of us are but transformations of pure intelligence (vijñāna-pariṇāma). The transformation (parmama) of pure intelligence means the production of an effect different from that of the causal moment simultaneously with the cessation of the causal moment[40]. There is neither externality nor subjectivity in pure intelligence, but these are imposed upon it (vijñāna-svarūvpe parikalpita eva ātmā dharmāś ca).

All erroneous impositions imply that there must be some entity which is mistaken for something else; there cannot be erroneous impositions on mere vacuity; so it has to be admitted that these erroneous impositions of various kinds of external characteristics, self, etc. have been made upon the transformations of pure intelligence[41]. Both Vasubandhu and Sthiramati repudiate the suggestion of those extreme idealists who deny also the reality of pure intelligence on grounds of interdependence or relativity (saṃvṛti)[42]. Vasubandhu holds that pure consciousness (vijñapti-mātratā) is the ultimate reality.

This ultimate consciousness is a permanent entity, which by its inherent power (śakti) undergoes threefold transformations as the inherent indeterminate inner change (vipāka), which again produces the two other kinds of transformations as the inner psychoses of mental operations (manana) and as the perception of the so-called external sensibles (viṣaya-vijñapti). The apprehension of all appearances or characterized entities (dharma) as cognized objects and that of selves as cognizers, the duality of perceivers and the perceived, are due to the threefold transformations of vipāka, manana and viṣaya-vijñapti. The ultimate consciousness (vijñapti-mātra) which suffers all these modifications is called ālaya-vijñāna in its modified transformations, because it is the repository of all experiences. The ultimate principle of consciousness is regarded as absolutely permanent in itself and is consequently also of the nature of pure happiness (sukha); for what is not eternal is painful, and this, being eternal, is happy[43].

When a saint’s mind becomes fixed (pratiṣṭhita) in this pure consciousness (vijñapti-mātra), the tendency to dual thought of the subjective and the objective (grāhya-grāhakānuśaya) ceases and there dawns the pure indeterminate (nirvikalpa) and transcendent (lokottara) consciousness. It is a state in which the ultimate pure consciousness returns from its transformations and rests in itself. It is divested of all afflictions (kleśa) or touch of vicious tendencies and is therefore called anāsrava. It is unthinkable and undemonstrable,because it is,on the one hand,pure self-consciousness (pratyātma-vedya) and omniscience (sarvajñatā) , as it is divested of all limitations (āvaraṇa), and, on the other hand, it is unique in itself[44].

This pure consciousness is called the container of the seed of all (sarva-bīja), and, when its first indeterminate and indefinable transformations rouse the psychosis-transformations and also the transformations as sense-perceptions, these mutually act and react against one another, and thus the different series rise again and again and mutually determine one another. These transformations are like waves and ripples on the ocean, where each is as much the product of others as well as the generator of others[45].

In this view thought (vijñāna) is regarded as a real substance, and its transformations are also regarded as real; and it is these transformations that are manifested as the selves and the characterized appearances[46]. The first type of transformations, called vipāka, is in a way the ground of the other two transformations, which contain the indeterminate materials out of which the manifestations of the other two transformations appear. But, as has already been pointed out, these three different types of transformations again mutually determine one another.

The vipāka transformations contain within them the seeds of the constructive instincts (vikalpa-vāsanā) of the selves as cognizers,the constructive instincts of colours, sounds, etc., the substantive basis (āśraya) of the attribution of these twofold constructive instincts, as well as the sense-faculties and the localization of space-determinations (sthāna-vijñapti or bhājana-loka-sanniveśa-vijñapti). They are also associated in another mode with sense-modifications involving the triune of the sense (indriya), sense-object (viṣaya) and cognition (and each of these triunes is again associated with a characteristic affective tone corresponding to the effective tones of the other two members of the triune in a one-to-one relation), attention (manaskāra), discrimination (saṃjñā), volition (cetanā) and feeling (vedanā)[47].

The vipāka transformations have no determinate or limited forms (aparicchinnālambanākāra), and there are here no actualized emotional states of attachment, antipathy or the like, which are associated with the actual pleasurable or painful feelings.

The vipāka transformations thus give us the basic concept of mind and its principal functions with all the potentialities of determinate subject-object consciousness and its processes. There are here the constructive tendencies of selves as perceivers, the objective constructive tendencies of colours, sounds, etc., the sense-faculties, etc., attention, feeling, discrimination, volition and sense-functioning. But none of these have any determinate and actualized forms. The second grade of transformations, called manana, represents the actual evolution of moral and immoral emotions; it is here that the mind is set in motion by the ignorant references to the mental elements as the self, and from this ignorance about the self is engendered self-love (ātma-sneha) and egoism (ātma - māna). These references are again associated with the fivefold universal categories of sense-functioning, feeling, attention, volition and discrimination.

Then comes the third grade of transformations, which is associated with the fivefold universal categories together with the special manifestations of concrete sense-perceptions and the various kinds of intellectual states and moral and immoral mental states, such as desire (chandaḥ) for different kinds of sense-experiences, decisions (adhimokṣa) in conclusions firmly established by perceptions, reasoning, etc., memory, attentive reflection (samādhi), wisdom (prajñā), faith and firm will for the good (śraddhā), shamefulness (hrī) for the bad, etc. The term ālaya-vijñāna is given to all these three types of transformations, but there is underneath it, as the permanent passive ground, the eternal and unchangeable pure thought (vijñapti-mātratā).

It may be pointed out here that in this system of philosophy the eternal and unchangeable thought-substance undergoes by virtue of its inner dynamic three different orders of superficial changes, which are compared to constantly changing streams and waves. The first of these represents the basic change which later determines all subjective and objective possibilities; the second starts the process of the psychosis by the original ignorance and false attribution of self-hood to non-self elements, self-love and egoism; and in the third grade we have all the concrete mental and extra-mental facts. The fundamental categories which make the possibility of mind, mental processes and the extra-mental relations, are evolved in the first stage of transformations; and these abide through the other two stages of transformations and become more and more complex and concrete in course of their association with the categories of the other transformations. In analysing the knowledge situation Vasubandhu does not hold that our awareness of blue is only a modification of the “awareness,”

but he thinks that an awareness has always two relations, a relation with the subject or the knower (grāhaka-graha) and a relation with the object which is known (grāhya-graha). Blue as an object is essential for making an awareness of blue possible; for the awareness is not blue, but we have an awareness of the blue. But Vasubandhu argues that this psychological necessity is due to a projection of objectivity as a necessary function of determinate thought, and it does not at all follow that this implies that there are real external objects existing outside of it and generating the awareness as external agent. Psychological objectivity does not imply ontological objectivity. It is argued that, if the agency of objective entities in the production of sense-knowledge be admitted, there could not be any case where sense-knowledge could be admitted to be produced without the operation of the objective entities; but, since in dreams and illusions such sense-knowledge is universally regarded as being produced without the causal operation of such objective entities, no causal operation can be conceded to the objective entities for the production of sense-knowledge.

Śaṅkara, in attempting to refute the Buddhist idealism in his commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, 11. ii. 28, seems to refer to a school of idealism which is the same as that described by Śāntarakṣita in his Tattva-saṃgraha (commented upon by Kama-laśīla), but largely different from that described in Vasubandhu’s Triṃśikā. The positive arguments against the impossibility of an external world constituted by partless atoms are the same[48].

But it is further argued on behalf of the Buddhist idealists that the awareness of a pillar, the awareness of a wall or of a jug or of a piece of cloth, implies that these individual awarenesses are mutually different in nature among themselves; and that consequently the apparent differences among objects are but differences among the ideas; and that therefore the objects are of the same nature as the particular ideas by which we are supposed to know them; and, if that be so, the hypothesis of an external world of objects becomes unnecessary. Moreover the fact that both the idea of the object and the object are taken at one and the same moment proves that both the object and the idea are identical, just as the illusory second moon perceived simultaneously with the moon is identical with it[49]. When one of them is not perceived the other also is not perceived. If they were by nature separate and different, there would be no reason why there should be such a uniform and invariable relation between them.

The reason for the diversity of our ideas is to be sought not in the diversity of external objects which are ordinarily supposed to produce them, but in the beginningless diversity of the instinctive sub-conscious roots (vāsanā) which produce all our ideas in the waking state, just as they produce dreams during sleep; as dreams are admitted by all to be produced without any external objects, so are all ideas produced without any external real objects; for as ideas the dream ideas are just the same as the waking ideas. But in both cases there are the instinctive sub-conscious roots (vāsanā), without which no ideas, whether in the dream state or in the waking state, can be produced; so these, being invariably present in all cases of production of ideas, are the cause of all ideas[50].

Śaṅkara in refuting the above position says that such a view is untenable because it contradicts our experience, which always distinguishes the subject and the object from the awareness. We are directly aware of our sense-contact with external objects which we perceive, and the object of awareness and the awareness are not one and the same. Our awareness itself shows that it is different from its object. The awareness of a pillar is not the same as a pillar, but a pillar is only an object of the awareness of a pillar. Even in denying external objects, the Buddhist idealists have to say that what is knowable only within appears as if it was existing outside[51].

Śaṅkara argues thus: if externality is absolutely non-existent, how can any sense-cognition appear as external? Viṣṇumitra cannot appear as the son of a barren woman. Again, the fact that an idea has the same form as its object does not imply that there are no objects; on the other hand, if there were no objects, how could any idea have the same form as its corresponding object? Again, the maxim that any two things which are taken simultaneously are identical is false; for, if the object and its awareness are comprehended at the same moment, the very fact that one is taken along with the other shows that they cannot be identical.

Moreover, we find that in all our awarenesses of blue or yellow, a jug or a wall, it is the qualifying or predicative factors of objects of knowledge that differ; awareness as such remains just the same. The objects of knowledge are like so many extraneous qualities attributed to knowledge, just as whiteness or blackness may be attributed to a cow; so whether one perceives blue or red or yellow, that signifies that the difference of perception involves a difference in objects and not in the awareness itself.

So the awareness, being one, is naturally different from the objects, which are many; and, since the objects are many, they are different from the one, the awareness. The awareness is one and it is different from the objects, which are many[52]. Moreover, the argument that the appearance of world objects may be explained on the analogy of dreams is also invalid; for there is a great difference between our knowledge of dreams and of worldly objects—dreams are contradicted by the waking experience, but the waking experiences are never found contradicted.

It is curious to note here the contradictions in Śaṅkara’s own statements. It has been already pointed out that he himself in his commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā built a powerful argument for the non-existence of all objects of waking experience on the analogy of the non-existence of the objects of dream experience. Śāntarak-ṣita (a.d. 705) and Kamalaśīla (a.d. 728) in refuting a position similar to that of the view of Śaṅkara—that consciousness is one and unchangeable and that all objects are changing, but that the change of objects does not imply any change of the consciousness itself—argue that, had this been so, then that would imply that all sensibles of different kinds of colours, sounds, etc. were known at one and the same time, since the consciousness that would reveal those objects is constant and unchangeable[53].

Kamalaśīla therefore holds that consciousness is not unchangeable and one, but that there are only the changeable ideas of the sensibles and each idea is different from the other which follows it in time. Śaṅkara’s view that consciousness is only one and that it is only the objects that are many seems to be based on a separation due to an arbitrary abstraction. If the commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā be admitted to be a work of Śaṅkara, then it may be urged that Śaṅkara’s views had undergone a change when he was writing the commentary on the Brahma-sūtra ; for in the commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā he seems again and again to emphasize the view that the objects perceived in waking experience are as false and as non-existent as objects of dream experience.

His only realism there consisted in the assertion that the world was but the result of a false illusory imposition on the real Brahman, since illusions such as mirage, etc. must have some underlying basis upon which they are imposed. But in the commentary on the Brahma-sūtra the world of objects and sensibles is seen to have an existence of some sort outside individual thought. Vācaspati in his Bhāmatī commentary distinguishes the position of Śaṅkara from that of Buddhist idealism by saying that the Vedānta holds that the “blue” is not an idea of the form of blue, but “the blue” is merely the inexplicable and indefinable object[54].

In discussing the views of Vasubandhu in the Viṃśatikā and Triṃśikā it has been pointed out that Vasubandhu did not try to repudiate the objectivity of the objects of awareness, but he repudiated the idea that objects of awareness existed outside of thought and produced the different kinds of awareness. His idea seems to have been that the sensibles are made up of thought-stuff and, though they are the psychological objects of awareness, they do not exist outside of thought and determine the different ideas that we have of them. But both the sensibles and their ideas are determined by some inner law of thought, which determines the nature and methods of the whole process of the growth and development of the psychosis, and which determines not only its cognitional character, but also its moral and emotional character. All the arguments of Śaṅkara in which he emphasizes the psychological duality of awareness and its object would have no force against Vasubandhu, as Vasubandhu admits it himself and holds that “blue” (nīla) is different from the idea of blue; the blue is an object (ālambana) and the idea of the blue is an awareness.

According to him thought splits itself into subject and object; the idea therefore expresses itself as a subject-object awareness. The subject and the object are as much products of thought as the idea itself; the fact that he considers the blue to be thought does not mean that he denies the objectivity of the blue or that the only existence of the blue is the blue-idea. The blue is objectively present before the idea of blue as a presentation, just as there is the subject to perceive it, but this objectivity does not imply that the blue is somewhere outside thought in the space outside; for even space-locations are thought-products, and so there is no sense in attributing the sensibles of presentation to the outside world. The sensibles are objects of awareness, but they are not the excitants of the corresponding awareness. It does not seem that Śaṅkara says anything to refute such a view.

Śaṅkara’s position in the commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā seems to have been the same sort of view as that of Diṅnāga, which he takes so much pains to refute in the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya , and as such it was opposed to the view of Nāgārjuna that there must be some essence or reality on which the illusory impositions are made. But in the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya he maintains the view that the objective world, as it appears to our consciousness, is present before it objectively and independently—only its ultimate nature is inexplicable. The difference of the objects from the awareness and their independent existence and activity have been accepted by most of the later Vedānta teachers of the Śaṅkara school; and it is well known that in sense-perception the need of the mind-contact with the object of perception through the specific sense is considered indispensable[55].

Prakāśātman (A.D. 1200) in his Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa raises this point and says that the great difference between the Mahāyānists and the Vedāntins consists in the fact that the former hold that the objects (viṣaya) have neither any separate existence nor any independent purpose or action to fulfil as distinguished from the momentary ideas, while the latter hold that, though the objects are in essence identical with the one pure consciousness, yet they can fulfil independent purposes or functions and have separate, abiding and uncontradicted existences[56].

Both Padmapāda and Prakāśātman argue that, since the awareness remains the same while there is a constant variation of its objects, and therefore that which remains constant (anuvṛtta) and that which changes (vyāvṛtta) cannot be considered identical, the object cannot be regarded as being only a modification of the idea[57]. It is suggested that the Buddhist idealist urges that, if the object (e.g. blue) is different from the awareness, it cannot be revealed in it, and, if the blue can be revealed in the awareness, at that moment all the other things of the world might as well be revealed; for there is no such specific relation with the blue that the blue alone should appear in consciousness at that moment.

If it is urged that the blue produces the awareness of the blue, then what would be the function of the visual organ? It is better, therefore, the Buddhist suggests, to admit a natural and unique relation of identity of the idea and the object[58]. The Vedāntist objects to this and says that such a supposition cannot be true, since we perceive that the subject, object and the idea are not one and the same. To such an objection the Buddhist is supposed to reply that these three do not form a complex unity, but arise at three successive moments of time, and then by virtue of their potency or root-impression a complex of the three appears; and this complex should not therefore be interpreted as being due to a relationing of three distinct entities[59]. Thus the fact that “I perceive blue” is not to be interpreted as a conscious relationing of “I,” “the blue” and the awareness, but as an ideation arising at one particular point of time, involving all the three constituents in it.

Such a supposition is necessary, because all appearances are momentary, and because the relationing of the three as three independent entities would necessarily be impossible without the lapse of some time for their operation of relationing. The theory of momentariness naturally leads us to the above supposition, that what appears as relationing is nothing but one momentary flash, which has the above three as its constituent elements; so the Buddhist is supposed to admit that, psychologically, the awareness and its object seem to be different, but such a psychological appearance can at best be considered as a mental illusion or fiction; for logically the Buddhist cannot admit that a momentary appearance could subsist long enough to have the possibility of being relationed to the self and the awareness, as in “I know the blue”; and, if the blue was not considered to be identical with awareness, there would remain no way to explain the possibility of the appearance of the blue in the awareness[60] .

Padmapāda points out that the main point with the Buddhists is the doctrine of causal efficiency (artha-kriyā-kāritva), or the maxim that that alone exists which can prove its existence by effecting some purpose or action. They hold further that this criterion of existence can be satisfied only if all existents are momentary and if all things are momentary; the only epistemological view that can consistently be accepted is the identity of the awareness and the object. The main reason why only momentary existents can satisfy the criterion of causal efficiency is that, if the existents were not assumed to be momentary, they could not effect any purpose or action[61].

Padmapāda urges in refutation of this that, if causal efficiency means the productivity of its own awareness (sva-viṣaya-jñāna-jananam), then an awareness or idea has no existence; for it does not produce any other knowledge of itself (saṃmdāṃ sva-viṣaya-jñānā-jananād asallakṣaṇatvam), and the awareness of one cannot be known by others except by inference, which again would not be direct cognition[62].

If causal efficiency means the production of another moment, then the last moment, having no other moment to produce, would itself be non-existent; and, if the last moment is proved to be non-existent, then by turns all the other moments would be non-existent. Existence is a nature of things; and even when a thing remains silent after an operation it does not on that account cease to exist[63] . On such a basis Prakāśātman points out that the supposed three notions of “I,” “awareness” and the object are really not three distinct notions appearing as one on account of their similarity, but all the three are joined together in one identical subject-object-awareness which does not involve the three successive stages which the Buddhists suppose.

This identity is proved by the fact that they are recognized (pratyabhijñā) to be so. We are, again, all conscious of our own identity, that we persist in all our changing states of consciousness, and that, though our ideas are continually changing with the changing objects, we remain unchanged all the same; and this shows that in knowing ourselves as pure awareness we are successively connected with the changing objects. But the question arises who is to be convinced of this identity, a notion of which can be produced only by a relationing of the previous existence (through sub-conscious impressions of memory) to the existence of the present moment; and this cannot be done by the Vedāntic self, which is pure self-revealing consciousness that cannot further be made an object of any other conscious state; for it is unchangeable, indestructible, and there cannot be in it a consciousness of relationing between a past state and a present state through the sub-conscious impressions of memory[64] .

The mere persistence of the same consciousness is not the recognition of identity; for the recognition of identity would be a relation uniting the past as past with the present as present; and, since there is no one to perceive the relation of identity, the appearance of identity is false. The Vedāntic answer to such an objection is that, though the pure consciousness cannot behave as an individual, yet the same consciousness associated with mind (aniahkaraṇa-viśiṣṭa) may behave as an individual who can recognize his own identity as well as that of others.

The mind is associated with the sub-conscious impressions of a felt ego (ahaṃvṛtti-saṃskāra-sahitam), due to the experience of the self as associated with a past time; being responsible for the experience of the self as associated with the present time, it produces the notion of the identity of the self as persisting both in the past and in the present. A natural objection against such an explanation is that, since the Vedānta does not admit that one awareness can be the object of another awareness, the revival of a past awareness is impossible, without which recognition of identity would be impossible. The answer of the Vedāntist is that, just as an idea is remembered through its sub-conscious impressions, so, though recognition of identity was absent in the preceding moment, yet it could arise through the operation of the sub-conscious impressions at a later moment[65] .

According to the Vedānta the pure consciousness is the only unchanging substance underlying; it is this consciousness associated with mind (antaḥkaraṇa) that behaves as the knower or the subject, and it is the same consciousness associated with the previous and later time that appears as the objective self with which the identity is felt and which is known to be identical with the knower—the mind-associated consciousness. We all have notions of self-identity and we feel it as “I am the same”; and the only way in which this can be explained is on the basis of the fact that consciousness, though one and universal, can yet be supposed to perform diverse functions by virtue of the diverse nature of its associations, by which it seems to transform itself as the knower and the thousand varieties of relations and objects which it knows.

The main point which is to be noted in connection with this realization of the identity of the self is that the previous experience and its memory prove that the self existed in the past; but how are we to prove that what existed is also existing at the present moment? Knowledge of identity of the self is something different from the experience of self in the past and in the present. But the process consists in this, that the two experiences manifest the self as one identical entity which persisted through both the experiences, and this new experience makes the self known in the aforesaid relation of identity. Again, when I remember a past experience, it is the self as associated with that experience that is remembered; so it is the self as associated with the different time relations that is apprehended in an experience of the identity of self.

From all these discussions one thing that comes out clearly is that according to the Śaṅkara Vedānta, as explained by the Vwar ana school of Padmapāda and his followers, the sense-data and the objects have an existence independent of their being perceived; and there is also the mind called antaḥkaraṇa, which operates in its own way for the apprehension of this or that object. Are objects already there and presented to the pure consciousness through the mind? But what then are the objects? and the Śaṅkarite’s answer is that they in themselves are unspeakable and indescribable. It is easy to notice the difference of such a view from that of the Buddhistic idealism of Diṅnāga or the Laṅkāvatāra on the one hand and that of Vasubandhu in his Triṃśikā on the other. For in the case of the former there were no objects independent of their being perceived, and in the case of the latter the objects are transformations of a thought-principle and are as such objective to the subject which apprehends them.

Both the subject and the object are grounded in the higher and superior principle, the principle of thought. This grounding implies that this principle of thought and its transformations are responsible for both the subject and the object, as regards material and also as regards form. According to the Śaṅkara Vedānta, however, the stuff of world-objects, mind, the senses and all their activities, functionings and the like are but modifications of māyā, which is indescribable (anirvācya) in itself, but which is always related to pure consciousness as its underlying principle, and which in its forms as material objects hides from the view and is made self-conscious by the illuminating flash of the underlying principle of pure consciousness in its forms as intellectual states or ideas.

As already described, the Sūnyavādins also admitted the objective existence of all things and appearances; but, as these did not stand the test of criticism, considered them as being essenceless (nilksvabhāva). The only difference that one can make out between this doctrine of essencelessness and the doctrine of indescribableness of the Śaṅkara school is that this “indescribable” is yet regarded as an indescribable something, as some stuff which undergoes changes and which has transformed itself into all the objects of the world. The idealism of the Śaṅkara Vedānta does not believe in the sahopalam-bha-niyama of the Buddhist idealists, that to exist is to be perceived.

The world is there even if it be not perceived by the individual; it has an objective existence quite independent of my ideas and sensations; but, though independent of my sensations or ideas, it is not independent of consciousness, with which it is associated and on which it is dependent. This consciousness is not ordinary psychological thought, but it is the principle that underlies all conscious thought. This pure thought is independent and self-revealing, because in all conscious thought the consciousness shines by itself; all else is manifested by this consciousness and when considered apart from it, is inconceivable and unmeaning. This independent and uncontradicted self-shiningness constitutes being (abādhita-svayaṃ-prakāśataiva asya sattā)[66].

All being is pure consciousness, and all appearance hangs on it as something which is expressed by a reference to it and apart from which it has no conceivable status or meaning. This is so not only epistemologically or logically, but also ontologically. The object-forms of the world are there as transformations of the indescribable stuff of māyā , which is not “being,” but dependent on “being”; but they can only be expressed when they are reflected in mental states and presented as ideas. Analogies of world objects with dream objects or illusions can therefore be taken only as popular examples to make the conception of māyā popularly intelligible; and this gives the Vedāntic idealism its unique position.


Śaṅkara’s Defence of Vedānta; Philosophy of Bādarāyaṇa and Bhartṛprapañca.

Śaṅkara’s defensive arguments consisted in the refutation of the objections that may be made against the Vedāntic conception of the world. The first objection anticipated is that from the followers of Sāṃkhya philosophy. Thus it is urged that the effect must be largely of the same nature as the cause. Brahman, which is believed to be intelligent (cetana) and pure (śuddha), could not be the cause of a world which is unintelligent (jaḍa and acetana) and impure (aśuddha). And it is only because the world is so different in nature from the intelligent spirits that it can be useful to them. Two things which are identical in their nature can hardly be of any use to each other—two lamps cannot be illuminating to each other. So it is only by being different from the intelligent spirits that the world can best serve them and exist for them. Śaṅkara’s answer to this objection is that it is not true that the effect should in every way be similar to the cause—there are instances of inanimate hair and nails growing from living beings, and of living insects growing out of inanimate objects like cow-dung.

Nor can it be denied that there is at least some similarity between Brahman and the world in this, that both have being. It cannot be urged that, because Brahman is intelligent, the world also should be intelligent; for there is no reason for such an expectation. The converse of it also has not been found to be true—it has not been found that what is unintelligent has been known to have been derived from a source other than Brahman[67]. The whole point of this argument seems to lie in the fact that, since the Upaniṣads assert that Brahman is the cause of the world, the apparent incompatibility of the production of an impure and unintelligent world from the intelligent and pure Brahman has to be explained away; for such ultimate truths can be discovered not by reason, but by the testimony of the Upaniṣads.

Another objection supposed to be raised by Sāṃkhya against Vedānta is that at the time of dissolution (pralaya), when the world of effects will dissolve back into Brahman the cause, the impurities of the worldly state might also make the causal state of Brahmahood impure. Śaṅkara refutes it by pointing out two sets of instances in which the effects do not affect the causal state when they return to it. Of these, one set of instances is to be found in those cases where articles of gold, silver, etc. are melted back into their original material states as unformed gold and silver, and are not seen to affect them with their specific peculiarities as formed articles. The other instance is to be found in the manifestation of magic by a magician.

The magical creations of a magician are controlled by him and, when they vanish in this way, they cannot in any way affect the magician himself; for the magical creations have no reality. So also a dreamer is not affected by his dreams when he is awake. So the reality is one which remains altogether untouched by the changing states. The appearance of this reality as all the changing states is mere false show (māyā-mātram), like the appearance of a rope as a snake. Again, as a man may in deep sleep pass into a state where there is no trace of his mundane experiences and may yet, when he becomes awake, resume his normal vocation in life, so after the dissolution of the world into its causal state there may again be the same kind of creation as there was before the dissolution. So there can be no objection that the world of impure effects will affect the pure state of Brahman at the time of dissolution or that there could be no creation after dissolution.

These arguments of Śaṅkara in answer to a supposed objection that the world of effects, impure and unintelligent as it is, could not have been the product of pure and intelligent Brahman are not only weak but rather uncalled for. If the world of effects is mere māyā and magic and has no essence (vastutva), the best course for him was to rush straight to his own view of effects as having no substantiality or essence and not to adopt the pariṇāma view of real transformations of causes into effects to show that the effects could be largely dissimilar from their causes. Had he started with the reply that the effects had no real existence and that they were merely magical creations and a false show, the objection that the impure world could not come out of pure Brahman would have at once fallen to the ground; for such an objection would have validity only with those who believed in the real transformations of effects from causes, and not with a philosopher like Śaṅkara, who did not believe in the reality of effects at all.

Instead of doing that he proceeded to give examples of the realistic return of golden articles into gold in order to show that the peculiar defects or other characteristics of the effect cannot affect the purity of the cause. Side by side with this he gives another instance, how magical creations may vanish without affecting the nature of the magician. This example, however, does not at all fit in with the context, and it is surprising how Śaṅkara failed to see that, if his examples of realistic transformations were to hold good, his example of the magic and the magician would be quite out of place.

If the pariṇāma view of causation is to be adopted, the vivarta view is to be given up. It seems however that Śaṅkara here was obliged to take refuge in such a confusion of issues by introducing stealthily an example of the vivarta view of unreality of effects in the commentary on sūtras which could only yield a realistic interpretation. The sūtras here seem to be so convincingly realistic that the ultimate reply to the suggested incompatibility of the production of effects dissimilar from their causes is found in the fact that the Upaniṣads hold that this impure and unintelligent world had come out of Brahman; and that, since the Upaniṣads assert it, no objection can be raised against it on grounds of reason.

In the next section the theory of realistic transformation of causes is further supported by the sūtra which asserts that in spite of the identity of effects with their cause their plurality or diversity may also be explained on the analogy of many popular illustrations. Thus, though the waves are identical with the sea, yet they have an existence in their plurality and diversity as well. Here also Śaṅkara has to follow the implication of the sūtra in his interpretation. He, however, in concluding his commentary on this sūtra , says that the world is not a result of any real transformation of Brahman as effect; Brahman alone exists, but yet, when Brahman is under the conditioning phenomena of a world-creation, there is room for apparent diversity and plurality. It may be pointed out, however, that such a supplementary explanation is wholly incompatible with the general meaning of the rule, which is decidedly in favour of a realistic transformation. It is unfortunate that here also Śaṅkara does not give any reason for his supplementary remark, which is not in keeping with the general spirit of the sūtra and the interpretation which he himself gave of it.

In the next section the sūtras seem plainly to assert the identity of cause and effect,

“because of the possibility of the effect, because the cause exists, because the effect exists in the cause and is due to an elaboration of the cause and also for other reasons and the testimony of the Upaniṣads.”

Such a meaning is quite in keeping with the general meaning of the previous sections. Śaṅkara, however, interprets the sūtra as meaning that it is Brahman, the cause, which alone is true. There cannot therefore be any real transformation of causes into effects. The omniscience of Brahman and His being the creator of the wrorld have thus only a limited validity; for they depend upon the relative reality of the world. From the absolute point of view therefore there is no īśvara who is the omniscient creator of the world[68]. Śaṅkara supports this generally on the ground of the testimony of some Upaniṣad texts (e.g. mṛttiketyeva satyam, etc.). He however introduces an argument in support of the sat-kārya-vāda theory, or the theory that the effect is already existent in the cause.

This theory is indeed common both to the pariṇāma view of real transformation and the vivarta view, in two different ways. It is curious however that he should support the sat-kārya-vāda theory on pariṇāma lines, as against the generative view of a-sat-kārya-vāda of the Nyāya, but not on vivarta lines, where effects are treated as non-existent and false. Thus he says that the fact that curd is produced from milk and not from mud shows that there is some such intimate relation of curd with milk which it has not with anything else. This intimate relation consists in the special power or capacity (śakti) in the cause (e.g. the milk), which can produce the special effect (e.g. the curd). This power is the very essence of the cause, and the very essence of this power is the effect itself. If a power determines the nature of the effect, it must be already existent in the cause as the essence of the effect.

Arguing against the Nyāya view that the cause is different from the effect, though they are mutually connected in an inseparable relation of inherence (samavāya), he says that, if such a samavāya is deemed necessary to connect the cause with the effect, then this also may require a further something to connect the samavāya with the cause or the effect and that another and that another ad infinitum. If it is urged that samavāya , being a relation, does not require any further relation to connect it with anything else, it may well be asked in reply how “conjunction” (saṃyoga), which is also regarded as a relation, should require the relation of inherence (samavāya) to connect it with the objects which are in conjunction (saṃyogin). The conception of samavāya connecting substances with their qualities is unnecessary; for the latter always appear identified with the former (tādātmya-pratīti). If the effect, say a whole, is supposed to be existing in the cause, the parts, it must exist in them all taken together or in each of the separate parts.

If the whole exist only in the totality of the parts, then, since all the parts cannot be assembled together, the whole as such would be invisible. If the whole exist in the parts in parts, then one has to conceive other parts of the whole different from its constituent parts; and, if the same questions be again repeated, these parts should have other parts and these others; and thus there would be a vicious infinite. If the whole exists wholly in each of the parts at the same time, then there would be many wholes. If it exists successively in each of the parts, then the whole would at one time be existent only in one part, and so at that time the functions of the whole would be absent in the other parts. If it is said that, just as a class-concept (e.g. cow) exists wholly in each of the individuals and yet is not many, so a whole may also be wholly existent in each of the parts, it may well be replied that the experience of wholes is not like the experience of class-concepts.

The class-concept of cow is realized in each and every cow; but a whole is not realized in each and every part. Again, if the effect is non-existent before its production, then, production being an action, such an action would have nothing as its agent, which is impossible—for, since the effect is non-existent before its production, it could not be the agent of its production; and, since being non-existent, it cannot be the agent of its production, such a production would be either itself non-existent or would be without any agent. If, however, production is not defined as an action, but as a relationing of an effect with its cause (. svakāraṇa-sattā-samavāya), then also it may be objected that a relation is only possible when there are two terms which are related, and, since the effect is as yet non-existent, it cannot be related to its cause.

But, if the effect is already existent, what then is the necessity of the causal operation (kāraka-vyāpāra) ? The answer to such a question is to be found in the view that the effect is but an elaboration of the cause into its effect. Just as a man may sit with his limbs collected together or stretched out and yet would be considered the same man, so an effect also is to be regarded as an expansion of the cause and as such identical with it. The effect is thus only a transformed state of the cause; and hence the causal operation is necessary for bringing about this transformation; but in spite of such a transformation the effect is not already existing in the cause as its potency or power.

There are seven other smaller sections. In the first of these the objection that, if the world is a direct product of the intelligent Brahman, there is no reason why such an intelligent being should create a world which is full of misery and is a prison-house to himself, is easily answered by pointing out that the transcendent creator is far above the mundane spirits that suffer misery in the prison-house of the world. Here also Śaṅkara adds as a supplementary note the remark that, since there is no real creation and the whole world is but a magical appearance, no such objection that the creator should not have created an undesirable world for its own suffering is valid. But the sūtras gave him no occasion for such a remark; so that indeed, as was the case with the previous sections, here also his māyā theory is not in keeping even with his general interpretation of the sūtras , and his remarks have to be appended as a note which hangs loosely and which does not appear to have any relevancy to the general meaning and purport of the sūtras.

In the next section an objection is raised that Brahman cannot without the help of any other accessory agents create the world; the reply to such an objection is found in the fact that Brahman has all powers in Himself and can as such create the world out of Himself without the help of anything else.

In the next section an objection is raised that, if the world is a transformation of Brahman, then, since Brahman is partless, the transformation must apply to the whole of Brahman; for a partial transformation is possible only when the substance wrhich is undergoing the transformation has parts. A reply to such an objection is to be found in the analogy of the human self, which is in itself formless and, though transforming itself into various kinds of dream experiences, yet remains unchanged and unaffected as a whole by such transformations. Moreover, such objections may be levelled against the objectors themselves; for Sāṃkhya also admits the transformation of the formless prakṛti.

In another section it is urged that, since Brahman is complete in Himself, there is no reason why He should create this great world, when He has nothing to gain by it. The reply is based on the analogy of play, where one has nothing to gain and yet one is pleased to indulge in it. So Brahman also creates the world by His līlā or play. Śaṅkara, however, never forgets to sing his old song of the māyā theory, however irrelevant it may be, with regard to the purpose of the sūtras , which he himself could not avoid following. Thus in this section, after interpreting the sūtra as attributing the world-creation to God’s playful activity, he remarks that it ought not to be forgotten that all the world-creation is but a fanciful appearance due to nescience and that the ultimate reality is the identity of the self and Brahman.

The above discussion seems to prove convincingly that Bādarāyaṇa’s philosophy was some kind of bhedābheda-vāda or a theory of transcendence and immanence of God (Brahman)—even in the light of Śaṅkara’s own commentary. He believed that the world was the product of a real transformation of Brahman, or rather of His powers and energies (śakti). God Himself was not exhausted by such a transformation and always remained as the master creator who by His play created the world and who could by His own powers create the world without any extraneous assistance. The world was thus a real transformation of God’s powers, while He Himself, though remaining immanent in the world through His powers, transcended it at the same time, and remained as its controller, and punished or rewarded the created mundane souls in accordance with their bad and good deeds.

The doctrine of bhedābheda-vāda is certainly prior to Śaṅkara, as it is the dominant view of most of the purāṇas. It seems probable also that Bhartṛprapañca refers to Bodhāyana, who is referred to as vṛttikāra by Rāmānuja, and as vṛttikāra and Upavarṣa by Śaṅkara, and to Dramidācārya, referred to by Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja; all held some form of bhedābheda doctrine[69].

Bhartṛprapañca has been referred to by Śaṅkara in his commentary on the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad ; and Ānandajñāna, in his commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary, gives a number of extracts from Bhartṛprapañca’s Bhāṣya on the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad. Prof. M. Hiriyanna collected these fragments in a paper read before the Third Oriental Congress in Madras, 1924, and there he describes Bhartṛprapañca’s philosophy as follows. The doctrine of Bhartṛprapañca is monism, and it is of the bhedābheda type. The relation between Brahman and the jīva, as that between Brahman and the world, is one of identity in difference. An implication of this view is that both the jīva and the physical world evolve out of Brahman, so that the doctrine may be described as Brahma-parmāma-vāda.

On the spiritual side Brahman is transformed into the antaryāmin and the jīva ; on the physical side into avyakta, sūtra , virāj and devatā, which are all cosmic; and jāti and piṇḍa, which are not cosmic. These are the avasthās or modes of Brahman, and represent the eight classes into which the variety of the universe may be divided. They are again classified into three rāśis, para-mātma-rāśi, jiva-rāśi and mūrttāmūrtta-rāśi, which correspond to the triple subject-matter of Religion and Philosophy, viz. God, soul and matter.

Bhartṛprapañca recognized what is known as pramāṇa-samuccaya , by which it follows that the testimony of common experience is quite as valid as that of the Veda. The former vouches for the reality of variety and the latter for that of unity (as taught in the Upaniṣads). Hence the ultimate truth is dvaitādvaita. Mokṣa , or life’s end, is conceived as being achieved in two stages—the first leading to apavarga , where saṃsāra is overcome through the overcoming of āsaṅga ; and the second leading to Brahmahood through the dispelling of avidyā. This means of reaching either stage is jñāna-karma-samuccaya, which is a corollary on the practical side to pramāṇa-samuccaya on the theoretical side.

It is indeed difficult to say what were the exact characteristics of Bādarāyaṇa’s bhedābheda doctrine of Vedānta; but there is very little doubt that it was some special type of bhedābheda doctrine, and, as has already been repeatedly pointed out, even Śaṅkara’s own commentary (if we exclude only his parenthetic remarks, which are often inconsistent with the general drift of his own commentary and the context of the sūtras , as well as with their purpose and meaning, so far as it can be made out from such a context) shows that it was so. If, however, it is contended that this view of real transformation is only from a relative point of view (vyavahārika), then there must at least be one sūtra where the absolute (pāra-mārthika) point of view is given; but no such sūtra has been discovered even by Śaṅkara himself.

If experience always shows the causal transformation to be real, then how is one to know that in the ultimate point of view all effects are false and unreal? If, however, it is contended that there is a real transformation (pariṇāma) of the māyā stuff, whereas Brahman remains always unchanged, and if māyā is regarded as the power (śakti) of Brahman, how then can the śakti of Brahman as well as its transformations be regarded as unreal and false, while the possessor of the śakti (or the śaktimat, Brahman) is regarded as real and absolute? There is a great diversity of opinion on this point among the Vedāntic writers of the Śaṅkara school.

Thus Appaya Dīkṣita in his Siddhānta-leśa refers to the author of Padārtha-nirṇaya as saying that Brahman and māyā are both material causes of the world-appearance—Brahman the vivarta cause, and māyā the pariṇāma cause. Others are said to find a definition of causation intermediate between vivarta and pariṇāma by defining material cause as that which can produce effects which are not different from itself (svā-bhinna-kāryajanakatvam upādānatvam). The world is identical with Brahman inasmuch as it has being, and it is identical with nescience inasmuch as it has its characteristics of materiality and change. So from two different points of view both Brahman and māyā are the cause of the world. Vācaspati Miśra holds that māyā is only an accessory cause (sahakāri), whereas Brahman is the real vivarta cause[70].

The author of the Siddhānta-muktāvalī , Prakāśānanda, however, thinks that it is the māyā energy (māyā-śakti) which is the material cause of the world and not Brahman. Brahman is unchangeable and is the support of māyā ; and is thus the cause of the world in a remote sense. Sarvajñātma Muni, however, believes Brahman alone to be the vivarta cause, and māyā to be only an instrument for the purpose[71].

The difficulty that many of the sūtras of Bādarāyaṇa give us a pariṇāma view of causation was realized by Sarvajñātma Muni, who tried to explain it away by suggesting that the pariṇāma theory was discussed approvingly in the sūtras only because this theory was nearest to the vivarta , and by initiating people to the pariṇāma theory it would be easier to lead them to the vivarta theory, as hinted in sūtra 11. i. 14[72]. This explanation could have some probability, if the arrangement of the sūtras was such as to support the view that the pariṇāma view was introduced only to prepare the reader’s mind for the vivarta view, which was ultimately definitely approved as the true view; but it has been shown that the content of almost all the sūtras of 11. i. consistently support the pariṇāma view, and that even the sūtra

11. i. 14 cannot be explained as holding the vivarta view of causation as the right one, since the other sūtras of the same section have been explained by Śaṅkara himself on the pariṇāma view; and, if the content be taken into consideration, this sūtra also has to be explained on the pariṇāma view of bhedābheda type.


Teachers and Pupils in Vedānta.

The central emphasis of Śaṅkara’s philosophy of the Upaniṣads and the Brahma-sūtra is on Brahman, the self-revealed identity of pure consciousness, bliss and being, which does not await the performance of any of the obligatory Vedic duties for its realization. A right realization of such Upaniṣad texts as “That art thou,” instilled by the right teacher, is by itself sufficient to dispel all the false illusions of world-appearance. This, however, was directly against the Mīmāṃsā view of the obligatoriness of certain duties, and Śaṅkara and his followers had to fight hard on this point with the Mīmāṃsakas. Different Mīmāṃsā writers emphasized in different ways the necessity of the association of duties with Brahma-wisdom; and a brief reference to some of these has been made in the section on Sureśvara. Another question arose regarding the nature of the obligation of listening to the unity texts (e.g. “that art thou”) of the Vedānta; and later Vedānta writers have understood it differently.

Thus the author of the Prakaṭārtha, who probably flourished in the twelfth century, holds that it is only by virtue of the mandate of the Upaniṣads (such as “thou shouldst listen to these texts, understand the meaning and meditate”) that one learns for the first time that one ought to listen to the Vedānta texts—a view which is technically called apūrva-vidhi. Others, however, think that people might themselves engage in reading all kinds of texts in their attempts to attain salvation and that they might go on the wrong track; and it is just to draw them on to the right path, viz. that of listening to the unity texts of the Upaniṣads, that the Upaniṣads direct men to listen to the unity texts—this view is technically called niyama-vidhi.

The followers of Sarvajñātma Muni, however, maintain that there can in no sense be a duty in regard to the attainment of wisdom of Brahma-knowledge, and the force of the duty lies in enjoining the holding of discussions for the clarification of one’s understanding; and the meaning of the obligatory sentence “thou shouldst listen to” means that one should hold proper discussions for the clarification of his intellect. Other followers of Sureśvara, however, think that the force of the obligation lies in directing the student of Vedānta steadily to realize the truth of the Vedānta texts without any interruption; and this view is technically called parisaṃkhyā-vidhi. Vācaspati Miśra and his followers, however, think that no obligation of duties is implied in these commands; they are simply put in the form of commands in order to show the great importance of listening to Vedānta texts and holding discussions on them, as a means of advancement in the Vedāntic course of progress.

But the central philosophical problem of the Vedānta is the conception of Brahman—the nature of its causality, its relation with māyā and the phenomenal world of world-appearance, and with individual persons. Śaṅkara’s own writings do not always manifest the same uniform and clear answer; and many passages in different parts of his work show tendencies which could be more or less diversely interpreted, though of course the general scheme was always more or less well-defined. Appaya Dīkṣita notes in the beginning of his Siddhānta-leśa that the ancients were more concerned with the fundamental problem of the identity of the self and the Brahman, and neglected to explain clearly the order of phenomenal appearance; and that therefore many divergent views have sprung up on the subject.

Thus shortly after Śaṅkara’s death we have four important teachers, Sureśvara and his pupil Sarvajñātma Muni, Padmapāda and Vācaspati Miśra, who represent three distinct tendencies in the monistic interpretation of the Vedānta. Sureśvara and his pupil Sarvajñātma Muni held that māyā was only an instrument (dvāra), through which the one Brahman appeared as many, and had its real nature hidden from the gaze of its individual appearances as individual persons. In this view māyā was hardly recognized as a substance, though it was regarded as positive; and it was held that māyā had, both for its object and its support, the Brahman.

It is the pure Brahman that is the real cause underlying all appearances, and the māyā only hangs on it like a veil of illusion which makes this one thing appear as many unreal appearances. It is easy to see that this view ignores altogether the importance of giving philosophical explanations of phenomenal appearance, and is only concerned to emphasize the reality of Brahman as the only truth. Vācaspati’s view gives a little more substantiality to māyā in the sense that he holds that māyā is coexistent with Brahman, as an accessory through the operation of which the creation of world-appearance is possible; māyā hides the Brahman as its object, but it rests on individual persons, who are again dependent on māyā , and māyā on them, in a beginningless cycle.

The world-appearance is not mere subjective ideas or sensations, but it has an objective existence, though the nature of its existence is inexplicable and indescribable ; and at the time of dissolution of the world (or pralaya) its constitutive stuff, psychical and physical, will remain hidden in avidyā , to be revived again at the time of the next world-appearance, otherwise called creation. But the third view, namely that of Padmapāda, gives māyā a little more substantiality, regarding it as the stuff which contains the double activity or power of cognitive activity and vibratory activity, one determining the psychical process and the other the physical process, and regarding Brahman in association with māyā , with these two powers as īśvara, as the root cause of the world. But the roots of a very thoroughgoing subjective idealism also may be traced even in the writings of Śaṅkara himself.

Thus in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka-bhāṣya he says that, leaving aside theories of limitation (avaccheda) or reflection {pratibimba ), it may be pointed out that, as the son of Kuntī is the same as Rādheya, so it is the Brahman that appears as individual persons through beginningless avidyā ; the individual persons so formed again delusively create the world-appearance through their own avidyā. It will be pointed out in a later section that Maṇḍana also elaborated the same tendency shortly after Śaṅkara in the ninth century. Thus in the same century we have four distinct lines of Vedāntic development, which began to expand through the later centuries in the writers that followed one or the other of these schools; and some additional tendencies also developed.

The tenth century seems to have been very barren in the field of the Vedānta, and, excepting probably Jñānottama Miśra, who wrote a commentary on Sureśvara’s Vārttika , no writer of great reputation is known to us to have lived in this period. In other fields of philosophical development also this century was more or less barren, and, excepting Udayana and Śrīdhara in Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, Utpala in Astronomy and Abhinavagupta in Śaivism, probably no other persons of great reputation can be mentioned.

There were, however, a few Buddhistic writers of repute in this period, such as

  • Candragomin (junior) of Rajshahi, the author of Nyāya-loka-siddhi,
  • Prajñākara Gupta of Vikramaśilā, author of Pramāṇa-vārtikālciñkāra and Sahopalambha-niścaya,
  • Ācārya Jetāri of Rajshahi, the author of Hetu-tattvopadeṣa, Dharma-dharmi-viniścaya and Bālāvatāra-tarka,
  • Jina, the author of Pramāṇa-vārtikālañkāra-tikā,
  • Ratnakīrti, the author of the Apoha-siddhi, Kṣaṇa-bhaṅga-siddhi and Sthira-siddhi-dūṣaṇa,
  • and Ratna Vajra, the author of the Yukti-prayoga.

The eleventh century also does not seem to have been very fruitful for Vedānta philosophy. The only author of great reputation seems to have been Ānandabodha Bhattārakācārya, who appears to have lived probably in the latter half of the eleventh century and the first half of the twelfth century. The mahāvidyā syllogisms of Kulārka Paṇḍita, however, probably began from some time in the eleventh century, and these were often referred to for refutation by Vedāntic writers till the fourteenth century, as will be pointed out in a later section. But it is certain that quite a large number of Vedāntic writers must have worked on the Vedānta before Ānandabodha, although we cannot properly trace them now.

Ānandabodha says in his Nyāya-makaranda that his work was a compilation (saṃgraha) from a large number of Vedāntic monographs (nibandha-puṣpāñjali). Citsukha in his commentary on the Nyāya-makaranda points out (p. 346) that Ānandabodha was refuting a view of the author of the Brahma-prakāśikā. According to Govindānanda’s statement in his Ratna-prabhā , p. 311, Amalānanda of the thirteenth century refuted a view of the author of the Prakaṭārtha. The author of the Prakaṭārtha may thus be believed to have lived either in the eleventh or in the twelfth century. It was a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya , and its full name was Śārīraka-bhāṣya-prakatārtha ; and Anandajñāna (called also Janārdana) wrote his Tattvāloka on the lines of Vedāntic interpretation of this work.

Mr Tripathi says in his introduction to the Tarka-saṃgraha that a copy of this work is available in Tekka Matha; but the present writer had the good fortune of going through it from a manuscript in the Adyar Library, and a short account of its philosophical views is given below in a separate section. In the Siddhānta-leśa of Appaya Dīkṣita we hear of a commentary on it called Prakaṭārtha-vivarana. But, though Ānandajñāna wrote his Tattvāloka on the lines of the Prakaṭārtha , yet the general views of Ānandajñāna were not the same as those of the author thereof; Ānandajñāna’s position was very much like that of Sarvajñātma Muni, and he did not admit many ajñānas , nor did he admit any difference between māyā and avidyā.

But the author of the Prakaṭārtha, so far as can be judged from references to him in the Siddhānta-leśa, gave a separate place to the antaḥkaranas of individual persons and thought that, just as the jīvas could be cognizers through the reflection of pure intelligence in the antaḥkaraṇa states, so Īśvara is omniscient by knowing everything through māyā modifications. The views of the author of the Prakaṭārtha regarding the nature of vidhi have already been noted. But the way in which Ānandajñāna refers to the Prakaṭārtha in Muṇḍaka , p. 32, and Kena , p. 23, shows that he was either the author of the Prakaṭārtha or had written some commentary to it.

But he could not have been the author of this work, since he refers to it as the model on which his Tattvāloka was written; so it seems very probable that he had written a commentary to it. But it is surprising that Ānandajñāna, who wrote commentaries on most of the important commentaries of Śaṅkara, should also trouble himself to write another commentary on the Prakaṭārtha , which is itself a commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary. It may be surmised, therefore, that he had some special reasons for respecting it, and it may have been the work of some eminent teacher of his or of someone in his parental line. However it may be, it is quite unlikely that the work should have been written later than the middle of the twelfth century[73].

It is probable that Gaṅgāpurī Bhattāraka also lived earlier than Ānandabodha, as Citsukha points out. Gaṅgāpurī must then have lived either towards the latter part of the tenth century or the first half of the eleventh century. It is not improbable that he may have been a senior contemporary of Ānandabodha. His work, Padārtha-tattva-nirṇaya, was commented on by Ānandajñāna. According to him both māyā and Brahman are to be regarded as the cause of the world. All kinds of world-phenomena exist, and being may therefore be attributed to them; and being is the same whatever may be the nature of things that exist.

Brahman is thus the changeless cause in the world or the vivarta-kārana ; but all the changing contents or individual existents must also be regarded as products of the transformation of some substance, and in this sense māyā is to be regarded as the pariṇāmi-kāraṇa of the world. Thus the world has Brahman as its vivarta-kāraṇa and māyā as its pariṇāmi-kāraṇa.

The world manifests both aspects, the aspect of changeless being and that of changing materiality; so both māyā and Brahman form the material cause of the world in two different ways

  1. (Brahma māyā ca ity ubhayopādānam ;
  2. sattva-jāḍya-rūpobhaya-dharmānugaty-upapattiś ca).

Tarka-viveka and Siddhānta-viveka are the names of two chapters of this book, giving a summary of Vaiśeṣika and Vedānta philosophy respectively. The view' of Gaṅgāpurī in the Padārtha-tattva-nirṇaya just referred to seems to have been definitely rejected by Ānandabodha in his Pramāṇa-mālā , p. 16.

When Kulārka had started the mahā-vidyā syllogisms, and great Nyāya authors such as Jayanta and Udayana in the ninth and tenth centuries had been vigorously introducing logical methods in philosophy and were trying to define all that is knowable, the Vedāntic doctrine that all that is knowable is indefinable was probably losing its hold; and it is probable that works like Ānandabodha’s Pramāṇa-mālā and Nyāya-dīpāvalī in the eleventh century or in the early part of the twelfth century were weakly attempting to hold fast to the Vedāntic position on logical grounds. It was Śrīharṣa who in the third quarter of the twelfth century for the first time attempted to refute the entire logical apparatus of the Naiyāyikas.

Śrīharṣa’s work was carried on in Citsukha’s Tattva-pradīpikā in the early part of the thirteenth century, by Ānandajñāna in the latter part of the same century in his Tarka-saṃgraha and by Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni in his Bkeda-dhikkāra in the sixteenth century. On the last-named a pupil, Nārāyaṇāśrama, wrote his Bheda-dhikkāra-satkriyā, and this had a sub-commentary, called Bheda-dhikkāra-satkriyojjvalā. The beginnings of the dialectical arguments can be traced to Śaṅkara and further back to the great Buddhist writers, Nāgārjuna, Aryadeva, Candrakīrti, etc. Interest in these dialectical arguments was continuously kept up by commentaries written on these works all through the later centuries. The names of these commentators have been mentioned in the sections on Śrīharṣa, Citsukha and Ānandajñāna.

Moreover, the lines of Vedānta interpretation which started with Sureśvara, Padmapāda and Vācaspati were vigorously continued in commentaries and in independent works throughout the later centuries. Thus in the middle of the thirteenth century Vācaspati’s Bhāmatī was commented on by Amalānanda in his Kalpa-taru ; and this Kalpa-taru was again commented on by Appaya Dīkṣita in the latter part of the sixteenth century and the first quarter of the seventeenth century, and by LakṣmlNṛsiṃha in his Ābhoga towards the end of the seventeenth century or the beginning of the eighteenth[74].

Padmapāda’s Pañca-pādikā was commented on by Prakāśātman in the thirteenth century in his Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, by Akhaṇ-dānanda in the fourteenth century in his Tattva-dīpana, by Vidyāraṇya in the same century in his Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgrahay by Ānandapūrṇa and Nṛsiṃha in the sixteenth century and by Rāma Tīrtha in the seventeenth century[75]. The line of Sureśvara also continued in the summary of his great Vārttika (called Vārt-tika-sāra) by Vidyāraṇya and its commentaries, and also in the commentaries on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka from the sixteenth century onwards. Many independent works were also written by persons holding more or less the same kinds of views as Sarvajñātma Muni[76]. The philosophy of dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda Vedānta, which was probably started by Maṇḍana, had doubtless some adherents too; but we do not meet with any notable writer on this line, except Prakāśānanda in the sixteenth century and his pupil Nānā Dīkṣita. The Vedānta-kaumudī is an important work which is referred to by Appaya Dīkṣita in his Siddhānta-leśa.

In this work the omniscience of Brahman consists in the fact that the pure consciousness as Brahman manifests all that exists either as actually transformed or as potentially transformed, as future, or as latently transformed, as the past in the māyā ; and it is the Parameśvara who manifests Himself as the underlying consciousness (sākṣin) in individual persons, manifesting the ajñāna transformations in them, and also their potential ajñāna in dreamless sleep. Many other important Vedānta views of an original character are expressed in this book. This work of Ramādvaya has been found by the present writer in the Govt. Oriental MSS. Library, Madras, and a separate section has been devoted to its philosophy. From references in it to followers of Madhva it may be assumed that the Vedānta-kaumudī was written probably in the fourteenth century.

From the fourteenth century, however, we have a large number of Vedānta writers in all the succeeding centuries; but with the notable exception of Prakāśānanda, Madhusūdana Sarasvatī in his Advaita-siddhi (in which he tried to refute the objections of Vyāsa Tīrtha against the monistic Vedānta in the sixteenth century) and probably Vidyāraṇya’s Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha and Dharmarājādhvarīndra’s Paribhāṣā , and its Śikhāmaṇi commentary by Rāmakṛṣṇa, there are few writers who can be said to reveal any great originality in Vedāntic interpretations. Most of the writers of this later period were good compilers, who revered all sorts of past Vedāntic ideas and collected them in well-arranged forms in their works. The influence of the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, however, is very strong in most of these writers, and the Vivaraṇa school of thought probably played the most important part in Vedāntic thought throughout all this period.

These Vedāntic writers grew up in particular circles inspired by particular teachers, whose works were carried on either in their own families or among their pupils; a few examples may make this clear. Thus Jagannāthāśrama was a great teacher of south India in the latter half of the fifteenth century; he had a pupil in Nṛsiṃh-āśrama, one of the most reputed teachers of Vedānta in the early half of the sixteenth century.

He was generally inspired on the one hand by the Vivaraṇa and on the other by Śrīharṣa and Citsukha and Sarvajñātma Muni: he wrote a number of Vedānta works, such as

  • Advaita-dīpikā (his pupil, Nārāyaṇāśrama, wrote a commentary called Advaita-dīpikā-vivarana on it),
  • Advaita-pañca-ratna,
  • Advaita-bodha-dīpikā,
  • Advaita-ratna-koṣa,
  • Tattva-bodhinī, a commentary on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka,
  • Tattva-viveka (which had two commentaries, Tattva-viveka-dīpana of Nārāyaṇāśrama and Tattva-vivecana of Agnihotra, pupil of Jñānendra Sarasvatī),
  • Pañca-pādikā-vivarana-prakāśikā,
  • Bheda-dhikkāra,
  • Advaita-ratna-vyā-khyāna (a commentary on Mallanārodīya’s Advaita-ratna),
  • and Vedānta-tattva-viveka.

The fact that he could write commentaries both on Sarvajñātma Muni’s work and also on the Vivaraṇa , and also write a Bheda-dhikkāra (a work on dialectic Vedānta on the lines of Śrīharṣa’s dialectical work) shows the syncretistic tendencies of the age, in which the individual differences within the school were all accepted as different views of one Vedānta, and in which people were more interested in Vedānta as a whole and felt no hesitation in accepting all the Vedāntic ideas in their works.

Nṛsiṃhāśrama had a pupil Dharmarājādhvarīndra, who wrote a Vedānta-paribhāṣā, a commentary called Tarka-cūḍāmaṇi on the Tattva-cintāmaṇi of Gaṅgeśa, and also on the Nyaya-siddhānta-dīpa of Śaśadhara Ācārya, and a commentary on the Pañca-pādikā of Padmapāda.

His son and pupil Rāmakṛṣṇa Dīkṣita wrote a commentary on the first, called Vedānta-śikhāmaṇi ; and Amaradāsa, the pupil of Brahmavijñāna, wrote another commentary on this Śikhāmaṇi of Rāmakṛṣṇa[77]. Rāmakṛṣṇa had also written a commentary on Rucidatta’s Tattva-cintāmaṇi-prakāśa, called Nyāya-śikhāmaṇi, and a commentary on the Vedānta-sāra.

Other authors, such as Kāśīnātha Śāstrin and Brahmendra Sarasvatī, had also written separate works bearing the name Vedānta-paribhāṣā after the Vedānta-paribhāṣā of Dharmarāja in the seventeenth century. Under the sphere of Nṛsiṃha’s influence, but in the Śaiva and Mīmāṃsaka family of Raṅgarāja Adhvarin,was bom Appaya Dīkṣita, who became one of the most reputed teachers of the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. His works have all been noted in the section devoted to him.

He again was a teacher of Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita, who in addition to many works on grammar, law and ritual (sṃrti) wrote two important works on Vedānta, called Tattva-kaustubha and Vedānta-tattva-dīpana-vyākhyā, the latter a commentary on the commentary, Tattva-viveka-dīpana , of Nārāyaṇāśrama (a pupil of Nṛsiṃhāśrama) on the latter’s work, Vedānta-tattva-viveka. This Nārāyaṇāśrama had also written another commentary on Nṛsiṃhāśrama’s Bheda-dhikkāra , called Bheda-dhikkāra-satkriyā ; and later on in the eighteenth century another commentary was written on Nṛsiṃha’s Bheda-dhikkāra, called Advaita-candrikā , by Narasimha bhaṭṭa, pupil of Rāmabhadrāśrama and Nāgeśvara in the eighteenth century.

Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita’s son Bhānujī Dīkṣita was a commentator on the Amara-koṣa (Vyākhyā-sudhā or Subodhinī). Bhaṭṭojī was, however, a pupil not only of Appaya, but also of Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni. Bhaṭṭojī’s younger brother and pupil, Raṅgojī bhaṭṭa, wrote two works, the Advaita-cintāmaṇi and the Advaita-śāstra-sāroddhāra, more or less on the same lines, containing a refutation of Vaiśeṣika categories, a determination of the nature of the self, a determination of the nature of ajñāna and the nature of the doctrine of reflection, proofs of the falsity of world-appearance and an exposition of the nature of Brahman and how Brahmahood is to be attained. His son Koṇḍa bhaṭṭa was mainly a grammarian, who wrote also on Vaiśeṣika.

Again Madhusūdana Sarasvatī, who was a pupil of Viśveśvara Sarasvatī (pupil of Sarvajña Viśveśa and pupil’s pupil of Govinda Sarasvatī), lived in the early half of the sixteenth century and was probably under the influence of Nṛsiṃhāśrama, w'ho is reputed to have defeated Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s teacher, Mādhava Sarasvatī.

Madhusūdana had at least three pupils, Puruṣottama, who wrote on Madhusūdana’s commentary the Siddhānta-tattva-bindu a commentary called Siddhānta-tattva-bindu-ṭīkā[78] ; the others were Bālabhadra and Śeṣagovinda (the latter of whom wrote a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Sarva-darśana-siddhānta-saṃgraha , called Sarva-siddhānta-raha-sya-ṭīkā).

Again Sadānanda, the author of the Vedāīita-sāra, one of the most popular and well-read syncretistic works on Vedānta, was a contemporary of Nṛsiṃhāśrama; Nṛsiṃha Sarasvatī wrote in 1588 a commentary thereon, called Subodhinī.

Devendra, the author of the Svānubhūti-prakāśa, was also a contemporary of Nṛsiṃhāśrama. It has already been pointed out that Prakāśānanda was probably a contemporary of Nṛsiṃhāśrama, though he does not seem to have been under his influence. This shows how some of the foremost Vedānta writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries grew up together in a Vedāntic circle, many of whom were directly or indirectly under the influence of Nṛsiṃhāśrama and Appaya Dīkṣita.

Passing to another circle of writers, we see that Bhāskara Dīkṣita, who lived in the latter half of the seventeenth century, wrote a commentary, Ratna-tūlikā , on the Siddhānta-siddhāñjana of his teacher Kṛṣṇānanda.

The Siddhānta-siddhāñjana is an excellent syncretistic work on Vedānta, which contains most of the important Vedānta doctrines regarding the difference of dharma-vicāra and brahma-vicāra , the relation of Mīmāṃsā theories of commands, and the need of Brahma-knowledge; it introduces many Mīmāṃsā subjects and treats of their relations to many relevant Vedānta topics. It also introduces elaborate discussions on the nature of knowledge and ignorance. It seems, however, to be largely free from the influence of the Vivaraṇa , and it does not enter into theories of perception or the nature of the antaḥkaraṇa and its vṛtti. It is thus very different from most of the works produced in the sixteenth century in the circles of Nṛsiṃha or Appaya. Kṛṣṇānanda lived probably in the middle of the seventeenth century.

He had for teacher Rāmabhadrānanda; and Rāmabhadrānanda was taught by Svayamprakāśānanda, the author of the Vedānta-naya-bhūṣaṇa, a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra on the lines of Vācaspati Miśra’s Bhāmatī. This Svayamprakāśa must be distinguished from the other Svayamprakāśa, probably of the same century, who was a pupil of Kaivalyānanda Yoglndra and the author of the Rasābhi-vyañjikā, a commentary of Advaita-makaranda of Lakṣmīdhara Kavi.

Rāmabhadrānanda had as his teacher Rāmānanda Sarasvatī, the author of the Vedānta-siddhānta-candrikā, on which a commentary was written by Gaṅgādharendra Sarasvatī (a.d. 1826), pupil of Rāmacandra Sarasvatī and pupil’s pupil of Sarvajña Sarasvatī, and author of the Sāṃrājya-siddhi with its commentary, the Kaivalya-kalpadruma.

Prakāśānanda was a pupil of Advaitānanda, author of the Brahma-vidyābharaṇa, a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Śārīraka-bhāṣya —Advaitānanda was a disciple of Rāmatīrtha, author of the Anvaya-prakāśikā (a commentary on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka of Sarvajñātma Muni) and a disciple of Kṛṣṇatīrtha, a contemporary of Jagannāthāśrama, the teacher of Nṛsiṃhāśrama.

Rāmatīrtha’s Anvaya-prakāśikā shows an acquaintance with Madhusūdana’s Advaita-siddhi ; and he may thus be considered to have lived in the middle of the seventeenth century. Svayamprakāśānanda, again, had for pupil Mahādevānanda, or Vedāntin Mahādeva, the author of the Advaita-cintā-kaustubha or Tattvānusandhāna. It seems very clear that these writers of the seventeenth and the early eighteenth centuries flourished in a different circle of Vedāntic ideas, where the views of Vācaspati, Sureśvara and Sarvajñātma Muni had greater influence than the authors of the Vivaraṇa school of Vedānta.

Another important syncretistic Vedānta writer is Sadānanda Kāśmlraka, author of the Advaita-brahma-siddhi, who lived in the early part of the eighteenth century. The Advaita-brahma-siddhi is an excellent summary of all the most important Vedānta doctrines, written in an easy style and explaining the chief features of the Vedāntic doctrines in the different schools of Advaita teachers. Narahari’s Bodha-sāra may be mentioned as one of the important products of the late eighteenth century[79].

The sort of relationship of teachers and students in particular circles that has been pointed out holds good of the earlier authors also, though it is difficult to trace them as well as can be done in the later years, since many of the earlier books are now missing and the footprints of older traditions are becoming more and more faint. Thus it may be pointed out that Vidyāraṇya was a contemporary of Amalānanda in the fourteenth century, as both of them were pupils of Śaṅkarānanda and Anubhavānanda respectively; these in turn were both pupils of Ānandātman.

Śaṅkarānanda was the author of the Gītā-tātparya-bodhinī and of a number of commentaries on the various Upaniṣads, and also of a summary of the Upaniṣads, called Upaniṣad-ratna. Amalānanda, however, had as teacher not only Anubhavānanda, but also Sukhaprakāśa Muni, who again was a disciple of Citsukha, himself a disciple of Gaudeśvara Ācārya (called also Jñānottama).


Vedānta Doctrine of Soul and the Buddhist Doctrine of Soullessness.

One of the most important points of Śaṅkara’s criticism of Buddhism is directed against its denial of a permanent soul which could unite the different psychological constituents or could behave as the enjoyer of experiences and the controller of all thoughts and actions.

The Buddhists argue that for the production of sense-cognition, as the awareness of a colour or sound, what is required in addition to the sense-data of colours, etc. is the corresponding sense-faculties, while the existence of a soul cannot be deemed indispensable for the purpose[80]. Vasubandhu argues that what is experienced is the sense-data and the psychological elements in groups called skandhas. What one calls self (ātman) cannot be anything more than a mere apparent cognitional existence (prajñapti-sat) of what in reality is but a conglomeration of psychological elements. Had the apparent self been something as different from the psychological elements as colours are from sounds, it would then be regarded as an individual (pudgala) ; but, if its difference from these psychological elements be of the same nature as the difference of the constituents of milk from the appearance of milk, then the self could be admitted only to have a cognitional existence (prajñapti-sat)[81]. The self has, in fact, only a cognitional appearance of separateness from the psychological elements; just as, though milk appears to have a separate existence from the proper combination of its constituent elements, yet it is in reality nothing more than a definite kind of combination of its constituent elements, so the self is nothing more than a certain conglomeration of the psychological elements (skandha), though it may appear to have a separate and independent existence.

The Vātsīputrīyas, however, think that the individual is something different from the skandhas or psychological entities, as its nature is different from the nature of them. The Vātsīputrīyas deny the existence of a permanent soul, but believe in momentary individuals (pudgala) as a category separate and distinct from the skandhas. Just as fire is something different from the fuel that conditioned it, so the name “individual” (pudgala) is given to something conditioned by the skandhas at a given moment in a personal life[82]. Vasubandhu, however, argues against the acceptance of such an individual and says that there is no meaning in accepting such an individual.

Rain and sun have no effects on mere vacuous space, they are of use only to the skin; if the individual is, like the skin, a determiner of the value of experiences, then it must be accepted as external; if it is like vacuous space, then no purpose is fulfilled by accepting it[83]. The Vātsīputrīyas, however, thought that, just as the fuel conditioned the fire, so the personal elements conditioned the individual. By this conditioning the Vātsīputrīyas meant that the personal elements were some sort of a coexisting support[84]. What is meant by saying that the pudgala is conditioned by the personal elements is that, when the skandhas or psychological elements are present, the pudgala is also present there[85].

But Vasubandhu urges that a mere conditioning of this kind is not sufficient to establish the cognitional existence of an individual; for even colour is conditioned by the visual sense, light and attention in such a way that, these being present, there is the perception of light; but can anybody on that ground consider the existence of colour to be a cognitional one? And would cognitional entities deserve to be enumerated as separate categories? Again it may be asked, if such an individual exists, how is it experienced? For, if it be experienced by any of the senses, it must be a sense-datum: for the senses can grasp only their appropriate sense-data, and the individual is no sense-datum. Therefore, just as milk is nothing but the collected sense-data of colour, taste, etc., so also the so-called individual is nothing more than the conglomerated psychological elements[86].

The Vātsīputrīyas argue that, since the psychological elements, the sense-data, etc., are the causes of our experience of the individual, the individual cannot be regarded as being identical with these causal elements which are responsible for their experience; if it were so, then even light, eye, attention, etc., which are causes of the experience of the sense-data, would have to be regarded as being identical in nature with the individual[87]. But it is not so maintained; the sense-datum of sounds and colours is always regarded as being different from the individual, and one always distinguishes an individual from a sense-datum and says “this is sound,” “this is colour” and “this is individual[88].” But the individual is not felt to be as distinct from the psychological elements as colour is from sound.

The principle of difference or distinctness consists in nothing but a difference of moments; a colour is different from a sound because it is experienced at a different moment, while the psychological elements and the individual are not experienced at different moments[89]. But it is argued in reply that, as the sense-data and the individual are neither different nor identical (ratio essendi), so their cognition also is neither different nor identical in experience (ratio cognoscendī)[90]. But Vasubandhu says that, if such a view is taken in this case, then it might as well be taken in all cases wherever there is any conglomeration[91]. Moreover, the separate senses are all limited to their special fields, and the mind which acts with them is also limited to the data supplied by them; there is, therefore, no way in which the so-called individual can be experienced.

In the Ajita sermon Buddha is supposed to say:

“A visual consciousness depends upon the organ of sight and a visible object. When these three (object, sense organ and consciousness) combine, a sensation is produced. It is accompanied by a feeling, a representation and a volition. Only so much is meant, when we are speaking of a human being.

To these (five sets of elements) different names are given, such as a sentient being, a man, Manu’s progeny, a son of Manu, a child, an individual, a life, a soul. If with respect to them the expression is used ‘he sees the object with his own eyes,’ it is false imputation (there being in reality nobody possessing eyes of his own). In common life such expressions with respect to them are current as

‘that is the name of this venerable man, he belongs to such a caste and such a family, he eats such food, this pleases him, he has reached such an age, he has lived so many years, he has died at such an age.’

These O brethren! accordingly are mere words, mere conventional designations.

‘ Expressions are they, (but not truth)!
Real elements have no duration:
Vitality makes them combine
In mutually dependent apparitions[92].”

The Vātsīputrīyas however refer to the Bhāra-hāra-sūtra , in wrhich Buddha is supposed to say:

“O brethren, I shall explain unto you the burden (of life), and moreover I shall explain the taking up of the burden, the laying aside of it and who the carrier is....

What is the burden? All the five aggregates of elements—the substrates of personal life. What is meant by the taking up of the burden? The force of craving for a continuous life, accompanied by passionate desires, the rejoicing at many an object.

What is the laying aside of the burden? It is the wholesale rejection of this craving for a continuation of life, accompanied as it is by passionate desires and rejoicings at many an object, the getting rid of it in every circumstance, its extinction, its end, its suppression, an aversion to it, its restraint, its disappearance.

Who is the carrier? We must answer: it is the individual, i.e.

‘this venerable man having this name, of such a caste, of such a family, eating such food, finding pleasure or displeasure at such things, of such an age, who after a life of such length will pass away having reached such an age[93].’”

But Vasubandhu points out that the carrier of the burden is not to be supposed to be some eternal soul or real individual. It is the momentary group of elements of the preceding moment that is designated as the burden, and the immediately succeeding one the carrier of the burden (bhāra-hāra)[94].

The Vātsīputrīyas again argue that activity implies an active agent, and, since knowing is an action, it also implies the knower who knows, just as the walking of Devadatta implies a Devadatta who walks. But Vasubandhu’s reply to such a contention is that there is nowhere such a unity.

There is no individual like Devadatta: what we call Devadatta is but a conglomeration of elements.

“The light of a lamp is a common metaphorical designation for an uninterrupted production of a series of flashing flames. When this production changes its place, we say that the light has moved. Similarly consciousness is a conventional name for a chain of conscious moments. When it changes its place (i.e. appears in co-ordination with another objective element), we say that it apprehends that object.

And in the same way we speak about the existence of material elements. We say matter ‘is produced,’ ‘it exists’; but there is no difference between existence and the element which does exist. The same applies to consciousness (there is nothing that cognizes, apart from the evanescent flashing of consciousness itself)[95].”

It is easy to see that the analysis of consciousness offered by the Vedānta philosophy of the Śaṅkara school is entirely different from this. The Vedānta holds that the fact of consciousness is entirely different from everything else. So long as the assemblage of the physical or physiological conditions antecedent to the rise of any cognition, as for instance, the presence of illumination, sense-object contact, etc., is being prepared, there is no knowledge, and it is only at a particular moment that the cognition of an object arises. This cognition is in its nature so much different from each and all the elements constituting the so-called assemblage of conditions, that it cannot in any sense be regarded as the product of any collocation of conditions.

Consciousness thus, not being a product of anything and not being further analysable into any constituents, cannot also be regarded as a momentary flashing. Uncaused and unproduced, it is eternal, infinite and unlimited. The main point in which consciousness differs from everything else is the fact of its self-revelation. There is no complexity in consciousness. It is extremely simple, and its only essence or characteristic is pure self-revelation.

The so-called momentary flashing of consciousness is not due to the fact that it is momentary, that it rises into being and is then destroyed the next moment, but to the fact that the objects that are revealed by it are reflected through it from time to time. But the consciousness is always steady and unchangeable in itself. The immediacy (aparokṣatva) of this consciousness is proved by the fact that, though everything else is manifested by coming in touch with it, it itself is never expressed, indicated or manifested by inference or by any other process, but is always self-manifested and self-revealed. All objects become directly revealed to us as soon as they come in touch with it.

Consciousness (saṃvid) is one. It is neither identical with its objects nor on the same plane with them as a constituent element in a collocation of them and consciousness. The objects of consciousness or all that is manifested in consciousness come in touch with consciousness and themselves appear as consciousness. This appearance is such that, when they come in touch with consciousness, they themselves flash forth as consciousness, though that operation is nothing but a false appearance of the non-conscious objects and mental states in the light of consciousness, as being identical with it. But the intrinsic difference between consciousness and its objects is that the former is universal (pratyak) and constant (anuvṛtta), while the latter are particular (apratyak) and alternating (vyāvṛtta).

The awarenesses of a book, a table, etc. appear to be different not because these are different flashings of knowledge, but because of the changing association of consciousness with these objects. The objects do not come into being with the flashings of their awareness, but they have their separate existence and spheres of operation[96].

Consciousness is one and unchanging; it is only when the objects get associated with it that they appear in consciousness and as identical with it in such a way that the flashing of an object in consciousness appears as the flashing of the consciousness itself. It is through an illusion that the object of consciousness and consciousness appear to be welded together into such an integrated whole, that their mutual difference escapes our notice, and that the object of consciousness, which is only like an extraneous colour applied to consciousness, does not appear different or extraneous to it, but as a specific mode of the consciousness itself. Thus what appear as but different awarenesses, as book-cognition, table-cognition, are not in reality different awarenesses, but one unchangeable consciousness successively associated with ever-changing objects which falsely appear to be integrated with it and give rise to the appearance that qualitatively different kinds of consciousness are flashing forth from moment to moment. Consciousness cannot be regarded as momentary.

For, had it been so, it would have appeared different at every different moment. If it is urged that, though different consciousnesses are arising at each different moment, yet on account of extreme similarity this is not noticed; then it may be replied that, if there is difference between the two consciousnesses of two successive moments, then such difference must be grasped either by a different consciousness or by the same consciousness. In the first alternative the third awareness, which grasps the first two awarenesses and their difference, must either be identical with them, and in that case the difference between the three awarenesses would vanish; or it may be different from them, and in that case, if another awareness be required to comprehend their difference and that requires another and so on, there would be a vicious infinite.

If the difference be itself said to be identical with the nature of the consciousness (saṃvit-svarūpa-bhūto bhedah), and if there is nothing to apprehend this difference, then the nonappearance of the difference implies the non-appearance of the consciousness itself; for by hypothesis the difference has been held to be identical with the consciousness itself. The non-appearance of difference, implying the non-appearance of consciousness, would mean utter blindness. The difference between the awareness of one moment and another cannot thus either be logically proved, or realized in experience, which always testifies to the unity of awareness through all moments of its appearance.

It may be held that the appearance of unity is erroneous, and that, as such, it presumes that the awarenesses are similar; for without such a similarity there could not have been the erroneous appearance of unity. But, unless the difference of the awarenesses and their similarity be previously proved, there is nothing which can even suggest that the appearance of unity is erroneous[97]. It cannot be urged that, if the existence of difference and similarity between the awarenesses of two different moments can be proved to be false, then only can the appearance of unity be proved to be true; for the appearance of unity is primary and directly proved by experience. Its evidence can be challenged only if the existence of difference between the awarenesses and their similarity be otherwise proved. The unity of awareness is a recognition of the identity of the awarenesses (pratyabhijñā), which is self-evident.

It has also been pointed out that the Buddhists give a different analysis of the fact of recognition. They hold that perception reveals the existence of things at the moment of perception, whereas recognition involves the supposition of their existence through a period of past time, and this cannot be apprehended by perception, which is limited to the present moment only. If it is suggested that recognition is due to present perception as associated with the impressions (saṃskāra) of previous experience, then such a recognition of identity would not prove the identity of the self as “I am he”—for in the self-luminous self there cannot be any impressions. The mere consciousness as the flash cannot prove any identity; for that is limited to the present moment and cannot refer to past experience and unite it with the experience of the present moment.

The Buddhists on their side deny the existence of recognition as the perception of identity, and think that it is in reality not one but two concepts—“I” and “that”— and not a separate experience of the identity of the self as persisting through time. To this the Vedāntic reply is that, though there cannot be any impressions in the self as pure consciousness, yet the self as associated with the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) can well have impressions (saṃskāra), and so recognition is possible[98]. But it may be objected that the complex of the self and mind would then be playing the double role of knower and the known; for it is the mind containing the impressions and the self that together play the part of the recognizer, and it is exactly those impressions together with the self that form the content of recognition also— and hence in this view the agent and the object have to be regarded as one.

But in reply to this Vidyāraṇya Muni urges that all systems of philosophy infer the existence of soul as different from the body; and, as such an inference is made by the self, the self is thus both the agent and the object of such inferences. Vidyāraṇya says that it may further be urged that the recognizer is constituted of the self in association with the mind, whereas the recognized entity is constituted of the self as qualified by past and present time[99]. Thus the recognition of self-identity does not strictly involve the fact of the oneness of the agent and its object. If it is urged that, since recognition of identity of self involves two concepts, it also involves two moments, then the assertion that all knowledge is momentary also involves two concepts, for momentariness cannot be regarded as being identical with knowledge. The complexity of a concept does not mean that it is not one but two different concepts occurring at two different moments.

If such a maxim is accepted, then the theory that all knowledge is momentary cannot be admitted as one concept, but two concepts occurring at two moments; and hence momentariness cannot be ascribed to knowledge, as is done by the Buddhists. Nor can it be supposed, in accordance with the Prabhākara view, that the existence of the permanent “this self” is admitted merely on the strength of the recognizing notion of “self-identity”; for the self which abides through the past and exists in the present cannot be said to depend on a momentary concept of recognition of self-identity. The notion of self-identity is only a momentary notion, which lasts only at the present time; and hence the real and abiding self cannot owe its reality or existence merely to a psychological notion of the moment.

Again, if it is argued that memory, such as “I had an awareness of a book,” shows that the self wras existing at the past time when the book was perceived, it may be replied that such memory and previous experience may prove the past existence of the self, but it cannot prove that the self that was existing in the past is identical with the self that is now experiencing. The mere existence of self at two moments of time does not prove that the self had persisted through the intervening times. Two notions of two different times cannot serve to explain the idea of recognition, which presupposes the notion of persistence. If it were held that the two notions produce the notion of self-persistence through the notion of recognition, then that would mean that the Buddhist admits that one can recognize himself as “I am he.”

It cannot be said that, since the self itself cannot be perceived, there is no possibility of the perception of the identity of the self through recognition; for, when one remembers “I had an experience,” that very remembrance proves that the self was perceived. Though at the time when one remembers it the self at the time of such memory is felt as the perceiver and not as the object of that self-perception, yet at the time of the previous experience which is now being remembered the self must have been itself the object of the perception.

If it is argued that it is only the past awareness that is the object of memory and this awareness, when remembered, expresses the self as its cognizer, then to this it may be replied that since at the time of remembering there is no longer the past awareness, the cognizer on whom this awareness had to rest itself is also absent. It is only when an awareness reveals itself that it also reveals the cognizer on whom it rests; but, if an awareness is remembered, then the awareness which is remembered is only made an object of present awareness which is self-revealed. But the past awareness which is supposed to be remembered is past and lost and, as such, it neither requires a cognizer on which it has to rest nor actually reveals such a cognizer. It is only the self-revealed cognition that also immediately reveals the cognizer with its own revelation.

But, when a cognition is mediated through memory, its cognizer is not manifested with its remembrance[100] So the self which experienced an awareness in the past can be referred to only through the mediation of memory. So, when the Prabhākaras hold that the existence of the self is realized through such a complex notion as “I am he,” it has to be admitted that it is only through the process of recognition (pratyabhijñā) that the persistence of the self is established. The main point that Vidyāraṇya Muni urges in his Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha is that the fact of recognition or the experience of self-identity cannot be explained by any assumption of two separate concepts, such as the memory of a past cognition or cognizer and the present awareness.

We all feel that our selves are persisting through time and that I who experienced pleasure yesterday and I who am experiencing new pleasures to-day are identical; and the only theory by which this notion of self-persistence or self-identity can be explained is by supposing that the self exists‘and persists through time. The Buddhist attempts at explaining this notion of self-identity by the supposition of the operation of two separate concepts are wholly inadequate, as has already been shown. The perception of selfidentity can therefore be explained only on the basis of a permanently existing self.

Again, the existence of self is not to be argued merely through the inference that cognition, will and feeling presuppose some entity to which they belong and that it is this entity that is called self; for, if that were the case, then no one would be able to distinguish his own self from that of others. For, if the self is only an entity which has to be presupposed as the possessor of cognition, will, etc., then how does one recognize one’s own cognition of things as differing from that of others? What is it that distinguishes my experience from that of others? My self must be immediately perceived by me in order that I may relate any experience to myself.

So the self must be admitted as being self-manifested in all experience; without admitting the self to be self-luminous in all experience the difference between an experience as being my own and as belonging to others could not be explained. It may be objected by some that the self is not self-luminous by itself, but only because, in self-consciousness, the self is an object of the cognizing operation (saṃvit-karma). But this is hardly valid; for the self is not only cognized as an object of self-consciousness, but also in itself in all cognitional operations.

The self cannot be also regarded as being manifested by ideas or percepts. It is not true that the cognition of the self occurs after the cognition of the book or at any different time from it. For it is true that the cognition of the self and that of the book take place at the same point of time; for the same awareness cannot comprehend two different kinds of objects at the same time. If this was done at different points of time, then that would not explain our experience—“I have known this.”

For such a notion implies a relation between the knower and the known; and, if the knower and the known were grasped in knowledge at two different points of time, there is nothing which could unite them together in the same act of knowledge. It is also wrong to maintain that the self is manifested only as the upholder of ideas; for the self is manifested in the knowing operation itself. So, since the self cannot be regarded as being either the upholder or cognizer of ideas or their object, there is but one way in which it can be considered as self-manifesting or self-revealing (sva-prakāśa). The immediacy of the self is thus its self-revealing and self-manifesting nature. The existence of self is thus proved by the self-luminous nature of the self.

The self is the cognizer of the objects only in the sense that under certain conditions of the operation of the mind there is the mind-object contact through a particular sense, and, as the result thereof, these objects appear in consciousness by a strange illusion; so also ideas of the mind, concepts, volitions and emotions appear in consciousness and themselves appear as conscious states, as if consciousness was their natural and normal character, though in reality they are only illusorily imposed upon the consciousness— the self-luminous self.

Ānandabodha Bhattārakācārya, from whom Vidyāraṇya often borrows his arguments, says that the self-luminosity of the self has to be admitted, because it cannot be determined as being manifested by anything else. The self cannot be regarded as being perceived by a mental perception (rnānasa pratyakṣa) ; for that would involve the supposition that the self is the object of its own operation; for cognition is at any rate a function of the self. The functions of cognition belonging to the self cannot affect the self itself[101]. The Vedānta has also to fight against the Prabhākara view which regards cognition as manifesting the object and the self along with itself, as against its own view that it is the self which is identical with knowledge and which is self-manifesting.

Ānandabodha thus objects to the Prabhākara view, that it is the object-cognition which expresses both the self and the not-self, and holds that the self cannot be regarded as an object of awareness. Ānandabodha points out that it may be enunciated as a universal proposition that what is manifested by cognition must necessarily be an object of cognition, and that therefore, if the self is not an object of cognition, it is not manifested by cognition[102]. Therefore the self or the cognizer is not manifested by cognition; for, like cognition, it is self-manifested and immediate without being an object of cognition[103].

The self-luminosity of cognition is argued by Ānandabodha. He says that, if it is held that cognition does not manifest itself, though it manifests its objects, it may be replied that, if it were so, then at the time when an object is cognized the cognizer would have doubted if he had any cognition at the time or not. If anyone is asked whether he has seen a certain person or not, he is sure about his own knowledge that he has seen him and never doubts it. It is therefore certain that, when an object is revealed by any cognition, the cognition is itself revealed as well. If it is argued that such a cognition is revealed by some other cognition, then it might require some other cognition and that another and so on ad infinitum.;, and thus there is a vicious infinite. Nor can it be held that there is some other mental cognition (occurring either simultaneously with the awareness of the object or at a later moment) by which the awareness of the awareness of the object is further cognized.

For from the same mind-contact there cannot be two different awarenesses of the type discussed. If at a later moment, then, there is mind-activity, cessation of one mind-contact, and again another mind-activity and the rise of another mind-contact, that would imply many intervening moments, and thus the cognition which is supposed to cognize an awareness of an object would take place at a much later moment, when the awareness which it has to reveal is already passed. It has therefore to be admitted that cognition is itself self-luminous and that, while manifesting other objects, it manifests itself also. The objection raised is that the self or the cognition cannot affect itself by its own functioning (vṛtti) ; the reply is that cognition is like light and has no intervening operation by which it affects itself or its objects.

Just as light removes darkness, helps the operation of the eye and illuminates the object and manifests itself all in one moment without any intervening operation of any other light, so cognition also in one flash manifests itself and its objects, and there is no functioning of it by which it has to affect itself. This cognition cannot be described as being mere momentary flashes, on the ground that, when there is the blue awareness, there is not the yellow awareness; for apart from the blue awareness, the yellow awareness or the white awareness there is also the natural basic awareness or consciousness, which cannot be denied. It would be wrong to say that there are only the particular awarenesses which appear and vanish from moment to moment; for, had there been only a series of particular awarenesses, then there would be nothing by which their differences could be realized.

Each awareness in the series would be of a particular and definite character, and, as it passed away, would give place to another, and that again to another, so that there would be no way of distinguishing one awareness from another; for according to the theory under discussion there is no consciousness except the passing awarenesses, and thus there would be no way by which their differences could be noticed; for, even though the object of awareness, such as blue and yellow, differed amongst themselves, that would fail to explain how the difference of a blue awareness and a yellow awareness could be apprehended. So the best would be to admit the self to be of the nature of pure consciousness.

It will appear from the above discussion that the Vedānta had to refute three opponents in establishing its doctrine that the self is of the nature of pure consciousness and that it is permanent and not momentary. The first opponent was the Buddhist, who believed neither in the existence of the self nor in the nature of any pure permanent consciousness. The Buddhist objection that there was no permanent self could be well warded off by the Vedānta by appealing to the verdict of our notion of self-identity—which could not be explained on the Buddhist method by the supposition of two separate notions of a past “that self” and the present “I am.” Nor can consciousness be regarded as being nothing more than a series of passing ideas or particular awarenesses; for on such a theory it would be impossible to explain how we can react upon our mental states and note their differences.

Consciousness has thus to be admitted as permanent. Against the second opponent, the Naiyāyika, the Vedānta urges that the self is not the inferred object to which awarenesses, volitions or feelings belong, but is directly and immediately intuited. For, had it not been so, how could one distinguish his own experiences as his own and as different from those of others? The internalness of my own experiences shows that they are directly intuited as my own, and not merely supposed as belonging to some self who was the possessor of his experiences. For inference cannot reveal the internalness of any cognition or feeling. Against the third opponent, the Mīmāṃsaka, the Vedānta urges that the self-revealing character belongs to the self which is identical with thought—as against the Mīmāṃsā view, that thought as a self-revealing entity revealed the self and the objects as different from it. The identity of the self and thought and the self-revealing character of it are also urged; and it is shown by a variety of dialectical reasoning that such a supposition is the only reasonable alternative that is left to us.

This self as pure consciousness is absolutely impersonal, unlimited and infinite. In order to make it possible that this one self should appear as many individuals and as God, it is supposed that it manifests itself differently through the veil of māyā. Thus, according to the Siddhānta-leśa , it is said in the Prakaṭārtha-vivaraṇa that, when this pure consciousness is reflected through the beginningless, indescribable māyā , it is called īśvara or God. But, when it is reflected through the limited parts of māyā containing powers of veiling and of diverse creation (called avidyā), there are the manifestations of individual souls or jīvas. It is again said in the Tattva-viveka of Nṛsiṃhāśrama that, when this pure consciousness is reflected through the pure sattva qualities, as dominating over other impure parts of prakṛti, there is the manifestation of God.

Whereas, when the pure consciousness is reflected through the impure parts of rajas and tamas, as dominating over the sattva part of prakṛti (called also avidyā), there are the manifestations of the individual selves or jīvas. The same prakṛti in its two aspects, as predominating in sattva and as predominating in rajas and tamas , goes by the name of māyā and avidyā and forms the conditioning factors (upādhi) of the pure consciousness, which on account of the different characters of the conditioning factors of māyā and avidyā appear as the omniscient God and the ignorant individual souls. Sarvajñātma Muni thinks that, when the pure consciousness is reflected through avidyā, it is called īśvara, and, when it is reflected through mind (antaḥkaraṇa), it is called jīva.

These various methods of accounting for the origin of individual selves and God have but little philosophical significance. But they go to show that the principal interest of the Vedānta lies in establishing the supreme reality of a transcendental principle of pure consciousness, which, though always untouched and unattached in its own nature, is yet the underlying principle which can explain all the facts of the enlivening and enlightening of all our conscious experiences. All that is limited, be it an individual self or an individual object of awareness, is in some sense or other an illusory imposition of the modification of a non-conscious principle on the principle of consciousness.

The Vedānta is both unwilling and incapable of explaining the nature of the world-process in all its details, in which philosophy and science are equally interested. Its only interest is to prove that the world-process presupposes the existence of a principle of pure consciousness which is absolutely and ultimately real, as it is immediate and intuitive. Reality means what is not determined by anything else; and in this sense pure consciousness is the only reality—and all else is indescribable—neither real nor unreal; and the Vedānta is not interested to discover what may be its nature.


Vedāntic Cosmology.

From what has been said above it is evident that māyā (also called avidyā or ajñāna) is in itself an indefinable mysterious stuff, which has not merely a psychological existence, but also an ontological existence as well. It is this ajñāna which on the one hand forms on the subjective plane the mind and the senses (the self alone being Brahman and ultimately real), and on the other hand, on the objective plane, the whole of the objective universe. This ajñāna has two powers, the power of veiling or covering (āvaraṇa) and the power of creation (vikṣepa). The power of veiling, though small, like a little cloud veiling the sun with a diameter of millions of miles, may, in spite of its limited nature, cover up the infinite, unchangeable self by veiling its self-luminosity as cognizer.

The veiling of the self means veiling the shining unchangeable self-perception of the self, as infinite, eternal and limitless, pure consciousness, which as an effect of such veiling appears as limited, bound to sense-cognitions and sense-enjoy-ments and functioning as individual selves[104]. It is through this covering power of ajñāna that the self appears as an agent and an enjoyer of pleasures and pains and subject to ignorant fears of rebirth, like the illusory perception of a piece of rope in darkness as a snake. Just as through the creative power of ignorance a piece of rope, the real nature of which is hidden from view, appears as a snake, so does ignorance by its creative power create on the hidden self the manifold world-appearance.

As the ajñāna is supposed to veil by its veiling power (āvaraṇa-śakti) only the self-cognizing and self-revealing aspect of the self, the other aspect of the self as pure being is left open as the basis on which the entire world-appearance is created by the creative power thereof. The pure consciousness, veiled as it is by ajñāna with its two powers, can be regarded as an important causal agent (nimitta), when its nature as pure consciousness forming the basis of the creation of the world-appearance is emphasized; it can be regarded as the material cause, when the emphasis is put on its covering part, the ajñāna. It is like a spider, which, so far as it weaves its web, can be regarded as a causal agent, and, so far as it supplies from its own body the materials of the web, can be regarded as the material cause of the web, when its body aspect is emphasized.

The creative powers (vikṣepa-śakti) of ajñāna are characterized as being threefold, after the manner of Sāṃkhya prakṛti , as sattva , rajas and tamas. With the pure consciousness as the basis and with the associated creative power of ajñāna predominating in tamas, space (ākāśa) is first produced; from ākāśa comes air, from air fire, from fire water, from water earth. It is these elements in their fine and uncompounded state that in the Sāṃkhya and the Purāṇas are called tan-mātras. It is out of these that the grosser materials are evolved as also the subtle bodies[105].

The subtle bodies are made up of seventeen parts, excluding the subtle elements, and are called sūkṣma-śarīra or liga-śarīra. This subtle body is composed of the five cognitive senses, the five conative senses, the five vāyus or biomotor activities, buddhi (intellect) and manas , together with the five subtle elements in tanmātric forms.

The five cognitive senses, the auditory, tactile, visual, gustatory and olfactory senses, are derived from the sattva parts of the five elements,

  1. ākāśa,
  2. vāyu,
  3. agni,
  4. ap
  5. and pṛthivī respectively.

Buddhi, or intellect, means the mental state of determination or affirmation (niścayātmikā antaḥkaraṇa-vṛtti). Manas means the two mental functions of vikalpa and saṅkalpa or of saṅkalpa alone resulting in doubt[106]. The function of mind (citta) and the function of egoism (ahamkāra) are included in buddhi and manas[107]. They are all produced from the sattva parts of the five elements and are therefore elemental. Though they are elemental, yet, since they are produced from the compounded sattva parts of all the elements, they have the revealing function displayed in their cognitive operations. Buddhi with the cognitive senses is called the sheath of knowledge (vijñānamaya-koṣa).

Manas with the cognitive senses is called the sheath of manas (manomaya-koṣa). It is the self as associated with the vijñānamaya-koṣa that feels itself as the agent, enjoyer, happy or unhappy, the individual self (jīva) that passes through worldly experience and rebirth. The conative senses are produced from the rajas parts of the five elements. The five vāyus or biomotor activities are called Prāṇa or the breathing activity, Udāna or the upward activity and Samāna or the digestive activity.

There are some who add another five vāyus such as

  • the Nāga, the vomiting Apāna troyānes activity,
  • Kūrma, the reflex activity of opening the eyelids,
  • Kṛkala, the activity of coughing,
  • Devadatta, the activity of yawning,
  • and Dhanañjaya, the nourishing activity.

These prāṇas together with the cognitive senses form the active sheath of prāṇa (prāṇamaya-koṣa). Of these three sheaths, the vijñānamaya , manomaya and prāṇamaya, the vijñānamaya sheath plays the part of the active agent (kartṛ-rūpah) ; the manomaya is the source of all desires and volition, and is therefore regarded as having an instrumental function; the prāṇamaya sheath represents the motor functions. These three sheaths make up together the subtle body or the sūkṣma-śarīra. Hiraṇyagarbha (also called Sūtrātmā or prāṇa) is the god who presides over the combined subtle bodies of all living beings. Individually each subtle body is supposed to belong to every being. These three sheaths, involving as they do all the subconscious impressions from which our conscious experience is derived, are therefore called a dream (jāgrad-vāsanāmayatvāt svapna).

The process of the formation of the gross elements from the subtle parts of the elements is technically called pañcīkaraṇa. It consists in a compounding of the elements in which one half of each rudimentary element is mixed with the eighth part of each other rudimentary element. It is through such a process of compounding that each element possesses some of the properties of the other elements.

The entire universe consists of seven upper worlds

  1. (Bhuḥ,
  2. Bhuvaḥ,
  3. Svar,
  4. Mahar,
  5. Janaḥ,
  6. Tapaḥ
  7. and Satyam),

seven lower worlds

  1. (Atala,
  2. Vitala,
  3. Sutala,
  4. Rasātala,
  5. Talātala,
  6. Mahātala
  7. and Pātāla)

and all the gross bodies of all living beings. There is a cosmic deity who presides over the combined physical bodies of all beings, and this deity is called Virāt. There is also the person, the individual who presides over each one of the bodies, and, in this aspect, the individual is called Viśva.

The ajñāna as constituting antaḥkaraṇa or mind, involving the operative functions of buddhi and manas, is always associated with the self; it is by the difference of these antaḥkaraṇas that one self appears as many individual selves, and it is through the states of these antaḥkaraṇas that the veil over the self and the objects are removed, and as a result of this there is the cognition of objects. The antaḥkaraṇa is situated within the body, which it thoroughly pervades. It is made up of the sattva parts of the five rudimentary elements, and, being extremely transparent, comes into touch with the sense objects through the specific senses and assumes their forms. It being a material stuff, there is one part inside the body, another part in touch with the sense-objects, and a third part between the two and connected with them both as one whole.

The interior part of the antaḥkaraṇa is the ego or the agent. The intervening part has the action of knowledge, called also vṛtti-jñāna. The third part, which at the time of cognition is transformed into the form of the sense-objects, has the function of making them manifested in knowledge as its objects. The antaḥkaraṇa of three parts being transparent, pure consciousness can well be manifested in it. Though pure consciousness is one, yet it manifests the three different parts of the antaḥkaraṇa in three different ways, as the cognizer (pramātṛ), cognitive operation (pramāṇa) and the cognition, or the percept (pramiti). In each of the three cases the reality is the part of the pure consciousness, as it expresses itself through the three different modifications of the antaḥkaraṇa. The sense-objects in themselves are but the veiled pure consciousness, brahman , as forming their substance.

The difference between the individual consciousness (jīva-caitanya) and the brahman- consciousness (brahma-caitanya) is that the former represents pure consciousness, as conditioned by or as reflected through the antaḥkaraṇa , while the latter is the unentangled infinite consciousness, on the basis of which all the cosmic creations of māyā are made. The covering of avidyā , for the breaking of which the operation of the antaḥkaraṇa is deemed necessary, is of two kinds, viz. subjective ignorance and objective ignorance. When I say that I do not know a book, that implies subjective ignorance as signified by “I do not know,” and objective ignorance as referring to the book.

The removal of the first is a precondition of all kinds of knowledge, perceptual or inferential, while the second is removed only in perceptual knowledge. It is diverse in kind according to the form and content of the sense-objects; and each perceptual cognition removes only one specific ignorance, through which the particular cognition arises[108].


Śaṅkara and his School.

It is difficult to say exactly how many books were written by Śaṅkara himself. There is little doubt that quite a number of books attributed to Śaṅkara were not written by him. I give here a list of those books that seem to me to be his genuine works, though it is extremely difficult to be absolutely certain. I have chosen only those works which have been commented on by other writers, since this shows that these have the strength of tradition behind them to support their authenticity.

The most important works of Śaṅkara are his commentaries on the ten Upaniṣads,

  1. Iśā,
  2. Kena,
  3. Katha,
  4. Praśna,
  5. Muṇḍaka,
  6. Māṇḍūkya,
  7. Aitareya,
  8. Taittirīya,
  9. Chāndogya
  10. and Bṛhad-āraṇyaka and the Śārīraka-mīmāṃsā-bhāṣya.

The main reasons why a number of works which probably were not written by him were attributed to him seem to be twofold; first, because there was another writer of the same name, i.e. Śaṅkarācārya, and second, the tendency of Indian writers to increase the dignity of later works by attributing them to great writers of the past. The attribution of all the Purāṇas to Vyāsa illustrates this very clearly.

Śaṅkara’s Īśopaniṣad-bhāṣya has one commentary by Ānandajñāna and another, Dīpikā, by the other Śaṅkara Ācārya.

His Kenopaniṣad-bhōṣya has two commentaries, Kenopaniṣad-bhāṣya-vivaraṇa and a commentary by Ānandajñāna.

The Kāthakopaniṣad-bhāṣya has two commentaries, by Ānandajñāna and by Bālagopāla Yogīndra.

The Praśnopaniṣad-bhāṣya has two commentaries, by Ānandajñāna and Nārāyaṇendra Sarasvatī.

The Mimḍakopaniṣad-bhāṣya has two commentaries, by Ānandajñāna and Abhinavanārāyaṇendra Sarasvatī.

The Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad-bhāṣya has two commentaries, by Ānandajñāna and Mathurānātha Śukla, and a summary, called Māṇḍūkyopaniṣad-bhāṣyārtha-saṃgraha, by Rāghavānanda.

The Aitareyopaniṣad-bhāṣya has six commentaries, by Ānandajñāna, Abhinavanārāyaṇa, Nṛsiṃha Ācārya, Bālakṛṣṇadāsa, Jñānāmrta Yati, and Viśveśvara Tīrtha.

The Taittirīyopaniṣad-bhāṣya seems to have only one commentary on it, by Ānandajñāna.

The Chāndogyopaniṣad has two commentaries, called Bhāṣya-tippana , and a commentary by Ānandajñāna.

The Bṛhad-āraṇyakopaniṣad-bhāṣya has a commentary by Ānandajñāna and a big independent work on it by Sureśvara, called Bṛhad-āraṇyakopaniṣad-bhāṣya-vārttika, or simply Vārttika, which has also a number of commentaries; these have been noticed in the section on Sureśvara.

His Aparokṣānubhava has four commentaries, by Śaṅkara Ācārya, by Bālagopāla, by Caṇḍeśvara Varman (Anubhava-dīpikā), and by Vidyāraṇya.

His commentary on Gaudapāda’s Māṇḍūkya-kārikā, called Gauḍapādiya-bhāṣya or Āgama-śāstra-vivaraṇa, has two commentaries, one by Śuddhānanda and one by Ānandajñāna.

His Ātma-jñānopadeśa has two commentaries, by Ānandajñāna and by Pūrṇānanda Tīrtha;

the Eka-śloka has a commentary called Tattva-dīpana, by Svayamprakāśa Yati; no commentary however is attributed to the Viveka-cūdāmaṇi, which seems to be genuinely attributed to Śaṅkara;

the Ātma-bodha has at least five commentaries, by Advayānanda, Bhāsurānanda, Bodhendra (Bhāva-prakāśika), Madhusūdana Sarasvatī and RāmānandaTīrtha;

The Ātmānātma-viveka has at least four commentaries, by Padmapāda, Pūrṇānanda Tīrtha, Sāyaṇa and Svayamprakāśa Yati.

The Ātmopadeśa-vidhi is said to have a commentary by Ananda-jñāna;

the Ānanda-laharī has about twenty-four commentaries, by Appaya Dīkṣita, Kavirāja, Kṛṣṇa Ācārya (Mañju-bhāṣiṇī), Keśava-bhaṭṭa, Kaivalyāśrama (Saubhāgya-vardhinī), Gaṅgāharī (Tattva-dīpikā), Gaṅgādhara, Gopīrāma, Gopīkānta Sārvabhauma (Ānandalaharī-tarī), Jagadīśa?, Jagannātha Paṅcānana, Narasimha, Brahmānanda (Bhāvārtha-dīpikā), Malla bhaṭṭa, Mahādeva Vidyāvagīśa, Mahādeva Vaidya, Rāmacandra, Rāmabhadra, Ramānanda Tīrtha, Lakṣmīdhara Deśika and Viśvambhara and Śrīkaṇtha bhaṭṭa and another called Vidvan-manoramā.

The Upadeśa-sāhasrī has at least four commentaries, by Ānandajñāna, by Rāmā Tīrtha (Padayojanikā), Bodha-vidhi by a pupil of Vidyādhāman, and by Śaṅkarā-cārya.

His Cid-ānanda-stava-rāja, called also Cid-ānanda-daśaślokī or simply Daśa-ślokī, has also a number of commentaries and subcommentaries, such as the Siddhānta-tattva-bindu by Madhusūdana Sarasvatī;

Madhusūdana’s commentary was commented on by a number of persons, such as Nārāyaṇa Yati (Laghu-tikā), Puruṣottama Sarasvatī (Siddhānta-bindu-sandīpana), Pūrṇānanda Sarasvatī (Tattva-viveka), Gauda Brahmānanda Sarasvatī (Sid-dhānta-bindu-nyāya-ratnāvalī), by Saccidānanda and Śivalāla Śar-man.

Gauda Brahmānanda’s commentary, Siddhānta-bindu-nyāya-ratnāvalī, was further commented on by Kṛṣṇakānta (Siddhānta-nyāya-ratna-pradīpikā).

Śaṅkara’s Dṛg-dṛśya-prakaraṇa was commented on by Rāmacandra Tīrtha;

his Pañākaraṇa-prakriyā has again a number of commentaries—that by Sureśvara is Pañcī-karaṇa-vārttika, and this has a further commentary, called Pañcī-karaṇa-vārttikābharaṇa, by Abhinavanārāyaṇendra Sarasvatī, pupil of Jñānendra Sarasvatī.

Other commentaries on the Pañākaraṇa-prakriyā are Pañcīkaraṇa-bhāva-prakāśikā, Pañcīkaraṇa-ṭīkā-tattva-candrikā, Pañcīkaraṇa-tātparya-candrikā and Pañcīkaraṇa-vivaraṇa by Ānandajñāna, Pañcīkaraṇa-vivarana by Svayamprakāśa Yati and by Prajñānānanda, and a sub-commentary called Tattva-candrikā.

Śaṅkara also commented on the Bhagavad-gītā; this commentary has been examined in the chapter on the Bhagavad-gītā in the present volume.

His Laghu-vākya-vṛtti has a commentary called Puṣpāñjali, and another, called Laghu-vākya-vṛtti-prakāśikā, by Rāmānanda Sarasvatī; his Vākya-vṛtti has a commentary by Ānandajñāna, and another commentary, called Vākya-vṛtti-prakāśikā, by Viśveśvara Paṇḍita.

He starts his Vākya-vṛtti in the same manner as Īśvarakṛṣṇa starts his Sāṃkhya-kārikā, namely by stating that, suffering from the threefold sorrows of life, the pupil approaches a good teacher for instruction regarding the ways in which he may be liberated from them. Sureśvara in his Naiṣkarmyasiddhi also starts in the same manner and thus gives a practical turn to the study of philosophy, a procedure which one does not find in his Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya. The answer, of course, is the same as that given in so many other places, that one is liberated only by the proper realization of the Upaniṣad texts that declare the unity of the self with Brahman.

He then goes on to show that all external things and all that is called mind or mental or psychical is extraneous to self, which is of the nature of pure consciousness; he also declares here that the effects of one’s deeds are disposed by God (Īśvara), the superior illusory form of Brahman, and not by the mysterious power of apūrva admitted by the Mīmāmsists. He concludes this short work of fifty-three verses by insisting on the fact that, though the unity texts (advaita-śruti) of the Upaniṣads, such as “that (Brahman) art thou,” may have a verbal construction that implies some kind of duality, yet their main force is in the direct and immediate apperception of the pure self without any intellectual process as implied by relations of identity.

The Vākya-vṛtti is thus conceived differently from the Aparokṣānubhūti , where yoga processes of posture and breath-regulations are described, as being helpful for the realization of the true nature of self. This may, of course, give rise to some doubts regarding the true authorship of the Aparokṣānubhūti, though it may be explained as being due to the different stages of the development of Śaṅkara’s own mind; divergences of attitude are also noticeable in his thoroughgoing idealism in his commentary on Gaudapāda’s Kārikā, where the waking life is regarded as being exactly the same as dream life, and external objects are deemed to have no existence whatsoever, being absolutely like dream-perceptions—as contrasted with his Śārīraka-mīmāṃsā-bhāṣya , where external objects are considered to have an indescribable existence, very different from dream-creations.

The Upadeśa-sāhasrī, which in its nineteen chapters contains only six hundred and seventy-five stanzas, is more in a line with the Vākya-vṛtti, and, though the well-known Vedānta topics are all slightly touched upon, greater emphasis is laid on the proper realization of the Vedāntic unity texts, such as “that art thou,” as means to the attainment of Brahmahood.

There are also a number of short poems and hymns attributed to Śaṅkarācārya, such as

  • the Advaitānubhūti,
  • Ātma-bodha,
  • Tattvopadeśa,
  • Prauḍhānubhūti, etc.,

some of which are undoubtedly his, while there are many others which may not be so; but in the absence of further evidence it is difficult to come to any decisive conclusion[109].

These hymns do not contain any additional philosophical materials, but are intended to stir up a religious fervour and emotion in favour of the monistic faith. In some cases, however, the commentators have found an excuse for extracting from them Vedāntic doctrines which cannot be said to follow directly from them.

As an illustration of this, it may be pointed out that out of the ten ślokas of Śaṅkara Madhusūdana made a big commentary, and Brahmānanda Sarasvatī wrote another big commentary on that of Madhusūdana and elaborated many of the complex doctrines of the Vedānta which have but little direct bearing upon the verses themselves. But Śaṅkara’s most important work is the Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya, which was commented on by Vācaspati Miśra in the ninth century,  Ānandajñāna in the thirteenth, and Govindānanda in the fourteenth century.

Commentaries on Vācaspati’s commentary will be noticed in the section on Vācaspati Miśra. Subrahmaṇya wrote a verse summary of Śaṅkara’s commentary which he calls Bhāṣyārtha-nyāya-mālā; and Bhāratī Tīrtha wrote also the Vaiyāsika-nyāya-mālā , in which he tried to deal with the general arguments of the Brahma-sūtra on the lines of Śaṅkara’s commentary.

Many other persons, such as Vaidyanātha Dīkṣita, Devarāma bhaṭṭa, etc., also wrote topical summaries of the main lines of the general arguments of the Brahma-sūtra on the lines of Śaṅkara’s commentary, called Nyāya-mālā or Adhikaraṇa-mālā. But many other persons were inspired by Śaṅkara’s commentary (or by the commentaries of Vācaspati Miśra and other great writers of the Śaṅkara school) and under the name of independent commentaries on the Brahma-sūtra merely repeated what was contained in these.

Thus Amalānanda wrote his Śāstra-darpaṇa imitating the main lines of Vācaspati’s commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary; and Svayamprakāśa also wrote his Vedānta-naya-bhūṣaṇa , in which for the most part he summarized the views of Vācaspati’s Bhāmatī commentary.

Hari Dīkṣita wrote his Brahma-sūtra-vṛtti, Śaṅkarānanda his Brahma-sūtra-dīpikā and Brahmānanda his Vedānta-sūtra-muktā-valī as independent interpretations of the Brahma-sūtra, but these were all written mainly on the lines of Śaṅkara’s own commentary, supplementing it with additional Vedāntic ideas that had been developed after Śaṅkara by the philosophers of his school of thought or explaining Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya[110].


Maṇḍana, Sureśvara and Viśvarūpa.

General tradition has always identified Maṇḍana with Sureśvara and Viśvarūpa; and Col. G. A. Jacob in his introduction to the second edition of the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi seems willing to believe this tradition. The tradition probably started from Vidyāraṇya’s Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya , where Maṇḍana is spoken of as being named not only Umbeka, but also Viśvarūpa (viii. 63). He further says in x. 4 of the same work that, when Maṇḍana became a follower of Śaṅkara, he received from him the name Sureśvara. But the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya is a mythical biography, and it is certainly very risky to believe any of its statements, unless corroborated by other reliable evidences.

There is little doubt that Sureśvara was the author of a Vārttika , or commentary in verse, on Śaṅkara’s Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad (which was also summarized by Vidyāraṇya in a work called Vārttika-sāra, which latter was further commented on by Maheśvara Tīrtha in his commentary, called the Laghu-saṃgraha).

The Vārttika of Sureśvara was commented on by at least two commentators, Anandagiri in his Śāstra-prakāśikā and Anandapūrṇa in his Nyāya-kalpa-latikā.

In a commentary on the Parāśara-smṛti published in the Bib. Ind. series (p. 51) a quotation from this Vārttika is attributed to Viśvarūpa; but this commentary is a late work, and in all probability it relied on Vidyāraṇya’s testimony that Viśvarūpa and Sureśvara were identically the same person.

Vidyāraṇya also, in his Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha p. 92, quotes a passage from Sureśvara’s Vārttika (iv. 8), attributing it to Viśvarūpa. But in another passage of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha (p. 224) he refers to a Vedānta doctrine, attributing it to the author of the Brahma-siddhi. But the work has not yet been published, and its manuscripts are very scarce: the present writer had the good fortune to obtain one. A fairly detailed examination of the philosophy of this work will be given in a separate section.

The Brahma-siddhi is an important work, and it was commented on by Vācaspati in his Tattva-samīkṣā, by Anandapūrṇa in his Brahma-siddhi-vyākhyā-ratna, by Śaṅkhapāṇi in his Brahma-siddhi-ṭīkā, and by Citsukha in his Abhiprāya-prakāśikā. But only the latter two works are available in manuscripts. Many important works however refer to the Brahma-siddhi and its views generally as coming from the author of Brahma-siddhi (Brahma-siddhi-kāra). But in none of these references, so far as it is known to the present writer, has the author of Brahma-siddhi been referred to as Sureśvara.

The Brahma-siddhi was written in verse and prose, since two quotations from it in Citsukha’s Tattva-pradīpikā (p. 381, Nirṇaya-Sāgara Press) and Nyōya-kaṇikā (p. 80) are in verse, while there are other references, such as Tattva-pradīpikā (p. 140) and elsewhere, which are in prose. There is, however, little doubt that the Brahma-siddhi was written by Maṇḍana or Maṇḍana Miśra; for both Śrīdhara in his Nyāyakandalī (p. 218) and Citsukha in his Tattva-pradīpikā (p. 140) refer to Maṇḍana as the author of the Brahma-siddhi.

Of these the evidence of Śrīdhara, who belonged to the middle of the tenth century, ought to be considered very reliable, as he lived within a hundred years of the death of Maṇḍana; w'hoever Maṇḍana may have been, since he lived after Śaṅkara (a.d. 820), he could not have flourished very much earlier than the middle of the ninth century. It is, therefore, definitely known that the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi and the Vārttika were written by Sureśvara, and the Brahmasiddhi by Maṇḍana. The question regarding the identity of these two persons may be settled, if the views or opinions of the Brahmasiddhi can be compared or contrasted with the views of the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi or the Vārttika. From the few quotations that can be traced in the writings of the various writers who refer to it it is possible to come to some fairly decisive conclusions[111].

Of all passages the most important is that quoted from the Brahma-siddhi in the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha (p. 224). It is said there that according to the author of the Brahma-siddhi it is the individual persons (jīvāḥ, in the plural) who by their own individual ignorance (svāvidyayā) create for themselves on the changeless Brahman the false world-appearance. Neither in itself, nor with the māyā , or as reflection in māyā , is Brahman the cause of the world (Brahma na jagat-kāraṇam). The appearances then are but creations of individual ignorance, and individual false experiences of the world have therefore no objective basis.

The agreement of individual experiences is due to similarity of illusions in different persons who are suffering under the delusive effects of the same kinds of ignorance; this may thus be compared with the delusive experience of two moons by a number of persons. Not all persons experience the same world; their delusive experiences are similar, but the objective basis of their experience is not the same (saṃvādas tu bahu-puruṣāvagata-dvitīya-candravat sādṛśyād upapadyate).

If this account is correct, as may well be supposed, then Maṇḍana Miśra may be regarded as the originator of the Vedāntic doctrine of dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda, which was in later times so forcefully formulated by Prakāśānanda. Again, in Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa (p. 32), it is held that according to the author of the Brahmasiddhi both māyā and avidyā are nothing but false experiences (avidyā māyā mithyā-pratyaya iti).

About the function of knowledge as removing doubts he is said to hold the view (as reported in the Nyāya-kandalī, p. 218) that doubt regarding the validity of what is known is removed by knowledge itself. In the Nyāya-kaṇikā (p. 80) it is said that Maṇḍana held that reality manifests itself in unlimited conceptions of unity or universality, whereas differences appear only as a result of limited experience. Again, in the Laghu-candrikā (p. 112, Kumbakonam edition) Maṇḍana is introduced in the course of a discussion regarding the nature of the dispersion of ignorance and its relation to Brahma-knowledge or Brahmahood.

According to Śaṅkara, as interpreted by many of his followers, including Sureśvara, the dissolution of ignorance (avidyā-nivṛtti) is not a negation, since negation as a separate category has no existence. So dissolution of ignorance means only Brahman. But according to Maṇḍana there is no harm in admitting the existence of such a negation as the cessation of ignorance; for the monism of Brahman means that there is only one positive entity. It has no reference to negations, i.e. the negation of duality only means the negation of all positive entities other than Brahman (bhāvādvaita).

The existence of such a negation as the cessation of ignorance does not hurt the monistic creed. Again, Sarvajñātma Muni in his Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka (11.174) says that ignorance (avidyā) is supported (āśraya) in pure consciousness (cin-mātrāśrita-viṣayam ajñānam), and that, even where from the context of Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya it may appear as if he was speaking of the individual person (jīva) as being the support of ajñāna , it has to be interpreted in this sense.

Objections of Maṇḍana, therefore, to such a view, viz. that ignorance rests with the individuals, are not to be given any consideration; for Maṇḍana’s views lead to quite different conclusions (parihṛtya Maṇḍana-vācaḥ tad dhy anyathāprasthitam)[112]. The commentator of the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka , Rāmatīrtha Svāmin, also, in commenting on the passage referred to, contrasts the above view of Maṇḍana with that of Sureśvara, who according to him is referred to by an adjective bahu-śruta in the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka text, and who is reported to have been in agreement with the views of Sarvajñātma Muni, as against the views of Maṇḍana.

Now many of these views which have been attributed to Maṇḍana are not shared by Sureśvara, as will appear from what will be said below concerning him. It does not therefore appear that Maṇḍana Miśra and Sureśvara were the same person. But, if Vidyāraṇya, who knows so much about the views of Maṇḍana, had identified them in the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya, that might lead one to pause. Now Mr Hiriyanna seems to have removed this difficulty for us by his short note in J.R.A.S. 1924, where he points out that Vidyāraṇya in his Vārttika-sāra refers to the author of the Brahma-siddhi as a different authority from the author of the Vārttika, viz. Sureśvara.

Now, if Vidyāraṇya, the author of the Vārttika-sāra, knew that Maṇḍana, the author of the Brahma-siddhi, was not the same person as Sureśvara, he could not have identified them in his Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya. This naturally leads one to suspect that the Vidyāraṇya who was the author of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha and the Vārttika-sāra was not the same Vidyāraṇya as the author of Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya. Another consideration also leads one to think that Vidyāraṇya (the author of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha) could not have written the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya.

Ānandātman had two disciples, Anubhavānanda and Śaṅkarānanda. Anubhavānanda had as his disciple Amalānanda, and Śaṅkarānanda had Vidyāraṇya as his disciple. So Amalānanda may be taken as a contemporary of Vidyāraṇya. Now Amalānanda had another teacher in Sukhaprakāśa, who had Citsukha as his teacher. Thus Citsukha may be taken to be a contemporary of the grand teacher (parama-guru), Ānandātman, of Vidyāraṇya. If this was the case, he could not have written in his Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya (xiii. 5) that Citsukha, who lived several centuries after Padmapāda, was a disciple of Padmapāda. It may therefore be safely asserted that the author of the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya was not the author of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha.

Now, if this is so, our reliance on the author of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha cannot be considered to be risky and unsafe. But on p. 92 of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha a passage from the Vārttika of Sureśvara (iv. 8) is attributed to Viśvarūpa Ācārya. It may therefore be concluded that Maṇḍana, the author of the Brahma-siddhi, was not the same person as Sureśvara, unless we suppose that Maṇḍana was not only a Mīmāṃsā writer, but also a Vedānta writer of great repute and that his conversion by Śaṅkara meant only that he changed some of his Vedāntic views and accepted those of Śaṅkara, and it was at this stage that he was called Sureśvara.

On this theory his Brahma-siddhi was probably written before his conversion to Śaṅkara’s views. It seems likely that this theory may be correct, and that the author of the Vidhi-viveka was also the author of the Brahma-siddhi ; for the passage of the Brahma-siddhi quoted by Vācaspati in his Nyāya-kaṇikā is quoted in a manner which suggests that in all probability the author of the Vidhi-viveka was also the author of the Brahma-siddhi. It may also be concluded that in all probability Viśvarūpa was the same person as Sureśvara, though on this subject no references of value are known to the present writer other than by the author of the Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha.


Maṇḍana (a.d. 800).

Maṇḍana Miśra’s Brahma-siddhi with the commentary of Śaṅ-khapāṇi is available in manuscript, and Mahāmahopādhyāya Kup-pusvāmi Śāstrī of Madras is expected soon to bring out a critical edition of this important work. Through the courtesy of Mahāmahopādhyāya Kuppusvāmi Śāstrī the present writer had an opportunity of going through the proofs of the Brahma-siddhi and through the courtesy of Mr C. Kunhan Raja, the Honorary Director of the Adyar Library, he was able also to utilize the manuscript of Śaṅkhapāṇi’s commentary[113].

The Brahma-siddhi is in four chapters,

  1. Brahma-kāṇḍa,
  2. Tarka-kāṇḍa,
  3. Niyoga-kāṇḍa,
  4. and Siddhi-kāṇḍa,

in the form of verses (kārikā) and long annotations (vṛtti). That Maṇḍana must have been a contemporary of Śaṅkara is evident from the fact that, though he quotes some writers who flourished before Śaṅkara, such as Śabara, Kumārila or Vyāsa, the author of the Yoga-sūtra-bhōṣya, and makes profuse references to the Upaniṣad texts, he never refers to any writer who flourished after Śaṅkara[114].

Vācaspati also wrote a commentary, called Tattva-samīkṣā, on Maṇḍana’s Brahma-siddhi ; but unfortunately this text, so far as is known to the present writer, has not yet been discovered.

  1. In the Brahma-kāṇḍa chapter Maṇḍana discusses the nature of Brahman;
  2. in the Tarka-kāṇḍa he tries to prove that we cannot perceive “difference” through perception and that therefore one should not think of interpreting the Upaniṣad texts on dualistic lines on the ground that perception reveals difference.
  3. In the third chapter, the Niyoga-kāṇḍa, he tries to refute the Mīmāṃsā view that the Upaniṣad texts are to be interpreted in accordance with the Mīmāṃsā principle of interpretation, that all Vedic texts command us to engage in some kind of action or to restrain ourselves from certain other kinds of action. This is by far the longest chapter of the book.
  4. The fourth chapter, the Siddhi-kāṇḍa, is the shortest: Maṇḍana says here that the Upaniṣad texts show that the manifold world of appearance does not exist at all and that its apparent existence is due to the avidyā of jīva.

In the Brahma-kāṇḍa the most important Vedāntic concepts are explained by Maṇḍana according to his own view. He first introduces the problem of the subject (draṣṭṛ) and the object (dṛśya) and says that it is only by abolishing the apparent duality of subject and object that the fact of experience can be explained. For, if there was any real duality of subject and object, that duality could not be bridged over and no relation between the two could be established; if, on the other hand, there is only the subject, then all things that are perceived can best be explained as being illusory creations imposed on self, the only reality[115].

Proceeding further with the same argument, he says that attempts have been made to bring about this subject-object relation through the theory of the operation of an intermediary mind (antaḥkaraṇa); but whatever may be the nature of this intermediary, the pure unchangeable intelligence, the self or the subject, could not change with its varying changes in accordance with its connection with different objects; if it is held that the self does not undergo any transformation or change, but there is only the appearance of a transformation through its reflection in the antaḥkaraṇa , then it is plainly admitted that objects are not in reality perceived and that there is only an appearance of perception.

If objects are not perceived in reality, it is wrong to think that they have a separate and independent existence from the self[116]. Just as the very same man sees his own image in the mirror to be different from him and to exist outside of him as an object, so the same self appears as all the diverse objects outside of it. It is difficult to conceive how one could admit the existence of external objects outside the pure intelligence (cit) ; for in that case it would be impossible to relate the two[117].

According to Maṇḍana avidyā is called māyā , or false appearance, because it is neither a characteristic (sva-bhāva) of Brahman nor different from it, neither existent nor non-existent. If it was the characteristic of anything, then, whether one with that or different from it, it would be real and could not therefore be called avidyā; if it was absolutely non-existent, it would be like the lotus of the sky and would have no practical bearing in experience (na vyavahāra-bījam) such as avidyā has; it has thus to be admitted that avidyā is indescribable or unspeakable (anirvacanīyā)[118].

According to Maṇḍana avidyā belongs to the individual souls (jīva). He admits that there is an inconsistency in such a view; but he thinks that, avidyā being itself an inconsistent category, there is no wonder that its relation with jīva should also be inconsistent and unexplainable. The inconsistency of the relationship of avidyā with the jīvas arises as follows: the jīvas are essentially identical with Brahman, and the diversity of jlvas is due to imagination (kalpanā) ; but this imagination cannot be of Brahman, since Brahman is devoid of all imagination (tasyā vidyātmanaḥ kalpanā-śūnyatvāt); it cannot be the imagination of the jlvas, since the jīvas themselves are regarded as being the product of imagination[119].

Two solutions may be proposed regarding this difficulty, firstly, that the word māyā implies what is inconsistent; had it been a consistent and explainable concept, it would be reality and not māyā[120]. Secondly, it may be said that from avidyā come the jīvas and from the jīvas comes the avidyā , and that this cycle is beginningless and therefore there is no ultimate beginning either of the jīvas or of the avidyā[121].

This view is held by those who think that avidyā is not the material cause of the world: these are technically called avidyopādāna-bheda-vādins. It is through this avidyā that the jlvas suffer the cycle of births and rebirths, and this avidyā is natural to the jīvas, since the jīvas themselves are the products of avidyā[122]. And it is through listening to the Vedāntic texts, right thinking, meditation, etc. that true knowledge dawns and the avidyā is destroyed; it was through this avidyā that the jlvas were separated from Brahman ; with its destruction they attain Brahma-hood[123].

In defining the nature of Brahman as pure bliss Śaṅkhapāṇi the commentator raises some very interesting discussions. He starts by criticizing the negative definition of happiness as cessation of pain or as a positive mental state qualified by such a negative condition[124]. He says that there are indeed negative pleasures which are enjoyed as negation of pain (e.g. a plunge into cold water is an escape from the painful heat); but he holds that there are cases where pleasures and pains are experienced simultaneously and not as negation of each other.

A man may feel painful heat in the upper part of his body and yet feel the lower part of his body delightfully cool and thus experience pleasure and pain simultaneously (sukha-duḥkhe yugapaj janyete). Again, according to the scriptures there is unmixed pain in Hell, and this shows that pain need not necessarily be relative. Again, there are many cases (e.g. in the smelling of a delightful odour of camphor) where it cannot be denied that we have an experience of positive pleasure[125]. Śaṅkhapāṇi then refutes the theory of pain as unsatisfied desire and happiness as satisfaction or annulment of desires (viṣaya-prāptiṃ vinū kāma eva duḥkham ataḥ tan-nivṛttir eva sukham bhaviṣyati) by holding that positive experiences of happiness are possible even when one has not desired them[126].

An objection to this is that experience of pleasures satisfies the natural, but temporarily inactive, desires in a sub-conscious or potential condition[127]. Again, certain experiences produce more pleasures in some than in others, and this is obviously due to the fact that one had more latent desires to be fulfilled than the other. In reply to these objections Śaṅkhapāṇi points out that, even if a thing is much desired, yet, if it is secured after much trouble, it does not satisfy one so much as a pleasure which comes easily. If pleasure is defined as removal of desires, then one should feel happy before the pleasurable experience or after the pleasurable experience, when all traces of the desires are wiped out, but not at the time of enjoying the pleasurable experience; for the desires are not wholly extinct at that time. Even at the time of enjoying the satisfaction of most earnest desires one may feel pain.

So it is to be admitted that pleasure is not a relative concept which owes its origin to the sublation of desires, but that it is a positive concept which has its existence even before the desires are sublated[128]. If negation of desires be defined as happiness, then even disinclination to food through bilious attacks is to be called happiness[129]. So it is to be admitted that positive pleasures are in the first instance experienced and then are desired. The theory that pains and pleasures are relative and that without pain there can be no experience of pleasure and that there can be no experience of pain without an experience of pleasure is false and consequently the Vedāntic view is that the state of emancipation as Brahmahood may well be described as an experience of positive pure bliss[130].

Śaṅkara in his commentary on the Brahma-sūtra and in his commentaries on some of the Upaniṣads and the Māṇḍūkya-kārikā had employed some elements of dialectical criticism, the principles of which had long been introduced in well-developed forms by the Buddhists. The names of the three great dialecticians, Śrīharṣa, Ānandajñāna and Citsukha, of the Śaṅkara school, are well known, and proper notice has been taken of them in this chapter. But among the disciples of Śaṅkara the man who really started the dialectical forms of argument, who was second to none in his dialectical powers and who influenced all other dialecticians of the Śaṅkara school, Ānandabodha, Śrīharṣa, Ānandajñāna, Citsukha, Nṛsiṃhāśrama and others, was Maṇḍana. Maṇḍana’s great dialectical achievement is found in his refutation of the perception of difference (bheda) in the Tarka-kāṇḍa chapter of his Brahma-siddhi.

The argument arose as follows: the category of difference (bheda) is revealed in perception, and, if this is so, the reality of difference cannot be denied, and therefore the Upaniṣad texts should not be interpreted in such a way as to annul the reality of “difference.” Against such a view-point Maṇḍana undertakes to prove that “difference,” whether as a quality or characteristic of things or as an independent entity, is never experienced by perception (pratyakṣa)[131].

He starts by saying that perception yields three possible alternatives, viz.

  1. that it manifests a positive object,
  2. that it presents differences from other objects,
  3. that it both manifests a positive object and distinguishes it from other objects[132].

In the third alternative there may again be three other alternatives, viz.

  1. simultaneous presentation of the positive object and its distinction from others,
  2. first the presentation of the positive object and then the presentation of the difference,
  3. first the presentation of the difference and then the presentation of the positive object[133].

If by perception differences from other objects are experienced, or if it manifests both the object and its differences, then it has to be admitted that “difference” is presented in perception; but, if it can be proved that only positive objects are presented in perception, unassociated with any presentation of difference, then it has to be admitted that the notion of difference is not conveyed to us by perception, and in that case the verdict of the Upaniṣads that reality is one and that no diversity can be real is not contradicted by perceptual experience. Now follows the argument.

Perception does not reveal merely the difference, nor does it first reveal the difference and then the positive object, nor both of them simultaneously; for the positive object must first be revealed, before any difference can be manifested. Difference must concern itself in a relation between two positive objects, e.g. the cow is different from the horse, or there is no jug here. The negation involved in the notion of difference can have no bearing without that which is negated or that of which it is negated, and both these are positive in their notion.

The negation of a chimerical entity (e.g. the lotus of the sky) is to be interpreted as negation of a false relation of its constituents, which are positive in themselves (e.g. both the lotus and the sky are existents, the incompatibility is due to their relationing, and it is such a relation between these two positive entities that is denied), or as denying the objective existence of such entities, which can be imagined only as a mental idea[134]. If the category of difference distinguishes two objects from one another, the objects between which the difference is manifested must first be known. Again, it cannot be held that perception, after revealing the positive object, reveals also its difference from other objects; for perception is one unique process of cognition, and there are no two moments in it such that it should first reveal the object with which there is present senśe-contact and then reveal other objects which are not at that moment in contact with sense, as also the difference between the two[135].

In the case of the discovery of one’s own illusion, such as “this is not silver, but conch-shell,” only the latter knowledge is perceptual, and this knowledge refers to and negates after the previous knowledge of the object as silver has been negated. It was only when the presented object was perceived as “this before” that it was denied as being the silver for which it was taken, and when it was thus negated there was the perception of the conch-shell. There is no negative concept without there first being a positive concept; but it does not therefore follow that a positive concept cannot be preceded by a negative concept[136]. This is therefore not a case where there are two moments in one unique perception, but there are here different cognitive experiences[137].

Again, there is a view (Buddhist) that it is by the power or potency of the indeterminate cognition of an object that both the positive determinate cognition and its difference from others are produced. Though the positive and the negative are two cognitions, yet, since they are both derived from the indeterminate cognition, it can well be said that by one positive experience we may also have its difference from others also manifested (eka-vidhir eva anya-vyavacchedaḥ)[138]. Against such a view Maṇḍana urges that one positive experience cannot also reveal its differences from all other kinds of possible and impossible objects. A colour perceived at a particular time and particular place may negate another colour at that particular place and time, but it cannot negate the presence of taste properties at that particular place and time; but, if the very perception of a colour should negate everything else which is not that colour, then these taste properties would also be negated, and, since this is not possible, it has to be admitted that perception of a positive entity does not necessarily involve as a result of that very process the negation of all other entities.

There is again a view that things are by their very nature different from one another (prakrtyaiva bhinnā bhāvāḥ), and thus, when by perception an object is experienced, its difference from other objects is also grasped by that very act.

In reply to this objection Maṇḍana says that things cannot be of the nature of differences; firstly, in that case all objects would be of the nature of difference, and hence there would be no difference among them; secondly, as “difference” has no form, the objects themselves would be formless; thirdly, difference being essentially of the nature of negation, the objects themselves would be of the nature of negation; fourthly, since difference involves duality or plurality in its concept, no object could be regarded as one; a thing cannot be regarded as both one and many[139].

In reply to this the objector says that a thing is of the nature of difference only in relation to others (parāpehṣaṃ vastuno bheda-svabhāvaḥ nātmāpekṣam), but not in relation to itself.

In reply to this objection Maṇḍana says that things which have been produced by their own causes cannot stand in need of a relation to other entities for their existence; all relationing is mental and as such depends on persons who conceive the things, and so relationing cannot be a constituent of objective things[140]. If relationing with other things constituted their essence, then each thing would depend on others—they would depend on one another for their existence (itaretarāśraya-prasaṅgāt).

In reply to this it may be urged that differences are different, corresponding to each and every oppositional term, and that each object has a different specific nature in accordance with the different other objects with which it may be in a relation of opposition; but, if this is so, then objects are not produced solely by their own causes; for, if differences are regarded as their constituent essences, these essences should vary in accordance with every object with which a thing may be opposed.

In reply to this it is urged by the objector that, though an object is produced by its own causes, yet its nature as differences appears in relation to other objects with which it is held in opposition. Maṇḍana rejoins that on such a view it would be difficult to understand the meaning and function of this oppositional relation (apekṣā); for it does not produce the object, which iś produced by its own causes, and it has no causal efficiency and it is also not experienced, except as associated with the other objects (nānāpekṣa-pratiyogināṃ bhedah pratīyate). Difference also cannot be regarded as being of the essence of oppositional relation; it is only when there is an oppositional relation between objects already experienced that difference manifests itself. Relations are internal and are experienced in the minds of those who perceive and conceive[141]. But it is further objected to this that concepts like father and son are both relational and obviously externally constitutive.

To this Maṇḍana’s reply is that these two concepts are not based on relation, but on the notion of production; that which produces is the father and that which is produced is the son. Similarly also the notions of long and short depend upon the one occupying greater or less space at the time of measurement and not on relations as constituting their essence.

In reply to this the objector says that, if relations are not regarded as ultimate, and if they are derived from different kinds of actions, then on the same ground the existence of differences may also be admitted. If there were no different kinds of things, it would not be possible to explain different kinds of actions. But Maṇḍana’s reply is that the so-called differences may be but differences in name; the burning activity of the same fire is described sometimes as burning and sometimes as cooking. In the Vedānta view it is held that all the so-called varied kinds of actions appear in one object, the Brahman, and so the objection that varied kinds of actions necessarily imply the existence of difference in the agents which produce them is not valid.

Again, the difficulty in the case of the Buddhist is in its own way none the less; for according to him all appearances are momentary, and, if this be so, how does he explain the similarities of effects that we notice? It can be according to them only on the basis of an illusory notion of the sameness of causes; so, if the Buddhist can explain our experience of similarity on the false appearance of sameness of causes, the Vedāntist may also in his turn explain all appearances of diversity through illusory notions of difference, and there is thus no necessity of admitting the reality of differences in order to explain our notions of difference in experience[142]. Others again argue that the world must be a world of diversity, as the various objects of our experience serve our various purposes, and it is impossible that one and the same thing should serve different purposes.

But this objection is not valid, because even the self-same thing can serve diverse purposes; the same fire can burn, illuminate and cook. There is no objection to there being a number of limited (avacchinna) qualities or characters in the self-same thing. It is sometimes urged that things are different from one another because of their divergent powers (e.g. milk is different from sesamum because curd is produced from milk and not from sesamum); but divergence of powers is like divergence of qualities, and, just as the same fire may have two different kinds of powers or qualities, namely, that of burning and cooking, so the same entity may at different moments both possess and not possess a power, and this does not in the least imply a divergence or difference of entity.

It is a great mystery that the one self-same thing should have such a special efficiency (sāmarthyātiśaya) that it can be the basis of innumerable divergent appearances. As one entity is supposed to possess many divergent powers, so one self-same entity may on the same principle be regarded as the cause of divergent appearances.

Again,-it is held by some that “difference” consists in the negation of one entity in another. Such negations, it may be replied, cannot be indefinite in their nature; for then negations of all things in all places would make them empty. If, however, specific negations are implied with reference to determinate entities, then, since the character of these entities, as different from one another, depends on these implied negations, and since these implied negations can operate only when there are these different entities, they depend mutually upon one another (itaretarāśraya) and cannot therefore hold their own.

Again, it cannot be said that the notion of “difference” arises out of the operation of perceptual processes like determinate perception (occurring as the culmination of the perceptual process); for there is no proof whatsoever that “difference,” as apart from- mutual negation, can be definitely experienced.

Again, if unity of all things as “existents” (sat) was not realized in experience, it would be difficult to explain how one could recognize the sameness of things. This sameness or unity of things is by far the most fundamental of experiences, and it is first manifested as indeterminate experience, which later on transforms itself into various notions of difference[143]. In this connection Maṇḍana also takes great pains in refuting the view that things are twofold in their nature, both unity and difference, and also the Jaina view that unity and difference are both true in their own respective ways.

But it is not necessary to enter into these details. The main point in his refutation of the category of difference consists in this, that he show's that it is inconceivable and dialectically monstrous to suppose that the category of difference can be experienced through perception and that it is philosophically more convenient to suppose that there is but one thing which through ignorance yields the various notions of difference than to suppose that there are in reality the infinite agreements of unity and difference just as they are experienced in perception[144].

In the third chapter of the Brahma-siddhi , called the Niyoga-kāṇḍa, Maṇḍana refutes the Mīmāṃsā view that the Vedāntic texts are to be interpreted in accordance with the Mīmāṃsā canon of interpretation, viz. that Vedic texts imply either a command or a prohibition. But, as this discussion is not of much philosophical importance, it is not desirable to enter into it. In the fourth chapter, called the Siddhi-kāṇḍa , Maṇḍana reiterates the view that the chief import of the Upaniṣad texts consists in showing that the manifold world of appearance does not exist and that its manifestation is due to the ignorance (avidyā) of the individual souls {jīva). The sort of ultimate reality that is described in the Upaniṣad texts is entirely different from all that we see around us, and it is as propounding this great truth, which cannot be known by ordinary experience, that the Upaniṣads are regarded as the only source from which knowledge of Brahman can be obtained.


Sureśvara (a.d. 800).

Sureśvara’s chief works are the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi and Bṛhad-āraṇyakopaniṣad-bhāṣya-vārttika. The Naiṣkarmyasiddhi has at least five commentaries, such as the Bhāva-tattva-prakāśikā by Citsukha, which is based on Jñānottama’s Candrikā. This Candrikā is thus the earliest commentary on the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi. It is difficultto determine Jñānottama’s date. In the concluding verses of this commentary the two names Satyabodha and Jñānottama occur; and Mr Hiriyanna points out in his introduction to the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi that these two names also occur in the Sarvajña-pītha of Conjee veram, to which he claims to have belonged as teacher and pupil, and according to the list of teachers of that Matha Jñānottama was the fourth from Śaṅkara.

This would place Jñānottama at a very early date; if, however, the concluding verses are not his, but inserted by someone else, then of course they give no clue to his date except the fact that he must have lived before Citsukha, since Citsukha’s commentary was based on Jñānottama’s commentary Candrikā. Another commentary is the Vidyā-surabhi of Jñānāmrta, the pupil of Uttamāmrta; another is the Naiṣkarmya-siddhi-vivaraṇa of Akhilātman, pupil of Daśarathapriya; and there is also another commentary, called Sārārtha, by Rāmadatta, which is of comparatively recent date.

Sureśvara’s Naiṣkarmyasiddhi is divided into four chapters. The first chapter deals with discussions regarding the relation of Vedic duties to the attainment of Vedāntic wisdom. Avidyā is here defined as the non-perception in one’s experience of the ultimate oneness of the self: through this rebirths take place, and it is the destruction of this ignorance which is emancipation (tannāśo muktir ātmanaḥ).

The Mīmāmsists think that, if one ceases to perform actions due to desire (kāmya-karma) and prohibited actions, then the actions which have already accumulated will naturally exhaust themselves in time by yielding fruits, and so, since the obligatory duties do not produce any new karma, and since no other new karmas accumulate, the person will naturally be emancipated from karma. There is, however, in the Vedas no injunction in favour of the attainment of right knowledge. So one should attain emancipation through the performance of the Vedic duties alone. As against this Mīmāṃsā view Sureśvara maintains that emancipation has nothing to do with the performance of actions. Performance of Vedic duties may have an indirect and remote bearing, in the way of purifying one’s mind, but it has certainly no direct bearing on the attainment of salvation.

Sureśvara states a view attributed to Brahmadatta in the Vidyā-surabhi commentary, that ignorance is not removed merely by the knowledge of the identity of oneself with Brahman, as propounded in Vedānta texts, but through long and continuous meditation on the same. So the right apprehension of the Upaniṣadic passages on the identity of the Brahman and the individual does not immediately produce salvation; one has to continue to meditate for a long time on such ideas of identity; and all the time one has to perform all one’s obligatory duties, since, if one ceased to perform them, this would be a transgression of one’s duties and would naturally produce sins, and hence one would not be able to obtain emancipation.

So knowledge must be combined with the performance of duties (jñāna-karma-samuccaya) , which is vehemently opposed by Śaṅkara. Another view which occurs also in the Vārttika, and is there referred to by the commentator Ānandajñāna as being that of Maṇḍana, is that, as the knowledge derived from the Vedāntic texts is verbal and conceptual, it cannot of itself lead to Brahma-knowledge, but, when these texts are continually repeated, they produce a knowledge of Brahman as a mysterious effect by just the same kind of process as gives rise to the mysterious effects of sacrificial or other Vedic duties.

The Vārttika refers to various schools among the adherents of the joint operation of knowledge and of duties (jñāna-karma-samuccaya :), some regarding jñāna as being the more important, others regarding karma as more important, and still others regarding them both as being equally important, thus giving rise to three different schools of jñāna-karma-samuccaya. Sureśvara tries to refute all these views by saying that true knowledge and emancipation are one and the same thing, and that it does not in the least require the performance of any kind of Vedic duties.

Sureśvara also refutes the doctrine of the joint necessity of karma and jñāna on the view of those modified dualists, like Bhartṛprapañca, who thought that reality was a unity in differences, so that the doctrine of differences was as true as that of unity, and that, therefore, duties have to be performed even in the emancipated state, because, the differences being also real, the necessity of duties cannot be ignored at any stage of progress, even in the emancipated state, though true knowledge is also necessary for the realization of truth as unity.

Sureśvara’s refutation of this view is based upon two considerations, viz. that the conception of reality as being both unity and difference is self-contradictory, and that, when the oneness is realized through true knowledge and the sense of otherness and differences is removed, it is not possible that any duties can be performed at that stage; for the performance of duties implies experience of duality and difference[145].

The second chapter of the Naiṣkarmya-siddhi is devoted to the exposition of the nature of self-realization, as won through the proper interpretation of the unity texts of the Upaniṣads by a proper teacher. The experience of the ego and all its associated experiences of attachment, antipathy, etc., vanish with the dawn of true self-knowledge of unity. The notion of ego is a changeful and extraneous element, and hence outside the element of pure consciousness. All manifestations of duality are due to the distracting effects of the antaḥkaraṇa. When true knowledge dawns, the self together with all that is objectivity in knowledge vanishes. All the illusory appearances are due to the imposition of ajñāna on the pure self, which, however, cannot thereby disturb the unperturbed unity of this pure self.

It is the antaḥkaraṇa , or the intellect, that suffers all modifications in the cognitive operations; the underlying pure consciousness remains undisturbed all the same. Yet this non-self which appears as mind, intellect, and its objects is not a substantive entity like the prakṛti of the Sāṃkhya; for its appearance is due merely to ignorance and delusion. This world-appearance is only a product of nescience (ajñāna) or false and indescribable illusion on the self, and is no real product of any real substance as the Sāṃkhya holds. Thus it is that the whole of the world-appearance vanishes like the illusory silver in the conch-shell as soon as truth is realized.

In the third chapter Sureśvara discusses the nature of ajñāna, its relation with the self, and the manner of its dissolution. There are two entities, the self and the non-self; now the non-self, being itself a product of ajñāna (nescience or ignorance), cannot be regarded as its support or object; so the ajñāna has for its support and object the pure self or Brahman; the ignorance of the self is also in regard to itself, since there is no other object regarding which ignorance is possible—the entire field of objective appearance being regarded as the product of ignorance itself. It is the ignorance of the real nature of the self that transforms itself into all that is subjective and objective, the intellect and its objects. It is thus clear that according to Sureśvara, unlike Vācaspati Miśra and Maṇḍana, the avidyā is based not upon individual persons (jīva), but upon the pure intelligence itself. It is this ignorance which, being connected and based upon the pure self, produces the appearances of individual persons and their subjective and objective experiences.

This ajñāna, as mere ignorance, is experienced in deep dreamless sleep, when all its modifications and appearances shrink within it and it is experienced in itself as pure ignorance, which again in the waking state manifests itself in the whole series of experiences. It is easy to see that this view of the relation of ajñāna to pure intelligence is different from the idealism preached by Maṇḍana, as noticed in the previous section.

An objection is raised that, if the ego were as much an extraneous product of ajñāna as the so-called external objects, then the ego should have appeared not as a subject, but as an object like other external or internal objects (e.g. pleasure, pain, etc.). To this Sureśvara replies that, when the antaḥkaraṇa or mind is transformed into the form of the external objects, then, in order to give subjectivity to it, the category of the ego (ahaṃkāra) is produced to associate objective experiences with particular subjective centres, and then through the reflection of the pure intelligence by way of this category of the ego the objective experience, as associated with this category of the ego, appears as subjective experience.

The category of the ego, being immediately and intimat&ly related to the pure intelligence, itself appears as the knower, and the objectivity of the ego is not apparent, just as in burning wood the fire and that which it burns cannot be separated. It is only when the pure intelligence is reflected through the ajñāna product of the category of the ego that the notion of subjectivity applies to it, and all that is associated with it is experienced as the “this,” the object, though in reality the ego is itself as much an object as the objects themselves. All this false experience, however, is destroyed in the realization of Brahman, when Vedāntic texts of unity are realized. In the third chapter of the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi the central ideas of the other three chapters are recapitulated. In the Vārttika Sureśvara discusses the very same problems in a much more elaborate manner, but it is not useful for our present purposes to enter into these details.


Padmapāda (a.d. 820).

Padmapāda is universally reputed to be a direct disciple of Śaṅkarācārya, and, since the manner of his own salutation to Śaṅkarācārya confirms this tradition, and since no facts are known that can contradict such a view, it may safely be assumed that he was a younger contemporary of Śaṅkarācārya. There are many traditional stories about him and his relations with Śaṅkarācārya; but, since their truth cannot be attested by reliable evidence, it is not possible to pronounce any judgment on them. Only two works are attributed to him, viz. the Pañca-pādikā , which is a commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary on the first four sūtras of the Brahma-sūtra and Śaṅkara’s introduction to his commentary known as th eadhyāsa and the sambhāvanā-bhāṣya , and the Ātma-bodha-zyākhyāna , called also Vedānta-sāra.

This Pañca-pādikā is one of the most important of the Vedānta works known to us. It was commented on by Prakāśātman (a.d. i 200) in his Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa[146].

The Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa was further commented on by Akhaṇḍānanda (a.d. 1350), a pupil of Anandagiri, in his Tattva-dīpana.

Ānanda-pūrṇa (A.D. 1600), who wrote his Vidyā-sāgarī commentary on Śrīharṣa’s Khaṇḍana-khatiḍa-khādya and also a commentary on the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana, wrote a commentary on the Pañca-pādikā.[147]

Nṛsiṃhāśrama also wrote a commentary on the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, called the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa-prakāśikā, and Śrīkṛṣṇa also wrote one on the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa.

Aufrecht refers to another commentary by Amalānanda as Pañca-pādikā-śāstra-darpaṇa ; but this is undoubtedly a mistake for his Śāstra-darpaṇa, which is noticed below.

Amalānanda was a follower of the Vācaspati line and not of the line of Padmapāda and Prakāśātman. Rāmānanda Sarasvatī, a pupil of Govindānanda, the author of the Ratna-prabhā commentary on the Śāṅkara-bhāṣya, wrote his Vivaraṇopanyāsa (a summary of the main theses of the Vivaraṇa) as a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya ; but this was strictly on the lines of the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, though it was not a direct commentary thereon.

Vidyāraṇya also wrote a separate monograph, called Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha, in which he interpreted the Vedāntic doctrines on the lines of the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa.

Of all these the Vivaraṇopanyāsa of Rāmānanda Sarasvatī was probably the last important work on the Vivaraṇa line; for Rāmānanda’s teacher Govindānanda, the pupil of Gopāla Sarasvatī and the pupil’s pupil of Śivarāma, refers in his Ratna-prabhā commentary to Jagannāthāśrama’s commentary on the Śāṅkara-bhāṣya, called the Bhāṣya-dīpikā, and also to Ānandagiri’s commentary as “vṛddhāh,” p. 5 (Nirṇaya-Sāgara Press, 1904). Jagannātha was the teacher of Nṛsiṃhāśrama; Govindānanda must therefore have lived towards the end of the sixteenth century. Rāmānanda may therefore be placed in the early part of the seventeenth century. Govindānanda himself also in his Ratna-prabhā commentary followed the Vivaraṇa line of interpretation, and he refers to Prakāśātman with great respect as Prakāśātma-śrī-caraṇaiḥ (. Ratna-prabhā , p. 3).

Padmapāda’s method of treatment, as interpreted by Prakāśātman, has been taken in the first and the second volumes of the present work as the guide to the exposition of the Vedānta. It is not therefore necessary that much should be said in separate sections regarding the Vedāntic doctrines of these two great teachers. But still a few words on Padmapāda’s philosophy may with advantage be read separately. Padmapāda says that māyā, avyākṛta, prakṛti, agrahaṇa, avyakta, tamaḥ, kāraṇa, laya, śakti, mahāsupti, nidrā, kṣara and ākāśa are the terms which are used in older literature as synonymous with avidyā. It is this entity that obstructs the pure and independently self-revealing nature of Brahman, and thus, standing as the painted canvas (citra-bhitti) of ignorance (avidyā), deeds (karma) and past impressions of knowledge (pūrva-prajñā-saṃskāra) produce the individual persons (jīvatvāpādikā).

Undergoing its peculiar transformations with God as its support, it manifests itself as the two powers of knowledge and activity (vijñāna-kriyā-śakti-dvayāśraya) and functions as the doer of all actions and the enjoyer of all experiences (kartṛtva-bhoktṛtvaikā-dhāraḥ). In association with the pure unchangeable light of Brahman it is the complex of these transformations which appears as the immediate ego (ahamkāra). It is through the association with this ego that the pure self is falsely regarded as the enjoyer of experiences.

This transformation is called antaḥkaraṇa, manas, buddhi and the ego or the ego-feeler (ahaṃ-pratyayin) on the side of its cognitive activity, while on the vibratory side of its activity (spanda-śaktyā), it is called prāṇa or biomotor functions. The association of the ego with the pure ātman , like the association of the redness of a japā flower with a crystal, is a complex (granthi) which manifests the dual characteristics of activity of the avidyā stuff and the consciousness of the pure self (saṃbhinnobhaya-rūpatvāt).

On the question as to whether avidyā has for both support (āśraya) and object (viṣaya) Brahman Padmapāda’s own attitude does not seem to be very clear. He only says that avidyā manifests itself in the individual person (jīva) by obstructing the real nature of the Brahman as pure self-luminosity and that the Brahman by its limitation (avaccheda) through beginningless avidyā is the cause of the appearance of infinite individual persons. But Prakāśātman introduces a long discussion, trying to prove that Brahman is both the support and the object of avidyā as against the view of Vācaspati Miśra that avidyā has the Brahman as its object and the jīva as its support (āśraya). This is thus one of the fundamental points of difference between the Vivaraṇa line of interpretation and the interpretation of the Vācaspati line. In this Prakāśātman agrees with the view of Sureśvara and his pupil Sarvajñātman, though, as will be noticed, Sarvajñātman draws some nice distinctions which are not noticed by Sureśvara.

Padmapāda draws a distinction between two meanings of falsehood (mithyā), viz. falsehood as simple negation (apahnava-vacana) and falsehood as the unspeakable and indescribable (anirvacani-yatā-vacana). It is probably he who of all the interpreters first described ajñāna or avidyā as being of a material nature (jaḍātmikā) and of the nature of a power (jaḍātmikā avidyā-śakti), and interpreted Śaṅkara’s phrase “mithyā-jñāna-nimittaḥ” as meaning that it is this material power of ajñāna that is the constitutive or the material cause of the world-appearance. Prakāśātman, however, elaborates the conception further in his attempts to give proofs in support of the view that avidyā is something positive (bhāva-rūpa). These proofs have been repeatedly given by many other later writers, and have already been dealt with in the first volume of the present work.

Padmapāda is also probably the first to attempt an explanation of the process of Vedāntic perception which was later on elaborated by Prakāśātman and later writers, and his views were all collected and systematized in the exposition of the Vedānta-paribhāṣā of Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra in the sixteenth century. Describing this process, Padmapāda says that, as a result of the cognitive activity of the ego, the objects with which that is concerned become connected with it, and, as a result of that, certain changes are produced in it, and it is these changes that constitute the subject-object relation of knowledge (jñāturjñeya-sambandhaḥ).

The antaḥkaraṇa, or psychical frame of mind, can lead to the limited expression of the pure consciousness only so far as it is associated with its object. The perceptual experience of immediacy (aparokṣa) of objects means nothing more than the expression of the pure consciousness through the changing states of the antaḥkaraṇa. The ego thus becomes a perceiver (pramātṛ) through its connection with the underlying consciousness.

Prakāśātman, however, elaborates it by supposing that the antaḥkaraṇa goes out to the objective spatial positions, and assumes the spatial form of the objects perceived. Hence what Padmapāda conceived merely as the change of the antaḥkaraṇa states through the varying relation of the antaḥkaraṇa with its objects, is interpreted in the definite meaning of this relation as being nothing more than spatial superposition of the antaḥkaraṇa on its objects. In inference, however, there is no immediate knowledge, as this is mediated through relations with the reason (liga). Knowledge however would mean both mediate and immediate knowledge; for it is defined as being the manifestation of the object (artha-prakāśa).

On the subject of the causality of Brahman Padmapāda says that that on which the world-appearance is manifested, the Brahman, is the cause of the world.

On this point Prakāśātman offers three alternative views, viz.

  1. that, like two twisted threads in a rope, māyā and Brahman are together the joint cause of the world,
  2. that that which has māyā as its power is the cause,
  3. and that the Brahman which has māyā supported on it is the cause of the world, but in all these the ultimate causality rests with Brahman, since māyā is dependent thereon.

Brahman is sarva-jña (omniscient) in the sense that it manifests all that is associated with it, and it is the Brahman that through its māyā appears as the world of experience. The doctrines of avaccheda-vāda and pratibimba-vāda explained in the first volume of the present work are also at least as old as Padmapāda’s Pañca-pādikā , and both Padmapāda and Prakāśātman seem to support the reflection theory (pratibimba-vāda), the theory that the jīva is but a reflected image of Brahman[148].


Vācaspati Miśra (a.d. 840).

Vācaspati Miśra, the celebrated author of a commentary called Bhāmatī on Śaṅkara’s commentary, is the author of a Tattva-samīkṣā, a commentary on Maṇḍana’s Brahma-siddhi ; he also commented on the Sāṃkhya-kārikā, Vidhi-viveka , Nyāya-vārttika, and he was the author of a number of other works. In his Nyāya-sūcīni-bandhahe gives his date as 8g8(vasv-añka-vasu-vatsare) , which in all probability has to be understood as of the Vikrama-samvat, and consequently he can safely be placed in A.D. 842. In his commentary called Bhāmatī he offers salutation to Mārtaṇḍa-tilaka-svāmin, which has been understood to refer to his teacher.

But Amalānanda in commenting thereon rightly points out that this word is a compound of the two names Mārtaṇḍa and Tilakasvāmin, belonging to gods adored with a view to the fruition of one’s actions. Tilakasvāmin is referred to in Yājñavalkya, I.294 as a god, and the Mitākṣarā explains it as being the name of the god Kārttikeya or Skanda. Udayana, however, in his Nyāya-vārttika-tātparya-pari-śuddhi (p. 9), a commentary on Vācaspati’s Tātparya-ṭīkā , refers to one Trilocana as being the teacher of Vācaspati, and Vardhamāna in his commentary on it, called Nyāya-nibandha-prakāśa , confirms this: Vācaspati himself also refers to Trilocanaguru, whom he followed in interpreting the word vyavasāya (Nyāya-sūtra, 1. i. 4) as determinate knowledge (savikalpa)[149].

It is however interesting to note that in the Nyāya-kaṇikā (verse 3) he refers to the author of the Nyāya-mañjarī (in all probability Jayanta) as his teacher (vidyā-tani)[150]. Vācaspati says at the end of his Bhāmatī commentary that he wrote that work when the great king Nrga was reigning. This king, so far as the present writer is aware, has not yet been historically traced. Bhāmatī was Vācaspati’s last great work; for in the colophon at the end of the Bhāmatī he says that he had already written his Nyāya-kaṇikā , Tattva-samīkṣā, Tottva-bindu and other works on Nyāya, Sāṃkhya and Yoga.

Vācaspati’s Vedāntic works are Bhāmatī and Tattva-samīkṣā (on Brahma-siddhi). The last work has not yet been published. Aufrecht, referring to his work, Tattva-bindu, says that it is a Vedānta work. This is however a mistake, as the work deals with the sphota doctrines of sound, and has nothing to do with Vedānta. In the absence of Vācaspati’s Tattva-samīkṣā , which has not been published, and manuscripts of which have become extremely scarce, it is difficult to give an entirely satisfactory account of the special features of Vācaspati’s view of Vedānta. But his Bhāmatī commentary is a great work, and it is possible to collect from it some of the main features of his views.

As to the method of Vācaspati’s commentary, he always tries to explain the text as faithfully as he can, keeping himself in the background and directing his great knowledge of the subject to the elucidation of the problems which directly arise from the texts and to explaining the allusions and contexts of thoughts, objections and ideas of other schools of thought referred to in the text. The Bhāmatī commentary on Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya is a very important one, and it had a number of important sub-commentaries. The most important and earliest of these is the Vedānta-kalpa-taru of Amalānanda (a.d. 1247-1260), on which Appaya Dīkṣita (about A.D. 1600) wrote another commentary called Vedānta-kalpa taru-parimala[151].

The Vedānta-kalpa-taru was also commented on by LakṣmīNṛsiṃha, author of the Tarka-dīpikā , son of Koṇḍa-bhaṭṭa and grandson of Raṅgojī bhaṭṭa, towards the end of the seventeenth century, and this commentary is called Ābhoga. The Ābhoga commentary is largely inspired by the Vedānta-kalpa-taru-parimala, though in many cases it differs from and criticizes it. In addition to these there are also other commentaries on the Bhāmatī , such as the Bhāmatī-tilaka, the Bhāmati-vilāsa, the Bhāmatī-vyākhyā by Śrīraṅganātha and another commentary on the Vedānta-kalpa-taru, by Vaidyanātha Payaguṇḍa, called the Vedānta-kalpa- taru-mañjarī.

Vācaspati defines truth and reality as immediate self-revelation (sva-prakāśatā) which is never contradicted (abādhita). Only the pure self can be said to be in this sense ultimately real. He thus definitely rejects the definition of reality as the participation of the class-concept of being, as the Naiyāyikas hold, or capacity of doing work (artha-kriyā-kāritva), as the Buddhists hold. He admits two kinds of ajñāna , as psychological and as forming the material cause of the mind and the inner psychical nature of man or as the material world outside. Thus he says in his commentary on the Śaṅkara-bhāṣya, I. iii. 30, that at the time of the great dissolution (mahā-pralaya) all products of avidyā , such as the psychical frame (antaḥkaraṇa), cease to have any functions of their own, but are not on account of that destroyed; they are at that time merged in the indescribable avidyā , their root cause, and abide there as potential capacities (sūkṣmeṇa śakti-rūpeṇa) together with the wrong impressions and psychological tendencies of illusion.

When the state of mahā-pralaya is at an end, moved by the will of God, they come out like the limbs of a tortoise or like the rejuvenation during rains of the bodies of frogs which have remained inert and lifeless all the year round, and then, being associated with their proper tendencies and impressions, they assume their particular names and forms as of old before the mahā-pralaya.

Though all creation takes place through God’s will, yet God’s will is also determined by the conditions of karma and the impressions produced by it. This statement proves that he believed in avidyā as an objective entity of an indescribable nature (anirvācyā avidyā), into which all world-products disappear during the mahā-pralaya and out of which they reappear in the end and become associated with psychological ignorance and wrong impressions which had also disappeared into it at the time of the mahā-pralaya. Avidyā thus described resembles very much the prakṛti of Yoga, into which all the world-products disappear during a mahā-pralaya together with the fivefold avidyā and their impressions, which at the time of creation become associated with their own proper buddhis.

In the very adoration hymn of the Bhāmatī Vācaspati speaks of avidyā being twofold (avidyā-dvitaya), and says that all appearances originate from Brahman in association with or with the accessory cause (sahakāri-kāraṇa) of the two avidyās (avidyā-dvitaya-sacivasya). In explaining this passage Amalānanda points out that this refers to two avidyās , one as a beginningless positive entity and the other as the preceding series of beginningless false impressions (anyā pūrvāpūrva-bhrama-saṃskāraḥ). There is thus one aspect of avidyā which forms the material stuff of the appearances; but the appearances could not have been appearances if they were not illusorily identified with the immediate and pure self-revelation (sva-prakāśā cit).

Each individual person (jīva) confuses and misapprehends his psychical frame and mental experiences as intelligent in themselves, and it is by such an illusory confusion that these psychical states attain any meaning as appearances; for otherwise these appearances could not have been expressed at all. But how does the person come in, since the concept of a person itself presupposes the very confusion which it is supposed to make? To this Vācaspati’s reply is that the appearance of the personality is due to a previous false confusion, and that to another previous false confusion (cf. Maṇḍana). So each false confusion has for its cause a previous false confusion, and that another false confusion and so on in a beginningless series. It is only through such a beginningless series of confusions that all the later states of confusion are to be explained.

Thus on the one hand the avidyā operates in the individual person, the jīva, as its locus or support (āśraya), and on the other hand it has the Brahman or pure self-revealing intelligence as its object (viṣaya), which it obscures and through which it makes its false appearances to be expressed, thereby giving them a false semblance of reality, whereby all the world-appearances seem to be manifestations of reality[152]. It is easy to see how this view differs from the view of the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka of Sarvajñātma Muni; for in the opinion of the latter, the Brahman is both the support (āśraya) and the object (viṣaya) of ajñāna, which means that the illusion does not belong to the individual person, but is of a transcendental character. It is not the individual person as such (jīva), but the pure intelligence that shines through each individual person (pratyak-cit), that is both obscured and diversified into a manifold of appearances in a transcendental manner.

In Vācaspati’s view, however, the illusion is a psychological one for which the individual person is responsible, and it is caused through a beginningless chain of illusions or confusions, where each succeeding illusory experience is explained by a previous illusory mode of experience, and that by another and so on. The content of the illusory experiences is also derived from the indescribable avidyā, which is made to appear as real by their association with Brahman, the ultimately real and self-revealing Being. The illusory appearances, as they are, cannot be described as being existent or non-existent; for, though they seem to have their individual existences, they are always negated by other existences, and none of them have that kind of reality which can be said to defy all negation and contradiction; and it is only such uncontradicted self-revelation that can be said to be ultimately real.

The unreality of world-appearances consists in the fact that they are negated and contradicted; and yet they are not absolutely non-existent like a hare’s horn, since, had they been so, they could not have been experienced at all. So in spite of the fact that the appearances are made out of avidyā , they have so far as any modified existence can be ascribed to them, the Brahman as their underlying ground, and it is for this reason that Brahman is to be regarded as the ultimate cause of the world.

As soon as this Brahman is realized, the appearances vanish; for the root of all appearances is their illusory confusion with reality, the Brahman. In the Bhāmatī commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary, 11. ii. 28, Vācaspati points out that according to the Śaṅkara Vedānta the objects of knowledge are themselves indescribable in their nature (anirvacanlyaṃ nīlādi) and not mere mental ideas (na hi brahma-vādino nīlādy-ākārāṃ vittim abhyupagacchanti kintu anirvacanīyaṃ nllādi). The external objects therefore are already existent outside of the perceiver, only their nature and stuff are indescribable and irrational (anirvācya). Our perceptions therefore refer always to such objects as their excitants or producers, and they are not of the nature of pure sensations or ideas generated from within, without the aid of such external objects.


Sarvajñātma Muni (a.d. 900).

Sarvajñātma Muni was a disciple of Sureśvarācārya, the direct disciple of Śaṅkara, to whom at the beginning of his work Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka he offers salutation by the name Deveśvara, the word being a synonym of the word sura in Sureśvara. The identification of Deveśvara with Sureśvara is made by Rāma Tīrtha, the commentator on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka , and this identification does not come into conflict with anything else that is known about Sarvajñātma Muni either from the text of his work or from other references to him in general. It is said that his other name was Nityabodhācārya. The exact date of neither Sureśvara nor Sarvajñātma can be definitely determined.

Mr Pandit in his introduction to the Gauḍa-vaho expresses the view that, since Bhavabhūti was a pupil of Kumārila, Kumārila must have lived in the middle of the seventh century, and, since Śaṅkara was a contemporary of Kumārila (on the testimony of the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya), he must have lived either in the seventh century or in the first half of the eighth century. In the first volume of the present work Śaṅkara was placed between A.D. 780-820. The arguments of Mr Pandit do not raise any new point for consideration.

His theory that Bhavabhūti was a pupil of Kumārila is based on the evidence of two manuscripts, where, at the end of an act of the Mālatī-Mādhava, it is said that the work was written by a pupil of Kumārila. This evidence, as I have noticed elsewhere, is very slender. The tradition that Śaṅkara was a contemporary of Kumārila, based as it is only on the testimony of the Śaṅkara-dig-vijaya, cannot be seriously believed. All that can be said is that Kumārila probably lived not long before Śaṅkara, if one can infer this from the fact that Śaṅkara does not make any reference to Kumārila.

Hence there seems to be no reason why the traditionally accepted view that Śaṅkara was born in Samvat 844, or A.D. 788, or Kali age 3889, should be given up[153]. Taking the approximate date of Śaṅkara’s death to be about a.d. 820 and taking into consideration that Sureśvara, the teacher of Sarvajñātman, occupied his high pontifical position for a long time, the supposition that Sarvajñātman lived in a.d. 900 may not be very far wrong. Moreover, this does not come into conflict with the fact that Vācaspati, who probably wrote his earlier work the Nyāya-sūcī-nibandha in A.D. 842, also wrote his commentary on Maṇḍana’s Brahma-siddhi when Sureśvara was occupying the pontifical position.

Sarvajñātma Muni was thus probably a younger contemporary of Vācaspati Miśra. In his Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka he tries to describe the fundamental problems of the Vedānta philosophy, as explained by Śaṅkara. This work, which is probably the only work of his that is known to us, is divided into four chapters, written in verses of different metres. It contains, in the first chapter 563 verses, in the second 248, in the third 365 and in the fourth 63. In the first chapter of the work he maintains that pure Brahman is the ultimate cause of everything through the instrumentality (dvāra) of ajñāna. The ajñāna, which rests on (āśraya) the pure self and operates on it as its object (viṣaya), covers its real nature (ācchādya) and creates delusory appearances (vikṣipati), thereby producing the threefold appearances of God (īśvara), soul (jīva) and the world. This ajñāna has no independent existence, and its effects are seen only through the pure self (cid-ātman) as its ground and object, and its creations are all false.

The pure self is directly perceived in the state of dreamless sleep as being of the nature of pure bliss and happiness without the slightest touch of sorrow; and pure bliss can only be defined as that which is the ultimate end and not under any circumstances a means to anything else; such is also the pure self, which cannot be regarded as being a means to anything else; moreover, there is the fact that everyone always desires his self as the ultimate object of attainment which he loves above anything else. Such an infinite love and such an ultimate end cannot be this limited self, which is referred to as the agent of our ordinary actions and the sufferer in the daily concerns of life. The intuitive perception of the seers of the Upaniṣads also confirms the truth of the self as pure bliss and the infinite.

The illusory impositions on the other hand are limited appearances of the subject and the object which merely contribute to the possibility of false attribution and cannot therefore be real (na vāstavaṃ tat). When the Brahman is associated with ajñāna there are two false entities, viz. the ajñāna and the Brahman as associated with the ajñāna ; but this does not imply that the pure Brahman, which underlies all these false associations, is itself also false, since this might lead to the criticism that, everything being false, there is no reality at all, as some of the Buddhists contend. A distinction is drawn here between ādhāra and adhiṣṭhāna. The pure Brahman that underlies all appearances is the true adhiṣṭhāna (ground), while the Brahman as modified by the false ajñāna is a false ādhāra or a false object to which the false appearances directly refer.

All illusory appearances are similarly experienced. Thus in the experience “I perceive this piece of silver” (in the case of the false appearance of a piece of conch-shell as silver) the silvery character or the false appearance of the silver is associated with the “this” element before the perceiver, and the “this” element in its turn, as the false object, becomes associated with the false silver as the “this silver.” But, though the objectivity of the false silver as the “this” before the perceiver is false, the “this” of the true object of the conch-shell is not false. It is the above kind of double imposition of the false appearance on the object and of the false object on the false appearance that is known as parasparādhyāsa. It is only the false object that appears in the illusory appearance and the real object lies untouched. The inner psychical frame (antaḥkaraṇa) to a certain extent on account of its translucent character resembles pure Brahman, and on account of this similarity it is often mistaken for the pure self and the pure self is mistaken for the antaḥkaraṇa.

It may be contended that there could be no antaḥkaraṇa without the illusory imposition, and so it could not itself explain the nature of illusion. The reply given to such an objection is that the illusory imposition and its consequences are beginningless and there is no point of time to which one could assign its beginning. Hence, though the present illusion may be said to have taken its start with the antaḥkaraṇa , the antaḥkaraṇa is itself the product of a previous imposition, and that of a previous antaḥkaraṇa, and so on without a beginning. Just as in the illusion of the silver in the conch-shell, though there is the piece of conch-shell actually existing, yet it is not separately seen, and all that is seen to exist is the unreal silver, so the real Brahman exists as the ground, though the world during the time of its appearance is felt to be the only existing thing and the Brahman is not felt to be existent separately from it.

Yet this ajñāna has no real existence and exists only for the ignorant. It can only be removed when the true knowledge of Brahman dawns, and it is only through the testimony of the Upaniṣads that this knowledge can dawn; for there is no other means of insight into the nature of Brahman. Truth again is defined not as that which is amenable to proof, but as that which can be independently and directly felt. The ajñāna , again, is defined as being positive in its nature (bhāva - rūpam) and, though it rests on the pure Brahman, yet, like butter in contact with fire, it also at its touch under certain circumstances melts away. The positive character of ajñāna is felt in the world in its materiality and in ourselves as our ignorance.

The real ground cause, however, according to the testimony of the Upaniṣads, is the pure Brahman, and the ajñāna is only the instrument or the means by which it can become the cause of all appearances; but, ajñāna not being itself in any way the material cause of the world, Sarvajñātman strongly holds that Brahman in association and jointly with ajñāna cannot be regarded as the material cause of the world. The ajñāna is only a secondary means, without which the transformation of appearances is indeed not possible, but which has no share in the ultimate cause that underlies them. He definitely denies that Brahman could be proved by any inference to the effect that that which is the cause of the production, existence and dissolution of the world is Brahman, since the nature of Brahman can be understood only by the testimony of the scriptures. He indulges in long discussions in order to show how the Upaniṣads can lead to a direct and immediate apprehension of reality as Brahman.

The second chapter of the book is devoted mainly to the further elucidation of these doctrines. In that chapter Sarvajñātma Muni tries to show the difference of the Vedānta view from the Buddhist, which difference lies mainly in the fact that, in spite of the doctrine of illusion, the Vedānta admits the ultimate reality to be Brahman, which is not admitted by the Buddhists. He also shows how the experiences of waking life may be compared with those of dreams. He then tries to show that neither perception nor other means of proof can prove the reality of the world-appearance and criticizes the philosophic views of the Sāṃkhya, Nyāya and other systems. He further clarifies his doctrine of the relation of Brahman to ajñāna and points out that the association of ajñāna is not with the one pure Brahman, nor with individual souls, but with the pure light of Brahman, which shines as the basis and ground of individual souls (pratyaktva) ; for it is only in connection with this that the ajñāna appears and is perceived.

When with the dawn of right knowledge pure Brahman as one is realized, the ajñāna is not felt. It is only in the light of Brahman as underlying the individual souls that the ajñāna is perceived, as when one says, “I do not know what you say”; so it is neither the individual soul nor the pure one which is Brahman, but the pure light as it reveals itself through each and every individual soul[154]. The true light of Brahman is always there, and emancipation means nothing more than the destruction of the ajñāna. In the third chapter Sarvajñātman describes the ways (sādhana) by which one should try to destroy this ajñāna and prepare oneself for this result and for the final Brahma knowledge. In the last chapter he describes the nature of emancipation and the attainment of Brahmahood.

The Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka was commented upon by a number of distinguished writers, none of whom seem to be very old. Thus Nṛsiṃhāśrama wrote a commentary called Tattva-bodhinī, Puru-ṣottama Dīkṣita wrote another called Subodhinī , Rāghavānanda another called Vidyāmṛta-varṣiṇī, Viśvadeva another called Sid-dhānta-dīpa, on which Rāma Tīrtha, pupil of Kṛṣṇa Tīrtha, based his commentary Anvayārtha-prakāśikā. Madhusūdana Sarasvatī also wrote another commentary, called Saṃkṣepa-śāriraka-sāra-saṃgraha.


Ānandabodha Yati.

Ānandabodha is a great name in the school of Śaṅkara Vedānta. He lived probably in the eleventh or the twelfth century[155]. He refers to Vācaspati’s Tattva-samīkṣā and criticizes, but without mentioning his name, Sarvajñātman’s view of the interpretation of the nature of self as pure bliss. He wrote at least three works on Śaṅkara Vedānta, viz. Nyāya-makaranda , Nyāya-dīpāvalī and Pramāṇa-mālā. Of these the Nyāya-makaranda was commented upon by Citsukha and his pupil Sukhaprakāśa in works called Nyāya-makaranda-ṭīkā and Nyāya-makaranda-vivecanī.

Sukhaprakāśa also wrote a commentary on the Nyāya-dīpāvalī , called Nyāya-dīpāvah-tātparya-ṭīkā. Anubhūtisvarūpa Ācārya (late thirteenth century), the teacher of Ānandajñāna, also wrote commentaries on all the three works of Ānandabodha. Ānandabodha does not pretend to have made any original contribution and says that he collected his materials from other works which existed in his time[156]. He starts his Nyāya-makaranda with the thesis that the apparent difference of different selves is false, since not only do the'Upaniṣads hold this doctrine, but it is also intelligible on grounds of reason that the apparent multiplicity of selves can be explained on an imaginary supposition of diversity (kālpanika-puruṣa-bheda), even though in reality there is but one soul. Arguing on the fact that even the illusory supposition of an imaginary diversity may explain all appearances of diversity, Ānandabodha tries to refute the argument of the Sāṃkhya-kārikā that the diversity of souls is proved by the fact that with the birth and death of some there is not birth or death of others. Having refuted the plurality of subjects in his own way, he turns to the refutation of plurality of objects.

He holds that difference (bheda) cannot be perceived by sense-perception, since difference cannot be perceived without perceiving both the object and all else from which it differs. It cannot be said that first the object is perceived and then the difference; for perception will naturally cease with awareness of its object, and there is no way in which it can operate for the comprehension of difference; neither can it be held that the comprehension of difference can in any way be regarded as simultaneous with the perception of the sensibles. Nor is it possible that, when two sensibles are perceived at two different points of time, there could be any way in which their difference could be perceived; for the two sensibles cannot be perceived at one and the same time. It cannot, again, be said that the perception of any sensible, say blue, involves with it the perception of all that is not blue, the yellow, the white, the red, etc.; for in that case the perception of any sensible would involve the perception of all other objects of the world.

The negation of the difference of an entity does not mean anything more than the actual position of it. It is not, however, right to hold that all positive entities are of the nature of differences; for this is directly against all experience. If differences are perceived as positive entities, then to comprehend their differences further differences would be required, and there would thus be a vicious infinite. Moreover, differences, being negative in their nature, cannot be regarded as capable of being perceived as positive sensibles. Whether difference is taken as a subject or a predicate in the form “the difference of the jug from the pillar,” or “the jug is different from the pillar,” in either case there is comprehension of an earlier and more primitive difference between the two objects, on the basis of which the category of difference is realized.

Ānandabodha then discusses the different theories of error held by the Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā, Buddhism, etc. and supports the anirva-canīya theory of error[157]. In this connection he records his view as to why nescience (avidyā) has to be admitted as the cause of world-appearance. He points out that the variety and multiplicity of world-appearance cannot be explained without the assumption of a cause which forms its substance. Since this world-appearance is unreal, it cannot come out of a substance that is real, nor can it come out of something absolutely non-existent and unreal, since such a thing evidently could not be the cause of anything; hence, since the cause of world-appearance cannot be either real or unreal, it must have for its cause something which is neither real nor unreal, and the neither-real-nor-unreal entity is avidyā[158].

He next proceeds to prove the doctrine that the self is of the nature of pure consciousness (ātmanah samvid-rūpatva). This he does, firstly, by stating the view that awareness in revealing itself reveals also immediately its objects, and secondly, by arguing that even though objects of awareness may be varying, there is still the unvarying consciousness which continues the same even when there is no object. If there were only the series of awarenesses arising and ceasing and if there were constant and persistent awarenesses abiding all the time, how could one note the difference between one awareness and another, between blue and yellow? Referring to avidyā, he justifies the view of its being supported on Brahman, because avidyā, being indefinable in its nature, i.e. being neither negative nor positive, there can be no objection to its being regarded as supported on Brahman. Moreover, Brahman can only be regarded as omniscient in its association with avidyā, since all relations are of the nature of avidyā and there cannot be any omniscience without a knowledge of the relations. In his Nyāya-dīpavalī he tries by inference to prove the falsity of the world-appearance on the analogy of the falsity of the illusory silver.

His method of treatment is more or less the same as the treatment in the Advaita-siddhi of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī at a much later period. There is practically nothing new in his Pramāṇa-mālā. It is a small work of about twenty-five pages, and one can recognize here the arguments of the Nyāya-makaranda in a somewhat different form and with a different emphasis. Most of Ānandabodha’s arguments were borrowed by the later writers of the Vedānta school. Vyāsatīrtha of the Madhva school of Vedānta collected most of the standard Vedānta arguments from Ānandabodha and Prakāśātman for refutation in his Nyāyāmṛta, and these were again refuted by Madhusūdana’s great work, the Advaita-siddhi, and these refuted in their turn in Rāma Tīrtha’s Nyāyāmṛta-taraṅgiṇī. The history of this controversy will be dealt with in the third volume of the present work.


Mahā-vidyā and the Development of Logical Formalism.

The Buddhists had taken to the use of the dialectic method of logical discussions even from the time of Nāgārjuna. But this was by no means limited to the Buddhists. The Naiyāyikas had also adopted these methods, as is well illustrated by the writings of Vātsyāyana, Uddyotakara, Vācaspati, Udayana and others. Śaṅkara himself had utilized this method in the refutation of Buddhistic, Jaina, Vaiśeṣika and other systems of Indian philosophy. But, though these writers largely adopted the dialectic methods of Nāgārjuna’s arguments, there seems to be little attempt on their part to develop the purely formal side of Nāgārjuna’s logical arguments, viz. the attempt to formulate definitions with the strictest formal rigour and to offer criticisms with that overemphasis of formalism and scholasticism which attained their culmination in the writings of later Nyāya writers such as Raghunātha Śiromaṇi, Jagadīśa Bhattācārya, Mathurānātha Bhattācārya and Gadādhara Bhattācārya. It is generally believed that such methods of overstrained logical formalism were first started by Gaṅgeśa Upādhyāya of Mithilā early in the thirteenth century. But the truth seems to be that this method of logical formalism was steadily growing among certain writers from as early as the tenth and eleventh centuries. One notable instance of it is the formulation of the mahā-vidyā modes of syllogism by Kulārka Paṇḍita in the eleventh century.

There is practically no reference to this mahā-vidyā syllogism earlier than Śrīharṣa (a.d. 1187)[159]. References to this syllogism are found in the writings of Citsukha Ācārya (a.d. 1220), Amalānanda, called also Vyāsāśrama (a.d. 1247), Ānandajñāna (a.d. 1260), Veṅkata (a.d. 1369), Śeṣa Śārṅgadhara (a.d. 1450) and others[160]. The mahā-vidyā syllogisms were started probably some time in the eleventh century, and they continued to be referred to or refuted by writers till the fifteenth century, though it is curious to notice that they were not mentioned by Gaṅgeśa or any of his followers, such as Raghunātha, Jagadīśa and others, in their discussions on the nature of kevalānvayi types of inference.

In all probability mahā-vidyā syllogisms were first started by Kulārka Paṇḍita in his Daśa-śloki-mahā-vidyā-sūtra containing sixteen different types of definitions for sixteen different types of mahā-vidyā syllogisms. Assuming that Kulārka Paṇḍita, the founder of mahā-vidyā syllogisms, flourished in the eleventh century, it may well be suggested that many other writers had written on this subject before Vādīndra refuted them in the first quarter of the thirteenth century. Not only does Vādīndra refer to the arguments of previous writers in support of mahā-vidyā and in refutation of it in his Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana, but Bhuvana-sundara Sūri also in his commentary on the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana refers to other critics of mahā-vidyā. Recently two different commentaries have been discovered on mahā-vidyā , by Puruṣottama-vana and Pūrṇaprajña. Veṅkata in his Nyāya-pariśuddhi refers to the Mahā-vidyā , the Māna-manohara and the Pramāṇa-mañjarī, and Śrīnivāsa in his commentary Nyāya-sāra on the Nyāya-pariśuddhi describes them as works which deal with roundabout syllogisms (vakrānumāna)[161]. This shows that for four or five centuries mahā-vidyā syllogisms were in certain quarters supported and refuted from the eleventh century to the sixteenth century.

It is well known that the great Mīmāṃsā writers, such as Kumārila bhaṭṭa and his followers, believed in the doctrine of the eternity of sounds, while the followers of the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika, called also Yaugācāryas, regarded sound as non-eternal (anitya). Mahā-vidyā modes were special modes of syllogism, invented probably by Kulārka Paṇḍita for refuting the Mīmāṃsā arguments of the eternity of sounds and proving the non-eternity of sounds. If these modes of syllogism could be regarded as valid, they would also have other kinds of application for the proving or disproving of other theories and doctrines. The special feature of the mahā-vidyā syllogisms consisted in their attempt to prove a thesis by the kevalānvayi method. Ordinarily concomitance (vyāpti) consists in the existence of the reason (hetu) in association with the probandum and its non-existence in all places where the probandum is absent (sādhyābhāvavad-avṛttitvam). But the kevalānvayi form of inference which is admitted by the Naiyāyikas applies to those cases where the probandum is so universal that there is no case where it is absent, and consequently it cannot have a reason (hetu) whose concomitance with it can be determined by its non-existence in all cases where the probandum is absent and its existence in all cases where the probandum is present.

Thus in the proposition,

“This is describable or nameable (idam abhi-dheyam) because it is knowable (prameyatvāt),”

both the probandum and the reason are so universal that there is no case where their concomitance can be tested by negative instances. Mahā-vidyā syllogisms were forms of kevalānvayi inference of this type, and there were sixteen different varieties of it which had this advantage associated with them, that, they being kevalānvayi forms of syllogism, it was not easy to criticize them by pointing out defects or lapses of concomitance of the reason and the probandum, as no negative instances are available in their case. In order to make it possible that a kevalānvayi form of syllogism should be applicable for affirming the non-eternity of sound, Kulārka tried to formulate propositions in sixteen different ways so that on kevalānvayi lines such an affirmation might be made about a subject that by virtue of it the non-eternity of sound should follow necessarily as the only consequence, other possible alternatives being ruled out.

It is this indirect approach of inference that has been by the critics of mahā-vidyā styled roundabout syllogism. Thus mahā-vidyā has been defined as that method of syllogism by which a specific probandum which it is desired to prove by the joint method of agreement and difference (3, anvaya-vyatireki-sādhya-viśeṣaṃ vādy-abhimatam sādhayati) is proved by the necessary implication of the existence of a particular probandum in a particular subject (2, pakṣe vyāpaka-pratītya-paryavasāna-balāt), affirmed by the existence of hetu in the subject on kevalānvayi lines (1, kevalān-vayini vyāpakepravartamāno hetuḥ).

In other words, a reason which exists in a probandum inseparably abiding in a subject {pakṣa) without failure (proposition 1) proves (sādhayati), by virtue of the fact, that such an unfailing existence of that probandum in that subject in that way is only possible under one supposition (proposition 2), namely, the affirmation of another probandum in another subject (e.g. the affirmation of the probandum “noneternity” to the subject “sound”), which is generally sought to be proved by the direct method of agreement and difference (proposition 3). This may be understood by following a typical mahā-vidyā syllogism.

Thus it is said that by reason of knowability (meyatva) as such the self, dissociated from the relations of all eternal and non-eternal qualities of all other objects excepting sound, is related to a non-eternal entity

(ātmā śabdetarānitya-nitya-yavṛttitvānadhikaraṇānitya-vṛtti-dharmavān meyatvād ghaṭavat).

Now by the qualifying adjunct of “self” the self is dissociated from all qualities that it shares with all other eternal and non-eternal objects excepting sound, and the consequence is that it is left only with some kind of non-eternal quality in relation with sound, as this was left out of consideration in the qualifying adjunct, which did not take sound within its purview. Since many relations are also on the Nyāya view treated as qualities, such a non-eternal relation of the self to sound may be their mutual difference or their mutual negation (anyonyābhāva). Now, if the self, which is incontestably admitted to be eternal, has such a non-eternal quality or relation to sound, then this can only be under one supposition, viz. that sound is non-eternal.

But, since all other non-eternal relations that the self may have to other non-eternal objects, and all other eternal relations that it may have to other eternal objects, and all other such relations that it may have to all eternal and non-eternal objects jointly, except sound, have already been taken out of consideration by the qualifying phrase, the inseparable and unfailing non-eternal quality that the self may have, in the absence of any negative instances, is in relation to sound; but, if it has a non-eternal quality in relation to sound, then this can be so only under one supposition, viz. that sound is itself non-eternal; for the self is incontestably known as eternal. This indirect and roundabout method of syllogism is known as mahā-vidyā. It is needless to multiply examples to illustrate all the sixteen types of propositions of mahā-vidyā syllogism, as they are all formed on the same principle with slight variations.

Vādīndra in his Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana refuted these types of syllogism as false, and it is not known that any one else tried to revive them by refuting Vādīndra’s criticisms. Vādīndra styles himself in the colophon at the end of the first chapter of his Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana ‘‘Hara-kiñkara-nyāyācārya-parama-paṇḍita-bhaṭṭa-vādīndra,” and in the concluding verse of his work refers to Yogīśvara as his preceptor.

The above epithets of Hara-kiñkara, nyāyācārya, etc. do not show however what his real name was. Mr Telang points out in his introduction to the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana that his pupil bhaṭṭa Rāghava in his commentary on Bhāsarvajña’s Nyāya-sāra, called Nyāya-sāra-vicāra , refers to him by the name Mahādeva. Vādīndra’s real name, then, was Mahādeva, and the rest of the epithets were his titles. bhaṭṭa Rāghava says that the name of Vādīndra’s father was Sāraṅga. bhaṭṭa Rāghava gives his own date in the Śaka era.

The sentence however is liable to two different constructions,giving us two different dates, viz. a.d. 1252 and 1352. But, judging from the fact that Vādīndra was a religious counsellor of King Śrīsimha (also called Śiṅghana), who reigned in Deva-giri a.d. 1210-1247, and that in all probability he lived before Veṅkata (a.d. 1267-1369), who refers to his Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana, Mr Telang suggests that we should take a.d. 1252 to be the date of bhaṭṭa Rāghava; and, since he was a pupil of Vādīndra, one may deduct about 27 years from his date and fix Vādīndra’s date as a.d. 1225.

Mr Telang points out that such a date would agree with the view that he was a religious counsellor of King Śrīsimha. Vādīndra refers to Udayana (a.d. 984) and Śivāditya Miśra (a.d. 975-1025). Mr Telang also refers to two other works of Vādīndra, viz. Rasa-sāra and Kaṇāda-sūtra-nibandha, and argues from allusions contained in Vādīndra’s Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana that he must have written other works in refutation of mahā-vidyā. Vādīndra’s Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana consists of three chapters. In the first chapter he gives an exposition of the mahā-vidyā syllogisms; the second and third chapters are devoted to the refutation of these syllogisms.

Vādīndra’s Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana has two commentaries, one called Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana-vyākhyāna , by Anandapūrṇa (a.d. 1600), and the other, called Vyākhyāna-dīpikā, by Bhuvana-sundara Sūri (a.d. 1400). In addition to these Bhuvanasundara Sūri also wrote a small work called the Laghu-mahā-vidyā-viḍam-bana and a commentary, Mahā-vidyā-vivaraṇa-tippana, on a Mahā-vidyā-daśaślokī-vivaraṇa by an unknown author.

The main points of Vādīndra’s criticisms may briefly be stated as follows: He says that it is not possible that there should be a proper reason (hetu) which has no negative instances (kevalānvayi-hetor eva nirvaktum aśakyatvāt). It is difficult to prove that any particular quality should exist everywhere and that there should not be any instance or case where it does not occur. In the third chapter he shows that not only is it not possible to have kevalānvayi hetm , but that even in arguments on the basis of such kevalānvayi hetu there would be great scope for fallacies of self-contradiction (sva-vyāghāta) and fallacies of illicit distribution of the middle term (anaikāntikatva) and the like. He also shows how all these fallacies apply to all the mahā-vidyā syllogisms invented by Kulārka Paṇḍita.

It is needless for our present purposes to enter into any elaborate logical discussion of Vādīndra; for the present digression on mahā-vidyā syllogisms is introduced here only to show that scholastic logicisms were not first introduced by Śiīharṣa, but had already come into fashion a few centuries before him, though Śrīharṣa was undoubtedly the most prominent of those who sought to apply these scholastic methods in philosophy.

It will thus be seen that the fashion of emphasizing the employment of logical formalism as a method in philosophy was inherited by the Naiyāyikas and Vedāntists alike from Buddhists like Nāgārjuna, Āryadeva and others in the third and the fourth centuries and their later successors in the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries. But during the eighth, ninth and tenth centuries one notices a steady development on this side in the works of prominent Nyāya writers such as Vātsyāyana, Uddyotakara, Vācaspati Miśra and Udayana and Vedāntic authors such as the great master Śaṅkarācārya, Vācaspati Miśra and Ānandabodha Yati. But the school of abstract and dry formalism may be said to have properly begun with Kulārka Paṇḍita, or the authors of the Māna-manohara and Pramāṇa-mañjarī in the latter part of the eleventh century, and to have been carried on in the works of a number of other writers, until we come to Gaṅgeśa of the early thirteenth century, who enlivened it with the subtleties of his acute mind by the introduction of the new concepts of avacchedakatā , which may be regarded as a new turning point after vyāpti.

This work was further carried on extremely elaborately by his later successors, the great writers of this new school of logic (navya-nyāya), Raghunātha Śiromaṇi, Jagadīśa Bhattācārya, Gadādhara Bhattācārya and others. On the Vedānta side this formalism was carried on by Śrīharṣa (a.d. i 187), Citsukha of about A.D. 1220 (of whom Vādīndra was a contemporary), Ānandajñāna or Anandagiri of about A.D. 1260 and through a number of minor writers until we come to Nṛsiṃhāśrama and Madhusūdana Sarasvatī of the seventeenth century.

It may be surmised that formal criticisms of Śrīharṣa were probably largely responsible for a new awakening in the Naiyāyikas, who began to direct their entire attention to a perfecting of their definitions and discussions on strict lines of formal accuracy and preciseness to the utter neglect of the collection of new data, new experiences or the investigation of new problems or new lines of enquiry, which is so essential for the development of true philosophy. But, when once they started perfecting the purely logical appliances and began to employ them successfully in debates, it became essential for all Vedāntists also to master the ways of this new formalism for the defence of their old views, with utter neglect of new creations in philosophy.

Thus in the growth of the history of the dialectic of logical formalism in the Vedānta system of thought it is found that during the eighth, ninth, tenth and eleventh centuries the element of formalism was at its lowest and the controversies of the Vedānta with the Buddhists, Mīmāmsists and Naiyāyikas were based largely on the analysis of experience from the Vedāntic standpoint and its general approach to philosophy. But in the twelfth and the thirteenth centuries the controversy was largely with the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika and dominated by considerations of logical formalism above everything else. Criticisms became for the most part nothing more than criticisms of Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika definitions.

Parallel to this a new force was gradually growing during these centuries in the writings of Rāmānuja and his followers, and in the succeeding centuries the followers of Madhva, the great Vaiṣṇava writer, began to criticize the Vedāntists (of the Śaṅkara school) very strongly. It is found therefore that from the thirteenth or fourteenth century the Vedāntic attack was largely directed against the followers of Rāmānuja and Madhva. A history of this controversy will be given in the third and fourth volumes of the present work. But the method of logical formalism had attained such an importance by this time that, though the Vaiṣṇavas brought in many new considerations and points of view in philosophy, the method of logical formalism never lost its high place in dialectic discussions.


Vedānta Dialectic of Śrīharṣa (a.d. 1150).

Śrīharṣa flourished probably during the middle of the twelfth century A.D. Udayana, the great Nyāya writer, lived towards the end of the tenth century, as is evident from the colophon of his Lakṣaṇāvalī[162]. Śrīharṣa often refutes the definitions of Udayana, and therefore must have flourished after him. Again, the great logician Gaṅgeśa of Mithilā refers to Śrīharṣa and refutes his views, and, since Gaṅgeśa lived in A.D. 1200, Śrīharṣa must have lived before that date. Accordingly Śrīharṣa was after Udayana and before Gaṅgeśa, i.e. between the tenth and twelfth centuries a.d. At the end of his book he refers to himself as honoured by the King of Kanauj (Kānyakubjeśvara). It is probable that this king may be Jayacandra of Kanauj, who was dethroned about A.D. 1195[163].

In his poetical work Naiṣadha-carita he mentions at the end of the several chapters many works of his, such as

  • Arṇava-varṇana,
  • Gauḍorvīśa-kula-praśasti,
  • Nava-sāhasāñka-carita,
  • Vijaya-praśasti,
  • Śiva-śakti-siddhi,
  • Sthairya-vicāraṇa,
  • Chandaḥ-praśasti,
  • and also Iśvarābhisandhi and Pañcanalīya kāvya[164].

The fact that he wrote a work eulogizing the race of the kings of Gauda leads one to suspect that he may have been one of the five Brahmans invited by Adiśūra of Bengal from Kanauj in the early part of the eleventh century, in which case Śrīharṣa would have to be placed at that time, and cannot be associated with Jayacandra, who was dethroned in A.D. 1195. Śrīharṣa’s most important philosophical contribution was the Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya (lit. “the sweets of refutation”), in which he attempts to refute all definitions of the Nyāya system intended to justify the reality of the categories of experience and tries to show that the world and all world-experiences are purely phenomenal and have no reality behind them. The only reality is the self-luminous Brahman of pure consciousness[165]. H

is polemic is against the Nyāya, which holds that whatever is known has a well-defined real existence, and Śrīharṣa’s main point is to prove that all that is known is indefinable and unreal, being only of a phenomenal nature and having only a relative existence based on practical modes of acceptance, customs and conventions. But, though his chief polemic is against the Nyāya, yet, since his criticisms are almost wholly of a destructive nature like those of Nāgārjuna, they could be used, with modifications, no less effectively against any other system. Those who criticize with the object of establishing positive definitions would object only to certain definitions or views of other schools; but both Śrīharṣa and the nihilists are interested in the refutation of all definitions as such, and therefore his dialectic would be valid against all views and definitions of other systems[166].

He starts with the proposition that none of our awarenesses ever stand in need of being further known or are capable of being the objects of any further act of knowledge. The difference of the Vedānta from the idealistic Buddhists consists in this, that the latter hold that everything is unreal and indefinable, not even excepting cognitions (vijñāna) ; while the Vedānta makes an exception of cognitions and holds that all the world, excepting knowledge or awareness, is indefinable either as existent or non-existent (sad-asadbhyāṃ vilakṣaṇam) and is unreal[167]. This indefinableness is in the nature of all things in the world and all experiences (meya-svabhāvānugāminyām anirvacanīyatā), and no amount of ingenuity or scholarship can succeed in defining the nature of that which has no definable nature or existence.

Śrīharṣa undertakes to show that all definitions of things or categories put forward by the Nyāya writers are absolutely hollow and faulty even according to the canons of logical discussions and definitions accepted by the Naiyāyika; and, if no definition can stand or be supported, it necessarily follows that there can be no definitions, or, in other words, that no definitions of the phenomenal world are possible and that the world of phenomena and all our so-called experiences of it are indefinable.

So the Vedāntist can say that the unreality of the world is proved. It is useless for any one to attempt to find out what is true by resorting to arguments; for the arguments can be proved to be false even by the canons on which they are based. If anyone, however, says that the arguments of Śrīharṣa are open to the same objection and are not true, then that would only establish his own contention. For Śrīharṣa does not believe in the reality of his arguments and enters into them without any assumption of their reality or unreality. It can be contended that it is not possible to argue without first admitting the reality of the arguments.

But such reality cannot be established without first employing the pramāṇas or valid means of proof; and the employment of the pramāṇas would require further arguments, and thest; further employment of the pramāṇas and so on until we have vicious infinite regress. If, however, the very arguments employed in accordance with the canons of the opponents to destroy their definitions be regarded as false, this would mean that the opponents reject their own canons, so that the Vedāntic arguments in refuting their position would be effective. The Vedānta is here interested only in destroying the definitions and positions of the opponents; and so, unless the opponents are successful in defending their own positions against the attacks of the Vedānta, the Vedānta point of view is not refuted. So the manifold world of our experience is indefinable, and the one Brahman is absolutely and ultimately real.

Regarding the proof that may be demanded of the ultimate oneness Śrīharṣa says that the very demand proves that the idea of ultimate oneness already exists, since, if the idea were not realized, no one could think of asking for a proof of it. Now, if it is admitted that the idea of absolute oneness is realized (pratīta), then the question arises whether such realization is right knowledge (pramā) or error (apramā). If it is a right idea, then, whatever may have produced it, this right idea is to be regarded as valid proof. If such an idea is false, one cannot legitimately ask the Vedāntist to adduce any proofs to demonstrate what is false. It may be urged that, though the Naiyāyika considers it false, it is regarded by the Vedāntist as true and hence the Vedāntist may be called upon to prove that the way in which or the means of proof through which he came to have his idea was true.

This, however, the Vedāntist would readily deny; for, even though the idea of the absolute oneness may be right, yet the way in which one happened to come by this idea may be wrong. There may be a fire on a hill; but yet, if one infers the existence of such a fire from fog appearing as smoke, then such an inference is false, even though the idea of the fire may itself be right. Leaving aside the discussion of the propriety of such demands on the part of the opponents, the Vedāntist says that the Upaniṣadic texts demonstrate the truth of the ultimate oneness of reality.

The ultimate oneness of all things, taught in the Upaniṣad texts, cannot be said to be negatived by our perceptual experience of “many.” For our perception deals with individual things of the moment and therefore cannot apply to all things of the past, present, and future and establish the fact of their all being different from one another. Perception applies to the experience of the immediate present and is therefore not competent to contradict the universal proposition of the oneness of all things, as taught by the Upaniṣads. Again, as Śrīharṣa says, in our perception of the things of experience we do not realize the differences of the perceptual objects from ourselves, but the differences among the objects themselves. The self-revelation of knowledge also fails to show its difference from all objects of the world.

The difference, again, of the perceived objects from all other things is not revealed in the nature of the perceived objects themselves as svarūpa-bheda , or difference as being of the nature of the objects which are differenced—if that were the case, then the false and erroneous perception of silver would also at once manifest its difference from the object (the conch-shell) on which the false silver is imposed. In this way Śrīharṣa tried to prove that the purport of non-duality, as asserted in the Vedic texts, is not contradicted by any other, stronger, proof. Most of these arguments, being of a verbal nature, may better here be dropped.

The main stress seems to rest on the idea that the immediate differences between the things perceived do not in the least suggest or imply that they, in their essence or in their totality, could not ultimately, as a result of our progressive and better knowledge of things, be considered as one identical reality (as is asserted in the Upaniṣads). If perception cannot prove anything, inferences by themselves cannot stand alone or contradict the non-duality taught in the Upaniṣads. In our world of phenomenal experience our minds are always impressed with the concept of difference; but Śrīharṣa says that the mere existence of an idea does not prove its reality. Words can give rise to ideas relating even to absolutely non-existing things.

Again, the concept of “difference” can hardly be defined. If it lies involved within the essential nature of all things that differ, then difference would be identical with the nature of the things that differ. If difference were different from the things that differ, then it would be necessary to find out some way of establishing a relation between “difference” and the things that differ, and this might require another connection, and that another, and so we should have a vicious endless series. He says that “difference” may be looked upon from a number of possible points of view.

Firstly, “difference” is supposed to be of the nature of things. But a “difference” which is of the nature of the things which differ must involve them all in one; for there cannot be any difference without referring to the things from which there is difference. If by “book” we mean its difference from table, then the table has to enter into the nature of the book, and that would mean the identity of the table and the book. There is no meaning in speaking of “difference” as being the thing, when such differences can only be determined by a reference to other things. If “difference” be the nature of a thing, such a nature cannot be in need of being determined by other things.

One thing, say a book, is realized as being different from a table—the nature of the difference may here be described as being “the quality of being distinguished from a table”; but “the quality of being distinguished” would have no meaning or locus standi , unless “the table” were also taken with it. If anyone says that a book is identical with “the quality of being distinguished from,” then this will invariably include “the table” also within the essence of the book, as “the table” is a constituent of the complex quality “to be distinguished from,” which necessarily means “to be distinguished from a table.” So on this view also“the table” and all other things which could be distinguished from the book are involved in the very essence of all things—a conclusion which contradicts the very concept of difference.

It may also be pointed out that the concept of difference is entirely extraneous to the concept of things as they are understood or perceived. The notion of “difference” is itself different from the notion of the book and the table, whether jointly or separately. The joint notion of the book and the table is different from the notion that “the book differs from the table.” For understanding the nature of a book it is not necessary that one should understand previously its difference from a table. Moreover, even though the notion of difference may in some sense be said to lead to our apprehension of individual things, the apprehension of such individual things does not carry with it the idea that it is on account of such difference that the individual things are perceived.

It is through similarity or resemblance between two things—say between a wild cow (gavaya) and the domestic cow (go)—that a man can recognize an animal as a wild cow; but yet, when he so considers an animal as a wild cow, he does not invariably because of such a resemblance to a cow think the animal to be a wild cow. The mental decision regarding an animal as a cow or a wild cow takes place immediately without any direct participation of the cause which produced it. So, even though the notion of difference may be admitted to be responsible for our apprehension of the different individual things, an apprehension of an individual thing does not involve as a constituent any notion of difference. It is therefore wrong to think that things are of the nature of difference.

In another view, wherein difference is interpreted as “mental negation” or “otherness” (anyonyābhāva), this “otherness” (say of the book from the table) is explained as being the negation of the identity of one with the other. When one says that the book is other than the table, what is meant is that identity of the book with the table is denied. Śrīharṣa here raises the objection that, if the identity of the book with the table was absolutely chimerical, like the hare’s horn, such a denial of identity would be absolutely meaningless. It cannot, again, be suggested that this mental negation, or negation as otherness, means the denial of one class-concept in respect of another (e.g. that of book on the table); for there is in these class-concepts no such special characteristic (dharma) by virtue of which one could be denied of the other or they could be distinguished from each other, since the Naiyāyika, against whom Śrīharṣa’s arguments are directed, does not admit that class-concepts possess any distinguishing qualities.

In the absence of such distinguishing qualities they may be regarded as identical: but in that case the denial of one class-concept (say of the table) would involve the denial of the class-concept of the thing itself (e.g. the book),since the class-concepts of the book and the table, not having any distinguishing qualities, are identical; and, further, through mental denial both the book and the table would be devoid of the class-concepts of book and table, and so there would be no way of distinguishing one thing from another, book from table.

It is easy to see therefore that there is no way of making a special case regarding negation as otherness (anyonyabhāva). Again, if difference is regarded as the possession of opposite characters (vaidharmya), then also it may be asked whether the opposite characters have further opposite characters to distinguish them from one another, and these again others, and so there is a vicious infinite; if these are supposed to stop anywhere, then the final characters at that stage, not having any further opposite characters to distinguish them, would be identical, and hence all opposite characters in the backward series would be meaningless and all things would be identical. If ōn the contrary it is admitted at the very first stage that opposite or differing characters have no differing characters to distinguish them from one another, then the characters will be identical. Again, it may be asked whether these distinguishing characters are themselves different from the objects which possess them or not.

If they are different, one may again ask concerning the opposing characters which lead to this difference and then again about other opposing characters of these, and so on. If these infinite differences were to hold good, they could not arrive in less than infinite time, whereas the object is finite and limited in time. If, again, they came all at once, there would be such a disorderly medley of these infinite differences that there would be no way of determining their respective substrates and their orderly successive dependence on one another. And, since in the series the earlier terms of difference can only be established by the establishment of the later terms of difference, the forward movement in search of the later terms of difference, in support of the earlier terms of difference, makes these earlier terms of difference unnecessary[168].

It cannot, therefore, be said that our perception of differences has any such intrinsic validity that it can contradict the ultimate unity taught in the Upaniṣad texts. Śrīharṣa does not deny that we perceive seeming differences in all things, but he denies their ultimate validity, since he considers them to be due to avidyā or nescience alone[169].

The chief method of Śrīharṣa’s dialectic depends upon the assumption that the reality of the things that one defines depends upon the unimpeachable character of the definitions; but all definitions are faulty, as they involve the fallacy of argument in a circle (cakraka), and hence there is no way in which the real nature of things can be demonstrated or defined. Our world of experience consists of knower, known and knowledge; if a knower is defined as the possessor of knowledge, knowledge can only be understood by a reference to the knower; the known, again, can be understood only by a reference to knowledge and the knower, and so there is a circle of relativity which defies all attempts at giving an independent definition of any of these things. It is mainly this relativity that in specific forms baffles all attempts at definition of all categories.


Application of the Dialectic to the Different Categories and Concepts.

Śrīharṣa first takes for his criticism the definitions of right cognition. Assuming the definition of right cognition to be the direct apprehension of the real nature of things, he first urges that such a definition is faulty, since, if one accidentally guesses rightly certain things hidden under a cover and not perceived, or makes a right inference from faulty data or by fallacious methods, though the awareness may be right, it cannot be called right cognition[170]. It is urged that cognition, in order to be valid, must be produced through unerring instruments; here, however, is a case of chance guesses which may sometimes be right without being produced by unerring instruments of senses.

Nor can correspondence of the cognition with its object (yathārthānubhavaḥ pramā) be regarded as a proper definition of right cognition. Such correspondence can be defined as meaning either that which represents the reality of the object itself or similarity to the object. The real nature of an object is indeterminable, and so correspondence of awareness with the object may rather be defined as similarity of the former to the latter. If this similarity means that the awareness must have such a character as is possessed by the object (jñāna-viṣayīkṛtena rūpeṇa sādṛśyam), then this is clearly impossible; for qualities that belong to the object cannot belong to the awareness —there may be an awareness of two white hard marbles, but the awareness is neither two, nor white, nor hard[171].

It may be urged that the correspondence consists in this, that the whiteness etc. belong to the object as qualities possessed by it, whereas they belong to awareness as being qualities which it reveals[172]. But that would not hold good in the case of illusory perception of silver in a conch-shell; the awareness of “before me” in the perception of “before me the silver” has to be admitted as being a right cognition. If this is admitted to be a right cognition, then it was meaningless to define right cognition as true correspondence; it might as well have been defined as mere cognition, since all cognition would have some object to which it referred and so far as that only was concerned all cognitions would be valid.

If, however, entire correspondence of thought and object be urged, then partial correspondence like the above can hardly be considered satisfactory. But, if entire correspondence is considered indispensable, then the correctness of the partial correspondence has to be ignored, whereas it is admitted by the Naiyāyika that, so far as reference to an object is concerned, all cognitions are valid; only the nature of cognition may be disputed as to right or wrong, when we are considering the correspondence of the nature of the object and the nature characterized by the awareness of the object. If entire correspondence with the object is not assured, then cognition of an object with imperfect or partial correspondence, due to obstructive circumstances, has also to be rejected as false. Again, since the correspondence always refers to the character, form or appearance of the thing, all our affirmations regarding the objects to which the characters are supposed to belong would be false.

Referring to Udayana’s definition of right cognition as samyak paricchitti, or proper discernment, Śrīharṣa says that the word samyak” (proper) is meaningless; for, if samyak means “entire,” then the definition is useless, since it is impossible to see all the visible and invisible constituent parts of a thing, and no one but an omniscient being could perceive a thing with all its characters, properties or qualities. If right discernment means the discernment of an object with its special distinguishing features, this again is unintelligible; for even in wrong cognition, say of conch-shell as silver, the perceiver seems to perceive the distinguishing marks of silver in the conch-shell.

The whole point lies in the difficulty of judging whether the distinguishing marks observed are real or not, and there is no way of determining this. If, again, the distinguishing features be described as being those characteristics without the perception of which there can be no certain knowledge and the perception of which ensures right cognition, then it may well be pointed out that it is impossible to discover any feature of any cognition of which one can be positively certain that it is not wrong. A dreamer confuses all sorts of characters and appearances and conceives them all to be right. It may be urged that in the case of right perception the object is perceived with its special distinguishing features, as in the case of the true perception of silver, whereas in the case of the false perception of silver in the conch-shell no such distinguishing features are observed.

But even in this case it would be difficult to define the essential nature of the distinguishing features; for, if any kind of distinguishing feature would do, then in the case of the false perception of silver in the conch-shell the distinguishing feature of being before the eyes is also possessed by the conch-shell. If all the particular distinguishing features are insisted on, then there will be endless distinguishing features, and it would be impossible to make any definition which would include them all. The certitude of a cognition which contradicts a previous wrong cognition would often be liable to the same objection as the wrong cognition itself, since the nature of the special distinguishing features which would establish its validity cannot be established by any definition of right knowledge.

Arguing against the definition of right cognition as “apprehension which is not incorrect or not defective” (avyabhicārī anubhavaḥ), Śrīharṣa says that “not incorrect” or “not defective” cannot mean that the cognition must exist only at the time when the object exists; for then inferential cognition, which often refers to past and future things, would be false. Neither can it mean that the cognition coexists in space with its objects; nor can it mean that the right cognition is similar to its object in all respects, since cognition is so different in nature from the object that it is not possible that there should be any case in which it would be similar thereto in all respects. And, if the view that an awareness and its object are one and the same be accepted, then this would apply even to those cases where one object is wrongly perceived as another; and hence the word “avyabhicārī” is not sufficient to distinguish right knowledge from wrong cognition.

Arguing against the Buddhist definition of right cognition as “an apprehension which is not incompatible (avisaṃvādi) with the object known,” Śrīharṣa tries to refute the definition in all the possible senses of incompatibility of cognition with object which determines wrong knowledge. If the definition is supposed to restrict right cognition to cognition which is cognized by another cognition as being in agreement with its object, then a wrong cognition, repeated successively through a number of moments and found to be in agreement with its object through all the successive moments until it is contradicted, would also have to be admitted as right, because in this case the previous cognition is certified by the cognition of the succeeding moments. If, again, right cognition is defined as a cognition the incompatibility of which with its object is not realized by any other cognition, then also there are difficulties in the way.

For even a wrong cognition may for some time be not contradicted by any other cognition. Moreover, the vision of the conch-shell by the normal eye as white may be contradicted by the later vision by the jaundiced eye as yellow. If it is urged that the contradiction must be by a faultless later cognition, then it may be pointed out that, if there had been any way of defining faultless cognition, the definition of right cognition would have been very easy. On the other hand, unless right cognition is properly defined, there is no meaning in speaking of faulty or wrong cognition. If right cognition is defined as a cognition which has causal efficiency, that in fact is not a proper definition; for even the wrong cognition of a snake might cause fear and even death. If it is urged that the causal efficiency must be exercised by the object in the same form in which it is perceived, then it is very difficult to ascertain this; and there may be a false cognition of causal efficiency also; hence it would be very difficult to ascertain the nature of right cognition on the basis of causal efficiency.

Śrīharṣa points out again that in a similar way Dharmakīrti’s definition of right cognition as enabling one to attain the object (artha-prāpakatva) is also unintelligible, since it is difficult to determine which object can be actually attained and which not, and the notion that the thing may be attained as it is perceived may be present even in the case of the wrong perception of silver in the conch-shell. If right cognition is defined as cognition which is not contradicted, then it may be asked whether the absence of contradiction is at the time of perception only, in which case even the wrong perception of silver in the conch-shell would be a right cognition, since it is uncontradicted at least at the time when the illusion is produced. If it is urged that a right cognition is that which is not contradicted at any time, then we are not in a position to assert the rightness of any cognition; for it is impossible to be certain that any particular cognition will never at any time be contradicted.

After showing that it is impossible to define right cognition (pramā) Śrīharṣa tries to show that it is impossible to define the idea of instruments (karaṇa) or their operative action (zyāpāra) as involved in the idea of instruments of cognition (pramāṇa). Śrīharṣa attempts to show that instrumentality as an agent cannot be separately conceived as having an independent existence, since it is difficult to determine its separate existence. It would be a long tale to go into all the details of this discussion as set forth by Śrīharṣa, and for our present purposes it is enough to know that Śrīharṣa refuted the concept of “instrumentality” as a separate agent, both as popularly conceived or as conceived in Sanskrit grammar. He also discusses a number of alternative meanings which could be attributed to the concept of “karaṇa” or instrument, and shows that none of these meanings can be satisfactorily justified[173].

In refuting the definition of perception he introduces a long discussion showing the uselessness of defining perception as an instrument of right knowledge. Perception is defined in the Nyāya as cognition which arises through the contact of a particular sense with its object; but it is impossible to know whether any cognition has originated from sense-contact, since the fact of the production of knowledge from sense-contact cannot itself be directly perceived or known by any other means. Since in perception the senses are in contact on the one hand with the self and on the other hand with the external objects, Śrīharṣa urges by a series of arguments that, unless the specific object with which the sense is in contact is mentioned in each case, it would be difficult to formulate a definition of perception in such a way that it would imply only the revelation of the external object and not the self, which is as much in contact with the sense as is the object. Again, the specification of the object in the case of each perception would make it particular, and this would defeat the purposes of definition, which can only apply to universal concepts.

Arguing against a possible definition of perception as immediateness, Śrīharṣa supposes that, if perception reveals some specific quality of the object as its permanent attribute, then, in order that this quality may be cognized, there ought to be another attribute, and this would presuppose another attribute, and so there would be an infinite regress; and, if at any stage of the infinite regress it is supposed that no further attribute is necessary, then this involves the omission of the preceding determining attributes, until the possibility of the perception is also negatived. If this immediateness be explained as a cognition produced by the instrumentality of the sense-organs, this again is unintelligible; for the instrumentality of sense-organs is incomprehensible. Śrīharṣa takes a number of alternative definitions of perceptions and tries to refute them all more or less in the same way, mostly by pointing out verbal faults in the formulation of the definitions.

Citsukha Ācārya, a commentator on Śrīharṣa’s Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya , offers a refutation of the definition of perception in a much more condensed form. He points out that the definition of perception by Akṣapāda as an uncontradicted cognition arising out of sense-contact with the object is unintelligible. How can we know that a cognition would not be contradicted? It cannot be known from a knowledge of the faultlessness of the collocating circumstances, since the faultlessness can be known only if there is no contradiction, and hence faultlessness cannot be known previously and independently, and the collocating circumstances would contain many elements which are unperceivable. It is also impossible to say whether any experience will for ever remain uncontradicted.

Nor can it again be urged that right cognition is that which can produce an effort on the part of the perceiver (pravṛtti-sāmarthya); for even an illusory knowledge can produce an effort on the part of the perceiver who is deceived by it. Mere achievement of the result is no test for the rightness of the cognition; for a man may see the lustre of a gem and think it to be a gem and really get the gem, yet it cannot be doubted that his apprehension of the ray of the gem as the gem was erroneous[174]. In the case of the perception of stars and planets there is no chance of any actual attainment of those objects, and yet there is no reason to deny the validity of the cognitions.

Passing over the more or less verbal arguments of Śrīharṣa in refutation of the definitions of inference (anumāna) as liga-parā-marśa or the realization of the presence in the minor term (pakṣa, e.g. the mountain) of a reason or probans (liga, e.g. smoke) which is always concomitant with the major term (sādhya, e.g. fire), or as invariable concomitance of the probans with the probandum or the major term (sādhya, e.g. fire), and its other slightly modified varieties, I pass on to his criticism of the nature of concomitance (vyāpti), which is at the root of the notion of inference. It is urged that the universal relationship of invariable concomitance required in vyāpti cannot be established unless the invariable concomitance of all the individuals involved in a class be known, which is impossible.

The Naiyāyika holds that the mind by a sort of mental contact with class-concepts or universals, called sāmānya-pratyāsatti, may affirm of all individuals of a class without actually experiencing all the individuals. It is in this way that, perceiving the invariable concomitance of smoke and fire in a large number of cases, one understands the invariable concomitance of smoke with fire by experiencing a sort of mental contact with the class-concept “smoke” when perceiving smoke on a distant hill. Śrīharṣa argues in refutation of such an interpretation that, if all individual smoke may be known in such a way by a mental contact with class-concepts, then by a mental contact with the class-concept “knowable” we might know all individual knowables and thus be omniscient as well.

A thing is knowable only as an individual with its specific qualities as such, and therefore to know a thing as a knowable would involve the knowledge of all such specific qualities; for the class-concept “knowable” would involve all individuals which have a specific knowable character. It may be urged that knowability is one single character, and that things may be otherwise completely different and may yet be one so far as knowability is concerned, and hence the things may remain wholly unknown in their diversity of characters and may yet be known so far as they are merely know-able. To this Śrīharṣa answers that the class-concept “knowable” would involve all knowables and so even the diversity of characters would be involved within the meaning of the term “knowable.”

Again, assuming for the sake of argument that it is possible to have a mental contact with class-concepts through individuals, how can the invariable concomitance itself be observed? If our senses could by themselves observe such relations of concomitance, then there would be no possibility of mistakes in the observation of such concomitance. But such mistakes are committed and corrected by later experience, and there is no way in which one can account for the mistake in the sense-judgment. Again, if this invariable concomitance be defined as avinābhāva, which means that when one is absent the other is also absent, such a definition is faulty; for it may apply to those cases where there is no real invariable concomitance. Thus there is no real concomitance between “earth” and “possibility of being cut”; yet in ākāśa there is absence of earth and also the absence of “possibility of being cut.”

If it is urged that concomitance cannot be determined by a single instance of the absence of one tallying with the absence of the other, it must be proved that universally in all instances of the absence of the one, e.g. the fire, there is also the absence of the other, e.g. the smoke. But it is as difficult to ascertain such universal absence as it is to ascertain universal concomitance. Again, if this concomitance be defined as the impossibility of the presence of the middle term, the reason or the probans, where the major term or the probandum is also absent, then also it may be said that it is not possible to determine such an impossibility either by sense-knowledge or by any other means.

Now tarka or eliminatory consideration in judging of possibilities cannot be considered as establishing invariable concomitance; for all arguments are based on invariable concomitance, and such an assumption would lead to a vicious mutual interdependence. The great logician Udayana objects to this and says that, if invariable concomitance between smoke and fire be denied, then there are strong arguments (tarka) against such a denial (bādhakas tarkaḥ), namely, that, if smoke is not regarded as concomitant with fire, then smoke would either exist without any cause or not exist at all, which is impossible. But Śrīharṣa says that there is room for an alternative proposition which Udayana misses, namely, that smoke is due to some cause other than fire. It may be that there are smokes which are not caused by fire.

How can one be sure that all smokes are caused by fire? There may be differences in these two classes of fire which remain unnoticed by us, and so there is always room for the supposition that any particular smoke may not be caused by fire, and such doubts would make inference impossible. Udayana had however contended that, if you entertain the doubt, with regard to a future case, that it is possible that there may be a case in which the concomitance may be found wrong, then the possibility of such a doubt (śankā) must be supported by inference, and the admission of this would involve the admission of inference. If such an exaggerated doubt be considered illegitimate, there is no obstruction in the way of inference.

Doubts can be entertained only so long as such entertainment of doubts is compatible with practical life. Doubts which make our daily life impossible are illegitimate. Every day one finds that food appeases hunger, and, if in spite of that one begins to doubt whether on any particular day when he is hungry he should take food or not, then life would be impossible[175]. Śrīharṣa, however, replies to this contention by twisting the words of Udayana’s own kārikā, in which he says that, so long as there is doubt, inference is invalid; if there is no doubt, this can only be when the invalidity of the inference has been made manifest, and until such invalidity is found there will always be doubts. Hence the argument of possibilities (tarka) can never remove doubts[176].

Śrīharṣa also objects to the definition of “invariable concomitance” as a natural relation (svābhāvikaḥ sambandhaḥ). He rejects the term “natural relation” and says that invariable concomitance would not be justifiable in any of its possible meanings, such as

  1. depending on the nature of the related (sambandhi-svabhāva-śrita),
  2. produced by the nature of the related (sambandhi-svabhāva-janya),
  3. not different from the nature constituting the relatedness, since, as these would be too wide and would apply even to those things which are not invariable concomitants, e.g. all that is earthen can be scratched with an iron needle.

Though in some cases earthen objects may be scratched with an iron needle, not all earthen objects can be so scratched. He further refutes the definition of invariable concomitance as a relation not depending upon conditional circumstances (upādhi). Without entering into the details of Śrīharṣa’s argument it may be pointed out that it rests very largely on his contention that conditionality of relations cannot be determined without knowledge of the nature of invariable concomitance and also that invariable concomitance cannot be determined without a previous determination of the conditionality of relations.

Śrīharṣa’s brief refutation of analogy, implication and testimony, as also his refutation of the definitions of the different fallacies of inference, are not of much importance from a philosophical point of view, and need not be detailed here.

Turning now to Śrīharṣa’s refutation of the Nyāya categories, we note that he begins with the refutation of “being” or positivity (bhāvatva). He says that being cannot be defined as being existent in itself, since non-being is also existent in itself; we can with as much right speak of being as existing as of non-being as existing; both non-being and being may stand as grammatical nominatives of the verb “exists.” Again, each existing thing being unique in itself, there is no common quality, such as “existence” or “being,” which is possessed by them all. Again, “being” is as much a negation of “non-being” as “non-being” of “being”; hence “being” cannot be defined as that which is not a negation of anything. Negation is a mere form of speech, and both being and non-being may be expressed in a negative form.

Turning to the category of non-being (abhāva), Śrīharṣa says that it cannot be defined as negation of anything; for being may as well be interpreted as a negation of non-being as non-being of being (bhāvābhāvayor dvayor api paraspara-pratikṣepātmakatvāt). Nor again can non-being be defined as that which opposes being; for not all non-being is opposed to all being (e.g. in “there is no jug on the ground” the absence of jug does not oppose the ground in respect of which the jug is denied); if non-being opposes some existent things, then that does not differentiate negation; for there are many existent things which are opposed to one another (e.g. the horse and the bull).

In refuting the Nyāya definition of substance (dravya) as that which is the support of qualities, Śrīharṣa says that even qualities appear to have numeral and other qualities (e.g. we speak of two or three colours, of a colour being deep or light, mixed or primary —and colour is regarded as quality). If it is urged that this is a mistake, then the appearance of the so-called substances as being endowed with qualities may also be regarded as equally erroneous. Again, what is meant by defining substance as the support (āśraya) of qualities? Since qualities may subsist in the class-concept of quality (guṇatva), the class-concept of quality ought to be regarded as substance according to the definition. It may be urged that a substance is that in which the qualities inhere.

But what would be the meaning here of the particle “in”? How would one distinguish the false appearance, to a jaundiced eye, of yellowness in a white conch-shell and the real appearance of whiteness in the conch-shell? Unless the falsity of the appearance of yellow in the conch-shell is realized, there can be no difference between the one case and the other. Again, substance cannot be defined as the inhering or the material cause (samavāyi-kāraṇa), since it is not possible to know which is the inhering cause and which is not; for number is counted as a quality, and colour also is counted as a quality, and yet one specifies colours by numbers, as one, two, or many colours.

Furthermore, the Nyāya definition of quality as that which has a genus and is devoid of qualities is unintelligible; for the definition involves the concept of quality, which is sought to be defined. Moreover, as pointed out above, even qualities, such as colours, have numeral qualities; for we speak of one, two or many colours. It is only by holding to this appearance of qualities endowed with numeral qualities that the definition of quality can be made to stand, and it is again on the strength of the definition of quality that such appearances are to be rejected as false. If colours are known as qualities in consideration of other reasons, then these, being endowed with numeral qualities, could not for that very reason be called qualities; for qualities belong according to definition only to substances. Even the numerals themselves are endowed with the quality of separateness. So there would not be a single instance that the Naiyāyika could point to as an example of quality.

Speaking of relations, Śrīharṣa points out that, if relation is to be conceived as something subsisting in a thing, then its meaning is unintelligible. The meaning of relation as “in” or “herein” is not at all clear; for the notion of something being a container (ādhāra) is dependent on the notion of the concept of “in” or “herein,” and that concept again depends on the notion of a container, and there is no other notion which can explain either of the concepts independently. The container cannot be supposed to be an inhering cause; for in that case such examples as “there is a grape in this vessel” or “the absence of horns in a hare” would be unexplainable. He then takes a number of possible meanings which can be given to the notion of a container; but these, not being philosophically important, are omitted here. He also deals with the impossibility of defining the nature of the subject-object relation (viṣaya-viṣayi-bhāva) of knowledge.

In refuting the definition of cause Śrīharṣa says that cause cannot be defined as immediate antecedence; for immediate antecedence can be ascribed only to the causal operation, which is always an intervening factor between the cause and the effect. If, on the theory that what (e.g. the causal operation) belongs to a thing (e.g. the cause) cannot be considered as a factor which stands between it (cause) and that which follows it (effect), the causal operation be not regarded as a separate and independent factor, then even the cause of the cause would have to be regarded as one with the cause and therefore cause.

But, if it is urged that, since the cause of the cause is not an operation, it cannot be regarded as being one with the cause, one may well ask the opponent to define the meaning of operation. If the opponent should define it as that factor without which the cause cannot produce the effect, then the accessory circumstances and common and abiding conditions, such as the natural laws, space, and so forth, without which an effect cannot be produced, are also to be regarded as operation, which is impossible.

Further, “operation” cannot be qualified as being itself produced by the cause; for it is the meaning of the concept of cause that has still to be explained and defined. If, again, cause is defined as the antecedence of that which is other than the not-cause, then this again would be faulty; for one cannot understand the “not-cause” of the definition without understanding what is the nature of cause, and vice-versa. Moreover, space, being a permanent substance, is always present as a not-cause of anything, and is yet regarded as the cause of sound.

If, again, cause is defined as that which is present when the effect is present and absent when the effect is absent, this would not explain the causality of space, which is never known to be absent. If, again, cause is defined as invariable antecedence, then permanent substances such as space are to be regarded as the sole causes of effects. If, however, invariable antecedence be understood to mean unconditional antecedence, then two coexistent entities such as the taste and the colour of an earthen pot which is being burnt must mutually be the cause of the colour and the taste of the burnt earthen pot; for neither does the colour condition taste, nor does the taste condition colour.

Moreover, if mere invariable antecedents be regarded as cause, then the invariably preceding symptoms of a disease are to be regarded as the cause of the disease on account of their invariable antecedence. Again, causality cannot be regarded as a specific character or quality belonging to certain things, which quality can be directly perceived by us as existing in things. Thus we may perceive the stick of the potter’s wheel to be the cause of the particular jugs produced by it, but it is not possible to perceive causality as a general quality of a stick or of any other thing.

If causality existed only with reference to things in general, then it would be impossible to conceive of the production of individual things, and it would not be possible for anyone to know which particular cause would produce a particular effect. On the other hand, it is not possible to perceive by the senses that an individual thing is the cause of a number of individual effects; for until these individual effects are actually produced it is not possible to perceive them, since perception involves sense-contact as its necessary condition. It is not necessary for our present purposes to enter into all the different possible concepts of cause which Śrīharṣa seeks to refute: the above examination is expected to give a fairly comprehensive idea of the methods of Śrīharṣa’s refutation of the category of cause.

Nor is it possible within the limited range of the present work to give a full account of all the different alternative defences of the various categories accepted in Nyāya philosophy, or of all the various ways in which Śrīharṣa sought to refute them in his Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya. I have therefore attempted to give here only some specimens of the more important parts of his dialectical argument. The chief defect of Śrīharṣa’s criticisms is that they often tend to grow into verbal sophisms, and lay greater stress on the faults of expression of the opponent’s definitions and do not do him the justice of liberally dealing with his general ideas. It is easy to see how these refutations of the verbal definitions of the Nyāya roused the defensive spirit of the Naiyāyikas into re-stating their definitions with proper qualificatory phrases and adjuncts, by which they avoided the loopholes left in their former definitions for the attack of Śrīharṣa and other critics.

In one sense, therefore, the criticisms of Śrīharṣa and some of his followers had done a great disservice to the development of later Nyāya thought; for, unlike the older Nyāya thinkers, later Nyāya writers, like Gaṅgeśa, Raghunātha and others, were mainly occupied in inventing suitable qualificatory adjuncts and phrases by which they could define their categories in such a way that the undesirable applications and issues of their definitions, as pointed out by the criticisms of their opponents, could be avoided. If these criticisms had mainly been directed towards the defects of Nyāya thought, later writers would not have been forced to take the course of developing verbal expressions at the expense of philosophical profundity and acuteness. Śrīharṣa may therefore be said to be the first great writer who is responsible indirectly for the growth of verbalism in later Nyāya thought.

Another defect of Śrīharṣa’s criticisms is that he mainly limits himself to criticizing the definitions of Nyāya categories and does not deal so fully with the general ideas involved in such categories of thought. It ought, however, in all fairness to Śrīharṣa to be said that, though he took the Nyāya definitions as the main objective of his criticisms, yet in dealing with the various alternative variations and points of view of such definitions he often gives an exhaustive treatment of the problems involved in the discussion. But in many cases his omissions become very glaring. Thus, for example, in his treatment of relations he only tries to refute the definitions of relation as container and contained, as inherence, and as subject-object relation of cognitions, and leaves out many other varieties of relation which might well have been dealt with.

Another characteristic feature of his refutation is, as has already been pointed out, that he has only a destructive point of view and is not prepared to undertake the responsibility of defining any position from his own point of view. He delights in showing that none of the world-appearances can be defined in any way, and that thus, being indescribable, they are all false. But incapacity to define or describe anything in some particular way cannot mean that the thing is false. Śiīharṣa did not and could not show that the ways of definition which he attempted to refute were the only ways of defining the different categories. They could probably be defined in other and better ways, and even those definitions which he refuted could be bettered and improved by using suitable qualificatory phrases.

He did not attempt to show that the concepts involved in the categories were fraught with such contradictions that, in whatever way one might try to define, one could not escape from those inner contradictions, which were inherent in the very nature of the concepts themselves. Instead of that he turned his attention to the actual formal definitions which had been put forward by the Nyāya and sometimes by Prabhākara and tried to show that these definitions were faulty. To show that particular definitions are wrong is not to show that the things defined are wrong. It is, no doubt, true that the refutation of certain definitions involves the refutation of the concepts involved in those definitions; but the refutation of the particular way of presentation of the concept does not mean that the concept itself is impossible. In order to show the latter, a particular concept has to be analysed on the basis of its own occurrences, and the inconsistencies involved in such an analysis have to be shown.


Citsukha’s Interpretations of the Concepts of Śaṅkara Vedānta.

Citsukha (about A.D. 1220), a commentator on Śrīharṣa, had all Śrīharṣa’s powers of acute dialectical thought, but he not only furnishes, like Śrīharṣa, a concise refutation of the Nyāya categories, but also, in his Tattva-pradīpikā , commented on by Pratyagbha-gavān (a.d. 1400) in his Nayana-prasādiriī[177], gives us a very acute analysis and interpretation of some of the most important concepts of Śaṅkara Vedānta. He is not only a protector of the Advaita doctrine of the Vedānta, but also an interpreter of the Vedāntic concepts[178]. The work is written in four chapters.

In the first chapter Citsukha deals with the interpretation of the Vedānta concepts of self-revelation (sva-prakāśa), the nature of self as consciousness (ātmanaḥ saṃvid-rūpatva), the nature of ignorance as darkness, the nature of falsity (mithyātva), the nature of nescience (avidyā), the nature of the truth of all ideas (sarva-pratyayōnām yathā-thatvam), the nature of illusions, etc.

In the second chapter he refutes the Nyāya categories of

  • difference,
  • separateness,
  • quality,
  • action,
  • class-concepts,
  • specific particulars (viśeṣa),
  • the relation of inherence (samavāya),
  • perception,
  • doubt,
  • illusion,
  • memory,
  • inference,
  • invariable concomitance (vyāpti),
  • induction (vyāpti-graha),
  • existence of the reason in the minor term (pakṣa-dharmatā),
  • reason (hetu),
  • analogy (upamāna),
  • implication,
  • being,
  • non-being,
  • duality,
  • measure,
  • causality,
  • time,
  • space, etc.

In the third chapter, the smallest of the book, he deals with the possibility of the realization of Brahman and the nature of release through knowledge. In the fourth chapter, which is much smaller than the first two, he deals with the nature of the ultimate state of emancipation.

Citsukha starts with a formal definition of the most fundamental concept of the Vedānta, namely the concept of self-revelation or self-illumination (sva-prakāśa). Both Padmapāda and Prakāśātman in the Pañca-pādikā and Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa had distinguished the self from the ego as self-revelation or self-illumination (svayam-prakāśa). Thus Prakāśātman says that consciousness (saṃvid) is self-revealing and that its self-revelation is not due to any other self-revealing cause[179]. It is on account of this natural self-revelation of consciousness that its objects also appear as self-revealing[180].

Padmapāda also says the same thing, when he states that the self is of the nature of pure self-revealing consciousness; when this consciousness appears in connection with other objects and manifests them, it is called experience (anubhava), and, when it is by itself, it is called the self or ātman[181]. But Citsukha was probably the first to give a formal definition of the nature of this selfrevelation.

Citsukha defines it as that which is entitled to be called immediate (aparokṣa-vyavahāra-yogya), though it is not an object of any cognition or any cognizing activity (avedyatve ’pi)[182]. It may be objected that desires, feelings, etc. also are not objects of any cognition and yet are entitled to be regarded as immediate, and hence the definition might as well apply to them; for the object of cognition has a separate objective existence, and by a mind-object contact the mind is transformed into the form of the object, and thereby the one consciousness, which was apparently split up into two forms as the object-consciousness which appeared as material objects and the subject-consciousness which appeared as the cognizer, is again restored to its unity by the super-imposition of the subjective form on the objective form, and the object-form is revealed in consciousness as a jug or a book. But in the case of our experience of our will or our feelings these have no existence separate from our own mind and hence are not cognized in the same way as external objects are cognized.

According to Vedānta epistemology these subjective experiences of will, emotions, etc. are different mental constituents, forms or states, which, being directly and illusorily imposed upon the self-revealing consciousness, become experienced. These subjective states are therefore not cognized in the same way as external objects. But, since the experience of these states is possible only through a process of illusory imposition, they are not entitled to be called immediate[183]. So, though they appear as immediate, they have no proper yogyatā , or, in other words, they are not entitled to be called immediate. But in the true sense even external objects are but illusory impositions on the self-revealing consciousness, and hence they also cannot be said to be entitled to be called immediate. There is therefore no meaning in trying to distinguish the self-revealing consciousness as one which is not an object of cognition; for on the Vedānta theory there is nothing which is entitled to be called immediate, and hence the phrase avedyatve (not being an object of cognition) is unnecessary as a special distinguishing feature of the self-revealing consciousness; the epithet “immediate” is therefore also unnecessary.

To such an objection Citsukha’s reply is that the experience of external objects is only in the last stage of world-dissolution and Brahmahood found non-immediate and illusory, and, since in all our ordinary stages of experience the experience of world-objects is immediate, the epithet avedyatva successfully distinguishes self-revealing consciousness from all cognitions of external objects which are entitled to be called immediate and are to be excluded from the range of self-revealing consciousness only by being objects of cognition. In the field of ordinary experience the perceived world-objects are found to be entitled to be called immediate no less than the self-revealing consciousness, and it is only because they are objects of cognition that they can be distinguished from the self-revealing consciousness.

The main argument in favour of the admission of the category of independent self-revealing consciousness is that, unless an independent self-revealing consciousness is admitted, there would be a vicious series in the process preceding the rise of any cognition ; for, if the pure experience of self-revealing consciousness has to be further subjected to another process before it can be understood, then that also might require another process, and that another, and so there would be an unending series. Moreover, that the pure experience is self-revealing is proved by the very fact of the experience itself; for no one doubts his own experience or stands in need of any further corroboration or confirmation as to whether he experienced or not. It may be objected that it is well known that we may be aware of our awareness of anything (anu-vyavasāya), and in such a case the self-revealing consciousness may become further cognized.

Citsukha’s reply to this is that, when one perceives a jug, there is the mental activity, then a cessation of that activity, then a further starting of new activity and then the knowledge that I know the jug, or rather I know that I know the jug—and hence such a cognition cannot be said to be directly and immediately cognizing the first awareness, which could not have stayed through so many moments[184]. Again, since neither the senses nor the external objects can of themselves produce the self-revelation of knowledge, if knowledge were not admitted as self-revealing, the whole world would be blind and there would be no self-revelation.

When one knows that he knows a book or a jug, it is the cognized object that is known and not the awareness that is cognized; there can be no awareness of awareness, but only of the cognized object[185]. If the previous awareness could be made the object of subsequent awareness, then this would amount to an admission of the possibility of the self being known by the self (svasyāpi svena vedyatvāpātāt)—a theory which would accord not with the Vedānta idealism, but with the Buddhistic. It is true, no doubt, that the pure self-revealing consciousness shows itself only on the occasion of a mental state; but its difference from other cognitive states lies in the fact that it has no form or object, and hence, though it may be focussed by a mental state, yet it stands on a different footing from the objects illuminated by it.

The next point that Citsukha urges is that the self is of the nature of pure self-revealing consciousness (ātmanoh saṃvid-rūpatva). This is, of course, no new contribution by Citsukha, since this view had been maintained in the Upaniṣads and repeated by Śaṅkara, Padmapāda, Prakāśātman and others. Citsukha says that, like knowledge, the self also is immediately revealed or experienced without itself being the object of any cognizing activity or cognition, and therefore the self is also of the nature of knowledge. No one doubts about his own self; for the self always stands directly and immediately self-revealed. Self and knowledge being identical, there is no relation between the two save that of identity (jñānātmanoḥ sambandhasyaiva abhāvāt).

Citsukha defines falsity (mithyātva) as the non-existence of a thing in that which is considered to be its cause[186]. He shows this by pointing out that a whole, if it is to exist anywhere, must exist in the parts of which it is made, and, if it does not exist even there, it does not exist anywhere and is false. It is, however, evident that a whole cannot exist in the parts, since, being a whole, it cannot be in the parts[187]. Another argument adduced by Citsukha for the falsity of the world-appearance is that it is impossible that there should be any relation between the self-revealing consciousness, the knower (dṛk), and the objects which are cognized (dṛśyd). Knowledge cannot be said to arise through sense-con tact; for in the illusory perception of silver there is the false perception of silver without any actual sense-contact with silver. A reference to subject-object relation (viṣaya-viṣayi-bhāva) cannot explain it, since the idea of subject-object relation is itself obscure and unexplainable.

Arguing as to the impossibility of properly explaining the subject-object relation (viṣaya-viṣayi-bhāva) in knowledge, Citsukha says that it cannot be held that the subject-object relation means that knowledge produces some change in the object (viṣaya) and that the knower produces such a change. For what may be the nature of such a change? If it be described as jñātatā , or the character of being known, how can such a character be by my knowledge at the present moment generated as a positive quality in an object which has now ceased to exist? If such a quality can be produced even in past objects, then there would be no fixed law according to which such qualities should be produced. Nor can such a relationship be explained on a pragmatic basis by a reference to actual physical practical action with reference to objects that we know or the internal volitions or emotions associated with our knowledge of things.

For in picking up a piece of silver that we see in front of us we may quite unknowingly be drawing with it the dross contained in the silver, and hence the fact of the physical drawing of the dross cannot on that ground alone make it an object of my knowledge, and hence the subject-object relation of knowledge cannot be defined as a mere physical action following cognition. The internal mental states of volition and the emotions associated with knowledge belong to the knower and have nothing to do with the object of knowledge. If, however, it is urged that objectivity consists in the fact that whatever is known appears in consciousness, the question arises, what does this appearing in consciousness mean? It cannot mean that consciousness is the container and the object is contained in it; for, consciousness being internal and the object external, the object cannot be contained in it.

It cannot be a mere undefined relatedness; for in that case the object may as well be considered subject and the subject, object. If objectivity be defined as that which can induce knowledge, then even the senses, the light and other accessories which help the rise of knowledge may as well be regarded as objects. Object cannot be defined as that to which knowledge owes its particular form; for, knowledge being identical with its form, all that helps the rise of knowledge, the senses, light, etc., may as well be regarded as objects. So, in whatever way one may try to conceive the nature of the subject-object relation, he will be disappointed.

Citsukha follows the traditional view of nescience (ajñāna) as a positive entity without beginning which disappears with the rise of true knowledge[188]. Nescience is different from the conception of positivity as well as of negativity, yet it is called only positive because of the fact that it is not negative[189]. Ignorance or nescience is described as a positive state and not a mere negation of knowledge; and so it is said that the rise of right knowledge of any object in a person destroys the positive entity of ignorance with reference to that object and that this ignorance is something different from what one would understand by negation of right knowledge[190].

Citsukha says that the positive character of ignorance becomes apparent when we say that “We do not know whether what you say is true.” Here there is the right knowledge of the fact that what is said is known, but it is not known whether what is said is valid[191]. Here also there is a positive knowledge of ignorance of fact, which is not the same as mere absence of knowledge. Such an ignorance, however, is not experienced through sense-contact or sense-processes, but directly by the self-revealing consciousness— the sākṣin. Just before the rise of right knowledge about an object there is ignorance (ajñāna), and the object, as qualified by such an ignorance, is experienced as being unknown. All things are the objects of the inner unmoved intuitive consciousness either as known or as unknown[192]. Our reference to deep dreamless sleep as a state in which we did not know anything (na kiṃcid-avediṣam) is also referred to as a positive experience of ignorance in the dreamless state.

One of the chief tenets of Vedānta epistemology lies in the supposition that a presentation of the false is a fact of experience. The opposite view is that of Prabhākara, that the false is never presented in experience and that falsehood consists in the wrong construction imposed upon experience by the mind, which fails to note the actual want of association between two things which are falsely associated as one. According to this theory all illusion consists of a false association or a false relationing of two things which are not presented in experience as related. This false association is not due to an active operation of the mind, but to a failure to note that no such association was actually presented in experience (asamsargāgraha).

According to Prabhākara, the great Mīmāṃsā authority, the false is never presented in experience, nor is the false experience due to an arbitrary positive activity of wrong construction of the mind, but merely to a failure to note certain distinctions presented in experience. On account of such a failure things which are distinct are not observed as distinct, and hence things which are distinct and different are falsely associated as one, and the conch-shell is thus regarded as silver. But here there is no false presentation in experience. Whatever is known is true; falsehood is due to omissions of knowledge and failure in noting differences.

Citsukha objects to this view and urges that such an explanation can never explain all cases of false apprehension. Take the proposition, “There are false apprehensions and false presentations”; if this proposition is admitted to be correct, then Prabhākara’s contention is false; if it is admitted to be false, then here is a false proposition, the falsehood of which is not due to a failure to note differences. If the falsity of all propositions be said to be due to a failure to note differences, then it would be hard to find out any true proposition or true experience.

On the analogy of our false experience of the everchanging flame of a lamp as the same identical one all cases of true recognition might no less be regarded as false, and therefore all inferences would be doubtful. All cases of real and true association could be explained as being due to a failure to note differences. There could be no case in which one could assure himself that he was dealing with a real association and not a failure to apprehend the absence of association (asaṃsargā - graha). Citsukha therefore contends that it is too much to expect that all cases of false knowledge can be explained as being due to a mere non-apprehension of difference, since it is quite reasonable to suppose that false knowledge is produced by defective senses which oppose the rise of true knowledge and positively induce false appearance[193].

Thus in the case of the illusory perception of conch-shell as silver it is the conch-shell that appears as a piece of silver. But what is the nature of the presentation that forms the object (ālambana) of false perception? It cannot be regarded as absolutely non-existent (asat), since that which is absolutely non-existent cannot be the object of even a false perception, and moreover it cannot through such a perception (e.g. the tendency of a man to pick up the piece of silver, which is but a false perception of a piece of conch-shell) induce a practical movement on the part of the perceiver. Neither can it be regarded as existent; for the later experience contradicts the previous false perception, and one says that there is no silver at the present time and there was no silver in the past—it was only the conch-shell that appeared as silver. Therefore the false presentation, though it serves all the purposes of a perceptual object, cannot be described either as existent or as non-existent, and it is precisely this character that constitutes the indefinable nature (amrvacanīyata) of all illusions[194].

It is unnecessary to deal with the other doctrines of Vedānta which Citsukha describes, since there is nothing new in them and they have already been described in chapter x of volume i of this work. It is therefore desirable to pass on to his dialectic criticism of the Nyāya categories. It will suffice, however, to give only a few of these criticisms, as they mostly refer to the refutation of such kinds of categories as are discussed in Śrīharṣa’s great work Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, and it would be tedious to follow the refutation of the same kinds of categories by two different writers, though the arguments of Citsukha are in many cases new and different from those given by Śrīharṣa. Citsukha’s general approach to such refutations is also slightly different from that of Śrīharṣa. For, unlike Śrīharṣa, Citsukha dealt with the principal propositions of the Vedānta, and his refutations of the Nyāya categories were not intended so much to show that they were inexplicable or indefinable as to show that they were false appearances, and that the pure self-revealing Brahman was the only reality and truth.

Thus, in refuting time (kāla), Citsukha says that time cannot be perceived either by the visual sense or by the tactual sense, nor can it be apprehended by the mind (manas), as the mind only operates in association with the external senses. Moreover, since there are no perceptual data, it cannot be inferred. The notions of before and after, succession and simultaneity, quickness and duration, cannot by themselves indicate the nature of time as it is in itself. It may be urged that, since the solar vibrations can only be associated with human bodies and worldly things, making them appear as young or old only through some other agency such as days, months, etc., such an agency, which brings about the connection of solar vibrations with worldly things, is called time[195]. To this Citsukha replies that, since the self itself can be regarded as the cause of the manifestation of time in events and things in accordance with the varying conditions of their appearance, it is unnecessary to suppose the existence of a new category called time. Again, it cannot be said that the notions of before and after have time as their material cause; for the validity of these notions is challenged by the Vedāntist.

They may be regarded as the im-pressions produced by a greater or lesser quantity of solar vibrations. There is therefore no necessity to admit time as a separate category, since its apprehension can be explained on the basis of our known data of experience. From considerations of some data relative space (dik) has to be discarded; for relative space cannot be perceived by the senses or inferred for want of data of experience. Both time and relative space originate from a sense of relativity (apekṣā-buddhi), and, given that sense of relativity, the mind can in association with our experience of bodily movements form the notion of relative space. It is therefore unnecessary to admit the existence of relative space as a separate category.

In refuting the atomic theory of the Vaiśeṣikas Citsukha says that there is no ground for admitting the Vaiśeṣika atoms. If these atoms are to be admitted on the ground that all things are to be conceived as being divisible into smaller and smaller parts, then the same may apply to the atoms as well. If it is urged that one must stop somewhere, that the atoms are therefore regarded as the last state, and are uniform in size and not further divisible, then the specks of dust that are seen in the windows when the sun is shining (called irasareṇus) may equally be regarded as the last stage of divisible size. If it is contended that, since these are visible, they have parts and cannot therefore be considered as indivisible, it may be said in reply that, since the Nyāya writers admit that the atoms can be perceived by the yogins, visibility of the trasareṇus could not be put forward as a reason why they could not be regarded as indivisible.

Moreover, if the atoms were partless, how could they be admitted to combine to produce the grosser material forms? Again, it is not indispensable that atoms should combine to form bigger particles or make grosser appearances possible; for, like threads in a sheet, many particles may make gross appearances possible even without combining. Citsukha then repeats Śaṅkara’s refutation of the concept of wholes and parts, saying that, if the wholes are different from the parts, then they must be in the parts or they would not be there; if they are not in the parts, it would be difficult to maintain that the wholes were made of parts; if they are in the parts, they must be either wholly or partly in them; if they are wholly in the parts, then there would be many such wholes, or in each part the whole would be found; and, if they are partly in the parts, then the same difficulty of wholes and parts would appear.

Again, the concept of contact (saṃyoga) is also inexplicable. It cannot be defined as the coming together of any two things which are not in contact (aprāptayoḥ prāptiḥ saṃyogaḥ); for, until one knows the meaning of the concept of contact, one cannot understand the meaning of the phrase “not in contact.” If it is defined as the coming together of two things which are unrelated, then contact (saṃyoga) would include even the relation of inherence, such as that which exists between a piece of cloth and the threads. If it is defined as a relation which is produced in time and is transitory (anityaḥ sambandhaḥ janyatva-viśeṣito vā). then cases of beginningless contact would not be included, and even the possession of an article by purchase would have to be included as contact, since this relation of possession is also produced in time.

It cannot be objected that “possession” is not a relation, since a relation to be such must be between two things; for, if the objection were valid, the relation between substance and quality would not be a relation, since quality and substance exist together, and there are no two separate things which can be related. If the objector means that the relation must be between two terms, then there are two terms here also, namely, the article possessed and the possessor. Moreover, if contact is defined as relation which does not connect two things in their entirety (avyāpya-vṛttitva-viśeṣito), then again it would be wrong, since in the case of partless entities the relation of contact cannot connect the parts, as they have no parts. Citsukha refutes the concept of separation (vibhāga) on the same lines and passes over to the refutation of number, as two, three and the like.

Citsukha urges that there is no necessity of admitting the existence of two, three, etc. as separate numbers, since what we perceive is but the one thing, and then by a sense of oscillation and mutual reference (apekṣā-buddhi) we associate them together and form the notions of two, three, etc. These numbers therefore do not exist separately and independently, but are imaginatively produced by mental oscillation and association from the experience of single objects. There is therefore no necessity of thinking that the numbers, two, three, etc., are actually produced. We simply deal with the notions of two, three, etc. on the strength of our powers of mental association[196].

Citsukha then refutes the notion of class-concept (jāti) on the ground that it cannot be proved either by perception or by inference. The question is what exactly is meant by class-concept. If it is said that, when in perceiving one individual animal we have the notion of a cow, and in perceiving other individual animals also we have the same notion of cow, there is jāti, then it may be replied that this does not necessarily imply the admission of a separate class-concept of cow; for, just as one individual had certain peculiarities which entitled it to be called a cow, so the other individuals had their peculiarities which entitled them to be called cows. We see reflections of the moon in different places and call each of them the moon. What constitutes the essentials of the concept of cow? It is difficult to formulate one universal characteristic of cows; if one such characteristic could be found, then there would be no necessity of admitting the class-concept of cow.

For it would then be an individual characteristic, and one would recognize it as a cow everywhere, and there would be no necessity of admitting a separate class-concept. If one admits a class-concept, one has to point out some trait or quality as that which indicates the class-concept. Then again one could not get at this trait or quality independently of the class-concept or at the class-concept independently of it, and this mutual dependence would make the definition of either of them impossible. Even if one admits the class-concept, one has to show what constitutes the essentials of it in each case, and, if such essentials have to be found in each case, then those essentials would be a sufficient justification for knowing a cow as cow and a horse as horse: what then is the good of admitting a class-concept? Again, even if a class-concept be admitted, it is difficult to see how it can be conceived to be related to the individuals.

It cannot be a relation of contact, identity, inherence or any other kind of relation existing anywhere. If all class-concepts existed everywhere, there would be a medley of all class-concepts together, and all things would be everywhere. Again, if it is held that the class-concept of cow exists only in the existing cows, then how does it jump to a new cow when it is born? Nor has the class-concept any parts, so as to be partly here and partly there. If each class-concept of cow were wholly existent in each of the individual cows, then there would be a number of class-concepts ; and, if each class-concept of cow were spread out over all the individual cows, then, unless all the individual cows were brought together, one could not have the notion of any class-concept.

Speaking of the refutation of cause (kāraṇa), Citsukha says that cause cannot be defined as mere antecedence (pūrva-kāla-bhāvitva); for then the ass which is always found in the house of a washerman and on the back of which the washerman carries his clothes might be regarded as a thing antecedent to the smoky fire kindled in the washerman’s house and thus as a cause of fire. If this antecedence be further qualified as that which is present in all cases of the presence of the effect and absent in all cases of the absence of the effect, then also the washerman’s ass may be considered to satisfy the conditions of such an antecedence with reference to the fire in the washerman’s house (when the washerman is away from the house with his ass, the fire in the washerman’s house is also absent, and it is again kindled when he returns to his house with his ass).

If “unconditionality” (ananyathā-siddha) is further added as a qualifying condition of antecedence, even then the ass and the common abiding elements such as space, ether and the like may be regarded as causes of the fire. If it be argued that the ass is present only because of the presence of other conditioning factors, the same may be said of seeds, earth, water, etc., which are all however regarded as being causes for the production of the shoots of plants. If objection be raised against the possibility of ether (ākāśa) being regarded as the cause of smoke on the ground of its being a common, abiding and all-pervasive element, then the same argument ought to stand as an objection against the soul (which is an all-pervasive entity) being regarded on the Nyāya view as the cause of the production of pleasure and pain.

The cause cannot be defined as that which being there the effect follows; for then a seed cannot be regarded as the cause of the shoot of the plant, since the shoots cannot be produced from seeds without the help of other co-operating factors, such as earth, water, light, air, etc. Cause, again, cannot be defined as that which being present in the midst of the co-operating factors or even accessories (sahakāri), the effect follows; for an irrelevant thing, like an ass, may be present among a number of co-operating circumstances, but this would not justify anybody calling an irrelevant thing a cause. Moreover, such a definition would not apply to those cases where by the joint operation of many co-operating entities the effect is produced.

Furthermore, unless the cause can be properly defined, there is no way of defining the co-operating conditions. Nor can a cause be defined as that which being there the effect follows, and which not being there there is no effect (sati bhāvo ’saty abhāva eva); for such a maxim is invalidated by the plurality of causes (fire may be produced by rubbing two pieces of wood, by striking hard against a flint, or by a lens). It may be urged that there are differences in each kind of fire produced by the different agencies: to which it may be replied that, even if there were any such difference, it is impossible to know it by observation.

Even when differences are noticeable, such differences do not necessarily imply that the different effects belong to different classes; for the differences might well be due to various attendant circumstances. Again, a cause cannot be defined as a collocation of things, since such a collocation may well be one of irrelevant things. A cause cannot be defined as a collocation of different causes, since it has not so far been possible to define what is meant by “cause.” The phrase “collocation of causes” will therefore be meaningless. Moreover, it may be asked whether a collocation of causes (sāmagrī) be something different from the causes, or identical with them. If the former alternative be accepted, then effects would follow from individual causes as well, and the supposition of a collocation of causes as producing the effects would be uncalled-for.

If the latter alternative be accepted, then, since the individuals are the causes of the collocation, the individuals being there, there is always the collocation and so always the effect, which is absurd. Again, what does this collocation of causes mean ? It cannot mean occurrence in the same time or place; for, there being no sameness of time and place for time and place respectively, they themselves would be without any cause. Again, it cannot be said that, if the existence of cause be not admitted, then things, being causeless, would be non-existent; for the Nyāya holds that there are eternal substances such as atoms, souls, etc., which have no cause.

Since cause cannot be defined, neither can effect (kārya) be satisfactorily defined, as the conception of effect always depends upon the notion of cause.

In refuting the conception of substance (dravya) Citsukha says that a substance can be defined only as being that in which the qualities inhere. But, since even qualities are seen to have qualities and a substance is believed by the Naiyāyikas to be without any quality at the moment of its origination, such a definition cannot properly distinguish or define a substance. If a substance be defined in a roundabout way as that in which there is no presence of the absolute negation of possessing qualities (guṇavattvāty-antābhāvānadhikaraṇatā), then also it may be objected that such a definition would make us regard even negation (abhāva) as a quality, since the absence of the negation of qualities, being itself a negation, cannot exist in a negation[197]. It may again be asked whether the absence of the negation of qualities refers to the negation of a number of qualities or the negation of all qualities; in either case it is wrong.

For in the first case a substance, which contains only some qualities and does not possess others, would not be called a substance, and in the latter case it would be difficult to find anything that cannot be called a substance; for where is the substance which lacks all qualities? The fact also remains that even such a roundabout definition cannot distinguish a substance from a quality; for even qualities have the numerical qualities and the qualities of separateness[198]. If it is argued that, if qualities are admitted to have further qualities, there will be a vicious infinite, it may be said in reply that the charge of vicious infinite cannot be made, since the qualities of number and separateness cannot be said to have any further qualities.

Substances, again, have nothing in common by virtue of which they could be regarded as coming under the class-concept of substances[199]. Gold and mud and trees are all regarded as substances, but there is nothing common in them by virtue of which one can think that gold is the same as mud or tree; therefore it cannot be admitted that in the substances one finds any characteristic which remains the same in them all[200].

Referring to qualities (guṇa), Citsukha deals with the definition of guṇa in the Vaiśeṣika-bhāśya of Praśastapāda. There Praśastapāda defines guṇa as that which inheres in a substance, is associated with the class-concept of substance, is itself without any quality and which has no motion (niṣkriya)[201]. But the definition of a quality cannot involve the phrase “without a quality”; for quality is still to be defined. Again, unless the guṇa is properly defined, its difference from motion is not known, and so the phrase “which has no motion” is meaningless. The class-concept of quality, again, can be determined only when the general character of qualities is known and the nature of class-concepts also is determined. Hence, from whatever point of view one may look at the question, it is impossible to define qualities.

It is needless now to multiply examples of such refutation by Citsukha. It will appear from what has been adduced that Citsukha enters into detail concerning most concepts of particular categories and tries to show their intrinsic impossibility. In some cases, however, he was not equal to the task and remained content with criticizing the definitions given by the Naiyāyikas. But it may be well to point out here that, though Śrīharṣa and Citsukha carried out an elaborate scheme of a critique of the different categories in order to show that the definitions of these categories, as given by the Nyāya, are impossible, yet neither of them can be regarded as the originator of the application of the dialectic method in the Vedānta. Śaṅkara himself had started it in his refutation of the Nyāya and other systems in his commentary on the Vedānta-sūtras, II. II.


The Dialectic of Nāgārjuna and the Vedānta Dialectic.

The dialectic of Śrīharṣa was a protest against the realistic definitions of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika, wrhich supposed that all that was knowable was also definable. It aimed at refuting these definitions in order to prove that the natures of all things are indefinable, as their existence and nature are all involved in māyā. The only reality is Brahman. That it is easy to pick holes in all definitions was taught long ago by Nāgārjuna, and in that sense (except for a tendency to find faults of a purely verbal nature in Nyāya definitions) Śrīharṣa’s method was a continuation of Nāgārjuna’s, and an application of it to the actual definitions of the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika. But the most important part of Nāgārjuna’s method was deliberately ignored by Śrīharṣa and his followers, who made no attempt to refute Nāgārjuna’s conclusions.

Nāgārjuna’s main thesis is that all things are relative and hence indefinable in themselves, and so there is no way of discovering their essences; and, since their essences are not only indefinable and indescribable, but incomprehensible as well, they cannot be said to possess any essences of their own. Nāgārjuna was followed by Āryadeva, a Ceylonese by birth, who wrote a separate work on the same subject in 400 verses. For about two centuries after this the doctrines of Nāgārjuna lay dormant, as is evidenced by the fact that Buddhaghoṣa of the fourth century A.D. does not refer to them.

During the Gupta empire, in the fifth century a.d., Asaṅga and Vasubandhu flourished. In the sixth century A.D the relativist philosophy of Nāgārjuna again flourished in the hands of Buddhapālita, of Valabhl in Surat, and of Bhavya, or Bhāvaviveka, of Orissa. The school of Bhavya was called Mādhyamika-Sautrāntika on account of his supplementing Nāgārjuna’s arguments with special arguments of his own. At this time the Yogācāra school of Mahāyāna monism developed in the north, and the aim of this school was to show that for the true knowledge of the one consciousness (vijñāna) all logical arguments were futile.

All logical arguments showed only their own inconsistency[202]. It seems very probable that Śrīharṣa was inspired by these Yogācāra authors, and their relativist allies from Nāgārjuna to Bhavya, and Candrakīrti, the master commentator on Nāgārjuna’s Mādhyamika-kārikā. Buddhapālita sought to prove that the apprehension and realization of the idealistic monism cannot be made by any logical argument, since all logic is futile and inconsistent, while Bhāvaviveka sought to establish his idealistic monism by logical arguments. Candrakīrti finally supported Buddhapālita’s scheme as against the scheme of Bhāvaviveka and tried to prove the futility of all logical arguments. It was this Mādhyamika scheme of Candrakīrti that finally was utilized in Tibet and Mongolia for the realization of idealistic monism.

In taking up his refutation of the various categories of being Nāgārjuna begins with the examination of causation. Causation in the non-Buddhistic systems of philosophy is regarded as being production from the inner changes of some permanent or abiding stuff or through the conglomeration (sāmagrī) of several factors or through some factors operating upon an unchangeable and abiding stuff. But Nāgārjuna denies not only that anything is ever produced, but also that it is ever produced in any one of the above ways. Buddhapālita holds that things cannot arise of themselves, since, if they are already existing, there is no meaning in their being produced; if things that are existing are regarded as capable of being produced again, then things would eternally continue to be produced.

Bhāvaviveka, criticizing Buddhapālita, says that the refutation of Buddhapālita should have been supplemented with reasons and examples and that his refutation would imply the undesirable thesis that, if things are not produced of themselves, they must be produced by other factors. But Candrakīrti objects to this criticism of Bhāvaviveka and says that the burden of proof in establishing the identity of cause and effect lies with the opponents, the Sāṃkhyists, who hold that view. There is no meaning in the production of what already exists, and, if that which is existent has to be produced again, and that again, there will be an infinite regress. It is unnecessary to give any new argument to refute the Sāṃkhya sat-kārya-vāda view; it is enough to point out the inconsistency of the Sāṃkhya view.

Thus Āryadeva says that the Mādhyamika view has no thesis of its own which it seeks to establish, since it does not believe in the reality or unreality of anything or in the combination of reality and unreality[203]. This was exactly the point of view that was taken by Śrīharṣa. Śrīharṣa says that the Vedāntists have no view of their own regarding the things of the world and the various categories involved in them. Therefore there was no way in which the Vedānta view could be attacked. The Vedānta, however, is free to find fault with other views, and, when once this is done and the inconsistencies of other positions are pointed out, its business is finished; for it has no view of its own to establish.

Nāgārjuna writes in his Vigraha-vyāvartanī thus:

When I have these (of my own to prove),
I can commit mistakes just for the sake (of proving);
But I have none. I cannot be accused (of being inconsistent).
If I did (really) cognize some (separate) things,
I could then make an affirmation or a denial
Upon the basis of these things perceived or (inferred).
But these (separate) things do not exist for me.
Therefore I cannot be assailed on such a basis[204].

Candrakīrti thus emphasizes the fact that it is not possible for the Mādhyamikas to offer new arguments or new examples in criticizing any view, since they have no view of their own to support. They cannot even prove their own affirmations, and, if their affirmations contain any thesis, they quarrel with it also themselves. So the Mādhyamika scheme of criticism consists only in finding fault with all theses, whatever they may be, and in replying to the counter-charges so far as inconsistencies can be found in the opponents’ theses and methods, but not in adducing any new arguments or any new counter-theses, since the Mādhyamikas have no theses of their own. In an argument one can only follow the principles that one admits; no one can be defeated by arguments carried on on the basis of principles admitted only by his opponents.

Things are not produced by any conglomeration of foreign factors or causes; for, were it so, there would be no law of such production and anything might come from any other thing, e.g. darkness from light[205]. And, if a thing cannot be produced out of itself or out of others, it cannot be produced by a combination of them both. Again, the world could not have sprung into being without any cause (ahetutaḥ).

The Buddhist logicians try to controvert this view by pointing out that, whatever a view may be, it must be established by proper proof. So, in order to prove the thesis that all existents are unproduced, the Mādhyamikas must give some proofs, and this would involve a further specification of the nature of such proofs and a specification of the number of valid proofs admitted by them. But, if the thesis that “all existents are unproved” is a mere assertion without any proof to support it, then any number of counterassertions may be made for which no proof need be showrn; and, if proofs are not required in one case, they cannot be required in the other. So one could with equal validity assert that all existents are real and are produced from causes. The Mādhyamika answer to such an objection, as formulated by Candrakīrti, is that the Mādhyamika has no thesis of his own and so the question whether his thesis is supported by valid proof or not is as meaningless as the question regarding the smallness or the greatness of a mule’s horn.

Since there is no thesis, the Mādhyamika has nothing to say regarding the nature of valid proofs (pramāṇa) or their number. But it may well be asked why, if the Mādhyamika has no thesis of his own, should he hold the proposition that all existents are unproduced (sarve bhāvā anutpannāḥ)? To this the Mādhyamika replies that such propositions appear as definite views only to ordinary people, not to the wise. The proper attitude for the wise is always to remain silent. They impart instruction only from a popular point of view to those who want to listen to them. Their arguments are not their own or those which they believe to be right, but only such as would appeal to their hearers.

It is not out of place here to mention that the Mādhyamika school wishes to keep the phenomenal and the real or the transcendental views wide apart. In the phenomenal view things are admitted to be as they are perceived, and their relations are also conceived as real. It is interesting to refer to the discussion of Candrakīrti with Diṅnāga regarding the nature of sense-percep-tions. While Diṅnāga urges that a thing is what it is in itself (sva-lakṣaṇa), Candrakīrti holds that, since relations are also perceived to be true, things are relational as well. Phenomenally substances exist as well as their qualities. The “thing in itself” of Diṅnāga was as much a relative concept as the relational things that are popularly perceived as true; that being so, it is meaningless to define perception as being only the thing in itself.

Candrakīrti thus does not think that any good can be done by criticizing the realistic logic of the Naiyāyikas, since, so far as popular perceptions or conceptions go, the Nyāya logic is quite competent to deal with them and give an account of them. There is a phenomenal reality and order which is true for the man in the street and on which all our linguistic and other usages are based. Diṅnāga, in defining perception, restricts it to the unique thing in itself (sva-lakṣaṇa) and thinks that all associations of quality and relations are extraneous to perceptions and should be included under imagination or inference.

This however does violence to our ordinary experience and yet serves no better purpose; for the definition of perception as given by Diṅnāga is not from the transcendental point of view. If that is so, why not accept the realistic conceptions of the Nyāya school, which fit in with the popular experience? This reminds us of the attitude of the Vedāntists, who on the one hand accepted the view-point of popular experience and regarded all things as having a real objective existence, and on the other hand considered them as false and unreal from the transcendental point of view of ultimate reality. The attitude of the Vedāntists on this point seems to have been directly inspired by that of the Mādhyamikas. The attempts of Śrīharṣa to refute the realistic definitions of the Nyāya were intended to show that the definitions of the Nyāya could not be regarded as absolute and true, as the Naiyāyikas used to think.

But, while the Mādhyamikas, who had no view-points of their own to support, could leave the field of experience absolutely undisturbed and allow the realistic definitions of the Nyāya to explain the popular experience in any way they liked, the Vedānta had a thesis of its own, namely, that the self-luminous Brahman was the only reality and that it was through it that everything else was manifested. The Vedānta therefore could not agree with Nyāya interpretations of experience and their definitions. But, as the Vedānta was unable to give the manifold world-appearance a footing in reality, it regarded it as somehow existing by itself and invented a theory of perception by which it could be considered as being manifested by coming in touch with Brahman and being illusorily imposed on it.

Continuing the discussion on the nature of causation, Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti hold that collocations of causal conditions which are different from the effect cannot produce the effect, as is held by the Hīnayāna Buddhists; for, since the effect is not perceived in those causal conditions, it cannot be produced out of them, and, if it is already existent in them, its production becomes useless. Production of anything out of some foreign or extraneous causes implies that it is related to them, and this relation must mean that it was in some way existent in them. The main principle which Nāgārjuna employs in refuting the idea of causation or production in various ways is that, if a thing exists, it cannot be produced, and, if it does not exist, it cannot be produced at all. That which has no essence in itself cannot be caused by anything else, and, having no essence in itself, it cannot be the cause of anything else[206].

Nāgārjuna similarly examines the concepts of going and coming and says that the action of going is not to be found in the space traversed, nor is it to be found in that which is not traversed; and apart from the space traversed and not traversed there cannot be any action of going. If it is urged that going is neither in the space traversed nor in the space untraversed, but in the person who continues to go, since going is in him in whom there is the effort of going, then this again cannot be right. For, if the action of going is to be associated with the person who goes, it cannot be associated with the space traversed. One action cannot be connected with both; and, unless some space is gone over, there cannot be a goer. If going is in the goer alone, then even without going one could be called a goer, which is impossible. If both the goer and the space traversed have to be associated with going, then there must be two actions and not one; and, if there are two actions, that implies that there are also two agents.

It may be urged that the movement of going is associated with the goer and that therefore going belongs to the goer; but, if there is no going without the goer and if there is no goer without going, how can going be associated with the goer at all? Again, in the proposition “the goer goes” (gantā gacchati) there is only one action of going, and that is satisfied by the verb “goes”; what separate “going” is there by virtue of association with which a “goer” can be so called? and, since there are no two actions of going, there cannot be a goer. Again, the movement of going cannot even be begun; for, when there is the motion of going, there is no beginning and when there is no motion of going, there cannot be any beginning. Again, it cannot be urged that “going” must exist, since its opposite, “remaining at rest” (sthiti), exists; for who is at rest? The goer cannot be at rest, since no one can be a goer unless he goes; he who is not a goer, being already at rest, cannot be the agent of another action of being at rest. If the goer and going be regarded as identical, then there would be neither verb nor agent.

So there is no reality in going. “Going” stands here for any kind of passage or becoming, and the refutation of “going” implies the refutation of all kinds of passage (niṣkarṣaṇa) as well. If seeds passed into the state of shoots (añkura), then they would be seeds and not shoots; the shoots neither are seeds nor are different from them; yet, the seeds being there, there are the shoots. A pea is from another pea, yet no pea becomes another pea. A pea is neither in another pea nor different from it. It is as one may see in a mirror the beautiful face of a woman and feel attracted by it and run after her, though the face never passed into the mirror and there was no human face in the reflected image. Just as the essenceless reflected image of a woman’s face may rouse attachment in fools, so are world-appearances the causes of our delusion and attachment.

It is needless to multiply examples and describe elaborately Nāgārjuna’s method of applying his dialectic to the refutation of the various Buddhistic and other categories. But from what has been said it may be possible to compare or contrast Nāgārjuna’s dialectic with that of Śrīharṣa. Neither Nāgārjuna nor Śrīharṣa is interested to give any rational explanation of the world-process, nor are they interested to give a scientific reconstruction of our world-experience. They are agreed in discarding the validity of world-experience as such.

But, while Nāgārjuna had no thesis of his own to uphold, Śrīharṣa sought to establish the validity and ultimate reality of Brahman. But, it does not appear that he ever properly tried to apply his own dialectic to his thesis and attempted to show that the definition of Brahman could stand the test of the criticism of his own dialectic. Both Nāgārjuna and Śrīharṣa were, however, agreed in the view that there was no theory of the reconstruction of world-appearance which could be supported as valid. But, while Śrīharṣa attacked only the definitions of the Nyāya, Nāgārjuna mainly attacked the accepted Buddhistic categories and also some other relevant categories which were directly connected with them.

But the entire efforts of Śrīharṣa were directed to showing that the definitions of the Nyāya were faulty and that there was no way in which the Nyāya could define its categories properly. From the fact that the Nyāya could not define its categories he rushed to the conclusion that they were intrinsically indefinable and that therefore the world-appearance which was measured and scanned in terms of those categories was also false. Nāgārjuna’s methods differ considerably from those of Śrīharṣa in this, that the concepts which he criticized were shown by him to have been intrinsically based and constructed on notions which had no essential nature of their own, but were understood only in relation to others. No concept revealed any intrinsic nature of its own, and one could understand a concept only through another, and that again through the former or through another, and so on. The entire world-appearance would thus be based on relative conceptions and be false.

Nāgārjuna’s criticisms are, however, largely of an a priori nature, and do not treat the concepts in a concrete manner and are not based on the testimony of our psychological experience. The oppositions shown are therefore very often of an abstract nature and occasionally degenerate into verbalism. But as a rule they are based on the fundamentally relative nature of our experience. They are never half so elaborate as the criticisms of Śrīharṣa; but at the same time they are fundamentally more convincing and more direct than the elaborate roundabout logical subtleties of Śrīharṣa’s dialectic. It cannot be denied that, based on the dialectical methods of Nāgārjuna, Buddhapālita and Candrakīrti, Śrīharṣa’s criticisms, following an altogether different plan of approach, show wonderful powers of logical subtlety and finesse, though the total effect can hardly be regarded as an advance from the strictly philosophical point of view, while the frequent verbalism of many of his criticisms is a discredit to his whole venture.


Dialectical criticisms of Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla (a.d. 760) as forerunners of Vedānta Dialectics.

(a) Criticisms of the Sāṃkhya Pariṇāma Doctrine.

In tracing the history of the dialectical ways of thinking in the Vedānta it has been pointed out in the previous sections that the influence of Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti on Śaṅkara and some of his followers, such as Śrīharṣa, Citsukha and others, was very great. It has also been pointed out that not only Nāgārjuna and Candrakīrti, but many other Buddhist writers, had taken to critical and dialectical ways of discussion. The criticism of the different schools of Indian thought, as contained in Śāntarakṣita’s Tattva-saṃgraha with Kamalaśīla’s commentary Pañjikā, is a remarkable instance of this. Śāntarakṣita lived in the first half of the eighth century A.D., and Kamalaśīla was probably his junior contemporary.

They refuted the views of

  • Kambalāśvatara, a follower of the Lokāyata school,
  • the Buddhist Vasumitra (a.d. 100),
  • Dharmatrāta (a.d. 100),
  • Ghoṣaka (a.d. 150),
  • Buddhadeva (a.d. 200),
  • the Naiyāyika Vātsyāyana (a.d. 300),
  • the Mīmāmsist Śabarasv?min (a.d. 300),
  • the Sāṃkhyist Vindhyasvāmin (a.d. 300),
  • the Buddhist Saṅghabhadra (a.d. 350),
  • Vasubandhu (a.d. 350),
  • the Sāṃkhyist īśvarakṛṣṇa (a.d. 390),
  • the Buddhist Diṅnāga (a.d. 400),
  • the Jaina Ācāryasūri (a.d. 478),
  • the Sāṃkhyist Māthara Ācārya (a.d. 500),
  • the Naiyāyika Uddyotakara (a.d. 600),
  • the rhetorician Bhāmaha (a.d. 640),
  • the Buddhist Dharmakīrti (a.d. 650),
  • the grammarian-philosopher Bhartrhari (a.d. 650),
  • the Mīmāmsist Kumārila bhaṭṭa (a.d. 680),
  • the Jaina Śubhagupta (a.d. 700),
  • the Buddhist Yugasena (a.d. 700),
  • the Naiyāyika Āviddhakarṇa (a.d. 700),
  • Śaṅkarasvāmin (A.D. 700),
  • Praśastamati (a.d. 700),
  • Bhāvivikta (a.d. 700),
  • the Jaina Pātrasvāmin (a.d. 700),
  • Āhrika (a.d. 700),
  • Sumati (a.d. 700),
  • and the Mīmāmsist Uveyaka (a.d. 700)[207].

It is not possible here, of course, to enter into a complete analysis of all the criticisms of the different philosophers by Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla; yet some of the important points of these criticisms may be noted in order to show the nature and importance of this work, which also reveals the nature of the critical thinking that prevailed among the Buddhists before Śaṅkara and by which Śaṅkara and his followers, like Śrīharṣa, Citsukha or Ānandajñāna, were in all probability greatly influenced.

In criticizing the Sāṃkhya views they say that, if the effects, the evolutes, be identical with the cause, the pradhāna, why should they be produced from the pradhāna ? If they are identical, then the evolutes themselves might be regarded as cause or the pradhāna as effect. The ordinary way of determining causality is invariable antecedence, and that is avowedly not available here. The idea of pariṇāma, which means identity in diversity, the causal scheme of the Sāṃkhya, is also inadmissible; for, if it is urged that any entity changes into diverse forms, it may be asked whether the nature of the causal entity also changes or does not change. If it does not change, then the causal and the effect states should abide together in the later product, which is impossible; if it changes, then there is nothing that remains as a permanent cause; for this would only mean that a previous state is arrested and a new state is produced.

If it is urged that causal transformation means the assumption of new qualities, it may be asked whether such qualities are different from the causal substance or not; if they are, then the occurrence of new qualities cannot entitle one to hold the view that the causal substance is undergoing transformations (pariṇāma). If the changing qualities and the causal substance are identical, then the first part of the argument would reappear. Again, the very arguments that are given in favour of the sat-kārya-vāda (existence of the effect in the cause) could be turned against it. Thus, if curds, etc. already exist in the nature of the milk, then what is the meaning of their being produced from it? If there is no idea of production, there is no idea of causality.

If it is urged that the effects are potentially existent in the cause, and causal operations only actualize them, then it is admitted that the effects are actually non-existent in the cause, and we have to admit in the cause some specific characteristic, brought about by the causal operation, on account of the absence of which the effects remained in the potential state in the cause, and that the causal operations which actualize the effects produce some specific determinations in the cause, in consequence of which the effect, which was non-existent before, is actualized; this would mean that what was non-existent could be produced, which would be against the sat-kārya-vāda theory. In the light of the above criticisms, since according to the sat-kārya-vāda theory causal productions are impossible, the arguments of Sāṃkhya in favour of sat-kārya-vāda , that only particular kinds of effects are produced from particular kinds of causes, are also inadmissible.

Again, according to Sāṃkhya, nothing ought to be capable of being definitely asserted, since according to the sat-kārya-vāda theory doubts and errors are always existent as a modification of either buddhi , manas or caitanya. Again, the application of all Sāṃkhya arguments might be regarded as futile, since all arguments are intended to arrive at decisive conclusions; but decisive conclusions, being effects, are already existent. If, however, it is contended that decisive conclusions were not existent before, but were produced by the application of arguments, then there is production of what was non-existent, and thus the sat-kārya-vāda theory fails.

If it is urged that, though the decisive conclusion (niścaya) is already existent before the application of the argumentative premises, yet it may be regarded as being manifested by the application of those premises, the Sāṃkhyist may be asked to define what he means by such manifestation (abhivyakti). This manifestation may mean either some new characteristic or some knowledge or the withdrawal of some obscuration to the comprehension. In the first alternative, it may again be asked whether this new character (svabhāvātiśaya) that is generated by the application of the premises is different from the decisive conclusion itself or identical with it.

If it is identical, there is no meaning in its introduction; if it is different, no relation is admissible between these two, since any attempt to introduce a relation between two unrelated entities would launch us into a vicious infinite (anavasthā). It cannot mean the rise of the knowledge about that particular object for the manifestation of which the premises are applied; for, according to the sat-kārya-vāda theory, that knowledge is already there. Again, it cannot mean the removal of the obscuration of knowledge; for, if there is obscuration, that also must be ever-existent. As a matter of fact, the whole of the teachings of Sāṃkhya philosophy directed to the rise of true knowledge ought to be false, for true knowledge is ever-existent, and therefore there ought to be no bondage, and therefore all persons should always remain emancipated. Again, if there is any false knowledge, it could not be destroyed, and therefore there could be no emancipation.

Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla then urge that, though the above refutation of the sat-kārya-vāda ought naturally to prove the a-sat-kārya-vāda (the production of that which did not exist before) doctrine, yet a few words maybe said in reply to the Sāṃkhya refutation of a-sat-kārya-vāda. Thus the argument that that which is nonexistent has no form (nairūpya) and therefore cannot be produced is false; for the operation of production represents itself the character of the thing that is being produced.

As the Satkāryavādins think that out of the same three guṇas different kinds of effects may be produced according to causal collocations, so here also, according to the law of different kinds of causal forces (karaṇa-śakti-pratiniyamāt), different kinds of non-existing effects come into being. It is meaningless to hold that the limitation of causal forces is to be found in the pre-existence of effects; for, in reality, it is on account of the varying capacities of the causal forces that the various effects of the causes are produced. The production of various effects is thus solely due to the diverse nature of the causal forces that produce them. The law of causal forces is thus ultimately fundamental. The name a-sat-kārya-vāda, however, is a misnomer; for certainly there is no such non-existent entity which comes into being[208].

Production in reality means nothing more than the characteristic of the moment only, divested from all associations of a previous and a succeeding point of time[209]. The meaning of a-sat-kārya-vāda is that an entity called the effect is seen immediately after a particular causal operation; and it certainly did not exist before this second moment, since, if it did exist at the first moment of the causal operation, it would have been perceived; it is therefore said that the effect did not exist before; but this should not be interpreted to mean that the Buddhists believed in the non-existing existence of the effect, which suddenly came into being after the causal operation.

Refuting the other Sāṃkhya doctrines, Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla point out that, if an effect (e.g. curd) is said to exist in the cause (e.g. milk), it cannot do so in the actual form of the effect, since then milk would have tasted as curd. If it is said to exist in the form of a special capacity or potency (śakti), then the existence of the effect in the cause is naturally denied; for it is the potency of the effect that exists in the cause and not the effect itself. Again, the Sāṃkhyists believe that all sensible things are of the nature of pleasure and pain; this, however, is obviously impossible, since only conscious states can be regarded as pleasurable or painful. There is no sense at all in describing material things as of the nature of pleasure or pain. Again, if objective material things were themselves pleasurable or painful, then the fact that the same objects may appear pleasurable to some and painful to others would be unexplainable.

If, however, it is held that even pleasurable objects may appear painful to someone, on account of his particular state of mind or bad destiny, then the objects themselves cannot be pleasurable or painful. Again, if objects are regarded as being made up of three guṇas , there is no reason for admitting one eternal prakrti as the source of them all. If causes are similar to effects, then from the fact that the world of objects is many and limited and non-eternal one ought to suppose that the cause of the objects also should be many, limited and noneternal. It is sometimes held that, as all earthen things are produced from one earth, so all objects are produced from one prakṛti; but this also is a fallacious argument, since all earthen things are produced not out of one lump of earth, but from different lumps. Thus, though it may be inferred that the world of effects must have its causes, this cannot lead us to infer that there is one such cause as the prakṛti of the Sāṃkhyists.


(b) Criticism of Īśvara.

One of the chief arguments of the Naiyāyika theists in favour of the existence of God is based on the fact that the specific forms and shapes of the different objects in the world cannot be explained except on the supposition of an intelligent organizer or shaper. To this Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla reply that we perceive only the different kinds of visual and tactile sensibles and that there are no further shaped wholes or so-called objects, which men fancy themselves to be perceiving. It is meaningless to think that the visual sensibles and tactile sensibles go together to form one whole object. When people say that it is the same coloured object, seen in the day, that we touched in the night when we did not see it, they are wrong; for colour sensibles or sense-data are entirely different kinds of entities from tactile sense-data, and it is meaningless to say that it is the same object or whole which has both the colour and tactile characteristics. If two colour sensibles, say yellow and blue, are different, then still more different are the colour sensibles and the tactile ones. What exist therefore are not wholes having colour and tactile characters, but only discrete elements of colour and tactile sense-data; the combining of them into wholes is due only to false imagination.

There are no objects which can be perceived by the two senses; there is no proof that it is one identical object that is perceived by the eye as well as touched. There exist therefore only loose and discrete sense-data. There being thus no shaped wholes, the supposition of the existence of God as shaper and organizer is inadmissible. The mere fact that there are the effects cannot lead to the inference that there is one intelligent creator and organizer, since a causal inference cannot be made from mere similarity of any description; there must be a law of unconditional and invariable connection (pratibandha). The argument that, since jugs, etc. are made by an intelligent potter, so trees, etc. must also have been made by an intelligent creator, is faulty; for trees, etc., are so different in nature from jugs, etc., that it is wrong to make any assertion from the former to the latter.

The general Buddhist arguments against the existence of any eternal entity will also apply against the existence of any eternal God. The argument that, since a state of arrest breaks up into a state of motion or production in all natural phenomena, there must be an intelligent creator, is wrong; for there is no state of arrest in nature; all things in the world are momentary. Again, if things are happening in succession, at intervals, through the operation of a causal agent, then God also must be operating at intervals and, by the arguments of the opponents themselves, He must have another being to guide His operations, and that another, and that another, and there would thus be a vicious infinite. If God had been the creator, then everything would have sprung into being all at once. He ought not to depend on accessory assistance; for, He being the creator of all such accessory circumstances, they could not render Him any assistance in His creation.

Again, if it is urged that the above argument does not hold, because God only creates when He wishes, then it may be replied that, since God’s will is regarded as eternal and one, the old objection of simultaneous production holds good. Moreover, since God is eternal and since His will depends only on Him and Him alone, His will cannot be transitory. Now, if He and His will be always present, and yet at the moment of the production of any particular phenomenon all other phenomena are not produced, then those phenomena cannot be regarded as being caused by God or by His will. Again, even if for argument’s sake it may be granted that all natural objects, such as trees, hills, etc., presuppose intelligent creators, there is no argument for supposing that one intelligent creator is the cause of all diverse natural objects and phenomena. Therefore there is no argument in favour of the existence of one omniscient creator.

The arguments urged in refutation of prakṛti and īśvara would also apply against the Pātañjala-Sāṃkhya, which admits the joint causality of īśvara and prakṛti ; for here also, prakṛti and īśvara being eternal causes, one would expect to have simultaneous production of all effects. If it is urged that the three guṇas behave as accessory causes with reference to God’s operation, then also it may be asked whether at the time of productive activity (sarga) the activity of dissolution or of maintenance (sthiti) may also be expected to be operated, or whether at the time of dissolution, there might be productive operation as well.

If it is urged that, though all kinds of forces are existent in prakṛti , yet it is only those that become operative that take effect, it may be objected that some other kind of cause has to be admitted for making some powers of prakṛti operative, while others are inoperative, and this would introduce a third factor; thus the joint causality of puruṣa and prakṛti is also easily refuted. Again, the view that God produces the world through kindness is also false; for, had it been so, the world would not have been so full of misery. Again, there being before creation no beings, God could not feel kindness to nonexistent beings. He would not have destroyed the world had He been so kind; if He created and destroyed the world in accordance with the good or bad deeds, then He would not be independent. Had He been independent, He wouldnothave allowed Himself to be influenced by the consequences of bad deeds in producing misery in the world.

If He created the world out of mere playful instincts, then these playful instincts would be superior to Him. If He derived much enjoyment from His productive and destructive play, then, if He were able, He would have created and destroyed the world simultaneously. If He is not capable of creating and destroying the world simultaneously, then there is no reason to suppose that He would be able to do it at intervals. If it is urged that the world was produced naturally by His own existence, then there would be simultaneous production. If it is objected that, just as spiders, though they naturally go on producing webs, yet do not produce them all at once, so God also may be producing the world gradually and not all at once, it may then be pointed out that the analogy of spider’s webs is false, since the spider does not naturally produce webs, but only through greed for eating insects, and its activities are determined by such motives.

God, however, is One who can have only one uniform motive. If it is urged that creation flows from God unconsciously, as it were, it may readily be objected that a being who creates such a great universe without any intelligent purpose would indeed be very unintelligent.


(c) Refutation of the Soul Theory.

The Nyāya view of the soul, that our thoughts must have a knower and that our desires and feelings must have some entity in which they may inhere and that this entity is soul and that it is the existence of this one soul that explains the fact of the unity of all our conscious states as the experience of one individual, is objected to by Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla. They hold that no thought or knowledge requires any further knower for its illumination; if it had been so, there would be a vicious infinite. Again, desires, feelings, etc., are not like material objects, which would require a receptacle in which they might be placed. The so-called unity of consciousness is due to a false unifying imagination of the momentary ones as one. It is also well known that different entities may be regarded as combined on account of their fulfilling the same kinds of functions.

It is knowledge in its aspect of ego that is often described as the self, though there is no objective entity corresponding to it. It is sometimes argued that the existence of the soul is proved by the fact that a man is living only so long as his vital currents are connected with the soul, and that he dies when they are disconnected from it; but this is false, since, unless the existence of soul be proved, the supposition of its connection with vital currents as determining life is untenable. Some, however, say that the self is directly perceived in experience; if it had not been, there would not have been such diversity of opinion about its existence.

The sense of ego cannot be said to refer to the self; for the sense of ego is not eternal, as it is supposed to be. On the other hand, it refers sometimes to our body (as when I say, “I am white”), sometimes to the senses (as when I say, “I am deaf”), and sometimes to intellectual states. It cannot be said that its reference to body or to senses is only indirect; for no other permanent and direct realization of its nature is found in experience. Feelings, desires, etc., also often arise in succession and cannot therefore be regarded as inhering in a permanent self. The conclusion is that, as all material objects are soulless, so also are human beings. The supposed eternal soul is so different from the body that it cannot be conceived how one can help the other or even be related to it. Thus there is hardly any argument in favour of the soul theory of the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika.


(d) Refutation of the Mīmāṃsā Theory of the Self.

Kumārila believed that, though the nature of the self as pure consciousness was eternal and unchangeable, yet it passed through various changing phases of other feeling and volitional states. That the self was of the nature of pure consciousness was proved by the fact that it perceives itself to be knower in the past and in the present. So the existence of the self is proved by the fact of self-consciousness. To this Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla reply that, if the self is regarded as one eternal consciousness, then knowledge or the knowing faculty (buddhi) ought also to be regarded as similarly one and eternal; but seemingly Kumārila does not consider buddhi to be such.

If the knowing faculty be regarded as eternal and one, how are the varying states of cognition, such as colour-cognition, taste-cognition, etc., to be explained? If it is urged that, though the knowing faculty is one, yet (just as a fire, though it has always a capacity of burning, yet bums only when combustible substances are put in it) it only passes through various kinds of perception according as various kinds of objects are presented to it; or, just as a mirror, though it has always the power of reflecting, yet only reflects when the objects are presented to it, so the selves are eternally conscious and yet operate only in connection with their specific bodies and grasp the various kinds of sense-data, and all cognitions are forged from them(selves).

If the change of cognitions is due to the changing operations of the senses and the sense-objects, then such a cognizing faculty cannot be regarded as eternal and one. If the knowing faculty is to be regarded as eternal owing to an experience of continuity of consciousness, then how can one explain the variety of cognitions? If it is urged that the variety of cognitions is due to the assumption by the cognizing faculty of various forms of objects, then how can one explain the experience of the variety of cognitions in hallucinations, when there are no objects? Moreover the Mīmāmsist does not think that the cognizing faculty assumes the forms of the objects cognized, but believes that cognition reveals the objects in the objective world and the cognizing faculty has itself no forms (nirākārā buddhiḥ).

The fact that there may be cognitions without a corresponding real objective presentation proves that our cognitions are subjective and self-revealed and that they do not reveal objective entities. If it is urged that the knowing faculty has always the power of revealing all things, then sound-cognition would be the same as colour-cognition. The analogy of fire is also false, since there is not one fire that is constant; the analogy of the reflecting mirror is also false, since there is really no reflection in the mirror itself; one can see a reflection in a mirror at a particular angle, the mirror therefore is only an apparatus for producing an illusory cognition. Again, the buddhi cannot be compared to a mirror as an apparatus for producing illusory images; for then some other buddhi would be necessary for perceiving illusory images. Again, if the self is regarded as one and eternal, then it cannot pass through the varying feeling and volitional states.

If these states are not entirely different from the self, then their changes would imply the change of the self; and again, if they are entirely different from the self, how should their change affect the self? Again, if these states all belong to the self and it is urged that it is when the pleasurable state is submerged in the nature of the common self, that the painful state may arise, it may be pointed out in objection that, if the pleasurable states could be submerged in the nature of the self in identity with itself, then they would be identical with the nature of the self. It is also wrong to suppose that the sense of self-consciousness refers to a really existing entity corresponding to it. It has in reality no specific object to refer to as the self. It may therefore be safely asserted that the existence of the self is not proved by the evidence of self-consciousness.


(e) Refutation of the Sāṃkhya View of the Self.

Against the Sāṃkhya view of the self it is pointed out that the Sāṃkhya regards the self as pure consciousness, one and eternal, and that, as such, it ought not to be able to enjoy diverse kinds of experiences. If it is held that enjoyment, etc., all belong to buddhi and the puruṣa only enjoys the reflections in the buddhi , it may well be objected that if the reflections in the buddhi are identical with puruṣa , then with their change the puruṣa also undergoes a change; and if they are different, the puruṣa cannot be considered to be their enjoyer. Again, if the prakṛti concentrates all its activities for the enjoyment of the puruṣa , how can it be regarded as unconscious? Again, if all actions and deeds belong to buddhi , and if buddhi be different from puruṣa , why should the puruṣa suffer for what is done by the buddhi?. If, again, the nature of puruṣa cannot be affected by the varying states of pleasure and pain, then it cannot be regarded as an enjoyer; and, if it could be affected, it would itself be changeable.


(f) The Refutation of the Upaniṣad View of the Self.

The Upaniṣadic thinkers hold that it is one eternal consciousness that illusorily appears as all objects, and that there is in reality no perceiver and perceived, but only one eternal consciousness. Against this view it is urged by Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla that, apart from the individual cognitions of colour, taste, etc., no eternal, unchangeable consciousness is experienced. If one eternal consciousness is the one reality, then there cannot be a distinction of false knowledge and right knowledge, bondage and emancipation. There being only one reality, there is no right knowledge which need be attained.


(g) Refutation of the Theory of the Persistence of Existing Entities.

Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla point out that the Naiyāyikas divide existing entities into two classes, as produced (kṛtaka) and unproduced (a-kṛtaka), and they hold that those which are produced are destructible. The Vātsīputrīyas also similarly divide existing entities into momentary (e.g. ideas, sound, flame, etc.) and non-momentary (e.g. earth, sky, etc.). On this point Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla urge that whatever is produced is momentary, since the destructibility of momentary things does not depend on any cause excepting the fact that they are produced; for, had the destructibility of such entities depended on conditions or causes other than the fact of their being produced, then the premise that whatever is produced is necessarily destructible would be false.

The Naiyāyika view, therefore, that produced entities depend for their destruction on other conditions, is false. If produced entities do not depend for their destruction on any other condition or cause than the fact of their being produced, then they must be destroyed the moment they are produced, or in other words they are momentary. Moreover, destruction, being negation, is not a positive entity and is absolutely contentless, and only positive entities depend on other conditions or causes for their production. Destruction, being negation, is not produced by any conditions or causes like a positive entity. Destruction therefore is not generated by any separate causal apparatus, but the very causes that lead to the production of an entity lead also to its destruction the next moment. Destructibility being a necessary characteristic of productibility, destruction cannot need the interference of any causes. It has also been stated above that destruction is pure negation and has therefore no characteristics which have to be generated by any positive set of causes or conditions[210].

Kamalaśīla and Śāntarakṣita urge that existence (sattva) can be affirmed only of those entities which are capable of serving a purpose (artha-kriyā-samarthā). They urge that entities can only serve a purpose, if they are momentary. Entities that persist cannot serve any purpose and therefore cannot have any existence. In order to prove their thesis they enter into the following argument. If anv purpose is to be served, then that can be either in succession or simultaneously, and no middle alternative is possible. If an existing entity persists in time, then all its effects ought to come about simultaneously; for, the complete cause being there, the effects must also be there, and there is no reason why the effects should happen in succession; but it is well known in experience that effects happen only in succession and not simultaneously.

If, however, it is objected that even a persisting entity can perform actions in succession owing to its association with successive accessories (kramiṇaḥ sahakāriṇaḥ), then one may well enquire as to the nature of the assistance given by the successive accessories to the persisting entity in the production of the effect; is it by producing a special modification (atiśayādhāna) of the persisting cause or by independent working in consonance with the productive action of the persisting entity? In the first alternative, the special modification may be either identical with or different from the nature of the persisting entity, and both these alternatives are impossible; for, if it is identical, then, since the effect follows in consequence of the special modification of the accessories, it is the element of this special modification that is to be regarded as the cause of the effect, and not the persisting entity.

If it is again urged that the effect is due to the association of the special modification with the persisting entity, then it would be impossible to define the nature of such association; for an association may be either of identity or of productivity (tādātmya and tad-utpatti), and neither of them is possible in the present case, since the special modification is recognized as being different from the persisting entity and is acknowledged by assumption to be produced by the accessories. Again, such association cannot be regarded as being of the nature of samavāya ; for this special modification, being of the nature of an additional assistance (upakāra), cannot be regarded as being of the nature of inseparable inherence (samavāya).

If this special modification be regarded as being neither of the nature of an additional assistance (upakāra) nor of the nature of an essence identical with the persisting entity, and if it is still regarded as being associated with the persisting entity in a relation of samavāya , then anything in the world could be regarded as being in the samavāya relation with anything else. In the other alternative, in which it is maintained that the persisting entity awaits only the independent working of the accessories, it may well be asked whether the causal nature of the persisting entity is the same together with the totality of the accessories as it is without them? In the former case, the accessories would also be persistent. In the latter case, the persisting entity can no longer be regarded as persisting.

Regarding the objection of Bhadanta Yogasena, that the same difficulties would arise in the assumption of entities as momentary, Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla reply that in their view the accessories behave in two ways, firstly, as independent co-operation (ekārtha - kriyā-kāritā) and, secondly, as mutual help (parasparopakāritā). Thus in the first moment the different accessory-units are only independently co-operant, since, in one moment, their mutual actions cannot help one another; but in the second moment, the effects may be regarded as being of a joint nature, and therefore mutually determining one another, in the production of the effect of the third moment. In this view', though each entity operates independently, yet none of their operations are irrelevant. They are all being produced and determined by the respective causes and conditions in a beginningless series.

The objection against the momentariness of all things on the ground that things are perceived and recognized to be the same, and as persisting, is not a valid one. For the fact of persistence cannot be perceived by the senses and must be regarded as due to false imagination. All recognition is due to the operation of memory, which is almost universally recognized as invalid for purposes of right knowledge. On this point it may be argued that in recognition, if the entity now perceived be the same as the entity perceived at a previous time, then how can a cognition in the past comprehend an entity of the present time? If they are held to be different, then it is acknowledged that the entities perceived as the same in recognition are not really the same. The objector’s argument that, since things pass by the same name, they must be persistent is invalid; for it is well known that even in ordinary perception, where a flame is known to be destroyed every moment, and produced anew, it is still said in common verbal usage to be the same flame. Thus all existing things must be regarded as momentary.


(h) Refutation of Criticisms of the Non-permanency of Entities.

It is objected by the Naiyāyikas and others that, if things are momentary, then the theory of karma would fail; for how can it be understood that the deeds be performed by one, and the fruits reaped by another ? How, again, can it be understood that a momentary cause which does not abide till the rise of the effect should produce the same? Again, if objects are momentary, how can they be perceived by the eye? The phenomena of recognition would also be inexplicable, as there would be no permanent perceiver who would identify the present and the past as being one. How, again, would the phenomenon of bondage and of emancipation apply to a non-permanent being? In reply to this Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla say that, just as a seed by means of its invariable power produces the shoots, without being superintended by any conscious agent, so the inner states of a man may generate other states, without being superintended by any permanent conscious agent; the formula (dharma-saṃketa) for all production is, “this happening, that happens”; “this being produced, that is produced.” It is through ignorance that a man cannot discern that all subsequent states are determined by the natural forces of the preceding ones and thinks of himself as performing this or that action or as striving for emancipation.

The true nature of things cannot be determined by the illusory experience of ignorant people. It is sometimes objected that the parts of a seed attain a due constitution by assimilating nutritive elements at the second stage, and then again at the third stage attain a new constitution by further accretion of new nutritive elements, and that therefore it cannot be held that the parts of the seed are entirely destroyed at the second stage. To this the reply of Śāntarakṣita is that in the second moment the effect is produced in dependence on the undestroyed causal efficiency of the first causal moment; so that the effect is produced by the causal efficiency of the first moment, when the cause is not destroyed. The cause however perishes in the second moment; for, once the cause has produced the effect, it cannot be producing it again and again; if it did, there would be a vicious infinite. It must therefore be admitted that the causal efficiency of the cause ceases immediately after production[211].

The view that the effect is produced simultaneously with the cause (saha-bhūtaṃ kāryam) is unreasonable, since the cause cannot produce the effect before it is itself produced; again, it cannot produce after it is itself produced; for then the effect also has to be acknowledged to be of the same nature as the cause; but at the same moment it can have no scope for its efficiency. Thus the cause and effect cannot be produced simultaneously. There is no necessity also for admitting a causal operation (vyāpāra), as separate and distinct from the cause. Invariable antecedence is the only qualification of cause[212]. If a causal operation has to be admitted for connecting the cause with the effect, then that would require another operation, and that another, and there would be a vicious infinite. If the causal operation is admitted to be able to generate the effect independently by itself, so can the cause be also admitted to be able to produce the effect.

The objection that, if antecedence be admitted to be alone the determinant of causality, then the fact, that a thing is smelled after it is seen may also lead one to infer that colour is the cause of smell, is invalid, for the Buddhists have no objection to regarding colour as an accessory cause of smell. It must also be remembered that the Buddhists do not regard mere antecedence as the definition of cause, but invariable and necessary antecedence[213]. Again, no difficulty need be experienced in perception, if the objects are admitted to be momentary; for ideas may be considered to have forms akin to the objects, or to be formless, but revealing the objects. In either case the ideas are produced by their causes, and the momentariness or permanence of objects has nothing to do with their determination[214]. There are in reality no agent and no enjoyer, but only the series of passing mental phenomena. Causality consists in the determination of the succeeding states by the previous ones.

The objection of Uddyotakara, that, if the mind is momentary, it cannot be modified (vāsanā) by deeds (karma), is invalid; for, in the Buddhist view, this modification (vāsanā) means nothing more than the production of a new mental state of a modified nature. There is again no permanent perceiver who remembers and recognizes; it is only when in a particular series of conscious states, on account of the strength of a particular perception, such particularly modified mental states are generated as may be said to contain seeds of memory, that memory is possible. The Buddhists also do not consider that there is one person who suffers bondage and is liberated; they think that bondage means nothing more than the production of painful states due to ignorance (avidyā) and other mental causes, and that liberation also means nothing more than purity of the mental states due to cessation of ignorance through right knowledge.


(i) Refutation of the Nyāya Vaiśeṣika Categories.

Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla attempt to refute the categories of substance (dravya) with its subdivisions, quality (guṇa), action (karma), generality, or class concepts (sāmānya), specific peculiarities (viśeṣa), relation of inherence (samavāya), and the connotation and denotation of words (śabdārtha). This refutation may briefly be set out here.

Speaking against the eternity of atoms, they hold that, since no special excellence can be produced in eternal entities, no conditions or collocations of any kind can produce any change in the nature of the atoms; thus, the atoms being always the same in nature, all objects should be produced from them either at once, or not at all. The mere fact that no cause of atoms is known is no ground for thinking that they are causeless. Again, substance, as different from characters and qualities, is never perceived. The refutation of wholes (avayavī), which has already been effected, also goes against the acceptance of substantive wholes, and so the four substances earth, water, air and fire, which are ordinarily regarded as substantive—wholes made up of atoms also stand refuted. Again, it is not easy to prove the existence of separate and independent time and space entities; for spatial and temporal determinations may well be explained as mental modifications due, like other facts of experience, to their specific causes. The Buddhists of course accept the existence of manas as an instrument separate from the sense-organs, but they do not admit its existence as an eternal and single entity.

The refutation of substances implies the refutation of guṇas, which are supposed to be dependent on substances. If the substances do not exist, there can also be no relation of inherence, in which relation the guṇas are supposed to exist in substances. There is, again, no meaning in acknowledging colours, etc., as different from the atoms in which they are supposed to exist. The perception of numbers also ought to be regarded as due to mental modifications associated with particular cognitions. There is no reason for holding that numbers should stand as separate qualities. In a similar manner Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla proceed with the refutation of the other Nyāya qualities.

Proceeding with the refutation of action (karma), they hold that, if all things are admitted to be momentary, then action cannot be attributed to them; for action, involving as it does successive separation of parts and association of contact-points, implies many moments for its execution. If things are admitted to be persistent or eternal, then also movement cannot be explained. If things are admitted to be always moving, then they will be in motion while they are perceived to be at rest, which is impossible. If things are at rest by nature, there cannot be any vibratory movement in them. The main principle involved in the refutation of guṇas and karmas consists in the fact that the guṇas and karmas are regarded by the Buddhists as being identical with the particular sense-data cognized. It is wrong, in their view, to analyse the sense-data as substances having qualities and motion as different categories inhering in them. Whatever may be the substance, that is also the quality which is supposed to be inhering in it, as also the motion which it is supposed to execute.

Regarding the refutation of class-concepts the main drift of Buddhist argument is that, though the perception of class-natures may be supposed to be due to some cause, yet it is wrong to assume the existence of eternal class-nature existing constantly in all the changing and diverse individual members of a class. For, howsoever we may try to explain it, it is difficult to see how one thing can remain constantly the same, though all the individual members in which it is supposed to exist are constantly changing. If class-natures are said to inhere owing to specific qualities, e.g. cooking in the cook, then also it may be objected that, since the operation of cooking is different in each case, there is no one character “cooking” by virtue of which the class-nature of cook is admissible. Moreover, a cook is called a cook even when he is not cooking. Considerations like these should lead any thinking person to deny the existence of eternal class-natures.

Regarding the refutation of specific qualities (viśeṣa) it is held that, if yogins can perceive the ultimate specific qualities as different from one another, they might equally perceive the atoms to be different from one another; if the atoms cannot be perceived as different except through some other properties, then the same may be required of the specific properties themselves.

Regarding the refutation of samavāya, or relation of inherence, the Buddhist objects mainly to the admission of a permanent samavāya relation, though all the individuals in which this relation may be supposed to exist should be changing or perishing. It is a false supposition that the relation of inherence, such as that of the cloth in the thread, is ever felt to be, as if the one (e.g. the cloth) was existing in the other (threads), as the Naiyāyikas suppose.


Dialectic of Śaṅkara and Ānandajñāna.

It is well known that Śaṅkarācārya in his commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, 11. ii 11-17, criticizes the atomic theory of the Vaiśeṣikas. His first thesis is that the production of an effect different in nature from the cause, as in the case of the production of the impure world from pure Brahman, can be justified on the analogy of even the critics of the Vedānta, the Vaiśeṣikas. The Vaiśeṣikas hold that in the production of the dvy-aṇuka (containing two atoms) from the paramāṇu (single atom) and of the catur-aṇuka (containing four atoms) from the dvy-aṇuka, all other qualities of the paramāṇu and the dvy-aṇuka are transferred to the dvy-aṇuka and catur-aṇuka respectively, excepting the specific measures of pārimāṇḍalya (specific atomic measure) and aṇu-hrasva (specific measure of the dyads), which are peculiar to paramāṇu and dvy-aṇuka respectively.

Thus, though all other qualities of paramāṇus pass over to dvy-aṇukas produced by their combination, yet the specific pārimāṇḍalya measure of the paramāṇus does not pass to the dvy-aṇukas, which are of the aṇu-hrasva parimāṇa. So also, though all the qualities of dvy-aṇukas would pass on to the catur-aṇukas made out of their combination, yet their own specific aṇu-hrasva parimāṇa would not pass on to the catur-aṇukas, which are possessed of their own measure, viz. the mahat parimāṇa, uncaused by the parimāṇa of the dvy-aṇukas. This shows that the Vaiśeṣikas believe that the pārimāṇḍalya measure (parimāṇa) of the paramāṇus may produce an altogether different measure in their product, the dvy-aṇukas , and so the aṇu-hrasva measure of the dvy-aṇukas may produce an altogether different measure in their product, the catur-aṇukas , viz. the mahat parimāṇa.

On this analogy it may be contended that the Vaiśeṣikas have nothing to object to in the production of an altogether different effect (viz. the impure world) from an altogether different cause, the pure Brahman. If it is urged that the measure of the paramāṇu cannot pass on to the dvy-aṇuka only because its passage is rendered impossible by the taking possession of it by an opposite quality (the aṇu-hrasva parimāṇa), then a similar reply may be given in the case of the difference between the world and Brahman. Moreover, since, according to the Vaiśeṣika theory, all products remain for a moment without qualities, there is no reason why, when the dvy-aṇuka was produced, the pārimāṇḍalya measure should not pass on to it. At that moment, since the pārimāṇḍalya measure did not pass on to it as did the other qualities, it follows, not that the passing of the pārimāṇḍalya measure is opposed by the other parimāṇa, but that it naturally did not pass on to it. Again, it cannot be objected that the analogy of dissimilarity of qualities (guṇa) cannot be cited in support of the dissimilarity of substances.

Śaṅkara’s second thesis is that the Vaiśeṣika view that atoms combine is wrong, because, since the atoms are partless, and since combination implies contact and contact implies parts which come in contact, there cannot be any combination of atoms. Moreover, since before creation there is no one who can make an effort, and since the contact of atoms cannot be effected without effort, and since the selves, being unconscious at that time, cannot themselves make any effort, it is impossible to account for the activity without which the contact of the atoms would also be impossible.

So the atoms cannot combine, for want of the effort needed for such a contact. Śaṅkara’s third point is that the relation of samavāya upheld by the Vaiśeṣikas cannot be admitted; for, if to unite two different objects the relation of samavāya is needed, then samavāya, being itself different from them, would require another samavāya to connect itself with them, and that another, and that another, and so on ad infinitum. If the relation of contact requires a further relation of samavāya to connect it with the objects in contact, there is no reason why samavāya should not require some other relation in its turn. Again, if the atoms are regarded as always operative and combining, then there can be no dissolution (pralaya ), and, if they are always disintegrating, then creation would be impossible. Again, since the atoms possess the qualities of colour, etc., they must be the product of some simpler causes, just as other objects having qualities are made up of simpler entities.

Moreover, it is not right to suppose that, since we have the idea of non-eternality, this must imply eternality and that therefore the atoms must be eternal; for, even though it implies the existence of eternality, it does not imply that the atoms should be eternal, since there is such an eternal thing as Brahman. Again, the fact that the cause of the destruction of the atoms is not known does not imply that they are eternal; for mere ignorance of the ways of destruction does not imply eternality. Again, the Vaiśeṣikas are wrong in speaking of six different categories and yet hold that all the five other categories depend on substance for their existence or manifestation. A substance and its quality do not appear to be as different as two substances. A substance appears black or white, and this implies that the qualities are at bottom identical with the substance (dravyātmakatā guṇasya). It cannot, moreover, be urged that the dependence of other categories on substance consists in their inseparableness (ayuta-siddhatva) from it.

This inseparableness cannot be inseparableness of space; for, when threads constitute as their product a piece of cloth, then the threads and the cloth cannot be regarded as having the same space, yet, being cause and effect, they are to be regarded as ayuta-siddha , or inseparable; and yet the whiteness of the cloth is not regarded as abiding in the threads. If inseparableness means inseparableness of time, then the two horns of a bull, which exist at the same time, should also be regarded as inseparable; and, if inseparableness means inseparableness of character or sameness of character, then quality cannot be regarded as being different from substance. Again, since the cause exists prior to the effect, it cannot be regarded as inseparable from the cause, and yet it is asserted by the Vaiśeṣikas that their relation is one of samavāya , since they are inseparable in their nature.

Śaṅkara, however, seldom indulges in logical dialectic like the above, and there are only a few rare instances in which he attacks his opponents from a purely logical point of view. But even here he does not so much criticize the definitions of the Vaiśeṣikas as point out the general logical and metaphysical confusions that result from some of the important Vaiśeṣika theories. It is easy to note the difference of a criticism like this from the criticism of Śrīharṣa in his Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, where he uses all the power of his dialectical subtleties to demolish the cherished principles of pure logic as formulated by the Nyāya logicians. It is not a criticism of certain doctrines in support of others, but it is a criticism which aims at destroying the possibility of logical or perceptual knowledge as a whole. It does not touch any specific metaphysical views, but it denies the power of perception and inference to give us right knowledge, and it supposes that it achieves its purpose by proving that the Nyāya modes of definition of perception and inference are faulty and self-contradictory.

Citsukha’s attempts are more positive; for he criticizes not only the Nyāya categories of logic, but also the categories of Vaiśeṣika metaphysics, and makes some positive and important statements, too, about the Vedānta doctrine itself. Ānandajñāna’s Tarka-saṃgraha is another important work of negative criticism of the Vaiśeṣika categories and in that sense a continuation on a more elaborate scale of Citsukha’s criticisms of the Vaiśeṣika categories. The importance of the Vaiśeṣika was gradually increasing, as it was gradually more and more adopted by Vaiṣṇava realistic writers, such as Madhva and his followers, and it was supposed that a refutation of the Vaiśeṣika would also imply a refutation of the dualistic writers who draw their chief support from Vaiśeṣika physics and metaphysics.

Ānandajñāna, also called Ānandagiri, was probably a native of Gujarat and lived in the middle of the thirteenth century. Mr Tripathi points out in his introduction to Ānandajñāna’s Tarka-saṃgraha that Ānandajñāna was a spiritual head of the Dvārakā monastery of Śaṅkara, of which Sureśvarācārya was the first teacher. He was a pupil of two teachers, Anubhūtisvarūpācārya and Śuddhānanda.

Anubhūtisvarūpācārya wrote five works, viz.

  1. a grammatical work called Sārasvata-prakriyā,
  2. a commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary on Gaudapāda’s Māṇḍūkya-kārikā,
  3. a commentary on Ānandabodha Yati’s Nyāya-makaranda, called Nyāya-makaranda-saṃgraha,
  4. a commentary, called Candrikā, on Ānandabodha’s Nyāya-dīpāvalī,
  5. and another commentary, called Nibandha, on Ānandabodha’s Pramāṇa-mālā.

Nothing is known about his other teacher, Śuddhānanda, who is different from the other Śuddhānanda, the teacher of Svayamprakāśa of the seventeenth century, author of the Advaita-makaranda-ṭīkā.

One of the most distinguished of Anandagiri s pupils was Akhaṇḍānanda, author of the Tattva-dīpana, a commentary on Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, as he refers to him as śrīmad-ānanda-śailāhva-pañcāsyaṃ satataṃ bhaje in the fourth verse of his Tattva-dīpana.

Anandagiri wrote a large number of works, which are mostly commentaries.

Of these his

  • Īśāvāsya-bhāṣya-tippana,
  • Kenopaniṣad-bhāṣya-tippaṇa,
  • Vākya-vivaraṇa-vyākhyā,
  • Kathopaniṣad-bhāṣya-ṭīkā,
  • Muṇḍaka-bhāṣya-vyākhyāna,
  • Māṇḍūkya-Gauḍapādiya-bhāṣya-vyākhyā,
  • Taittirīya-bhāṣya-ṭippaṇa,
  • Chāndogya-bhāṣya-ṭīkā,
  • Taittirīya-bhāṣya-vārttika-ṭīkā,
  • Śāstra-prakāśikā,
  • Bṛhad-āraṇyaka-bhāṣya-vārttika-ṭīkā,
  • Bṛhad-āraṇyaka-bhāṣya-ṭikā,
  • Śāriraka-bhāṣya-ṭīkā (called also Nyāya-nirṇaya),
  • Gītā-bhāṣya-vivecana,
  • Pañcīkaraṇa-vivaraṇa, with a commentary called Tattva-candrikā by Rāma Tīrtha, a pupil of Jagannāthāśrama (latter part of the fifteenth century),
  • and Tarka-saṃgraha have already been printed.

But some of his other works, such as

  • Upadeśa-sāhasrī-vivṛti,
  • Vākya-vṛtti-ṭīkā,
  • Ātma-jñānopadeśa-ṭīkā,
  • Svarūpa-nirṇaya-ṭīkā,
  • Tripurī-prakaraṇa-ṭīkā,
  • Padārtha-tattva-nimaya-vivaraṇa
  • and Tattvāloka,

still remain to be printed. It will thus be seen that almost all his works are but commentaries on Śaṅkara’s commentaries and other works.

The Tarka-saṃgraha and Tattvāloka (attributed to “Janārdana,” which was probably the name of Anandagiri when he was a householder) seem to be his only two independent works[215]. Of these the manuscript of the second work, in which he refutes the doctrines of many other philosophers, including Bhāskara’s pariṇāma doctrines, has, unfortunately, not been available to the present writer. The Tarka-saṃgraha is devoted almost wholly to a detailed refutation of the Vaiśeṣika philosophy.

The book is divided into three chapters. In the first chapter, dealing with the criticism of substances (dravya), he starts with a refutation of the concepts of duality, reality (tattva), existence (sattva), non-existence, positivity (bhāva) and negativity (abhāva). Anandojñāna then passes on to a refutation of the definition of substance and its division into nine kinds (according to the Vaiśeṣika philosophy).

He then criticizes the first substance, earth, and its diverse forms, as atoms (paramāṇu) and molecules (dvyaṇuka), and its grosser forms and their modified states, as bodies, senses and sense-objects, and continues to criticize the other substances such as water, fire, air, and the theory of creation and dissolution, ākāśa, time, space, self (ātman) and manas.

In the second chapter he goes on to the criticism of qualities (guṇa), such as

  • colour (rūpa),
  • taste (rasa),
  • smell (gandha),
  • touch (sparśa),
  • the effects of heat on the transformations of objects through molecular or atomic changes (pīlu-pāka and pithara-pāka),
  • number (saṅkhyā),
  • measure (parimāṇa),
  • separateness (pṛthaktva),
  • contact (saṃyoga),
  • separation (vibhāga),
  • the nature of knowledge,
  • illusion and dreams,
  • the nature of right knowledge and its means (pramāṇa and pramā),
  • perception (pratyakṣa),
  • inference (anumāna),
  • concomitance (vyāpti),
  • reason (hetu),
  • fallacies (hetv ābhāsa),
  • examples (drṣṭānta),
  • discussions,
  • disputations and wranglings,
  • testimony of the scriptures (āgama),
  • analogy (upamāna),
  • memory,
  • pleasure,
  • pain,
  • will,
  • antipathy (dveṣa),
  • effort (prayatna),
  • heaviness,
  • liquidity (dravatva),
  • virtue,
  • vice, etc.

In the third chapter he refutes the notion of action, class-concept or universality (jāti), the relation of inherence (samavāya) and different kinds of negation. The thesis designed to be proved in all these refutations is the same as that of Śrīharṣa or Citsukha, viz. that in whatsoever manner the Vaiśeṣikas have attempted to divide, classify or define the world of appearances they have failed.

The conclusion at which he arrives after this long series of criticisms and refutations reminds us of Ānandabodha’s conclusions in his Nyāya-makaranda, on which a commentary was written by his teacher Anubhūtisvarūpa Ācārya, to which reference has already been made when Ānandabodha’s views were under discussion. Thus Ānandajñāna says that an illusory imposition cannot be regarded as existent (sat) ; for, since it is non-existent in the substratum (adhiṣṭhāna) of its appearance, it cannot be existent anywhere else. Neither can it be regarded as absolutely non-existent (atyantāsat) ; for, had it been so, it would not have appeared as immediately perceived (aparokṣa-pratīti-virodhāt) ; nor can it be regarded as existent and non-existent in the same object.

The only alternative left is that the illusory imposition is indescribable in its nature[216]. This indescribability (anirvācyatva) means that, in whichever way one may try to describe it, it is found that none of those ways can be affirmed of it or, in other words, that it is indescribable in each and every one of those ways[217]. Now, since all appearances must have something for their cause and since that which is not a real thing cannot have a real thing as its material cause (na ca avastuno vastu upādānam upapadyate), and, since they are all indescribable in their nature, their cause must also be of that nature, the nescience of the substratum[218].

He then asserts that this nescience (ajñāna), which is the material out of which all appearances take their form, is associated with Brahman; for Brahman could not be regarded as omniscient or the knower of all (sarva-jña) without its association with ajñāna, which is the material stuff of the all (the knower, the means of knowledge, the objects and their relations)[219]. Everything else that appears except the one reality, the self, the Brahman, is the product of this ajñāna. This one ajñāna then can explain the infinite kinds of appearances, and there is not the slightest necessity of admitting a number of ajñānas in order to explain the diversity or the plurality of appearances. The many selves are thus but appearances produced by this one ajñāna in association with Brahman[220]. It is the one ajñāna that is responsible for appearances of the dream state as well as of the waking state.

It is the one ajñāna which produces all kinds of diversity by its diversity of functions or modes of operation. If there is only one reality, which through one ajñāna appears in all diverse forms of appearances, how is the phenomenon of self-consciousness or self-recognition to be explained? To this difficulty Ānandajñāna’s reply is that both the perceiving and the perceived self are but false appearances in the antaḥkaraṇa (an ajñāna product), and that it does not in any way infect the one true self with any kind of activity. Thus there is the one Brahman and there is one beginningless, indescribable ajñāna in connection with it, which is the cause of all the infinitely diverse appearances through which the former appears impure and suffers bondage, as it were, and again appears liberated, as it were, through the realization of the Vedāntic truth of the real nature of the self[221]. In fact there is neither bondage nor emancipation.

In view of the above it may be suggested that Ānandajñāna is following the same line of interpretation of the relation of ajñāna to Brahman whith was upheld by Vācaspati and Ānandabodha. Ānandajñāna’s position as an interpreter of Śaṅkara’s philosophy is evident from the number of able commentaries which he wrote on the commentaries of Śaṅkara and also from the references made to him by later writers. Mr Tripathi collects the names of some of these writers, as Prajñānānanda, Śeṣa Śārñgadhara, Vādivāglśvara, Vādīndra, Rāmānanda Sarasvatī, Sadānanda Kāśmīraka (a.d. 1547), Kṛṣṇānanda (a.d. 1650), Maheśvara Tīrtha (a.d. 1650) and others.


Philosophy of the Prakaṭārtha-vivaraṇa (a.d. 1200).

The Prakaṭārtha-vivaraṇa (as the writer himself calls it in the colophon of the work— prārabhyate vivaraṇaṃ prakatārtham etat) is an important commentary still in manuscript on Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, which the present writer had an opportunity of going through from a copy in the Adyar Library, Madras, through the kind courtesy of the Librarian, Mr T. R. Chintamani, who is intending to bring out an edition. The author, however, does not anywhere in the work reveal his own name and the references which can be found in other works are all to its name as Prakatar or to the author of the Prakaṭārtha (prakatārtha-kāra), and not to the author’s personal name[222].

This work has been referred to by Ānandajñāna, of the thirteenth century (Muṇḍaka, p. 32; Kena , p. 23; Ānandāśrama editions a.d. 1918 and 1917), and it may well be supposed that the author of the work lived in the latter half of the twelfth century. He certainly preceded Rāmādvaya, the author of the Vedānta-kaumudī, who not only refers to the Prakaṭārtha, but has been largely influenced in many of his conceptions by the argument of this work[223]. The author of the latter holds that the indefinable māyā in association with pure consciousness (cinmātra-sambandhinī) is the mother of all existence (bhūta-prakṛti).

Through the reflection of pure consciousness in māyā is produced īśvara (God), and by a transformation of Him there arises the creator Brahmā, and it is by the reflection of the pure consciousness in the infinite parts of this Brahmā that there arise the infinite number of individual souls through the veiling and creating functions of the māyā. Māyā or ajñāna is not negation, but a positive material cause, just as the earth is of the jug (ajñānam nābhāva upādānatvān mṛdvat). But, being of the nature of veiling (āvaraṇatvāt) and being destructible through right knowledge (prakāśa-heyatvāt), it cannot be known as it is: still it may well be regarded as the positive cause of all illusions[224]. The well-known Vedāntic term svaprakāśa is defined in the Prakaṭārtha as illumination without the cognition of its own idea (sva-saṃvin-nairapekṣeṇa sphuraṇam).

The self is to be regarded as self-revealing ; for without such a supposition the revelation of the self would be inexplicable[225]. The author of the Prakaṭārtha then criticizes the Kumārila view of cognition as being a subjective act, inferable from the fact of a particular awareness, as also the Nyāyā-Vaiśeṣika and Prabhākara views of knowledge as an illumination of the object inhering in the subject (ātma-samavāyī viṣaya-prakāśo jñānam) , and the Bhāskara view of knowledge as merely a particular kind of activity of the self; and he ultimately holds the view that the mind or manas is a substance with a preponderance of sattva, which has an illuminating nature, and that it is this manas which, being helped by the moral destiny (adṛṣṭādi-sahakṛtam), arrives at the place where the objects stand like a long ray of light and comes in contact with it, and then as a result thereof pure consciousness is reflected upon the object, and this leads to its cognition.

Perceptual cognition, thus defined, would be a mental transformation which can excite the revelation of an object (manaḥ-pariṇāmaḥ samvid-vyañjakojñānam)[226]. In the case of inference, however, the transformation of manas takes place without any actual touch with the objects; and there is therefore no direct excitation revealing the object; for the manas there, being in direct touch with the reason or the linga, is prevented from being in contact with the object that is inferred. There is here not an operation by which the knowledge of the object can be directly revealed, but only such a transformation of the manas that a rise of the idea about the object may not be obstructed[227]. The author of the Prakaṭārtha accepted the distinction between māyā and ajñāna as conditioning Īśvara and jīva.


Vimuktātman (a.d. 1200).

Vimuktātman, a disciple of Avyayātman Bhagavat Pūjyapāda, wrote his Iṣṭa-siddhi probably not later than the early years of the thirteenth century. He is quoted and referred to by Madhusūdana in his Advaita-siddhi and by Rāmādvaya in his Vedānta-kaumudī of the fourteenth century. It was commented upon by Jñānottama, the teacher of Citsukha, and this commentary is called Iṣṭa-siddhi-vyākhyā or Iṣṭa-siddhi-vivaraṇa. For reasons stated elsewhere Jñānottama could not have flourished later than the latter half of the thirteenth century. Vimuktātman wrote also another work, called Pramāṇa-vṛtti-nirṇaya , to which he refers in his Iṣṭa-siddhi (MS. p. 72).

The work has not yet been published, and the manuscript from the Adyar Library, which is a transcript copy of a manuscript of the Nāduvil Matham, Cochin State, and which has been available to the present writer, is very fragmentary in many parts; so much so, that it is often extremely difficult to follow properly the meaning of the discussions. The work is divided into eight chapters, and is devoted in a very large part to discussions relating to the analysis of illusions in the Vedānta school and in the other schools of philosophy. This work is to be regarded as one of the four traditional Siddhis, such as the Brahmasiddhi by Maṇḍana, the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi by Sureśvara, It is easy to see how Dharmarājādhvarīndra elaborated his Vedāntic theory of perception and inference with these and other data worked out by his pre-ḍecessors.

the Iṣṭa-siddhi by Vimuktātman and the Advaita-siddhi by Madhusūdana. Hitherto only the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi and the Advaita-siddhi have been published. The Brahma-siddhi is expected to be published soon in Madras; but as yet the present writer is not aware of any venture regarding this important work.

The work begins with the interpretation of a salutation made by the author, in which he offers his adoration to that birthless, incognizable, infinite intuitive consciousness of the nature of selfjoy which is the canvas on which the illusory world-appearance has been painted. Thus he starts the discussion regarding the nature of the ultimate reality as pure intuitive consciousness (anubhūti). Nothing can be beginningless and eternal, except pure consciousness. The atoms are often regarded as beginningless; but, since they have colours and other sense-properties, they are like other objects of nature, and they have parts also, as without them no combination of atoms would be possible. Only that can be indivisible which is partless and beginningless, and it is only the intuitive consciousness that can be said to be so.

The difference between consciousness and other objects is this, that, while the latter can be described as the “this” or the object, the former is clearly not such. But, though this difference is generally accepted, dialectical reasoning shows that the two are not intrinsically different. There cannot logically be any difference between the perceiving principle (dṛk) and the perceived (dṛśya) ; for the former is unperceived (adṛśyatvāt). No difference can be realized between a perceived and an unperceived entity; for all difference relates two cognized entities. But it may be argued that, though the perceiver may not be cognized, yet he is self-luminous, and therefore the notion of difference ought to be manifested. A reply to this objection involves a consideration regarding the nature of difference. If difference were of the nature of the entities that differed, then difference should not be dependent on a reference to another (na svarūpa-dṛṣṭiḥ prati-yogy-apekṣā).

The difference has thus to be regarded as a characteristic (dharma) different from the nature of the differing entities and cognized by a distinct knowing process like colours, tastes, etc.[228] But this view also is not correct, since it is difficult to admit “difference” as an entity different from the differing entities; for such a difference would involve another difference by which it is known, and that another and that another, we should have an infinite regress; and the same objection applies to the admission of mutual negation as a separate entity. This being so, it is difficult to imagine how “difference” or mutual negation between the perceiver and the perceived can be cognized; for it is impossible that there should be any other cognition by which this “difference,” or mutual negation which has the perceiver as one of its alternating poles, could be perceived[229].

Moreover, the self-luminous perceiving power is always present, and it is impossible that it could be negated—a condition without which neither difference nor negation could be possible. Moreover, if it is admitted that such a difference is cognized, then that very fact proves that it is not a characteristic of the perceiving self. If this difference is admitted to be self-luminous, then it would not await a reference to another, which is a condition for all notions of difference or mutual negation. Therefore, “difference” or “mutual negation” cannot be established, either as the essence of the perceiving self or as its characteristics; and as there is no other way in which this difference can be conceived, it is clear that there is no difference between the perceiving self and its characteristics.

Again, negation is defined as the non-perception of a perceivable thing; but the perceiving self is of the very nature of perception, and its non-perception would be impossible. Admitting for the sake of argument that the perceiving self could be negated, how could there be any knowledge of such a negation? for without the self there could be no perception, as it is itself of the nature of perception. So the notion of the negation of the perceiving self cannot be anything but illusion. Thus the perceiving self and the perceived (dṛk and dṛśya) cannot be differentiated from each other.

The difficulty, however, arises that, if the perceiving self and the perceived were identical, then the infinite limitations and differences that are characteristic of the perceived would also be characteristic of the perceiver; and there are the further objections to such a supposition that it is against all ordinary usage and experience. It may be argued that the two are identical, since they are both experienced simultaneously (sahopalambha-niyamāt); but the reply is that, as two are experienced and not one, they cannot be regarded as identical, for in the very experience of the two their difference is also manifested[230]. In spite of such obvious contradiction of experience one could not venture to affirm the identity of the perceiver and the perceived[231].

The maxim of identity of the perceiver and the perceived because of simultaneous perception cannot be regarded as true; for, firstly, the perceiver is never a cognized object, and the perceived is never self-luminous, secondly, the perceiver is always self-revealing, but not so the perceived, and, thirdly, though the “perceived” cannot be revealed without the perceiver, the latter is always self-revealed. There is thus plainly no simultaneity of the perceiver and the perceived. When a perceived object A is illuminated in consciousness, the other objects B, C,D , etc. are not illuminated, and, when the perceived object B is illuminated, A is not illuminated, but the consciousness (samvid) is always self-illuminated; so no consciousness can be regarded as being always qualified by a particular objective content; for, had it been so, that particular content would always have stood self-revealed[232]. Moreover, each particular cognition (e.g. awareness of blue) is momentary and self-revealed and, as such, cannot be the object of any other cognition; and, if any particular awareness could be the object of any other awareness, then it would not be awareness, but a mere object, like a jug or a book.

There is thus an intrinsic difference between awareness and the object, and so the perceiver, as pure awareness, cannot be identified with its object[233]. It has already been pointed out that the perceiver and the perceived cannot be regarded as different, and now it is shown that they cannot be regarded as identical. There is another alternative, viz. that they may be both identical and different (which is the bhedābheda view of Bhāskara and Rāmānuja and others), and Vimuktātman tries to show that this alternative is also impossible and that the perceiver and the perceived cannot be regarded as being both identical and different. The upholder of the bhedābheda view is supposed to say that, though the perceiver and the perceived cannot, as such, be regarded as identical, yet they may be regarded as one in their nature as Brahman.

But in reply to this it may be urged that, if they are both one and identical with Brahman, there would be no difference between them. If it is argued that their identity with Brahman is in another form, then also the question arises whether their forms as perceiver and perceived are identical with the form in which they are identical with Brahman; and no one is aware of any form of the perceiver and the perceived other than their forms as such, and therefore it cannot be admitted that in spite of their difference they have any form in which they are one and identical. If again it is objected that it is quite possible that an identical entity should have two different forms, then also the question arises whether these forms are one, different or both identical with that entity and different. In the first alternative the forms would not be different; in the second they would not be one with the entity.

Moreover, if any part of the entity be identical with any particular form, it cannot also be identical with other forms; for then these different forms would not be different from one another; and, if again the forms are identical with the entity, how can one distinguish the entity (rūpin) from the forms (rūpa) ? In the third alternative the question arises whether the entity is identical with one particular form of it and different from other forms, or whether it is both identical with the same form and different. In the first case each form would have two forms, and these again other two forms in which they are identical and different, and these other two forms, and so on, and we should have infinite regress: and the same kind of infinite regress would appear in the relation between the entity and its forms. For these and similar reasons it is impossible to hold that the perceiver and the perceived are different as such and yet one and identical as Brahman.

If the manifold world is neither different nor identical nor both different and identical with the perceiver, what then is its status? The perceiver is indeed the same as pure perception and pure bliss, and, if it is neither identical nor different nor both identical with the manifold world and different, the manifold world must necessarily be unsubstantial (avastu); for, if it had any substantiality, it might have been related in one of the above three ways of relation. But, if it is unsubstantial, then none of the above objections would apply. But it may again be objected that, if the world were unsubstantial, then both our common experience and our practical dealing with this world would be contradicted. To this Vimuktātman’s reply is that, since the world is admitted to be made up of māyā (māyā-nirmitatvābhyupagamāt), and since the effects of māyā canot be regarded either as substantial or as unsubstantial, none of the above objections would be applicable to this view.

Since the manifold world is not a substance, its admission cannot disturb the monistic view, and, since it is not unsubstantial, the facts of experience may also be justified[234]. As an instance of such an appearance which is neither vastu (substance) nor avastu, one may refer to dream-appearances, which are not regarded as unreal because of their nature as neither substance nor not-substance, but because they are contradicted in experience. Just as a canvas is neither the material of the picture painted on it nor a constituent of the picture, and just as the picture cannot be regarded as being a modification of the canvas in the same way as a jug is a modification of clay, or as a change of quality, like the redness in ripe mangoes, and just as the canvas was there before the painting, and just as it would remain even if the painting were washed away, whereas the painting would not be there without the canvas, so the pure consciousness also is related to this world-appearance, which is but a painting of māyā on it[235].

Māyā is unspeakable and indescribable (anirvacanīyā), not as different from both being and non-being, but as involving the characters of both being and non-being. It is thus regarded as a power of ignorance (amdyā-śakti) which is the material cause of all objects of perception otherwise called matter (sarva-jaḍopādāna-bhūtā). But, just as fire springing from bamboos may burn up the same bamboos even to their very roots, so Brahma-knowledge, which is itself a product of ignorance and its processes, destroys the self-same ignorance from which it was produced and its processes and at last itself subsides and leaves the Brahman to shine in its own radiance[236].

The functions of the pramāṇas, which are all mere processes of ignorance, ajñāna or avidyā, consist only in the removal of obstructions veiling the illumination of the self-luminous consciousness, just as the digging of a well means the removal of all earth that was obstructing the omnipresent ākāśa or space; the pramāṇas have thus no function of manifesting the self-luminous consciousness, and only remove the veiling ajñāna[237]. So Brahma-knowledge also means the removal of the last remnants of ajñāna, after which Brahma-knowledge as conceptual knowledge, being the last vestige of ajñāna, also ceases of itself. This cessation of ajñāna is as unspeakable as ajñāna itself. Unlike Maṇḍana, Vimuktātman does not consider avidyā to be merely subjective, but regards it as being both subjective and objective, involving within it not only all phenomena, but all their mutual relations and also the relation with which it is supposed to be related to the pure consciousness, which is in reality beyond all relations.

Vimuktātman devotes a large part of his work to the criticism of the different kinds of theories of illusion (khyāti), and more particularly to the criticism of anyathākhyāti. These contain many new and important points; but, as the essential features of these theories of illusion and their criticisms have already been dealt with in the tenth chapter of the first volume, it is not desirable to enter into these fresh criticisms of Vimuktātman, which do not involve any new point of view in Vedāntic interpretation. He also deals with some of the principal Vedāntic topics of discussion, such as the nature of bondage, emancipation, and the reconciliation of the pluralistic experience of practical life with the monistic doctrine of the Vedānta; but, as there are not here any strikingly new modes of approach, these may be left out in the present work.


Rāmādvaya (a.d. 1300).

Rāmādvaya, a pupil of Advayāśrama, wrote an important work, called Vedānta-kaumudī, in four chapters, in which he discussed in a polemical way many Vedāntic problems while dealing with the subject matter of Śaṅkara’s commentary on the first four topics of the Brahma-sūtra. The work has not yet been published; but at least one manuscript of it is available in the Government Oriental Manuscript Library, Madras: this through the kindness of the Curator the present author had the opportunity of utilizing. Rāmādvaya also wrote a commentary on his Vedānta-kaumudī , called Vedānta-kaumudī-vyākhyāna , a manuscript of the first chapter of which has been available to the present writer in the library of the Calcutta Asiatic Society. These are probably the only manuscripts of this work known till now.

The date of the writing of the copy of the Vedānta-kaumudī-vyākhyāna is given by the copyist ŚeṣaNṛsiṃha as A.D. 1512. It is therefore certain that the work cannot have been written later than the fifteenth century. Rāmādvaya in the course of his discussions refers to many noted authors on Nyāya and Vedānta, none of whom are later than the thirteenth century. Vimuktātman, author of the īṣṭa-siddhi , has been placed by the present author in the early half of the thirteenth century; but Rāmādvaya always refers to him approvingly, as if his views were largely guided by his; he also in his Vedānta-kaumudī-vyākhyāna (MS. p. 14) refers to Janārdana, which is Ānandajñāna’s name as a householder; but Janārdana lived in the middle of the thirteenth century; it seems therefore probable that Rāmādvaya lived in the first half of the fourteenth century.

In the enunciation of the Vedāntic theory of perception and inference Rāmādvaya seems to have been very much under the influence of the views of the author of the Prakaṭārtha ; for, though he does not refer to his name in this connection, he repeats his very phrases with a slight elaboration[238]. Just as the cloudless sky covers itself with clouds and assumes various forms, so the pure consciousness veils itself with the indefinable avidyā and appears in diverse limited forms. It is this consciousness that forms the real ground of all that is known. Just as a spark of fire cannot manifest itself as fire if there are no fuels as its condition, so the pure consciousness, which is the underlying reality of all objects, cannot illuminate them if there are not the proper conditions to help it in its work[239]. Such a conditioning factor is found in manas , which is of the stuff of pure sattva: on the occasion of sense-object contact this manas , being propelled by the moral destiny (adṛṣṭādi-kṣubdhaṃ), transforms itself into the form of a long ray reaching to the object itself[240].

The pure consciousness, as conditioned or limited by the antaḥkaraṇa (antaḥkaraṇāvacchinnaṃ caitanyaṃ), does by such a process remove its veil of avidyā, (though in its limited condition as individual soul this avidyā formed its own body), and the object also being in contact with it is manifested by the same process. The two manifestations of the subject and the object, having taken place in the same process (vṛtti) there, are joined together in the same cognition as “this object is known by me” (vṛtter ubhayasaṃlagnatvāc ca tad-abhivyakta-caitanya-syāpi tathātvena mayedam viditam iti saṃśleṣa-pratyayaḥ) ; and, as its other effect, the consciousness limited by the antaḥkaraṇa, transformed into the form of the process (vṛtti) of right knowledge (pramā), appears as the cognizer

(vṛtti-lakṣaṇa-pramāśrayāntaḥ-karaṇāvacchinnas tat-pramātetyapi vyapadiśyate)[241].

The object also attains a new status in being manifested and is thus known as the object (karma-kārakābhivyaktaṃ ca tat prakāśātmanā phala-vyapadeśa-bhāk). In reality it is the underlying consciousness that manifests the vṛtti transformation of the antaḥkaraṇa ; but, as it is illusorily identified with the antaḥkaraṇa (antaḥkaraṇa-caitanyayor aikyādhyāsāt), like fire and iron in the heated iron, it is also identified with the vṛtti transformation of the antaḥkaraṇa, and, as the vṛtti becomes superimposed on the object, by manifesting the vṛtti it also manifests the object, and thus apart from the subjective illumination as awareness, there is also the objective fact of an illumination of the object (evaṃ vṛtti-vyañjakam api taptā-yaḥ-piṇḍa-nyāyena tad-ekatām ivāptaṃ vṛttivad-viṣaya-prākatyāt-manā sampadyate)[242]. The moments in the cognitive process in perception according to Rāmādvaya may thus be described. The sense-object contact offers an occasion for the moral destiny (i adṛṣṭa) to stir up the antaḥkaraṇa , and, as a result thereof, the antaḥkaraṇa or mind is transformed into a particular state called vṛtti.

The pure consciousness underlying the antaḥkaraṇa was lying dormant and veiled, as it were, and, as soon as there is a transformation of the antaḥkaraṇa into a vṛtti , the consciousness brightens up and overcomes for the moment the veil that was covering it. The vṛtti thus no longer veils the underlying consciousness, but serves as a transparent transmitter of the light of consciousness to the object on which the vṛtti is superimposed, and, as a result thereof, the object has an objective manifestation, separate from the brightening up of consciousness at the first moment of the vṛtti transformation. Now, since the vṛtti joins up the subjective brightening up of consciousness and the objective illumination of the object, these two are joined up (sarnśleṣa-pratyaya) and this results in the cognition “this object is known by me”; and out of this cognition it is possible to differentiate the knower as the underlying consciousness, as limited by the antaḥkaraṇa as transformed into the vṛtti , and the known as that which has been objectively illuminated.

In the Vedānta-paribhāṣā we hear of three consciousnesses (caitanya), the pramātṛ-caitanya (the consciousness conditioned by the antaḥkaraṇa), the pramāṇa-caitanya (the same consciousness conditioned by the vṛtti of the antaḥkaraṇa), and the viṣaya-caitanya (the same consciousness conditioned by the object). According to this perception (pratyakṣa) can be characterized either from the point of view of cognition (jñāna-gata-pratyakṣatva) or from the point of view of the object, both being regarded as two distinct phases, cognitional and objective, of the same perceptual revelation. From the point of view of cognition it is defined as the non-distinction (abheda) of the pramāṇa-caitanya from the viṣaya-caitanya through spatial superimposition of the vṛtti on the object. Perception from the point of view of the object (viṣaya-gata-pratyakṣatva) is defined as the non-distinction of the object from the pramātṛ-caitanya or the perceiver, which is consciousness conditioned by the antaḥkaraṇa.

This latter view, viz. the definition of perception from the point of view of the object as the non-distinction of the object from the consciousness as limited by antaḥkaraṇa (ghatāder antaḥkaraṇāva-cchinna-caitanyābhedaḥ), is open to the serious objection that really the non-distinction of the object (or the consciousness conditioned by the antaḥkaraṇaantaḥkaraṇāvacchinna-caitanya) but with the cognition {pramāṇa-caitanya or vṛtti-caitanya ); for the cognition or the vṛtti intervenes between the object and the perceiver, and the object is in immediate contact with the vṛtti and not with the perceiver (antaḥkaraṇāvacchinna-caitanya).

That this is so is also admitted by Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra, son of Rāmakṛṣṇa Adhvarin, in his Śikhā-maṇi commentary on the Vedānta-paribhāṣā[243]. But he tries to justify Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra by pointing out that he was forced to define viṣaya-gata-pratyakṣatva as non-distinction of the object from the subject, since this view was taken in Prakāśātman’s Vivaraṇa and also in other traditional works on Vedānta[244]. This however seems to be an error. For the passage of the Vivaraṇa to which reference is made here expounds an entirely different view[245]. It says there that the perceptibility of the object consists in its directly and immediately qualifying the cognitional state or sense-knowledge (saṃvid)[246]. That other traditional Vedāntic interpreters entirely disagreed with the view of Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra is also evident from the account of the analysis of the perceptual process  given by Rāmādvaya.

Rāmādvaya says, as has just been pointed out, that it is the illuminated cognitive process, or the vṛtti, that has the subject and the object at its two poles and thus unites the subject and the object in the complex subject-predicate form “this is known by me.” The object is thus illuminated by the vṛtti , and it is not directly with the subject, but with the vṛtti, that the object is united. Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra himself raises an objection against his interpretation, that it might be urged, if in perception there was non-distinction of the object from the subject, then in perceiving an object, e.g. a book, one should feel “I am the book,” and not “I perceive the book”; in reply to such an objection he says that in the perceptual process there is only a non-distinction between the consciousness underlying the object and the consciousness underlying the perceiver, and this non-distinction, being non-relational, does not imply the assertion of a relation of identity resulting in the notion “I am the book”[247]. This is undoubtedly so, but it is hardly an answer to the objection that has been raised. It is true that the object and the subject are both but impositions of avidyā on one distinctionless pure consciousness ; but that fact can hardly be taken as an explanation of the various modes of experiences of the complex world of subject-object experience.

The difference of the Vedāntic view of perception, as expounded in the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa , from the Buddhist idealiśm (vijñāna-vāda) consists in this, that, while the Buddhists did not accord any independent status to objects as outside the ideas or percepts, the Vedānta accepted the independent manifestation of the objects in perception in the external world[248]. There is thus a distinction between visional percept and the object; but there is also a direct and immediate connection between them, and it is this immediate relationship of the object to its awareness that constitutes the perceptivity of the object (avyavadhānena samvid-upādhitā aparokṣatā viṣayasya—Vivaraṇa , p. 50).

The object is revealed in perception only as an object of awareness, whereas the awareness and the subject reveal themselves directly and immediately and not as an object of any further intuition or inference

(prameyaṃ karmatvena aparokṣam pramātṛ-pramitī punar aparokṣe eva kevalaṃ na karmatā)[249].

The views of the Vedānta-kaumudī, however, cannot be regarded as original in any sense, since they are only a reflection of the exposition of the subject in Padmapāda’s Pañca-pādikā and Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa. The development of the whole theory of perception may be attributed to the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, since all the essential points of the perceptual theory can be traced in that work. Thus it holds that all the world objects are veiled by avidyā ; that, as the antaḥkaraṇa is transformed into states by superimposition on objects, it is illuminated by the underlying consciousness; and that through the spatial contact with the objects the veil of the objects is removed by these antaḥkaraṇa transformations; there are thus two illuminations, namely of the antaḥkaraṇa transformations (called vṛtti in the Vedānta-kaumudī, and Vedānta-paribhāṣā and pure consciousness); to the question that, if there were unity of the consciousness underlying the object and the consciousness underlying the antaḥkaraṇa (i.e. the subject) and the consciousness underlying the antaḥkaraṇa modification (or vṛtti), there would be nothing to explain the duality in perception (e.g. “I perceive the book,” and not “I am the book,” and it is only the latter form that could be expected from the unity of the three consciousnesses), Prakāśātman’s reply is that, since the unity of the object-consciousness with the antaḥkaraṇa-consciousness (subject) is effected through the modification or the vṛtti of the antaḥkaraṇa and, since the antaḥkaraṇa is one with its vṛtti, the vṛtti operation is rightly attributed to the antaḥkaraṇa as its agent, and this is illuminated by the consciousness underlying the antaḥkaraṇa resulting in the perception of the knower as distinguished from the illumination of object to which the operation of the vṛtti is directed in spatial superimposition—the difference between the subject and the object in perception is thus due to the difference in the mode or the condition of the vṛtti with reference to the subject and the object[250].

This is exactly the interpretation of the Vedānta-kaumudī , and it has been pointed out above that the explanations of the Vedānta-paribhāṣā are largely different therefrom and are in all probability inexact. As this unity is effected between individual subjects (consciousness limited by specific antaḥkaraṇas) and individual objects (consciousness limited by specific avidyā materials constituting the objects) through the vṛtti , it can result only in revelation of a particular subject and a particular object and not in the revelation of all subjects and all objects[251]. This has been elaborated into the view that there is an infinite number of ajñāna-veils, and that each cognitive illumination removes only one ajñāna corresponding to the illumination of one object[252]. But this also is not an original contribution of Rāmādvaya, since it was also propounded by his predecessor Ānandajñāna in his Tarka-saṃgraha and by others[253].

The upshot of the whole discussion is that on the occasion of a cognitive operation of the mind both the mind and the cognitive operation become enlivened and illuminated by the indwelling pure consciousness as subject-consciousness and awareness, and through contact with this cognitive operation the object also becomes revealed not as a mere content of awareness, but as an objective fact shining forth in the external world. Cognition of objects is thus not a mere quality of the self as knower, as the Nyāya holds, nor is there any immediate contact of the self with the object (the contact being only through the cognitive operation); the cognition is also not to be regarded as unperceived movement, modification or transformation of the self which may be inferred from the fact of the enlightenment of the object (jñātatā), as Kumārila held, nor is the illumination of the object to be regarded mere form of awareness without there being a corresponding as a objective entity (viṣayābhivyaktir nāma vijñāne tad-ākārollekha-mātraṃ na bahir-añga-rūpasya vijñānābhivyāptiK),2& is held by the Buddhist subjective idealists.

The cognitive operation before its contact with the object is a mere undifferentiated awareness, having only an objective reference and devoid of all specifications of sense characters, which later on assumes the sense characteristics in accordance with the object with which it comes in contact. It must be noted, however, that the cognitive operation is not an abstract idea, but an active transformation of a real sattva stuff, the mind (antaḥkaraṇa)[254]. Since in the continuous perception of the same object we have only a rapid succession of cognitive acts, each dispelling an intellectual darkness enfolding the object before its illumination, there is no separate perception of time as an entity standing apart from the objects; perception of time is but the perception of the succession of cognitive acts, and what is regarded as the present time is that in which the successive time-moments have been fused together into one concrete duration: it is this concrete duration, which is in reality but a fusion of momentary cognitive acts and awarenesses, that is designated as the present time[255].

According to Rāmādvaya the definition of perception would not therefore include the present time as a separate element over and above the object as a separate datum of perception ; for his view denies time as an objective entity and regards it only as a mode of cognitive process.

Rāmādvaya’s definition of right knowledge is also different from that of Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra. Rāmādvaya defines right knowledge {pramā) as experience which does not wrongly represent its object (yathārthānubhavaḥ pramā), and he defines the instrument of right knowledge as that which leads to it[256]. Verbally this definition is entirely different from that of Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra, with whom the two conditions of pramā or right knowledge are that it should not be acquaintance with what was already known (anadhigata) and that it should be uncontradicted[257]. The latter condition, however, seems to point only to a verbal difference from Rāmādvaya’s definition; but it may really mean very much more than a verbal difference.

For, though want of contradiction (Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra’s condition) and want of wrong representation (Rāmādvaya’s condition) may mean the same thing, yet in the former case the definition of truth becomes more subjective than in the latter case; for want of wrong representation refers to an objective correspondence and objective certainty. An awareness may wrongly represent an object, but yet may not be found contradicted in the personal history of one or even many observers. Such a definition of truth becomes very relative, since its limits are not fixed by correspondence with its object.

Considering the fact that the Vedānta speaks of a real spatial superimposition of the modification of the antaḥkaraṇa (which is its cognitive operation) on the object, a Vedānta definition of truth might well be expected to be realistic and not subjectivistic or relativistic. The idealism of the Vedānta rests content in the view that, however realistic these cognitive relations to objects may be, they are impositions and appearances which have as their ultimate ground one changeless consciousness. The definition of pramā by Rāmādvaya as an awareness which does not give a wrong representation (yathārthā-nubhava) of objects could not be-found faulty because of the fact that according to the Vedānta all dual experience of the world was false; for, though it was ultimately so, for all practical purposes it had a real existence, and Rāmādvaya refers to the Iṣṭa-siddhi to justify his view on this point.

As to the other point, viz. that a pramā must always be that which acquaints us with what is unknown before (anadhigata), Rāmādvaya definitely repudiates such a suggestion[258]. He says that it often happens that we perceive things that we perceived before, and this makes recognition possible, and, if we deny that these are cases of right knowledge, we shall have to exclude much that is universally acknowledged as right knowledge. Also it cannot be conceived how in the case of the continuous perception of an object there can be new qualities accruing to the object, so as to justify the validity of the consciousness as right knowledge at every moment; nor can it be said that the sense-organs after producing the right knowledge of an object (which lasts for some time and is not momentary) may cease to operate until a new awareness is produced.

There is therefore no justification for introducing anadhigatatva as a condition of perception. Turning to the difference between perception and inference, Rāmādvaya says that in inference the inferred object does not form a datum and there is no direct and immediate contact of the antaḥkaraṇa with the inferred object (e.g. fire). In inference the antaḥkaraṇa is in touch only with the reason or the liṅga (e.g. smoke), and through this there arises (liṅgādi-bala-labdhākārollekha-mātreṇa) an idea in the mind (e.g. regarding the existence of fire) which is called inference[259].

On the subject of the self-validity of knowledge (svataḥ-prāmāṇya) Rāmādvaya does not, like Dharmarājādhvarīndra, include the absence of defects (doṣābhāva) in the definition of svataḥ-prāmāṇya. It may well be remembered that Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra defines validity (prāmāṇya) of knowledge as an awareness that characterizes an object as it is (tadvati tat-prakāraka-jñānatvam), while self-validity (svataḥ-prāmāṇya) is defined as the acceptance by the underlying sākṣi consciousness of this validity in accordance with the exact modes of the awareness (of which the validity is affirmed), and in accordance with the exact objective conditions of the awareness, in absence of any defects[260].

Rāmādvaya, however, closely follows Kumārila’s view of the self-validity of knowledge and defines it as that which, being produced by the actual data of that cognition, does not contain any element which is derived from other sources[261]. Later knowledge of the presence of any defects or distorting elements may invalidate any cognition; but, so long as such defects are not known, each cognition is valid of itself for reasons similar to those held by Kumārila and already discussed[262]. In this connection Rāmādvaya points out that our cognitions are entirely internal phenomena and are not in touch with objects, and that, though the objects are revealed outside, yet it is through our own internal conditions, merit and demerit, that they may be perceived by us[263].


Vidyāraṇya (a.d. 1350).

In addition to the Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha Mādhava wrote two works on the Śaṅkara Vedānta system, viz. Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha and Pañcadaśī; and also Jīvan-mukti-viveka. Of these the former is an independent study of Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa , in which Mādhava elaborates the latter’s arguments in his own way. His other work, Pañcadaśī, is a popular compendium in verse. Both these works attained great celebrity on account of their clear and forcible style and diction. Vidyāraṇya is reputed to be the same as Mādhava, brother of Sāyaṇa, the great Vedic commentator. He was a pupil of Śaṅkarānanda, who had written some works of minor importance on the Upaniṣads[264].

Vidyāraṇya in his Pañcadaśī repeats the Vivaraṇa view of the Vedānta, that, whether in our awakened state or in our dreams or in our dreamless condition, there is no moment when there is no consciousness; for even in dreamless sleep there must be some consciousness, as is evident from the later remembrance of the experience of the dreamless state. The light of consciousness is thus itself ever present without any change or flickering of any kind. It should therefore be regarded as ultimately real. It is self-luminous and neither rises nor sets[265].

This self is pure bliss, because nothing is so much loved by us as our own selves. If the nature of self had been unobscured, we could not have found any enjoyment in sense-objects. It is only because the self is largely obscured to us that we do not rest content with self-realization and crave for other pleasures from sense-objects. Māyā is the cause of this obscuration, and it is described as that power by which can be produced the manifold world-appearance. This power (śakti), cannot be regarded either as absolutely real or as unreal. It is, however, associated only with a part of Brahman and not with the whole of it, and it is only in association with a part of Brahman that it transforms itself into the various elements and their modifications. All objects of the world are thus but a complex of Brahman and māyā. The existence or being of all things is the Brahman, and all that appears identified with being is the māyā part.

Māyā as the power of Brahman regulates all relation and order of the universe. In association with the intelligence of Brahman this behaves as an intelligent power which is responsible for the orderliness of all qualities of things, their inter-relations and interactions[266]. He compares the world-appearance to a painting, where the white canvas stands for the pure Brahman, the white paste for the inner controller (antaryāmin), the dark colour for the dispenser of the crude elements (sūtrātman) and the coloration for the dispenser of the concrete elemental world (virāt), and all the figures that are manifested thereon are the living beings and other objects of the world. It is Brahman that, being reflected through the māyā , assumes the diverse forms and characters. The false appearance of individual selves is due to the false identification of subjectivity—a product of māyā —with the underlying pure consciousness—Brahman. Vidyāraṇya then goes on to describe the usual topics of the Vedānta, which have already been dealt with.

The chief and important feature of Vidyāraṇya’s Pañcadaśī is the continual repetition of the well-established Vedāntic principles in a clear, popular and attractive way, which is very helpful to those who wish to initiate their minds into the Vedāntic ways of self-realization[267]. His Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha is a more scholarly work; but, as it is of the nature of an elaboration of the ideas contained in Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, which has generally been followed as the main guide in the account of Vedānta given in this and the preceding chapter, and there being but few ideas which can be considered as an original contribution of Vidyāraṇya to the development of Vedāntic thought, no separate account of its contents need be given here[268]. The Jīvan-mukti-viveka, the substance of which has already been utilized in section 17 of chapter x, volume 1 of the present work, is an ethical treatise, covering more or less the same ground as the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi of Sureśvara.


Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni (a.d. 1500).

Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni (a.d. 1500) was a pupil of Gīrvāṇendra Sarasvatī and Jagannāthāśrama and teacher of Nārāyaṇāśrama, who wrote a commentary on his Bheda-dhikkāra. He wrote many works, such a.sAdvaita-dipikā,Advaita-pañca-ratna,Advaita-bodha-dīpikā, Advaita-vāda , Bheda-dhikkāra , Vācārambhaṇa , Vedānta-tattva-viveka, and commentaries on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka and Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, called Tattva-bodhinī and Pañca-pādikā-vivarana-prakāśikā.

Nṛsiṃhāśrama was very well reputed among his contemporaries, but it does not seem that he introduced any new ideas into the Vedānta. He is more interested in emphasizing the fact of the identity of Brahman with the self and the illusory character of the world-appearance than in investigating the nature and constitution of māyā and the way in which it can be regarded as the material stuff of world-appearance.

He defines the falsehood of world-appearance as its non-existence in the locus in which it appears (pratipannopādhāv abhāva-pratiyogitva)[269]. When a piece of conch-shell appears to be silver, the silver appears to be existent and real (sat), but silver cannot be the same as being or existence (na tāvad rajata-svarūpaṃ sat). So also, when we take the world-appearance as existent, the world-appearance cannot be identical with being or existence; its apparent identification with these is thus necessarily false[270]. So also the appearance of subjectivity or egoistic characters in the self-luminous self is false, because the two are entirely different and cannot be identified. Nṛsiṃhāśrama, however, cannot show by logical arguments or by a reference to experience that subjectivity or egoism (ahamkāra, which he also calls antaḥkaraṇa or mind) is different from self, and he relies on the texts of the Upaniṣads to prove this point, which is of fundamental importance for the Vedānta thesis.

In explaining the nature of the perceptual process he gives us the same sort of account as is given by his pupil Dharmarāja Adhvarīndra in his Vedānta-paribhāṣā , as described in the tenth chapter in the first volume of this work[271]. He considers the self to be bliss itself (sukha-rūpd) and does not admit that there is any difference between the self and bliss (sa cātmā sukhān na bhidyate)[272]. His definition of ajñāna is the same as that of Citsukha, viz. that it is a beginningless constitutive cause, which is removable by true knowledge[273]. There is thus practically no new line of argument in his presentation of the Vedānta. On the side of dialectical arguments, in his attempts to refute “difference” (bheda) in his Bheda-dhikkāra he was anticipated by his great predecessors Śrīharṣa and Citsukha.


Appaya Dīkṣita (a.d. 1550).[274]

Appaya Dīkṣita lived probably in the middle of the sixteenth century, as he refers to Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni, who lived early in that century. He was a great scholar, well-read in many branches of Sanskrit learning, and wrote a large number of works on many subjects. His grandfather was Ācārya Dīkṣita, who is said to have been famous for his scholarship from the Himalayas to the south point of India: the name of his father was Raṅgarāja Makhīndra (or simply Rāja Makhīndra). There is, however, nothing very noteworthy in his Vedāntic doctrines. For, in spite of his scholarship, he was only a good compiler and not an original thinker, and on many occasions where he had opportunities of giving original views he contents himself with the views of others. It is sometimes said that he had two different religious views at two different periods of his life, Śaiva and the Vedānta.

But of this one cannot be certain; for he was such an all-round scholar that the fact that he wrote a Śaiva commentary and a Vedāntic commentary need not lead to the supposition that he changed his faith. In the beginning of his commentary Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva commentary to the Brahma-sūtra he says that, though the right interpretation of the Brahma-sūtra is the monistic interpretation, as attempted by Śaṅkara and others, yet the desire for attaining this right wisdom of oneness (advaita-vāsanā) arises only through the grace of Śiva, and it is for this reason that Vyāsa in his Brahma-sūtra tried to establish the superiority of the qualified Brahman Śiva as interpreted by Śrīkaṇthācārya. This shows that even while writing his commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva-bhāṣya he had not lost respect for the monistic interpretations of Śaṅkara, and he was somehow able to reconcile in his mind the Śaiva doctrine of qualified Brahman (saguṇa-brahma) as Śiva with the Śaṅkara doctrine of unqualified pure Brahman.

It is possible, however, that his sympathies with the monistic Vedānta, which at the beginning were only lukewarm, deepened with age. He says in his Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā that he lived in the reign of King Cinnabomma (whose land-grant inscriptions date from Sadāśiva, mahārāja of Vijayanagara, a.d. 1566 to 1575; vide Hultzsch, S.I. Inscriptions , vol. 1), under whose orders he wrote the Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s commentary. His grandson Nīlakaṇtha Dīkṣita says in his Śiva-līlārṇava that Appaya Dīkṣita lived to the good old age of seventy-two. In the Oriental Historical Manuscripts catalogued by Taylor, vol. 11, it is related that at the request of the Pāṇḍya king Tirumalai Nayaka he came to the Pāṇḍya country in a.d. 1626 to settle certain disputes between the Śaivas and the Vaiṣṇavas. Kālahasti-śaraṇa-Śivānanda Yogīndra, in his commentary on the Ātmārpaṇa-stava , gives the date of Appaya Dīkṣita’s birth as Kali age 4654, or a.d. 1554, as pointed out by Mahāmahopādhyāya Kuppusvami Sastri in his Sanskrit introduction to the Śiva-līlārṇava.

Since he lived seventy-two years, he must have died some time in 1626, the very year when he came to the Pāṇḍya country. He had for his pupil Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita, as is indicated by his own statement in the Tantra-siddhānta-dīpikā by the latter author. Bhaṭṭojī Dīkṣita must therefore have been a junior contemporary of Appaya Dīkṣita, as is also evidenced by his other statement in his Tattva-kaustubha that he wrote this work at the request of King Keladī-Veṅkatendra, who reigned from 1604 to 1626 (vide Hultzsch’s second volume of Reports on Sanskrit Manuscripts)[275].

It is said that Appaya Dīkṣita wrote about four hundred works.

Some of them maybe mentioned here:

  • Advaita-nirṇaya,
  • Catur-mata-sāra-saṃgraha
    (containing in the first chapter, called Nyāya-muktāvalī, a brief summary of the doctrines of Madhva,
    in the second chapter, called Naya-mayūkha-mālikā, the doctrines of Rāmānuja,
    in the third chapter the decisive conclusions from the point of view of Śrīkaṇtha’s commentary called Naya-maṇi-mālā
    and in the fourth chapter, called Naya-mañjarī , decisive conclusions in accordance with the views of Śaṅkarācārya);
  • Tattva-muktāvalī, a work on Vedānta;
  • Vyākaraṇa-vāda-nakṣatra-mālā, a work on grammar;
  • Pūrvottara-mīmāṃsā-vāda-nakṣatra-mālā (containing various separate topics of discussion in Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta);
  • Nyāya-rakṣā-maṇi, a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra following the monistic lines of Śaṅkara;
  • Vedānta-kalpa-taru-parimala, a commentary on Amalānanda’s Vedānta-kalpa-taru, a commentary on Vācaspati’s Bhāmatī commentary;
  • Siddhānta-leśa-saṃgraha, a collection of the views of different philosophers of the monistic school of Śaṅkara on some of the most important points of the Vedānta, without any attempt at harmonizing them or showing his own preference by reasoned arguments, and comprising a number of commentaries by Acyutakṛṣṇānanda Tīrtha (Kṛṣṇā-laṃkōrd), Gaṅgādharendra Sarasvatī (Siddhānta-bindu-śīkara), Rāmacandra Yajvan (Gūḍhārtha-prakāśa), Viśvanātha Tīrtha, Dharmava Dīkṣita and others;
  • Śivārka-maṇi-dīpikā , a commentary on Śrīkaṇtha’s Śaiva-bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra ;
  • Śiva-karṇāmṛta ;
  • Śiva-tattva-viveka ;
  • Śiva-purāṇa-tāmasatva-khaṇḍana ;
  • Śivādvaita-nirṇaya;
  • Śivānanda-laharī-candrikā, a commentary on Śaṅkara’s Śivānanda-laharī ;
  • Śivārcana-candrikā ;
  • Śivotkarṣa-candrikā ;
  • Śivotkarṣa-mañjarī ;
  • Śaiva-kalpa-druma;
  • Siddhānta-ratnā-kara;
  • Madhva-mukha-bhaṅga, an attempt to show that Madhva’s interpretation of the Brahma-sūtra is not in accordance with the meaning of the texts of the Upaniṣads;
  • Rāmānuja-mata-khaṇḍana ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-tātparya-nirṇaya ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-tātparya-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-bhārata-sāra-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra-saṃgraha ;
  • Rāmāyaṇa-sāra-stava ;
  • Mīmāṃsādhikaraṇa-mālā Upa-krama-parākrama, a short Mīmāṃsā work;
  • Dharma-mīmāṃsā-paribhāṣā ;
  • Nāma-saṃgraha-mālikā ;
  • Vidhi-rasāyana ;
  • Vidhi-rasā-yanopajīvanī;
  • Vṛtti-vārttika, a short work on the threefold meanings of words;
  • Kuvalayānanda, a work on rhetoric on which no less than ten commentaries have been written;
  • Citra-mīmāṃsā, a work on rhetoric;
  • Jayollāsa-nidhi, a commentary on the Bhāgavata-purāṇa ;
  • Yādavābhyudaya-ṭīkā, a commentary on Veṅkata’s Yādavā-bhyudaya ;
  • a commentary on the Prabodha-candrodaya nātaka , etc.


Prakāśānanda (a.d. 1550—1600).

It has been pointed out that the Vedānta doctrine of monism as preached by Śaṅkara could not shake off its apparent duality in association with māyā , which in the hands of the later followers of Śaṅkara gradually thickened into a positive stuff through the evolution or transformation of which all the phenomena of world-appearance could be explained. The Vedāntists held that this māyā, though it adhered to Brahman and spread its magical creations thereon, was unspeakable, indescribable, indefinable, changeable and unthinkable and was thus entirely different from the self-revealing, unchangeable Brahman.

The charge of dualism against such a system of philosophy could be dodged by the teachers of Vedānta only by holding that, since Brahman was the ultimate reality, māyā was unreal and illusory, and hence the charge of duality would be false. But when one considers that māyā is regarded as positive and as the stuff of the transformations of world-appearance, it is hardly intelligible how it can be kept out of consideration as having no kind of existence at all. The positive character of māyā as being the stuff of all world-appearance has to be given up, if the strictly monistic doctrine is to be consistently kept. Almost all the followers of Śaṅkara had, however, been interpreting their master’s views in such a way that the positive existence of an objective world with its infinite varieties as the ground of perceptual presentation was never denied.

The whole course of the development of Vedānta doctrine in the hands of these Vedānta teachers began to crystallize compactly in the view that, since the variety and multiplicity of world-appearance cannot be explained by the pure changeless Brahman, an indefinable stuff, the māyā , has necessarily to be admitted as the ground of this world. Prakāśānanda was probably the first who tried to explain Vedānta from a purely sensationalistic view-point of idealism and denied the objective existence of any stuff. The existence of objects is nothing more than their perception (dṛṣṭi). The central doctrine of Prakāśānanda has already been briefly described in chapter x, section 15, of volume 1 of the present work, and his analysis of the nature of perceptual cognition has already been referred to in a preceding section of the present chapter.

Speaking on the subject of the causality of Brahman, he says that the attribution of causality to Brahman cannot be regarded as strictly correct; for ordinarily causality implies the dual relation of cause and effect; since there is nothing else but Brahman, it cannot, under the circumstances, be called a cause. Nescience (avidyā), again, cannot be called a cause of the world; for causality is based upon the false notion of duality, which is itself the outcome of nescience. The theory of cause and effect thus lies outside the scope of the Vedānta (kārya-kāraṇa-vādasya vedānta-bahir-bhūtatvāt). When in reply to the question, “what is the cause of the world?” it is said that nescience (ajñāna —literally, want of knowledge) is the cause, the respondent simply wants to obviate the awkward silence.

The nature of this nescience cannot, however, be proved by any of the pramāṇas ; for it is like darkness and the pramāṇas or the valid ways of cognition are like light, and it is impossible to perceive darkness by light. Nescience is that which cannot be known except through something else, by its relation to something else, and it is inexplicable in itself, yet beginningless and positive. It will be futile for any one to try to understand it as it is in itself. Nescience is proved by one’s own consciousness: so it is useless to ask how nescience is proved. Yet it is destroyed when the identity of the self with the immediately presented Brahman is realized.

The destruction of nescience cannot mean its cessation together with its products, as Prakāśātman holds in the Vivaraṇa', for such a definition would not apply, whether taken simply or jointly. Prakāśānanda, therefore, defines it as the conviction, following the realization of the underlying ground, that the appearance which was illusorily imposed on it did not exist. This view is different from the anyathā-khyāti view, that the surmised appearance was elsewhere and not on the ground on which it was imposed; for here, when the underlying ground is immediately intuited, the false appearance absolutely vanishes, and it is felt that it was not there, it is not anywhere, and it will not be anywhere; and it is this conviction that is technically called bādha.

The indefinability of nescience is its negation on the ground on which it appears (pratipannopādhau niṣedha-pratiyogitvam). This negation of all else excepting Brahman has thus two forms; in one form it is negation and in another form this negation, being included within “all else except Brahman,” is itself an illusory imposition, and this latter form thus is itself contradicted and negated by its former form. Thus it would be wrong to argue that, since this negation remains after the realization of Brahman, it would not itself be negated, and hence it would be a dual principle existing side by side with Brahman[276].

True knowledge is opposed to false knowledge in such a way that, when the former dawns, the latter is dispelled altogether. An objection is sometimes raised that, if this be so, then the person who has realized Brahma knowledge will cease to have a bodily existence; for bodily existence is based on illusion and all illusion must vanish when true knowledge dawns. And, if this is so, there will be no competent Vedānta teacher. To this Prakāśānanda replies that, even though the Vedānta teacher may be himself an illusory production, he may all the same lead any one to the true path, just as the Vedas, which are themselves but illusory products, may lead any one to the right path[277].

On the subject of the nature of the self as pure bliss ( ānanda) he differs from Sarvajñātma Muni’s view that what is meant by the statement that the self is of the nature of pure bliss is that there is entire absence of all sorrows or negation of bliss in the self. Bliss, according to Sarvajñātma Muni, thus means the absence of the negation of bliss (an-ānanda-vyamtti-mātram ānandatvam)[278]. He differs also from the view of Prakāśātman that ānanda , or bliss, means the substance which appears as blissful, since it is the object that we really desire. Prakāśātman holds that it is the self on which the character of blissfulness is imposed. The self is called blissful, because it is the ground of the appearance of blissfulness. What people consider of value and desire is not the blissfulness, but that which is blissful.

Prakāśānanda holds that this view is not correct, since the self appears not only as blissful, but also as painful, and it would therefore be as right to call the self blissful as to call it painful. Moreover, not the object of blissfulness, which in itself is dissociated from blissfulness, is called blissful, but that which is endowed with bliss is called blissful (viśiṣṭasyaiva ānanda-padārthatvāt)[279]. If blissfulness is not a natural character of the self, it cannot be called blissful because it happens to be the ground on which blissfulness is illusorily imposed. So Prakāśānanda holds that the self is naturally of a blissful character.

Prakāśānanda raises the question regarding the beholder of the experienced duality and says that it is Brahman who has this experience of duality; but, though Brahman alone exists,yet there is no actual modification or transformation {pariṇāma) of Brahman into all its experiences, since such a view would be open to the objections brought against the alternative assumptions of the whole of Brahman or a part of it, and both of them would land us in impossible consequences. The vivarta view holds that the effect has no reality apart from the underlying ground or substance. So vivarta really means oneness with the substance, and it virtually denies all else that may appear to be growing out of this one substance.

The false perception of world-appearance thus consists in the appearance of all kinds of characters in Brahman, which is absolutely characterless (niṣprakārikāyāḥ saprakārakatvena bhāvaḥ). Since the self and its cognition are identical and since there is nothing else but this self, there is no meaning in saying that the Vedānta admits the vivarta view of causation; for, strictly speaking, there is no causation at all (vivartasya bāla-vyutpatti-prayojana-tayā)[280]. If anything existed apart from self, then the Vedāntic monism would be disturbed. If one looks at māyā in accordance with the texts of the Vedas, māyā will appear to be an absolutely fictitious non-entity (tuccha), like the hare’s horn; if an attempt is made to interpret it logically, it is indefinable (anirvacanīya), though common people would always think of it as being real (vāstavī)[281].

Prakāśānanda thus preaches the extreme view of the Vedānta, that there is no kind of objectivity that can be attributed to the world, that māyā is absolutely non-existent, that our ideas have no objective substratum to which they correspond, that the self is the one and only ultimate reality, and that there is no causation or creation of the world. In this view he has often to fight with Sarvajñātma Muni, Prakāśātman, and with others who developed a more realistic conception of māyā transformation; but it was he who, developing probably on the lines of Maṇḍana, tried for the first time to give a consistent presentation of the Vedānta from the most thorough-going idealistic point of view. In the colophon of his work he says that the essence of the Vedānta as preached by him is unknown to his contemporaries and that it was he who first thoroughly expounded this doctrine of philosophy[282].

Prakāśānanda wrote many other works in addition to his Siddhānta-muktāvalī, such as

  • Tārā-bhakti-taraṅgiṇī,
  • Manoramā tantra-rāja-ṭīkā,
  • Mahā-lakṣmī-paddhati
  • and Śrī-vidyā-paddhati,

and this shows that, though a thoroughgoing Vedāntist, he was religiously attached to tantra forms of worship. Nānā Dīkṣita wrote a commentary on the Muktāvalī, called Siddhānta-pradīpikā , at a time when different countries of India had become pervaded by the disciples and disciples of the disciples of Prakāśānanda[283].


Madhusūdana Sarasvatī (a.d. 1500).[284]

Madhusūdana Sarasvatī, who was a pupil of Viśveśvara Sarasvatī and teacher of Puruṣottama Sarasvatī, in all probability flourished in the first half of the sixteenth century.

His chief works are

  • Vedānta-kalpa-latikā,
  • Advaita-siddhi,
  • Advaita-mañjarī,
  • Advaita-ratna-rakṣaṇa,
  • Ātma-bodha-ṭīkā,
  • Ānanda-mandākinī,
  • Kṛṣṇa-kutūhalanātaka,
  • Prasthāna-bheda,
  • Bhakti-sāmānya-nirūpaṇa,
  • Bhagavad-gītā-gūḍhārtha-dīpikā,
  • Bhagavad-bhakti-rasāyana,
  • Bhāgavata-purāṇa-prathama-śloka-vyākhyā,
  • Veda-stuti-ṭīkā,
  • Śāṇḍilyasūtra-ṭīkā,Śāstra-siddhānta-leśa-ṭīkā,
  • Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka-sāra-saṃgraha,
  • Siddhānta-tattva-bindu,
  • Hari-līlā-vyākhyā.

His most important work, however, is his Advaita-siddhi , in which he tries to refute the objections raised in Vyāsatīrtha’s Nyāyāmṛta [285] against the monistic Vedānta of Śaṅkara and his followers. Materials from this book have already been utilized in sections 6, 7,8,9 and io of the tenth chapter of the present work.

More will be utilized in the third volume in connection with the controversy between Vyāsatīrtha and Madhusūdana, which is the subject-matter of Advaita-siddhi. Madhusūdana’s Siddhānta-bindu does not contain anything of importance, excepting that he gives a connected account of the perceptual process, already dealt with in the tenth chapter and also in the section “Vedāntic Cosmology” of the present volume. His Advaita-ratna-rakṣaṇa deals with such subjects as the validity of the Upaniṣads: the Upaniṣads do not admit duality; perception does not prove the reality of duality; the duality involved in mutual negation is false; indeterminate knowledge does not admit duality; duality cannot be proved by any valid means of proof, and so forth.

There is practically nothing new in the work, as it only repeats some of the important arguments of the bigger work Advaita-siddhi and tries to refute the view of dualists like the followers of Madhva, with whom Madhusūdana was in constant controversy. It is unnecessary, therefore, for our present purposes to enter into any of the details of this work. It is, however, interesting to note that, though he was such a confirmed monist in his philosophy, he was a theist in his religion and followed the path of bhakti, or devotion, as is evidenced by his numerous works promulgating the bhakti creed.

These works, however, have nothing to do with the philosophy of the Vedānta, with which we are concerned in the present chapter. Madhusūdana’s Vedānta-kalpa-latikā was written earlier than his Advaita-siddhi and his commentary on the Mahimnaḥ stotra[286]. Rāmājñā Pāṇḍeya points out in his introduction to the Vedānta-kalpa-latikā that the Advaita-siddhi contains a reference to his Gītā-nibandhana ; the Gītā-nibandhana and the Śrīmad-bhāgavata-ṭīkā contain references to his Bhokti-rasāyana, and the Bhakti-rasāyana refers to the Vedānta-kalpa-latikā ; and this show's that the Vedānta-kalpa-latikā was written prior to all these works.

The Advaita-ratna-rakṣaṇa refers to the Advaita-siddhi and may therefore be regarded as a much later work. There is nothing particularly new in the Vedānta-kalpa-latikā that deserves special mention as a contribution to Vedāntic thought. The special feature of the work consists in the frequent brief summaries of doctrines of other systems of Indian philosophy and contrasts them with important Vedānta views.

The first problem discussed is the nature of emancipation (mokṣa) and the ways of realizing it: Madhusūdana attempts to prove that it is only the Vedāntic concept of salvation that can appeal to men, all other views being unsatisfactory and invalid. But it does not seem that he does proper justice to other views. Thus, for example, in refuting the Sāṃkhya view of salvation he says that, since the Sāṃkhya thinks that what is existent cannot be destroyed, sorrow, being an existent entity, cannot be destroyed, so there cannot be any emancipation from sorrow.

This is an evident misrepresentation of the Sāṃkhya; for with the Sāṃkhya the destruction of sorrow in emancipation means that the buddhi , a product of prakṛti which is the source of all sorrow, ceases in emancipation to have any contact with puruṣa , and hence, even though sorrow may not be destroyed, there is no inconsistency in having emancipation from sorrow. It is unnecessary for our present purposes, however, to multiply examples of misrepresentation by Madhusūdana of the views of other systems of thought in regard to the same problem. In the course of the discussions he describes negation (abhāva) also as being made up of the stuff of nescience, which, like other things, makes its appearance in connection with pure consciousness.

He next introduces a discussion of the nature of self-knowledge, and then, since Brahma knowledge can be attained only through the Upaniṣadic propositions of identity, he passes over to the discussion of import of propositions and the doctrines of abhihitān-vaya-vāda, anvitābhidhāna-vāda and the like. He then treats of the destruction of nescience. He concludes the work with a discussion of the substantial nature of the senses. Thus the mind-organ is said to be made up of five elements, whereas other senses are regarded as being constituted of one element only. Manas is said to pervade the whole of the body and not to be atomic, as the Naiyāyikas hold. Finally, Madhusūdana returns again to the problem of emancipation, and holds that it is the self freed from nescience that should be regarded as the real nature of emancipation.

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- Footnotes:


Fragments of Bhartṛprapañca from the writings of Śaṅkara and his commentator Ānandajñāna and from Sureśvara’s Vārttika have been collected by Prof. Hiriyanna, Mysore, in a short paper read at the Third Oriental Conference in Madras in 1924, published in Madras in 1925.


Advaita Philosophy by K. Vidyāratna, published by the Calcutta University Press, 1924.


dve satye samupāśritya buddhānāṃ dharma-deśanā
loka-saṃvṛti-satyaṃ ca satyaṃ ca paramārthataḥ.
xxiv. 8, p. 492, B.B. edition.


Ajñānaṃ hi samantāt sarva-padārtha-tattvāvacchādanāt saṃvṛtir ity ucyate.

Candrakīrti however gives two other meanings of the word saṃvṛti, which do not seem to be so closely connected with the etymology. In the first of the two meanings saṃvṛti means interdependent origination or pratītyasamutpāda, and in the second it means the conventional world of common-sense, which can be expressed or indicated by speech and language and which we are supposed to know and refer to in all our experiences involving the knower and the known—

saṃvṛtiḥ saṃketo loka-vyavahāraḥ, sa ca abhidhānābhidheya-jñāna-jñeyādilak-ṣaṇaḥ.


Bodhi-caryāvatāra-pañjikā, p. 353, Biblotheca Indica Series, 1902.


Mādhyamika-sūtra, xxiii. 8.


Iha catvāro viparyāsā ucyante: tadyathā pratikṣaṇa-vināśini skandha-pañcake yo nityam iti grāhaḥ sa viparyāsaḥ . . .duḥkhātmake skandha-pañcake yaḥ sukham iti viparīto grāhaḥ so ’paro viparyāsaḥ ,... śarīram aśuci-svabhāvaṃ tatra yo śucitvena grāhaḥ sa viparyāsaḥ,.. .pañca-skandḥaṃ nirātmakaṃ tasmin ya ātma-grāhaḥ anātmani ātmābḥiniveśaḥ sa viparyāsaḥ.

Candraklrti’s commentary on ibid. xxiii. 13. Compare it with the Yoga-sūtra, 11. 5, Ānandāśrama Series.


Candrakīrti’s commentary on the Mādhyamika-sūtra, xxiii. 13.


Śaṅkara’s Adhyāsa-bhāṣya on the Brahma-sūtra, Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1904.


Rajjvāṃ sarpa iva kalpitatvāt na tu sa vidyate. . .na hi rajjvāṃ bhrāntibuddhyā kalpitaḥ sarpo vidyamānaḥ san vivekato nivṛttaḥ; tathedaṃ prapañcākhyaṃ māyā-mātram. Gauḍapāda’s Kārikā, 1. 17, Ānandāśrama Series.


Śaṅkara’s commentary on Gauḍapāda’s Kārikā, n. 1-12.


Na hi nirāspadā rajju-sarpa-mṛgatṛṣṇikādayaḥ kvacit upalabhyante. Ibid.


Gaudapāda’s Kārikā, II. 17.


Pañca-pādikā, p. 4, the Vizianagram Sanskrit Series, 1891.


asmat-pratyaye yo ’nidam-aṃśaś cid-eka-rasaḥ tasmiṃs tad-bala-nirbḥāsita-tayā lakṣaṇato yuṣmad-arthasya manuṣyābhimānasya sambhedaivāvabhāsaḥ sa eva adhyāsaḥ.
p. 3.


ataḥ sā pratyak-citi brahma-svarūpāvabhāsaṃ pratibadhnāti ahaṃkārād-y-atad-rūpa-pratibhāsa-nimittaṃ ca bhavati.
p. 5.


Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, p. 10, the Vizianagram Sanskrit Series, 1892.


sarvaṃ ca hāryam sopādānaṃ bhāva-kāryatvāt ghaṭādivad ity anumānāt ... tasmān mithyārtha-taj-jñānātmakaṃ mithyā-bhūtam adhyāsam iipñdāna-kāraṇa-sāpekṣam ... mithyā-jñānam eva adhyāsopādānam.
pp. 11—12.


Ibid. p. 13.


śaktir ity ātma-para-tantratayā ātmanaḥ sarva-kāryopādānasya nirvodlh-ṛtvam. Ibid. p. 13. Ātma-kāraṇatva-nirvodhṛtvād ātma-para-tantratvā ca śakti-matyām api śakti-śabda upacāritaḥ.
      Akhaṇḍānanda Muni’s Tattva-dtpana, p. 65,
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1902.


ataḥ svaprakāśe ’pi ātmani vicitra-śakti-bhāva-rūpāvidyā-prayuktam āvaraṇaṃ durapahṇavam.
      Rāmānanda Sarasvatī’s Vivaraṇopanyāsa, p. 16,
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1901.


Siddhānta-leśa, p. 12, V.S. Series, 1890.


Bhāmatī on Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya, 1. 1.2, Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, 1904.


Anirvācyāvidyā-dvitaya-sacivasya prabhavato vivartā yasyaite viyad-anila-tejob-avanayaḥ .
p. I.


Saṃkṣepa-śārtraka, I. 333, 334, Bhāū Śāstri’s edition.


Siddhānta-leśa, p. 13, V.S. Series, 1890.


avidyā hi vidyābhavo mithyā-jñānaṃ vā na cobhayaṃ kasya cit samavāyi-kāraṇatn adravyatvāt.
      Ānandabodha’s Nyāya-makaranda, p. 122,
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1901.


Ibid. pp. 122-124.


sad-asad-ubhayānubhayādi-prakāraiḥ anirvacanīyatvam eva hy avidyānām avidyātvam.
as quoted in Pramāṇa-mālā, p. 10,
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1907.


Vailakṣciṇya-vāco-yuktir hi pratiyogi-nirūpaṇād yauktikatva-prakaṭana-phalā na tv evaṃ-rūpatāyāḥ sāmanjasya-sampādanāya ity avocāma. 
p. 10.


A History of Indian Philosophy, vol. I. pp. 477-478, by S. N. Dasgupta, published by the Cambridge University Press, 1922.


Prakāśānanda refers to the arguments of Prakāśātman’s (a.d. 1200) Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa and Sarvajñātma Muni’s (A.D. 900) Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka and refers approvingly to Sureśvara, the author of the Naiṣkarmyasiddhi. Appaya Dīkṣita (A.D. 1620) refers to Prakāśānanda in his Siddhānta-leśa (pp. 13,72). Nānā Dīkṣita, a follower of the school of Prakāśānanda and author of the Siddhānta-dīpikā, in a commentary on the Siddhānta-muktāvalī, gives a list of Vedānta teachers. In this list he mentions the names of Prakāśānubhavānanda, Nṛsiṃha and Rāghavendra Yati. Venis thinks (see The Pandit, 1890, pp. 487-490) thatPrakāśānubhavais the same as Prakāśātman and Nṛsiṃha the same as Nṛsiṃhāśrama Muni, who is said to have converted Appaya Dīkṣita to Śaṅkara Vedānta, and thinks that Prakāśānanda lived in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, being wedged in between Nṛsiṃha and Appaya. Though it would be difficult to settle his time so precisely and definitely, yet it would not be wrong to suppose that he lived some time towards the latter half of the sixteenth century. Prakāśānanda’s doctrine of Dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi is apparently unknown to the earlier Vedantic works and even the Vedānta-paribhāṣā, a work of the early sixteenth century, does not seem to be aware of him, and it appears that the earliest mention of his name can be traced only to Appaya, who lived in the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Prakāśānanda may thus be believed to have lived in the latter half of the sixteenth century.


Siddhānta-muktāvalī, as printed in the Pandit, 1889, pp. 247—249.


vimato viṣayaḥ sva-viṣaya-jñānād bhidyate tad-viruddha-dharmāśrayatvōt.
p. 252.


pratyetavya-pratītyoś ca bhedaḥ prāmāṇikaḥ kutaḥ
pratīti-mātram evaitad bhāti viśvaṃ carācaram
jñāna-jñeya-prabhedena yathā svāpnaṃ pratīyate
vijñāna-mātram evaitat tathā jāgrac carācaram.


Vijñapti-mātratā-siddhi, containing two treatises, Viṃśatikā and Triṃśikā, Paris, 1925. It seems probable that Vasubandhu flourished in a.d. 280—360 rather than in A.D. 420-500 as held by me in the first volume of the present work. See B. bhaṭṭacharya’s foreword to the Tattva-saṃgraha.


yo bālair dhārmāṇāṃ svabhāvo grāhya-grahakādiḥ porikalpitaḥ tena kalpiten-ātmanā teṣōṃ nairātmyaṃ na tv anabhilāpyenātmanā yo buddhānāṃ viṣaya iti. Commentary on Viṃśatikā, p. 6.


Nāpi te saṃhatā viṣayī-bhavanti, yasmāt paramāṇur ekaṃ dravyaṃ na sidhyati. Ibid. p. 7.


para-vijñapti-viśeṣādhipatyāt pareṣāṃ jīvitendriya-rirodhinī kācit vikriyā utpcidyate yayā sabhāga-santati-vicchedākhyaṃ maraṇam bhavati.
      Commentary on Viṃśatikā, p. 10.


kāraṇa-kṣaṇa-nirodha-sama-kālaḥ kāraṇa-kṣaṇa-vilakṣaṇa-kāryasya ātma-lābhaḥ pariṇāmaḥ.
      Sthiramati’s commentary on Triṃśikā, p. 16.


upacārasya ca nirādhārasyāsambhavād avaśyaṃ vijñāna-pariṇāmo vastuto 'sty upagantavyo yatra ātma-dharmopacāraḥpravartate.
Compare Śaṅkara’s commentary on Gauḍapāda’s Kārikā, no hi nirāspadā mṛgatṛṣṇikādayaḥ.


Thus Laṅkāvatāra, one of the most important works on Buddhistic idealism, denies the real transformation of the pure intelligence or ālaya-vijñāna. See Laṅkāvatāra, p. 46, published by the Otani University Press, Kyoto, 1923.


dhruvo nityatvād akṣayatayā; sukho nityatvād eva yad avityaṃ tad duḥkḥam ayaṃ ca nitya iti asmāt sukhaḥ. Sthiramati’s commentary on Triṃśikā, p. 44.


Alaya-vijñāna in this ultimate state of pure consciousness (vijñapti-mātratā) is called the cause (dhātu) of all virtues, and, being the ultimate state in which the dharmas or characterized appearances have lost all their limitations it is called the dharma-kāya of the Buddha (mahā-muniḥ bhūnd-pāramitādi-bhāva-nayā kleśa-jñeyāvaraṇa-prahāṇāt... sarva-dharma-vibhutva-lābhataś ca dhanna-kāya ity ucyate). Ibid.


tac ca varttate srotasaughavat. Ibid. p. 21.


avaśyaṃ vijñāna-pariṇāmo vastuto ’sty upagantavy oyatrātmadharmopacāraḥ pravarttate. Ibid. p. 16.


Feeling (vedanā) is distinguished here as painful,pleasurable and as the basic entity which is neither painful nor pleasurable, which is feeling per se (vedanā anubhava-svabhāvā sā punar viṣayasya āhlādaka-paritāpaka-tadubhaya-kara-vivikta-svarūpa-sākṣātkaraṇa-bhedāt). This feeling per se must be distinguished again from the non-pleasurable-painful feeling existing along with the two other varieties, the painful and the pleasurable. Here the vipāka transformations are regarded as evolving the basic entity of feeling, and it is therefore undifferentiated in it as pleasure or pain and is hence called “feeling as indifference (upekṣā)" and undifferentiated (avyākṛta). The differentiation of feeling as pleasurable or as painful takes place only as a further determination of the basic entity of feeling evolved in the vipāka transformations of good and bad deeds (śubhāśubha-karma-vipāka). Good and bad (śubhāśubha) are to be distinguished from moral and immoral as potential and actual determinations of virtuous and vicious actions.


Vācaspati, however, in his Bhāmatī commentary, II. ii.28, introduces some new points. He says that spatial extension, as perceived in visual perception, cannot be due to the perception of partless atoms. Nor can it be said that the colour particles produced in uninterrupted succession generate the notion of spatial extension, though there is no spatial extension in the individual atom; for it is not possible that the groups of colour particles are not interrupted by taste, smell and the tactual particles. So it has to be admitted that the colour particles are at some distance from one another and are interrupted by other particles, and that the continuous appearance of colour in spatial distribution is a false appearance, like the appearance of continuous trees from a distance constituting a forest

(gandha-rasa-sparśa-paramāṇv-antaritā hi te rūpa-paramāṇavo na nirantarāḥ ; tasmād ārāt sāntareṣu vṛkṣeṣu eka-ghana-pratyayavad eṣa sthūla-pratyayaḥ paramāṇuṣu sāntareṣu bhrānta eva).


This simile is adduced by Vācaspati probably from a quotation from Diñnāga—

sahopalambha-niyamād abhedo nīla-tad-dhiyoḥ bhedaś ca bhrānti-vijñānair dṛsyetendāv ivādvaye.

Since both the blue and the idea of the blue are taken at the same moment, they are one and the same; for any two things which are taken simultaneously are identical. As one moon appears as two in an illusory manner, so the difference between the idea and the object is also perceived only illusorily. This argument of sahopalambha-niyayna is absent in Vasubandhu’s Viṃśatikā and Triṃśikā.


Vācaspati summarizes in this connection the inference of the Sautrāntikas for the existence of an external world of objects as the causes of the corresponding ideas. The argument of the Sautrāntikas runs thus: When, the old causes remaining the same, there is a new effect, that new effect must be due to a new cause. Now, though it should be admitted that in the passing series of inner consciousness each particular moment generates the succeeding one, and that this power of productivity is called vāsanā (tat-pravṛtti-vijñāna-janana-śaktir vāsanā), and that its tendency to effectuate itself is called its power of fruition (paripāka), even then it would be difficult to understand how each particular moment should have a power altogether different from other moments; for, since there is nothing else to change the character of the moments, each moment is just as much a moment as any other. So it has to be admitted that there are other things which make one moment different in its power of effectuation from any other; and these are the external objects.


Śaṅkara says yad antar-jñeya-rūpaṃ tad bahirvad avabhāsate. This seems to be a quotation from Diñnāga. Diñnāga’s verse, as quoted by Kamalaśīla in his commentary on the Tattva-saṃgraha, verses 2082-2084, runs as follows:

yad antar-jñeya-rūpaṃ tu bahirvad avabhāsate
’rtho vijñāna-rūpatvāt tat-praiyayatayāpi ca.

This shows that Śaṅkara had Diñnāga in his mind when he attempted to refute the Buddhist idealists.


dvābhyāṃ ca bheda ekasya siddho bhavati ekasmāc ca dvayoḥ; tasmād artha-jñātiayor bhedaḥ.
      Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya, II. ii. 28,
      Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1904.


tad yadi nityaika-jñāna-pratibhāsātmakā amī śabdādayaḥ syus tadā vicitrās-taraṇa-pratibhāsavat sakṛd eva pratibhāseratt; tat-pratibhāsātmakasya jñānasya sarvadā vasthitatvāt.
      Kamalaśīla’s commentary on the Tattva-saṃgraha, si. 331.
      Gaekwad’s Oriental Series, 1926.

Neither Śāntarakṣita nor Kamalaśīla seems to be familiar with Śaṅkara.


na hi brahma-vādino nīlādyākārāṃ vittim abhyupagacchanti, kin tu anirvacarilyaṃ nīlādlti.
, n. ii. 28.


See Vedānta-paribhāṣā, ch. 1, Srīvenkateśvar Press, Bombay, 1911.


tattva-darśinas tu advitīyāt saṃvedanāt abhede 'pi viṣayasya bhedenāpi artha-kriyā-sāmarthya-sattvaṃ sthāyitvaṃ cābādhitam astīti vadanti.
p. 73.

In addition to this work Prakāśātman also wrote two independent commentaries on Brahma-sūtra called Śārīraka-ṃimāṃsā-nyāya-saṃgraha and Laukika-nyāya-muktāvalī.


anuvṛttasya vyāvrttān na bhedo 'nuvṛttatvād ākāśa-ghafādivat.
p. 73.


tasmāt svābhāvikāsādharaṇābhedasambandhād eva vijñāne nīlam avabhāsate.
p. 74.

Arguing from a similar point of view, Śāntarak§ita and Kamalaśīla urge that, if the object was not identical with the awareness, there must be some immutable law why they should appear simultaneously. This law according to the Buddhists could only be either of identity {tādātmya) or of causality as invariability of production {tad-utpatti). The first alternative is what the Buddhists here are contending for as against the Vedāntists. There cannot be the law of causality here; for there cannot be any operation of the law of causality as production between two entities which are simultaneous. Tattva-saṃgraha and Pañjikā, 2030, 2031.


tad vāsanā-sameta-samanantcra-pratyaya-samutthaṃ saṅkalanātmakaṃ pra-tyayāntaram etan neha sambandhāgamaḥ.
      Padmapāda’s (A.D. 820) Pañca-pādikā, p. 25.

This work exerted the greatest influence on the development of Vedāntic thought for about six or seven centuries, and several commentaries were written on it. Most important of these are Prakāśātman’s Pañcapādikā-vivaraṇa, Pañca-pādikādhyāsa-bhāṣya-vyākhyā, Pañca-pādikā-śāstra-darpaṇa by Amrtānanda, Tattva-dīpana by Amrtānandanātha, and also a commentary by Anāndapūrna Yati. Prakāśātman’s commentary on it, called Pañcapādikā-vivaraṇa, was commented upon by Akhaṇḍānanda Muni in his Tattva-dīpana, by Rāmānanda Sarasvatī in his Vivaraṇopanyāsa , and by Nṛsiṃhāśrama in his Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa-bhāva-prakāśikā.


  nānubhavam āśritya saṃvedanād abhinnaṃ nīlaṃ brūmaḥ kintu vijñānena nīlasya pratibhāsānyathānupapattyā ; kṣaṇikcisya tv āgantuko-sambandhābhāve ... pratibhāsa eva na syāt.
p. 74.


  See the first volume of this work, pp. 163-164, where the reasons in justification of the doctrine are briefly stated.


  Padmapāda derives the possibility of one’s being aware of an awareness, which however hardly appears to be convincing. He thinks that an awareness, being of the nature of light, does not stand in need of any other light to illuminate it. na ca saṃvit saṃvido viṣayaḥ samvid-ātmanā bhedābhāvāt pradtpasyeva pradīpāntaram. Pañca-pādikā , p. 27.


  nārtha-kriyā-kāritva-lakṣaṇarn sattvaṃ kintu svābhāvikam iti sakṛt kāryyaṃ kṛtvā tuṣṇīmbhūtasyāpisthāyinaḥ sattvaṃ na virudhyate.  
p. 80.


  pūrvānubhava-sainskāra-sahitād idānīṃtana-vastu-pramiti-kāraṇāj jātam ekasya kāla-dvaya-saṃbandha-viṣayakaṃ pratyakṣa-jñānaṃ pratyabhijñā iti cet , na tarhi ātmani sā sambhavati. .. vijñāna-svabhāvasya hy ātmanaḥ. . .jñānānta-rāgamyatvāt ...
p. 75.


Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, p. 76.


Vācaspati Miśra’s Bhāmatī, p. 13, Nirṇaya-Sāgara edition, 1904.


kiṃ hi yac caitanyenānanvitaṃ tad abrahma-prakṛtikaṃ dṛṣṭam iti brahma-vādinaṃ praty udāhriyeta samastasya vastujātasya brahma-prakṛtikatvābhyu-pagamāt.
      Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya, n. i. 6.


kūṭa-stha-brohniātma-vādinaḥ ekatvaikāntyāt īśitrīśitavyabhāvaḥ īśvara-kāraṇa-pratijñā-virodha iti cet ; na; avidyātmaka-nāma-rūpa-bīja-vyākaratiāpek-ṣarvāt sarvajñatvasya.
      Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya on Brahma-sūtra. n. i. 14.

na tāttvikam aiśvaryyaṃ sarvajñatvaṃ ca brahmaṇaḥ kintv avidyopādhikam iti tadāśrayam pratijñā-sūtram, tattvāśrayaṃ tu tad ananyatva-sūtram.
on the above Bhāṣya.


Prof. S. Kuppusvāmī Śāstrī, in an article read before the Third Oriental Conference, quotes a passage from Venkata’s Tattva-ṭīkā on Rāmānuja’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtras, in which he says that Upavarsa is a name of Bodhāyana —vṛttikārasya Bodhāyanasyaiva hi Upavarṣa iti syān nāmaProceedings of the Third Oriental Conference, Madras, 1924. The commentators on Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya say that, when he refers to Vrttikāra in I. i. 9, 1. i. 23,1. ii. 23 and hi. iii. 53, he refers to Upavarsa by name. From the views of Upavarsa referred to in these sūtras it appears that Upavarsa believed in the theory of jñāna-karma-samuccaya, held also by Bhāskara (an adherent of the bhedābheda theory), Rāmānuja and others, but vehemently opposed by Śaṅkara, who wanted to repudiate the idea of his opponents that the performance of sacrificial and Vedic duties could be conceived as a preliminary preparation for making oneself fit for Brahma-knowledge.

References to Dramiḍācārya’s commentary on the Chāndogya Upaniṣad are made by Ānandagiri in his commentary on Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Chāndogya Upaniṣad. In the commentary of Sarvajñātma Muni’s Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka, ni. 217-227,byNṛsiṃhāśrama,the Vākyakāra referred to bySarvajñātma Muni as Atreya has been identified with Brahmanandin or Ṭañka and the bhāsyakāra (a quotation from whose Bhāṣya appears in Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka , ill. 221, “antar-guṇā bhagavatī paradevateti,” is referred to as a quotation from Dramidācārya in Rāmānuja’s Vedārtha-saṃgraha, p. 138, Pandit edition) is identified with Dramiḍācārya, who wrote a commentary on Brahmanandin’s Chāndogyo-paniṣad-vārttika.


Vācaspati Miśra flourished in about A.D. 840. In addition to his Bhāmatī commentary on the Brahma-sūtra he wrote many other works and commentaries on other systems of philosophy. His important works are: Tattva-bindu, Tattva-vaiśāradl (yoga), Tattva-samīkṣā Brahma-siddhi-ṭīkā, Nyāya-kaṇikā on Vidhi-viveka, Nyāya-tattvāloka, Nyāya-ratna-ṭīkā, Nyūya-vārttika-tātparya-ṭīkā, Brahma-tattva-saṃhitoddiparii, Yukti-dīpikā (Sāṃkhya), Sāṃkhya-tattva-kaumudī, Vedānta-tattva-kaumudī.


He lived about A.D. 900 during the reign of King Manukulāditya and was a pupil of Deveśvara.


vivarta-vādasya hi pūrva-bhūmir
vedānta-vāde pariṇāma-vādaḥ
vyavasthite 'smin pariṇāma-vāde
svayaṃ samāyāti vivarta-vādaḥ.
, 11. 61.

upāyam ātiṣṭhati pūrvam uccair
upeyam āptum janatā yathaiva
śrutir niunīndraś ca vivarta-siddhyai
vikāra-vādaṃ vadatas tathaiva.
11. 62.

vikāra-vādaṃ Kapilādi-pakṣam
upetya vādena tu sūtra-kāraḥ
śrutiś ca saṃjalpati pūrvabhūmau
sthitvā vivarta-pratipādanāya.

11. 64.


See Tripathi’s introduction to the Tarka-saṃgraha.


Allāla Sūri, son of Trivikramācārya, wrote a commentary on the Bhāmatī, called the Bhāmatī-tilaka.


Samyagbodhendra Samyamin, pupil of Gīrvānendra (a.d. 1450), wrote a summary of the main contents of the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa in six chapters (varṇaka), and this work is called by two names, Advaita-bhūṣaṇa and Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha. There are again two other commentaries on Prakāśātman’s Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa: the Riju-vivaraṇa by Viṣṇubhaṭṭa, son of Janārdana Sarvajfta and pupil of Svāmīndrapūrna, and the Ṭīkā-ratna by Ānandapūrna. The Riju-vivaraṇa had again another commentary on it, called the Trayyanta-bhāva-pradīpikā, by Rāmānanda, pupil of Bhāratī Tīrtha.

There are, however, two other commentaries on the Pañca-pādikā called Pañca-pādikā-vyākhyā (by an author whose name is not definitely known) and the Prabandha-pariśodhim by Ātmasvarūpa, pupil of Nṛsiṃhasvarūpa. Dharma-rāyādhvarīndra also wrote a commentary on Pañca-pādikā , called the Pañca-pādikā-ṭīkā.


Apart from the two published commentaries on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka, there is another work called the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka-sambandhokti by Vedānanda, pupil of Vedādhyak§a-bhagavat-pūjyapāda, in which the author tries to show the mutual relation of the verses of it as yielding a consistent meaning. Nrslmhā-śrama also wrote a commentary on the Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka, called the Tattva-bodhinī. One Sarvajñātma Bhagavat wrote a small Vedāntic work, called Pañca-prakriyā; but it is not probable that he is the same as Sarvajñātma Muni.


Pettā Dīkṣita, son of Nārāyana Dīkṣita, also wrote a commentary on the Vedānta-paribhāṣā, called Vedānta-paribhāṣā-prakūśikā.


Brahmānanda wrote on the Siddhānta-bindu another commentary, called Siddhānta-bindu-ṭīkā.


A number of other important Vedānta works, written mostly during the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, may also be mentioned.

Thus Lokanātha, son of Sarvajñanārāyana and grandson of Nṛsiṃhāśrama, wrote a metrical work in three chapters refuting the views of the dualists, called Advaita-muktā-sāra with a commentary on it called Kānti ;

Brahmānanda Sarasvatī wrote the Advaita-siddhānta-vidyotana ;

Gopālānanda Sarasvatī, pupil of Yogānanda, wrote the Akhaṇḍātma-prakāśikā ;

Harihara Paramahamsa, pupil of Śivarāma, pupil of Viśveśvarāśrama, wrote the Anubhava-vilāsa,

and early in the nineteenth century Sāmin, a pupil of Brahmānanda, wrote a big work in twelve chapters, called Brahmānanda-vilāsa.

In this connection it may not be out of place to mention the names of some important works of Vedānta dialectics in refutation of other systems of philosophical views more or less on the lines of those dialectical writings which have been noticed in the present volume.

Thus Ananda-pū na(A.D. 1 600), who commented on Śrīhar§a’s Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, wrote the Nyāya-candrikā in four chapters, refuting the views of the Nyāya, Mīmāṃsā and Vaiśesika;

Ānandānubhava, pupil of Nārāyana Jyotisha, who lived probably in the same century, wrote a similar work, called Padārtha-tottva-nirṇaya;

Jñanaghana, who probably lived in the thirteenth century, wrote an elaborate dialectical work in thirty-three chapters (prakaraṇa), called Tattva-śtiddhi;

Śrīnivāsa Yajvan, who probably lived in the sixteenth century, wrote the Vūdā-valī in twenty-six chapters in refutation of Viśistādvaita and Dvaita views;

Bhavānīsaṅkara also wrote a similar dialectical work, called Siddhānta-dīpikā. As examples of semi-popular Vedānta works of a syncretistic type, such works as

  • the Tattva-bodha of Vāsudevendra,
  • the Guṇa-traya-viveka of Svayamprakāśa Yogīndra,
  • the Jagan-mīthyātva-dipikā of Rāmendra Yogin,
  • the Ānanda-dīpa of ŚivānandaYati (which had a commentary called Ānanda-dīpa-ṭīkār by Rāmanātha),
  • the Svātma-yoga-pradīpabyYogiśvara (which had a commentary by Amarānanda)
  • and the Vedānta-hṛdaya (on the lines of the Yoga-vāsiṣṭha and Gauḍapāda) by Varada Paṇḍita may be mentioned.

This latter work was probably later than Prakāśānanda’s Vedānta-siddhānta-muktāvali, which followed the same line of thought.


The arguments here followed are those of Vasubandhu, as found in his Ahhidharma-kośa, and are based on Prof. Stcherbatsky’s translation of the appendix to ch. viii of that work, called the Pudgala-viniścaya, and Yaśomitra’s commentary in manuscript from Nepal, borrowed from Viśvabhārātī, Santini-ketan, Bengal.


yadi yathā rūpādiḥ śabdāder bhāvāntaram abhipreyate pudgala iti abhyupogato bhavati bhinna-lakṣaṇaṃ hi rīīpam śabdād ityādi kṣīrādivat samudāyaś cet prajñaptitaḥ.
Viśvabhāratī MS. p. 337.


Stcherbatsky’s translation of the Pudgala-vimścaya, Bulletin de VAcademie des Sciences de Russie, p. 830.

The exact text of Vasubandhu, as translated from Tibetan in a note, runs thus: gṛhīta-pratyutpannābhyantara-skandḥam upādāyapudgala-prajñaptiḥ.
p. 953.


Vātśīputrīyāṇāṃ tīrthika-dṛṣṭiḥ prasajyate niṣprayojanatvaṃ ca
varṣāta-pābhyāṃ kiṃ vyomnaś carmaṇy-asti tayoḥ phalam
carmopamaś cet sa nityaḥ khatulyaś ced asatphalaḥ.

                                                  MS. of Yaśomitra’s commentary, p. 338.


āśraya-bhūtaḥ saha-bhūtaś ca.


rūpasyāpi prajñaptir vaktavyā cakṣur-ādiṣu satsu tasyopalambhāt, tāni cakṣur-ādīny upādāya rūpam prajñāpyate.


yathā rūpādtnyeva samastānisamuditāni kṣīram iti udakamiti vā prajñāpyate , tathā skandhāś ca samastā pudgala iti prajñāpyate, iti siddham.
      MS. of Yaśomitra’s commentary, p. 339 A.


yathā rūpam pudgalopalabdheḥ kāraṇaṃ bhavati sa ca tebhyo ’nyo na vaktavyaḥ āloka-cakṣur-manaskārā api rūpopalabdheḥ kāraṇaṃ bhavati tad api tad-abhinna-svabhāvaḥ pudgalaḥ prāpnoti.


Ibid. p. 339 B.


svalakṣaṇād api kṣaṇāntaram any ad ity udāhāryam.


yathā rūpa-pudgalayor anyānanyatvam avaktavyam evaṃ tadupalabdhyor api anyānanyatvam avaktavyam.


yo ’yaṃ siddhāntaḥ pudgala eva vaktavyaḥ so ’yam bhidyate saṃskṛtam api avaktavyam iti kṛtvā.


Stcherbatsky’s translation in Bulletin de l’Academie des Sciences de Russie.


Stcherbatsky’s translation.


Yaśomitra points out that there is no carrier of the burden different from the collection of the skandhas— bhārādānavan na skandhebhyo ’rthāntara-bhūtaḥ pudgala ity arthaḥ.
Viśvabhāratī MS.


Stcherbatsky’s translation in Bulletin de l’Acadēmie des Sciences de Russie, pp.938-939.


tattva-darśī tu nityam advitīyaṃ vijñānaṃ viṣayāś ca tatrādhyastāḥ pṛthagartha-kriyā-samarthās teṣārn cābādhitaṃ sthāyitvam astīti vadati. Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha, p. 74, the Vizianagram Sanskrit Series, Benares, 1893.


Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha, p. 76.


kevale cidātmani janya-jñāna-tat-saṃskārayor asambhave ’py antaḥkaraṇa-viśiṣṭe tat-sambhavād ukta-pratyabhijñā kiṃ na syāt.
p. 76.


antaḥkaraṇa-viśiṣṭatayaivātmanaḥ pratyabhijñātṛtvaṃ purvapara-kala-viśiṣṭatayā ca pratyabhijñeyatvam.
p. 77.


svayaṃprakāśamānaṃ hi saṃvedanam aśrayaṃ sādhayati na tu smṛti-viṣayatayā para-prakāśyam.
, p. 78.


tathā sati svādhāra-vijñāna-vṛtti-vyāpyatvād ātmanaḥ karmatve svātmani vṛtti-virodhād iti brūmati.
p. 131.


Ibid. pp. 134-135.


saṃveditā na saṃvid-adhīna-prakāśaḥ saṃvit-karmatām antareṇa aparok-ṣatvāt saṃvedanavat.
, p. 135.

This argument is borrowed verbatim by Vidyāranya in his Vivaraṇa-prameya-saṃgraha , p. 85.


vastuto ’jñānasyātmāchādakatvābhāve ’pipramātṛ-buddhimātrāchādakatvena ajñānasyātmāchādakatvam upacārād ucyate. Subodhinī on Vedānta-sāra, p. 13, Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1916.


As to how the subtle elements are combined for the production of grosser elements there are two different theories, viz. the trivṛt-karaṇa and the pañcī-karaṇa. The trivṛt-karaṇa means that fire, water and earth (as subtle elements) are each divided into two halves, thus producing two equal parts of each; then the three half parts of the three subtle elements are again each divided into two halves, thus producing two quarter parts of each.

Then the original first half of each element is combined with the two quarters of other two elements. Thus each element has half of itself with two quarter parts of other two elements. Vācaspati and Amalānanda prefer trivṛt-karaṇa to pañci-haraṇa; for they think that there is no point in admitting that air and ākāśa have also parts of other elements integrated in them, and the Vedic texts speak of trivṛt-karaṇa and not of pañcl-karaṇa.

The pañcī-karaṇa theory holds that the five subtle elements are divided firstly into two halves, and then one of the two halves of these five elements is divided again into four parts, and then the first half of each subtle element is combined with the one-fourth of each half of all the other elements excepting the element of which there is the full half as a constituent.

Thus each element is made up of one-half of itself, and the other half of it is constituted of the one-fourth of each of the other elements (i.e. one-eighth of each of the other four elements), and thus each element has at least some part of other elements integrated into it. This view is supported by the Vedānta-paribhāṣā and its Śikhātnaṇi commentary, p. 363.


The Vedānta-sāra speaks of saṅkalpa and vikalpa, and this is explained by the Subodhinī as meaning doubt. See Vedānta-sāra and Subodhinī, p. 17. The Vedānta-paribhāṣā and its commentators speak of saṅkalpa as being the only unction of manas, but it means “doubt.” Śee pp. 88-89 and 358.


smaraṇākāra-vṛttimad untaḥkaraṇaṃ cittam
      (Vedānta-paribhāṣā-Maṇi-prabhā , p. 89).

anayor eva cittāḥatnkārayor antarbhāvaḥ
      (Vedānta-sāra, p. 17).

But the Vedānta-paribhāṣā says that manas, buddhi, ahamkāra and citta, all four, constitute the inner organ (antaḥkaraṇa). See Vedānta-paribhāṣā, p. 88. The Vedānta-sāra however does not count four functions buddhi, manas, citta, ahamkāra ; citta and ahaṃkāra are regarded as the same as buddhi and manas. Thus according to the Vedānta-sāra there are only two categories. But since the Vedānta-paribhāṣā only mentions buddhi and manas as constituents of the subtle body, one need not think that there is ultimately any difference between it and the Vedānta-sāra.


See Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Siddhānta-bindu, pp. 132-150; and Brahmānanda Sarasvatl’s Nyāya-ratnāvalī, pp. 132-150, Śrīvidyā Press, Kumba-konam, 1893.


The Ātma-bodha was commented upon by Padmapāda in his commentary Attna-bodha-vyākhyāna, called also Vedānta-sāra.


Some of these commentaries are:

  • Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣyārtha-saṃgraha by Brahmānanda Yati, pupil of Viśveśvarānanda,
  • Brahma-sūtrārtha-dīpikā by Venkata, son of Gaurī and Śiva,
  • Brahma-sūtra-vṛtti (called also Mitākṣarā) by Annam bhaṭṭa,
  • and Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya-vyākhyā (called also Vidyā-śrī) by Jñānottama Bhattāraka, pupil of Jñānaghana.

The peculiarity of this last work is that it is the only commentary on the eka-jīva-vāda line that the present writer could trace.

In addition to these some more commentaries may be mentioned, such as

  • Brahma-sūtra-vṛtti by Dharma bhaṭṭa, pupil of Rāmacandrārya and pupil’s pupil of Mukundāśrama,
  • Sūtra-bhāṣya-vyākhyāna (called also Brahma-vidyā-bharaṇa) by Advaitānanda, pupil of Rāmānanda and pupil’s pupil of Brahmānanda,
  • Brahma-sūtra-bhāṣya-vyākḥyā (called also Nyāya-rakṣā-maṇi) by Appaya Dīkṣita,
  • Brahma-tattva-prakāśikā (which is different from an earlier treatise called Brahma-prakāśikā) by Sadāśivendra Sarasvatī,
  • Brahma-sūtro-panyāsa by Rāmeśvara Bhāratī, by a pupil of Rāmānanda,
  • Śārīraka-mīmāṃsā-sūtra-siddhānta-kaumudi by Subrahmanya Agnicin Makhīndra,
  • Vedānta-kaustu-bha by Sītārāma;

none of which seem to be earlier than the sixteenth century.

But Ananyānubhava, the teacher of Prakāśātman (a.d. 1200), seems to have written another commentary, called Sārīraka-nyāya-maṇimālā. Prakāśātman himself also wrote a metrical summary of the main contents of Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya called Sāriraka-mīmārnsā-nyāya-saṃgraha, and Kṛṣṇānubhūti, in much later times, wrote a similar metrical summary, called Sārīraka-mīmārnsā-saṃgraha.


A copy of the manuscript of the Brahma-siddhi and its commentary was consulted by me in the Adyar and the Govt. Sanskrit MSS. Libraries after the above section had been written, and a thorough examination of its contents, I am happy to say, corroborates the above surmises. The Brahma-siddhi is expected to be shortly published by Prof. Kuppusvāmi Śāstrī, and I consulted the tarka-pāda of it in proof by the kind courtesy of Prof. Śāstrī in Madras in December 1928. A separate section has been devoted to the philosophy of Maṇḍana’s Brahma-siddhi.


Mr Hiriyanna, in J.R.A.S. 1923, mentions this point as well as the point concerning avidyā-nivṛtti in Maṇḍana’s view as admission of negation.


Citsukha, the pupil of Jñānottama, also wrote a commentary on it, called Abhiprāya-prakāśikā, almost the whole of which, except some portions at the beginning, is available in the Government Oriental Manuscript Library, R. No. 3853. Anandapūrna also wrote a commentary on the Brahma-siddhi, called Bhāva-śuddhi.


Maṇḍana’s other works are Bhāvanā-viveka, Vidhi-viveka , Vibhrama-viveka and Sphoṭa-siddhi. Of these the Vidhi-viveka was commented upon by Vācaspati Miśra in his Nyāya-kaṇikā, and the Sphoṭa-siddhi was commented upon by the son of Bhavadāsa, who had also written a commentary, called Tattva-vibhāvanā, on Vācaspati Miśra’s Tattva-bindu. The commentary on the Sphoṭa-siddhi is called Gopālika. Maṇḍana’s Vibhrama-viveka is a small work devoted to the discussion of the four theories of illusion (khyāti),ātma-khyāti, asat-khyāti, anyathākhyāti and ākhyāti. Up till now only his Bhāvanā-viveka and Vidhi-viveka have been published.


ekatva evāyaṃ draṣṭṛ-dṛśya-bḥāvovakalpate, droṣṭur eva cid-ātmanaḥ tatḥā tathā vipariṇāmād vivartanād vā; nānātve tu vivikta-svabḥōvayor asamsṛṣṭa-paraspara-svarūpayor asambaddhayoḥ kīdṛśo draṣṭṛ-dṛśya-bhāvaḥ.
      Kuppusvāmi Śāstrī’s edition of Brahma-siddhi, p. 7. (In the press.)


ekāntaḥkaraṇa-saṃkrāntāv asty eva sambandha iti cet, na, citeḥ śuddhatvād apariṇāmādaprati-saṃkramāc ca; dṛśyā buddḥiḥ citi-sannidheś chāyaya vivartata iti ced atha keyaṃ tac cḥāyatā? a-tad-ātmanaḥ tad-avabhāsaḥ; na tarḥiparamārthato dṛśyarn dṛśyate, paramārtḥataś ca dṛśyamānaṃ draṣṭṛ-vyatiriktam asti iti dur-bhanam.


Śaṅkhapāni in commenting on this discards the view that objects pass through the sense-channels and become superimposed on the antaḥkaraṇa or durbhaṇam and thereby become related to the pure intelligence of the self and objectified:

na tu sphaṭikopame cetasi indriya-praṇālī-saṃkrāntānām orthānāṃ tatraiva saṃkrāntena ātma-caitanyena sambaddhānāṃ tad-dṛśyatvaṃ ghaṭiṣyate.

Adyar MS. p. 75.

It may not be out of place to point out in this connection that the theory of Padmapāda, Prakāśātman, as developed later on by Dharmarājādhvarīndra, which held that the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) becomes superimposed on external objects in perception, was in all probability borrowed from the Sāṃkhya doctrine of cic-chāyāpatti in perception, which was somehow forced into Śaṅkara’s loose epistemological doctrines and worked out as a systematic epistemological theory. The fact that Maṇḍana discards this epistemological doctrine shows, on the one hand, that he did not admit it to be a right interpretation of Śaṅkara and may, on the other hand, be regarded as a criticism of the contemporary interpretation of Padmapāda. But probably the reply of that school would be that, though they admitted extra-individual reality of objects, they did not admit the reality of objects outside of pure intelligence (cit).


tathā hi darpaṇa-tala-stkam ātmānaṃ vibhaktam ivātmanaḥ pratyeti; cites tu vibhaktam asaṃsṛṣṭam tayā cetyata iti dur-avagamyam.


Ibid. p. 9. It may not be out of place here to point out that Ānandabodha’s argument in his Nyāya-makaranda regarding the unspeakable nature of avidyā, which has been treated in a later section of this chapter, is based on this argument of Maṇḍana.


itaretarāśraya prasaṅgāt kalpanōdhīno hi
jīva vibhāgaḥ, jīvāśrayā kalpanā.
     Ibid. p.


anupapadyamānārthaiva hi māyā; upapadyamānārthatve vathārtha-bhāvān na māyā syāt.


anāditvān netaretarāśrayatva-doṣah.


na hi jīveṣu nisarga-jā vidyāsti, avidyaiva hi naisargikī, āgantukyā vidyāyāh pravilayaḥ.
pp. 11-12.


avidyayaiva tu brahmaṇo jlvo vibhaktaḥ, tan-nivrttau brahma-svarūpam eva bhavati, vathā ghatādi-bhede tad-ākāśam pariśuddham paramākaśam eva bhavati.


duḥkha nivṛttir vā tad-viśiṣṭ.ātmopalabdhir vā sukham astu, sarvathā sukham nāma na dharmāntaram asti.
      Adyar MS. of the Śaṅkhapāni commentary, p. 18.


Ibid. pp. 20, 21.


Ibid. p. 22.


saḥajo hi rāgaḥ sarva-puṃsām asti sa tu viṣaya-viśeṣeṇa āvir-bhavati.
P. 23


ataḥ kāma-nivṛtteḥ prag-bhavi sukhu-vastu-bhutam eṣṭavyam.
p. 27.


Ibid. p. 25.


yadi duḥkḥā-bhāvaḥ sukhaṃ syāt tataḥ syād evaṃ bhāvāntare tu sukhe duḥkhābhāve ca tathā syād eva.
p. 161.


This discussion runs from page 44 of the Brahma-siddhi (in the press) to the end of the second chapter.


tatra pratyakṣe trayaḥ halpāḥ, vastu-svarūpa-siddhiḥ vastv-antarasya vyavacchedaḥ ubhayaṃ vā.


ubhayasminn api traividhyam, yaugapadyam, vyavaccheda-pūrvako vidhiḥ, vidhi-pūrvako vyavacchedaḥ.


kutaścin nimiltād buddhau labdha-rūpāṇām baḥir niṣedhaḥ kriyate.


kramaḥ samgacchate yuktyā naika-vijñāna-karmaṇoḥ
na sanniḥita-jaṃ tac ca tadanyāmarśi jāyate.
ii. Kārikā 3.


pūrva-vijñāna-viḥite rajatādau “idam” iti ca sannihitārtha-sāmānye niṣedho vidhi-pūrva eva, śuktikā-siddhis tu virodhi-niṣedha-pūrva ucyate; vidhi-pūrvatā ca niyamena niṣedhasyocyate, na vidher niṣedḥa-pūrvakatā niṣidhyate.
ii. Kārikā 3.


na ca tatra eka-jñānasya kramavad-vyāpāratā ubhaya-rūpasya utpatteḥ.


riīlasya nirvikalpaka-darśanasya yat sāmarthyaṃ niyataika-kāraṇatvaṃ tena anādi-vāsanā-vaśāt pratibhāsitaṃ janitam idam nedam iti vikalpo bhāvābhāva-vyavahāram pravartayati... satyam jñāna-dvayam idaṃ savikalpakaṃ tu nirvikalpakaṃ tayor mūla-bhūtaṃ tat pratyakṣaṃ tatra ca eka-vidhir eva anya-vyavaccheda iti brūma iti.
       Śaṅkhapāni’s commentary, ibid.


na bhedo vastuno rūpaṃ tad-abhāva-prasaṅgataḥ
arūpeṇa ca bhinnatvaṃ vastuno nāvakalpate.
, n. 5.


nāpekṣā nāma kaścid vastu-dharmo yena vastuni vyavasthāpyeran, na khalu sva-hetu-prāpitodayeṣu sva-bhāva-vyavasthiteṣu vastuṣu sva-bhāva-sthitaye vastvantarāpekṣā yujyate.
11. 6, vṛtti.



pauruṣeyīm apekṣām na vastv anuvartate, ato na vastu-svabhāvaḥ.


at ha nir-anvaya-vināśānām api kalpanā-viṣayād abhedāt kāryasya tulyatā hanta tarhi bhedād eva kalpanā-viṣayāt kāryābheda-siddher mūdhā kāraṇa-bheda-kalpanā.


pratyekam anubiddḥatvād abhedena mṛṣā mataḥ
bhedo yathā
taraṅgāṇām bhedād bhedaḥ kalāvataḥ.
u. Kārikā 31.


ekasyaivōstu mahimā yan nāneva prakāśate
lāghavān na tu bhinnānām yac cakāśaty abhinnavat.
, 11. Kārikā 32.


See also Prof. Hiriyanna’s introduction to his edition of the Naiṣkarmya-siddki.


Prakāśātman also wrote a metrical summary of Śaṅkara’s Bhāṣya and a work called Śabda-nirṇaya, in which he tried to prove the claims of scriptural testimony as valid cognition.


As Mr Telang points out in his introduction to the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana, it seems that Ānandapūrna lived after Śaṅkara Miśra (a.d. 1529), as is seen from his criticism of his reading of a passage of the Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, p. 586 (Chowkhambā).


See volume I, pp. 475, 476. These two doctrines were probably present in germinal forms as early as the ninth century. But gradually more and more attention seems to have been paid to them. Appaya Dīkṣita gives a fairly good summary of these two doctrines in the Parimala, pp. 335-343, śri Vāni Vilāsa Press, Srirangam, without committing either himself or Vācaspati to any one of these views.


yatḥāmānaṃ yathā-vastu vyākḥyātam idam īdṛiam.
p. 87. Benares, 1898.


ajñāna-timira-śamanīṃ nyāya-mañjarīṃ rucirām
prasavitre prabhavitre vidyā-tarave namo gurave.
introductory verse.


Amalānanda also wrote another work, called Śāstra-darpaṇa, in which, taking the different topics (adhikaraṇas) of the Brahma-sūtras, he tried to give a plain and simple general explanation of the whole topic without entering into much discussion on the interpretations of the different sūtras on the topic. These general lectures on the adhikaraṇas of the Brahma-sūtras did not, however, reveal any originality of views on the part of Amalānanda, but were based on Vācaspati’s interpretation, and were but reflections of his views, as Amalānanda himself admits in the second verse of the Śāstra-darpaṇa

(Vācaspati-mati-vimbitam ādarśam prārabhe vimalam)
—Śri Vāni Vilāsa Press, igi3, Srirangam, Madras.


It is in the latter view that Vācaspati differs from Maṇḍana, on whose Braḥma-sidḍḥi he wrote his Tattva-samīkṣā.


See Ārya-vidyā-sudhā-kara, pp. 226, 227.


nājñānam advayasamāśrayam iṣṭam evaṃ
nādvaita-vastu-viṣayaṃ niśitekṣaṇānām
nānanda-nitya-viṣayāśrciyam iṣṭam etat
11. 211.


Mr Tripathi in his introduction to Ānandajñāna’s Tarka-saṃgraha gives Ānandabodha’s date as A.D. 1200.


nyāyāpadeśa-makaranda-kadamba eṣa.
p. 359.


See the first volume of the present work, ch. x, p. 485.


Nyāya-makaranda, pp. 122, 123.


gandhe gandhāntara-prasaṅjikā na ca yuktir asti; tadastitve vā kā no hāniḥ ; tasyā apy asmābhiḥ khaṇḍanīyatvāt.
       Śrīharsa’s Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, p. 1181, Chowkhambā edition.


athavā ayam ghaṭaḥ etadgḥaṭānyatve sati vedyatvānadhikaraṇānya-padār-hatvāt patavad ity-ādimahāvidyā-prayogair api vedyatva-siddhir apy ūhanīyā.

—Citsukha Ācārya’s Tattva-pradipikā,p. 13, also p. 304. The commentator Pratyag-rūpa-bhagavān mentions Kulārka Paṇḍita by name, evaṃ sarvā mahavidyās tacchāyā vānye prayogāḥ khaṇḍanīyā iti.

—Amalānanda’s Vedānta-kalpa-taru, p. 304 (Benares, 1895). sarvāsv eva mahāvidyāsu, etc.

—Ānandajñāna’s Tarka-saṃgraha, p. 22. Also Venkata’s Nyāya-pariśuddhi, pp. 125, 126, 273-276, etc., and Tattva-muktā-kalāpa with Sarvōrtḥa-siddhi, pp. 478, 485, 486-491.

Mr M. R. Telang has collected all the above references to mahā-vidyā in his introduction to the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana, Gaekwad’s Oriental Series, Baroda, 1920.


See M. R. Telang’s introduction to the Mahā-vidyā-viḍambana.


tarkāmbarāñka (906) pramiteṣv atīteṣu iakāntataḥ
varṣesūdayanaś cakre subodḥāṃ lakṣaṇāvalīm.
, p. 72, Surendralāl Gosvāmin’s edition, Benares, 1900.


Ānandapūrna in his commentary on the Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya , called Khaṇḍana-phakkikā, explains Kānyakubjeśvara as Kāśīrāja, i.e. King of Kāśī or Benares.


None of these however are available.


Śrīharṣa at the end of this work speaks of having purposely made it extremely knotty here and there, so that no one could understand its difficulties easily except when explained by the teacher.

Thus he says:

grantha-granthir iha kvacit kvacid api nyāsi prayatnān mayā
prājñammanya-manā haṭhena pathitīmāsmin khalaḥ khelatu,
śraddhārāddha-guruḥ ślathīkṛta-dṛḍha-granthiḥ samāsādayat
tv etat-tarkarasormmi-majjana sukheṣv āsaṅjanaṃ sajjanaḥ.
p. 1341. Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot,
      Benares, 1914.

Several commentaries have been written on this celebrated work by various people, e.g.

  • Khaṇḍana-maṇḍana by Paramānanda,
  • Khaṇḍana-maṇḍana by Bhavanātha,
  • Dīdhiti by Raghunātha Śiromani,
  • Prakāśa by Vardhamāna,
  • Vidyā-bharaṇī by Vidyābharapa,
  • Vidyāsāgarī by Vidyāsāgara,
  • Khaṇḍana-ṭīkā by Padmanābha Paṇḍita,
  • Ānanda-vardkana by Śaṅkara Miśra,
  • Śrī-darpaṇa by Śubhaṅkara,
  • Khaṇḍana-mahā-tarka by Caritrasimha,
  • Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍana by Pragalbha Miśra,
  • Śiṣya-hitaiṣiṇī by Padmanābha,
  • Khaṇḍana-kuṭhāra by Gokulanātha Upādhyāya.

At least one refutation of it was attempted by the Naiyāyikas, as is evidenced by the work of a later Vācaspati (a.d. 1350) from Bengal, called Khaṇḍanoddhāra.


Śrīharsa himself admits the similarity of his criticisms to those of Nāgāijuna and says:

tathā hi yadi darśaneṣu śūnya-vādānirvacanīya-pakṣayor āśrayaṇaṃ tada tāvad amūṣāṃ nir-bādhaiva sārva-pathīnatā,” etc. 

      Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya , pp. 229-230, 
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1914.


By the idealistic Buddhists Śrīharṣa here means the idealism of the Laṅkāvatāra, from which he quotes the following verse:

buddhyā vivicyamānānāṃ svabhāvo nāvadhāryate
ato nirabhilapyās te nissvabhāvāś ca deśitāḥ.

     Laṅkāvatārasūtra, p. 287,
     Otani University Press, 1923.


prathama-bhedāsvīkāra-prayojanasya bheda-vyavahārāder dvitīya-bhedād eva siddheḥ prathama-bhedo vyarthaḥ syād eva, dvitīya-bhedādi-prayojanasya tṛtīya-bhedādinaiva siddheḥ so pi vyarthaḥ syāt.
on Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya, p. 206.
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1914.


na vayaṃ bhedasya sarvatḥaivāsattvam abhyupagacchāmaḥ, kiṃ nāma na pāramārthikaṃ sattvaṃ; avidyā-vidyamānatvaṃ tu tadīyam iṣyata eva.
p. 214.


E.g. when a man rightly guesses the number of shells closed in another man’s hand, or when one makes a false inference of fire on a hill from a fog looking like smoke from a distance and there is fire on the hill by chance—his judgment may be right though his inference may be false.


dvau ghaṭau śuklav ityatra rūpa-saṃkhyādi-samavāyitvaṃ na jñānasya guṇatvād ataḥ prakāśamāna-rūpeṇa artha-sādṛśyaṃ jñānasya nāsti—asti ca tasya jñānasya tatra ghaṭayoḥ pramātvam.
on Khaṇḍana, p. 398.


arthasya hi yathā samavāyād rūpaṃ viśeṣaṇībhavati tathā viṣayabhāvāj jñānasyāpi tad-viśeṣaṇam bhavaty eva.
p. 399.


Among many other definitions Śrīharsa also refutes the definition of karaṇa as given by Uddyotakara yadvān eva karoti tat karaṇam. Khaṇḍana, p. 506.


dṛśyate hi maṇi-prabhāyāṃ maṇi-buddhyā pravartamānasya maṇi-prāpteḥ pravṛtti-sāmarthyaṃ na cāvyabhicāritvam.
p. 218.
      Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1915.


Śaṅkā ced anumāsty eva
na cec chañkā tatastarām
vyāghātāvadhir āś
tarkaḥ ś
aṅkāvadhir mataḥ.
III , 7.
      Chowkhambā Sanskrit Book Depot, Benares, 1912.


vyāghāto yadi śaṅkāsti
na cec chañkā tatastarām
vyāghātāvadhir āś
tarkaḥ ś
aṅkāvadhiḥ kutaḥ.
p. 693.


Citsukha, a pupil of Gauḍeśvara Ācārya, called also Jñānottama, wrote a commentary on Ānandabodha Bhattārakācārya’s Nyāya-makaranda and also on Śrīhar§a’s Khaṇḍana-khaṇḍa-khādya and an independent work called Tattva-pradīpikā or Cit-sukki, on which the study of the present section is based.

In this work he quotes

  • Udayana,
  • Uddyotakara,
  • Kumārila,
  • Padmapāda,
  • Vallabha (Līlāvatī),
  • Śālikanātha,
  • Sureśvara,
  • Sivāditya,
  • Kulārka
  • Paṇḍita
  • and Śrīdhara (Nyāya-kandatī).

In addition to these he also wrote

  • a commentary on the Brahmasūtra-bhāṣya of Śaṅkara, called Bhāṣya-bhāva-prakāśikā,
  • Vivaraṇa-tātparya-dīpikā, a commentary on the Pramāṇa-mālā of Ānandabodha,
  • a commentary on Maṇḍana’s Brahma-siddhi, called Abhiprāya-prakāśikā,
  • and an index to the adhikaraṇas of the Brahma-sūtra, called Adhikaraṇa-mañjarī.

His teacher Jñānottama wrote two works on Vedānta, called Nyāya-sudhā and Jñāna-siddhi; but he seems to have been a different person from the Jñānottama who wrote a commentary on Sureśvara’s Naiṣkarmyasiddhi-, for the latter was a householder (as he styles himself with a householder’s title, miśra), and an inhabitant of the village of Mangala in the Cola country, while the former was an ascetic and a preceptor of the King of Gauḍa, as Citsukha describes him in his colophon to his Tativa-pradīpikā.

He is also said to have written the

  • Brahma-stuti,
  • Viṣṇu-purāṇa-ṭīkā,
  • Ṣaḍ-darśaṇa-saṃgraha-vṛtti,
  • Adhikaraṇasaṇgati (awork explaining the inter-relation of the topics of the Brahma-sūtra)
  • and a commentary on the Naiṣkarmya- siddhi, called the Naiṣkarmya-sidḍhi-ṭīkā or the Bhāva-tattva-prakāśikā.

His pupil Sukhaprakāśa wrote a work on the topics of the Brahmasūtra, called Adhikaraṇa-ratna-mālā.


Thus Paṇḍita Harinātha Śarmā in his Sanskrit introduction to the Tattva-pradipikā or Cit-sukhī speaks of this work as advaita-siddhānta-rakṣako ’pyadvaita-siddhānta-prakāśako vyutpādakaś ca.


saṃvedanaṃ tu svayam-prakāśa eva na prakāśāntara-hetuḥ.
p. 52.


tasmād anubhavaḥ sajātīya-prakāśāntara-nirapekṣaḥ prakāśamāna eva viṣaye prakāśādi-vyavahāra-nimittaṃ bhavitum arhati avyavadhānena viṣaye prakāśā-di-vyavahāra-nimittatvāt.


tasmāt cit-svabhāva evātmā tena tena prameya-bhedena upadhīyamāno ’ttubha-vābhidhāriīyakaṃ labhate avivakṣitopādhir ātmādi-śabdaiḥ.
p. iq.


avedyatve saty aparokṣa-vyavahāra-yogyatvaṃ svayam-prakāśa-lakṣaṇam.
      Cit-sukhī, p. 9


avedyatve ’pi nāparokṣa-vyavahāra-yogyatā teṣāṃ, adhyastatayaiva teṣāṃ siddheḥ.
p. 10.
      Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1915.


ghaṭa-jñānodaya-samaye manasi kriyā tato vibhāgas tataḥ pūrva-saṃyoga-vināśas tata uttara-saṃyogotpattis tato jñānāntaram iti aneka-kṣaṇa-vilambena utpadyamānasya jñānasya aparokṣatayā pūrva-jñuna-grāhakatvānupapatteḥ.
p. 17.


vidito ghaṭa ity atra anuvyavasāyena ghaṭasyaiva viditatvam avasīyate na tu vitteḥ.
p. 18.


sarveṣām api bhāvānām āśrayatvena saṃmate
pratiyogitvam atyantābhāvaṃ prati mṛṣātmatā.
p. 39.

Some of these definitions of falsity are collected in Madhusūdana’s Advaita-siddhi, a work composed much later than the Cit-sukhī.


aṃśinaḥ svāṃśa-gātyantābhāvasya pratiyoginaḥ aṃśitvād itarāṃilva... vimataḥ paṭaḥ etat-tantu-niṣṭhātyantābhāva-pratiyogī avayavitvāt paṭāntaravat.
pp. 40, 41.


anādi-bhāva-rūpaṃ yad-vijñānena vilīyate tad ajñānam iti prājñā-lakṣaṇam saṃpracakṣate anāditve sati bhāva-rūpaṃ vijñāna-nirāsyam ajñānam iti lakṣaṇaṃ iha vivakṣitam.
p. 57.


bhāvābhāva-vilakṣaṇasya ajñānasya abhāva-vilakṣaṇatva-mātreṇa bhāvatvo-pacārāt.


vigītaṃ Deva-datta-niṣṭha-pramāṇa-jñānaṃ Devadatta-ntṣṭha-pramābhāvā-tiriktānādernivarttakaṃ pramāṇatvād Yajñadattādigata-pramāṇa-jñānavad ity anumānam.
p. 58.


tvadukte ’rthe pramāṇa-jñānaṃ mama nāsti ity asya viśiṣṭa-viṣaya-jñānasya pramātvāt.
p. 59.


asman-mate ajñānasya sākṣi-siddhatayā pramāṇābodhyatvāt, pramāṇa-jñāno-doyātprāk-kālc ajñānaṃ tad-viśeṣito ’rthaḥ sākṣi-siddhaḥ ajñāta ity anuvāda gocaraḥ . . .sarvaṃ vastu jñātatayā ajñātatayā vā sākṣi-caitanyasya viṣayaḥ.
p. 60.


tathā doṣāṇām api yathārtha-jñāna-pratibandhakatvam ayathārtha-jñāna-janakatvaṃ ca kiṃ na syāt.
, p. 66.


pratyekaṃ sad asattvābhyāṃ vicāra-padavīiti na yad gāhate tad anirvācyam āhtir vedānta-vedinaḥ.
p. 79.


taraṇi-parispanda-viśeṣāṇāṃ yuva-sthavira-śarīrādi-piṇḍeṣu māsādi-vicitra-buddḥi-janana-dvāreṇa tad-upahiteṣu paratvāparatvādi-buddhi-janakatvaṃ na ca tair asambaddhānāṃ tatra buddhi-janakatvaṃ, na ca sākṣāt sambandho ravi-parispandānāṃ piṇḍair asti ataḥ tat-sambandhakatayā kaścid aṣṭadravya-vilakṣaṇo dravya-viśeṣaḥ svīkartavyaḥ, tasya ca kāla iti saṃjñā.

      (This is Vallabha’s view of time.)

      Nayana-prasādinī commentary on Cit-sukhī, p. 321, by Pratyak-svarupa-bhagavat.
      Nirnaya-Sāgara Press, Bombay, 1915.


āropita-dvitva-tritvādi-viśeṣitaikatva-samuccayālambanā buddhir dvitvādi-janiketi cet; na; tathābhūtāyā eva buddher dvitvādi-vyavahāra-janakatvopapattau dvitvādy-utpādakatva-kalpanā-vaiyarthyāt.
p. 300.


tatraiva atyantābhave’tivyāpteḥ; sopi hi guṇavattvātyantōbhāvas tasyādhi-karaṇam svasya svasminnavṛtteḥ.
p. 176.


asminnapi vakra-lakṣaṇe guṇādiṣu api saṃkhyā-pṛthaktva-guṇayoḥ pratīteḥ kathaṃ nātivyāptiḥ. 
p. 177.


jātim abhyupagacchatā tajjāti-vyañjakam kiṃcid-avaśyam abhyupeyam na ca tannirupaṇam suśakam.
p. 178.


dravyaṃ dravyam iti anugata-pratyayaḥ pramāṇam iti cenna suvarṇam-upalabhya mṛttikām-upalabhyamānasya laukikasya tad evedaṃ dravyam iti pratyayā-bhāvāt parīkṣakāṇāṃ cānugata-pratyaye vipratipatteḥ.
p. 179.


rūpādtnāṃ guṇānāṃ sarveṣāṃ guṇatvābhisambaṇḍho dravyāśritatvaṃ nirguṇatvaṃ niṣkriyatvaṃ.
p. 94,
      The Vizianagram Sanskrit Series, Benares, 1895.


The Conception of Buddhist Nirvāṇa, pp. 66—67. Published by the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. Leningrad, 1927.


sad asat sad-asac ceti yasya pakṣo na vidyate
upālambhaś cireṇāpi tasya vaktuṃ na śakyate.
p. 16.


anyat pratītya yadi nāma paro ’bhaviṣyat
jāyeta tarhi bahulaḥ śikhino ’ndhakāraḥ
sarvasya janma ca bhavet khalu sarvataś ca
tidyam paratvam akhile ’janake ’pi yasmāt.
p. 36.


Mādhyamika-vṛtti, p. 36. See also Stcherbatsky’s The Conception of Buddhist Nirvāṇa, to which the author is indebted for the translation and some of the materials of the last two paragraphs.


Mādhyamika-vṛtti, p. 90, 1 . 6.


These dates are collected from Dr B. Bhaṭṭacharya’s foreword to the Tattva-saṃgraha. The present author, though he thinks that many of these dates are generally approximately correct, yet, since he cannot spare the room for proper discussions, does not take responsibility for them.


na hy asan-nāma kiñcid asti yad utpattim āviśet, kintu kālpaniko ’yaṃ vyavahāro yad asad utpadyata iti yāvat.
p. 33.


vastūnāṃ pūrvāpara-koṭi-śūnya-kṣaṇa-mātrāvasthāyī svabhāva eva utpādaḥ ity ucyate.


The word kṣaṇika, which is translated as “momentary,” is, according to Śāntarakṣita, a technical term. The character in an entity of dying immediately after production, is technically called kṣaṇa, and whatever has this quality is called kṣaṇika (utpādānāntara-vināśi-svabhāvo vastunaḥ kṣaṇa ucyate, sa yasyāsti sa kṣaṇika iti. Tattva-saṃgraha, p. 142); kṣaṇa therefore does not mean time-moment. It means the character of dying immediately after being produced. The objection of Uddyotakara that what only stays for a moment of time (kṣaṇa) cannot be called kṣaṇika , because at the expiry of the moment nothing remains which can be characterized as momentary, is therefore inadmissible. There is, however, no entity separate from the momentary character, and the use of the term kṣaṇika, which grammatically distinguishes the possessor of the momentary character from the momentary character itself, is due only to verbal license.


The Vaibhāsikas are spoken of by Śāntarakṣita as holding the view that the effect is produced at the third moment. In this view the effect is produced by the destroyed cause.


idam eva hi kāryasya kāraṇāpekṣā yat tad-anantara-bhāvitvam.
p. 177.


na hi vayam ānantarya-mātraṃ kārya-kāraṇa-bhāvādhigati-nibandhanaṃ .. .yasyaivānantaraṃ yad bhavati tat tasya kāraṇam iṣyate.
p. 180.


Śāntarakṣita and Kamalaśīla are Buddhists who style themselves nirākāra-vijñāna-vādin.


See Mr Tripathi’s introduction to his edition of the Tarka-saṃgraha , Baroda, 1917.


pāriśeṣyād anirvācyam āropyam upagamyatāṃ sattvādīnāṃ prakārāṇāṃ prāg-ukta-nyāya-bādḥanāt. Tarka-sarngraḥa, p. 135.


yen a yena prakāreṇa paro nirvaktum icchati
tena tenātmanā 'yogas tad-anirvācyatā matā.
p. 136.


tasmād rūpyādi-kāryasyānirvācyatvāt tad-upādānam api adhiṣṭhānājñānam upādeyam.
p. 137.


pramāṇataḥ sarvajñatve ’pi pramātṛtvasya pramāṇa-prameya-sambandhasya cājñāna-sambandḥam antareṇāsiddḥeḥ tasmin ajñānavattvam avaśyam āsrayita-vyam anyathā sarvajñatvāyogāt.
      Ibid. pp.
137, 138.


ekas tāvad ātmā dvayor api āvayoḥ sampratipanno ’sti, tasya svājñānād eva avivāda-siddhād ekasmād atiriktaṃ sarvam pratibhāti;.. .samastasyaiva bheda-bhānasyāpāramārthikasyaikajñāna-sāmarthyād eva sambhavān nājñāna-bhede hetur asti.
pp. 138, 139.


Aḍvitīyam ātma-tattvam, tatra ca anāḍy anirvācyarn ekam ajñānam ananta-bheḍa-pratibhāna-nidānam, tataś cānekārtha-kaluṣitam ātma-tattvam baddham ivānubhūyamānam,vedānta-vākyottha-tattva-sākṣātkāra-parākṛta-sakāryājñānaṃ muktam iva bhāti; paramārthato na bandho na muktir iti sakaryājñāna-nivṛtty-upalakṣitam paripūrṇam ātma-tattvam eva parama-puruṣārtha-rūpaṃ sidḥyati.
p. 141.


The colophon of the work runs as follows:

jñātvāpi yasya bahu-kālam acintanena
vyākhyātum akṣamatayā paritāpi cetaḥ
tasyopatāpa-haraṇāya mayeha bhāṣye
prārabhyate vivaraṇam prakaṭārtham etat.

      MS. No. I, 38. 27, Govt. MSS. Library, Madras.


Vedānta-kaumudī, MS. transcript copy, p. 99.


āvaraṇatvāt prakāśa-ḥeyatvād vā tamovat-svarūpeṇa pramāṇa-yogyatve ’py abhāva-vyāvṛtti-bhrama-kāraṇatvādi-dharma-viśiṣṭasya prāmāṇikatvaṃ na viru-dhyate.
      MS. p. 12.


ātmā sva-prakāśas tato ’nyathā’nupapadyamānatve sati
prakāśamānatvān na ya evaṃ na sa evaṃ yathā kumbhaḥ.


MS. p. 54.


upalabḍha-sambandhārtha kāreṇa pariṇatam mano
’nāvabhāsa-vyāvṛtti-mātraphalam, na tu saṃvid-vyañjakam
      MS. p. 54.


tasmāt kathañcit bḥinno jñānāntara-gamyo rūpa-rasādivad bhedo ’bhyupeyaḥ.
      Adyar Iṣṭa-siddhi MS. p. 5.


evaṃ ca sati na ḍṛg-ḍṛśyayor bheḍo draṣṭum śakyaḥ
nāpy anyonyābhāvaḥ na hi dṛśaḥ svayaṃ dṛṣṭeḥ
prati-yogy-apekṣa-drṣṭy-antara-dṛśyaṃ rūpāntaraṃ svaṃ
samasti svayaṃ dṛṣṭitva-hānāt.
MS. p. 6.


abheḍe saha-bḥānāyogāḍ ḍvayor hi saha-bhānam na ekasyaiva na hi ḍṛśaiva dṛk saha bhātlti bhavatāpy ucyate, nāpi ḍṛśyenaiva dṛśyaṃ saha bhātīti kintu dṛg-dṛśyayoḥ saha bhānam ucyate atas tayor bhedo bhāty eva.
      MS. p. 25.


tasmāt sarva-vyavahāra-lopa-prasaṅgān na bhedo dṛg-dṛśyaoḥ.


kiṃ vidyud-viśeṣitatā nāma saṃvidaḥ svarūpam uta saṃvedyasya, yadi sam'oidaḥ sāpi bhāty eva saṃvid-bhānāt saṃvedya-svarūpaṃ cet tadā bhānān na saṃvido bhānam.
p. 27.


asaṃvedyaiva saṃvit samvedyaṃ cāsaṃvid eva, ataḥ saṃvedyasya ghaṭa-sukhāḍeḥ saṃvidaś cābheda-gandho ’pi na pramāṇavān.
p. 31.


prapañcasya vastutvābhāvāti nādvaita-hōniḥ avastutvābhāvāc capratyakṣādy-aprāmāṇyam' apy-ukta-doṣābḥāvāt.
      MS. p. 64.


yatha citrasya bhittiḥ sākṣāt nopāḍānam nāpi sahajaṃ citraṃ tasyāh tiāpy-avasthāntaraṃ mṛda iva ghaṭādiḥ nāpi guṇāntarāgamah āmrasyeva raktatādiḥ na cāsyāh janmādiś dtrāt prāg ūrdhaṃ ca bhāvāt, yady api bhittiṃ vinā citraṃ na bhāti tathāpi na sā citraṃ vinā bḥāti ity evam-ādy-anubhūtir bhitti-jagac-citrayor yojyam.
p. 73.


MS. p. 137.


Ibid. p. 143.


See Vedānta-kaumudī, MS. transcript copy, pp. 36 and 47.


Rāmādvaya refers here to the daharādḥikaraṇa of Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, presumably to I. 3, 19, where Śaṅkara refers to the supposed distinction between the individual soul (jlva) and Brahman. Here Śaṅkara says that his commentary is directed towards the regulation of those views, both outside and inside the circle of Upaniṣadic interpreters, which regard individual souls as real (apare tu vādinaḥ pāramārthikam eva jaivaṃ rūpam tti manyante asmadīyāś ca kecit). Such a view militates against the correct understanding of the self as the only reality which through avidyā manifests itself as individual souls and with its removal reveals itself in its real nature in right knowledge as parameśvara, just as an illusory snake shows itself as a piece of rope. Parameśvara, the eternal unchangeable and upholding consciousness, is the one reality which, like a magician, appears as many through avidyā. There is no consciousness other than this (eka eva parameśvaraḥ kūṭastha-nityo vijñāna-dhātur avidyayā-māyayā māyāvivad anekadhā vibhāvyate nānyo vijñāna-dhātur asti).


This passage seems to be borrowed directly from the Prakaṭārtha, as may be inferred from their verbal agreement. But it may well be that both the Vedānta-kaumudī and the Prakaṭārtha borrowed it from the Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa.


Vedānta-kaumudī, MS. transcript copy, p. 36.


Ibid, p. 37.


yad vā yogyatve sati viṣaya-caitanyābḥinna-pramāṇa-caitanya-viṣayatvaṃ ghaṭāder viṣayasya pratyakṣatvaṃ tatḥāpi viṣayasyāparokṣatvaṃ samvida-bhedāt iti vivarane tatra tatra ca sāṃpradāyikaiḥ pramātrabhedasyaiva viṣaya-pratyakṣa-lakṣaṇatvenābhidhānād evaṃ uktaṃ.
      Śikhā-maṇi on Vedānta-pari-bhāsā, 
p. 75,
      Bombay, 1911, Venkatesvara Press.




Tasmād avyavadhānena saṃvid-upādhitayāparokṣatā viṣayasya. Pañcapādikā-vivaraṇa , p. 50, Benares, 1892.


It should be noted here that saṃvid means cognitional idea or sense-knowledge and not the perceiver (antaḥkaraṇāvacchinna-caitanya), as the author of the Śikhāmaṇi says. Thus Akhaṇḍānanda in his Tattva-dīpana commentary explains the word saṃvid as saṃvic-chabdena indriyārtha-samprayoga-ja-jñānasya vivakṣitatvāt. Tattva-dīpana, p. 194, Benares, 1902


Vedānta-paribhāṣā, pp. 76, 77.


na ca vijñānābhedād eva āparokṣyatn avabhāsate bahiṣṭvasyāpi rajatāder āparokṣyāt.
p. 50.


Pañca-pādikā, p. 17, Benares, 1891.


See Pañca-pādikā-vivaraṇa, p. 70, and Tattva-dīpana, pp. 256-259, Benares, 1902.


etat prarnātṛ-caitanyābhinnatayaiva abhivyaktaṃ tad viṣaya-caitanyaṃ na pramātr-antara-caitanyābhedena abhivyaktam ato na sarveṣām avabhāsyatvam.
p. 71.


yāvanti jñānāni tāvanti sva-tantrāṇi para-tantrāṇi vā ajñānāmi tato na doṣaḥ.
      Vedānta-kaumudī, MS. copy, p. 43.


The theory is that there is an infinite number of the ajñāna- veils; as soon as there is the vṛtti-object contact, the veil is removed aṇḍ the object is illuminated ; the next moment there is again an ajñāna-veil covering the object, and again there is the wm'-object contact, and again illumination of the object, and thus there is very quick succession of veils and their removals, as the perception of the object continues in time.

On account of the rapidity of this succession it is not possible to notice it

(vṛtti-vijñānasya sāvayavatvāc ca hrāsa-daśāyāṃ dīpa-jvālāyā iva tamo ’ntaraṃ mohāntaram āvaritum viṣayaṃ pravartate tato ’pi kramamāṇaṃ kṣaṇāntare sāmagry-anusāreṇa vijñānāntaraṃ viṣay īvaraṇa-bhaṅgenaiva sva-kāryaṃ karoti, tathā sarvāṇy api atiśaighryāt tu jñāna-bhedavad āvaraṇāntaraṃ na lakṣyate.
MS. copy, p. 46).

This view of the Vedānta-kaumudī is different from the view of the Vedānta-paribhāṣā, which holds that in the case of continuous perception of the same object there are not different successive awarenesses, but there is one unchanged continuous vṛtti and not different vṛttis removing different ajñānas (kiñ ca siddhānte dhārā-vāhika-buddhi-sthale na jñānā-bhedaḥ kintu yāvād ghaṭa-sphuraṇam tāvad ghaṭākārāntaḥkaraṇa-vrttir ekaiva na tu nānā vṛtteḥ sva-virodhi-vṛtty-utpatti-paryaṇtaṃ sthāyitvābhyupagamāt. Vedānta-paribhāṣā, pp. 26, 27, Bombay, 1911).


ataḥ sāvayava-sattvātmakam antaḥkaraṇam eva anudbhūta-rūpa-sparśam adṛśyam aspṛśyaṃ ca viṣayākāreṇa pariṇamate.
MS. copy, p. 42.


na kālaḥ pratyakṣa-gocaraḥ .. .stambḥāḍir eva prāg-abhāva-nivṛtti-pradhvaṃ-sānutpatti-rūpo vartamānaḥ tad-avacchinaḥ kālo ’pi vartamānaḥ sa ca tathā-viḍho ’neka-jñāna-sādhāraṇa eva, na caitāvatā jñāna-yaugapadyāpattiḥ sūksma-kālāpekṣayā kraṃa-sambḥavāt, na ca sūkṣma-kālopādhīnām apratītiḥ kārya-krameṇaiva unnīyamānatvāt.
MS. copy, pp. 20-22.


Ibid. p. 16.


tatra smṛti-vyāvṛttam pramātvam anadhigatābādhitārtḥa-viṣaya-jñānatvam.
p. 20.


ajñāta-jñāpanaṃ pramāṇam iti tad asāram. Vedānta-kaumudī, MS. copy, p. 18.


Ibid. p. 47. One of the earliest explanations of the Vedāntic view of inference occurs in the Prakaṭārtha-vivaraṇa, to which the Vedānta-kaumudī is in all probability indebted.


doṣābhāve sati yāvat-svāśraya-grāhaka-sāmagrī-grāhyatvarn ; svāśrayo vṛtti-jñānom, taḍ-grāhakaṃ sākṣi-jñānam tenāpi vṛtti-jñāne gṛhyamāṇe tad-gata-prāmāṇyam api gṛhyate.
pp. 336, 337.


vijñāna-sāmagrī-janyatve sati yat tad-anya-janyatvaṃ tad-abhāvasyaiva svatastvokty-angīkārāt.
MS. copy, p. 52.

jñaptāvapi jñāna-jñāpaka-sāmagrl-mātra-jñāpyatvaṃ svatastvam.
p. 61.


A History of Indian Philosophy, vol. 1, Cambridge, 1922, pp. 372-375.


prākaṭyena yuktasyāpi tasya na sarvair viditatvaṃ sva-prakāśam api prākaṭyaṃ kasyacid evādṛṣṭa-yogāt sphurati na guṇatve jñānasya kathañcid artha-yogaḥ samastīti.
MS. copy, pp. 67, 68.


Bhāratītīrtha and his teacher Vidyātīrtha also were teachers of Vidyāranya. Vidyāranya thus seems to have had three teachers, Bhāratī Tīrtha, Vidyā Tīrtha and Śaṅkarānanda.


nodeti nāstamety ekā saṃvid eṣā svayam-prabhā. Pañcadaśī,
      1. 7, Basumati edition, Calcutta, 1907.


śaktir asty aiśvarī kācit sarva-vastti-niyāmikā.
.. .cic-chāyāveśataḥ śaktiś cetaneva vibhāti sā.
     40. Ibid. ill.


There are four commentaries on the Pañcadaśī :— Tattva-bodhinī, Vṛtti-prabhākara by Niścaladāsa Svāmin, Tātparya-bodhinī by Rāmakṛṣṇa and another commentary by Sadānanda. It is traditionally believed that the Pañcadaśī was written jointly by Vidyāranya and Bhāratī Tīrtha. Niścaladāsa Svāmin points out in his Vṛtti-prabhākara that Vidyāranya was author of the first ten chapters of the Pañcadaśī and Bhāratī Tīrtha of the other five.

Rāmakṛṣṇa, however, in the beginning of his commentary on the seventh chapter, attributes that chapter to Bhāratī Tīrtha, and this fits in with the other tradition that the first six chapters were written by Vidyāranya and the other nine by Bhāratītīrtha.


He also wrote another work on the Vivaraṇa, called Vivaraṇopanyāsa, which is referred to by Appaya Dīkīita in his Siddhānta-leśa, p. 68— Vivaraṇopanycse Bhāratītvriha-vacanam.


Vedānta-tattva-viveka, p. 12. The Pandit, vol. xxv, May 1903. This work has two important commentaries, viz. Tattva-viveka-dīpana, and one called Tattva-viveka-dīpana-vyākhyā by Bhaṭṭojī.


Vedānta-tattva-viveka, p. 15.


vadā antaḥkaraṇa-vṛttyā ghaṭāvacchinnaṃ caitanyam upadhīyate tadā antaḥkaraṇāvacchinna-ghaṭāvacchinna-caiṭanyayor vastuta ekatve ’py upādhi-bhedād bhinnayor abhedopādhi-sambandhena aikyād bhavaty abheda ity antaḥkara-ṇāvacchinna-caitanyasya viṣayābhinna-tad-adhiṣṭhāna-caitanyasyābheda-siddhy-artham vṛtter nirgamanaṃ vācyam.
p. 22.


Ibid. p. 29.


anādy upādānatve sati jñāna-nivartyam ajñānam, nikhila-prapañcopādāna-brahma-gocaram eva ajñānam. Ibid. p. 43.


He was also called Appayya Dīkṣita and Avadhāni Yajvā, and he studied Logic (tarka) with Yajñeśvara Makhīndra. See colophon to Appaya Dīkṣita’s commentary on the Nyāya-siddhānta-mañjarī of Jānakīnātha, called Nyāya-siddhānta-mañjarī-vyākḥyāna (MS.).


See Mahāmahopādhyāya Kuppusvami Sastri’s introduction to the Śiva-līlārṇava, Srirangam, 1911.


Brahmaṇy adhyasyamānaṃ sarvaṃ kālatraye nāstītiniścayasya asti rūpadva-yam ekam bādhātmakam aparam adhyasyamānatvaṃ; tatra adhyasy amānatvena rūpeṇa sva-viṣayatvam; bādhatvena viṣayitvam iti nātmāśraya ity arthaḥ tathā ca nādvaita-kṣatiḥ. Compare also Bhāmatī on Adhyāsa-bhāṣya. Nānā Dīkṣita seems to have borrowed his whole argument from the Bhāmatī. See his commentary on the Siddhānta-muktāvalī. The Pandit, 1890, p. 108.

This idea, however, is not by any means a new contribution of Prakāśānanda. Thus Citsukha writes the same thing in his Tattva-dīpikā (also called Pratyak-tattva-pradīpika), p. 39, as follows:

sarveṣām api bhāvānām āsrayatvena sammate pratiyogitvam atyantābhāvam prati mṛṣātmatā,”

which is the same as prati-pannopādhau niṣedha-pratiyogitvam. Compare also Vedānta-paribhāṣā, pp. 219 and 220, mithyātvaṃ ca svāśrayatvenābhimata-yāvanniṣṭhātyantābhāva-prati-yogitvam. In later times Madhusūdana freely used this definition in his Advaita-siddḥi .


kalpito 'pyupadeṣṭā syād yathā-śāstraṃ samādiśet
na cāvinigamo doṣo ’vidyāvattvena nirṇayāt.
     The Pandit,
1890, p. 160.


Saṃkṣepa-śārīraka, 1. 1. 174.


     The Pandit,
1890, p. 215.


bālān prati vivarto ’yaṃ brahmanaḥ sakalaṃ jagat
avivarttitam ānandam āsthitāḥ kṛtinaḥ sadā.
      The Pandit,
1890, p. 326.


tucchānirvacanīyā ca vāstavī cety asau tridhā
jñeyā māyā tribhir bodhaiḥ śrauta-yauktika-laukikaiḥ.
.  p. 420.


vedāntasārasarvasvam ajñeyam adhunātanaiḥ
aśeṣena mayoktaṃ tat purusottama-yatnataḥ.
      The Pandit,
1890, p. 428.


yacchiṣyasiṣyasandoha-vyāptā bhōrata-bḥūmayaḥ
vande tam yatibḥir vandyaṃ Prakāśānandam īśvaram.
p. 488.


Rāmājñā Pāṇḍeya in his edition of Madhusūdana’s Vedānta-kalpa-latikā suggests that he was a Bengali by birth. His pupil Purusottama Sarasvatī in his commentary on the Siddhānta-bindu-ṭīkā refers to Balabhadra Bhattācārya as a favourite pupil of his, and Pāṇḍeya argues that, since Bhattācārya is a Bengali surname and since his favourite pupil was a Bengali, he also must have been a Bengali. It is also pointed out that in a family genealogy (Kula-pañjikā) of Kotalipara of Faridpur, Bengal, Madhusūdana’s father is said to have been Pramodapurandara Ācārya, who had four sons—Śrlnātha Cūḍāmani, Yāda-vānanda Nyāyācārya, Kamalajanayana and Vāglśa Gosvāmin. Some of the important details of Madhusūḍana’s philosophical dialectics will be taken up in the treatment of the philosophy of Madhva and his followers in the third volume of the present work in connection with Madhusūdana’s discussions with Vyāsatīrtha.


The Advaita-siddhi has three commentaries, Advaita-siddhy-upanyāsa, Bṛhat-ṭīkā, and Laghu-candrikā, by Brahmānanda Sarasvatī.


He refers to the Vedānta-kalpa-latikā and Siddhānta-bindu in his Advaita-siddhi, p. 537 (Nirnaya-Sāgara edition). See also Mahimnaḥ-stotra-ṭīkā, p. 5.

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