Brahma Sutras (Ramanuja)

by George Thibaut | 1904 | 275,953 words | ISBN-10: 8120801350 | ISBN-13: 9788120801356

The English translation of the Brahma Sutras (also, Vedanta Sutras) with commentary by Ramanuja (known as the Sri Bhasya). The Brahmasutra expounds the essential philosophy of the Upanishads which, primarily revolving around the knowledge of Brahman and Atman, represents the foundation of Vedanta. Ramanjua’s interpretation of these sutras from a V...

25. Not from non-entity, this not being observed.

So far we have set forth the arguments refuting the views of the Vaibhāshikas as well as the Sautrāntikas—both which schools maintain the reality of external things.—Now the Sautrāntika comes forward and opposes one of the arguments set forth by us above, viz. that, on the view of general momentariness. nothing can ever become an object of cognition, since the thing which enters into connexion with the sense-organ is no longer in existence when the cognition originates.—It is not, he says, the persistence of the thing up to the time of cognition which is the cause of its becoming an object of cognition. To be an object of cognition means nothing more than to be the cause of the origination of cognition. Nor does this definition imply that the sense-organs also are the objects of cognition. For a cause of cognition is held to be an object of cognition only in so far as it imparts to the cognition its own form (and this the sense-organs do not). Now even a thing that has perished may have imparted its form to the cognition, and on the basis of that form, blue colour, and so on, the thing itself is inferred. Nor can it be said (as the Yogācāras do) that the form of subsequent cognitions is due to the action of previous cognitions (and not to the external thing); for on this hypothesis it could not be explained how in the midst of a series of cognitions of blue colour there all at once arises the cognition of yellow colour. The manifold character of cognitions must therefore be held to be due to the manifold character of real thing.—To this we reply 'not from non-entity; this not being observed.' The special forms of cognition, such as blue colour, and so on, cannot be the forms of things that have perished, and therefore are not in Being, since this is not observed. For it is not observed that when a substrate of attributes has perished, its attributes pass over into another thing. (Nor can it be said that the thing that perished leaves in cognition a reflection of itself, for) reflections also are only of persisting things, not of mere attributes. We therefore conclude that the manifoldness of cognitions can result from the manifoldness of things only on the condition of the thing persisting at the time of cognition.—The Sūtras now set forth a further objection which applies to both schools.

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