Siddhanta Sangraha of Sri Sailacharya

by E. Sowmya Narayanan | 2008 | 30,562 words

Siddhanta Sangraha Chapter 24 (English translation), entitled “the concept of dharmabhutajnana” as included in the critical edition and study. The Siddhanta Samgraha is a Sanskrit philosophical text dealing with Vishishtadvaita in five hundred Sanskrit verses. It was written by Shri Shailacarya (18th century) and closely follows the philosophy of Vedanta Deshika (13th century).

Chapter 24 - The Concept of Dharmabhūtajñāna

The dharmabhūtajñāna comprehends all the objects pertaining to it and it is an attribute to the Supreme and the individual soul.

206. In this statement ‘I know this’ the word ‘idam’ denotes the objects different from it and through the word ‘janami’ the knowledge conveys it its own that is comprehended by it. Therefore the dharmabhūtajñāna (the attributive consciousness) conveys its own self to the substratum namely the soul and thereby it becomes the subject (viṣayi) of knowledge to the self. This has been stated in Śrīmad Rahasyatraya Sāra.[1]

207. The above view has been explained here that the import of the term ‘aham’ namely the ātman which is known as ‘pratyak’ and which is ‘dharmi’ is the only principle that is self-luminous along with the qualities namely pratyaktva, anukūlatva and ekatva. The ātma is self-luminous with these three qualities as its content of knowledge. Thus the quality namely viṣayitva is common to both ātma(aham) and dharmabhūtajñāna then; how can we accept it as the definition of dharmabhūtajñāna alone, as it would give rise to the defect namely ativyāpti? The ātma (aham) has self-luminosity.[2]

208. It is replied on the authority of tattvamuktākalāpa śloka—‘svasyaivātmātusiddhim matiranubhavati svānyayo siddhibhāvam’. The Ātmā (the self) only comprehends pratyaktva only. The expression matiranubhavati quoted in the śloka explains that the dharmabhūtajñāna conveys its own self and also the things other than it.[3]

209-210. In both the sentences (the word ‘sva’) explain the exclusive nature of dharmabhūtajñāna and as such saṃyuktāśrayaṇa there is no defect called ativyāpti (over applicability). The viṣayitva of the dharmabhūtajñāna is two fold, namely, saṃyoga and saṃyuktāśrayaṇa.

211. The relationship between the dravya (viṣaya) and the jñāna (viṣayi dravya) is saṃyoga and the relationship between the jñāna and the guṇas such as rūpa etc., is saṃykta [saṃyukta?] samavāya, which is otherwise called saṃyuktāśrayaṇa.

212. Therefore, the dharmabhūtajñāna moves out through the sense organs and comprehends the external objects. It is similar to a tree that sucks water through its root.

213. On the authority of the statements—‘prajñā ca tasmāt prasṛtā purāṇi’ etc., the substance namely (jñāna dravya) the dharmabhūtajñāna which comes out of the ātman and functions the act of comprehension (jñāna kriya).

214. Thus, the dharmabhūtajñāna along with the viṣaya is stated as perception (pratyakṣa) and the parokṣajñāna also connected with the viṣaya.

215. Both the śabda jñāna (knowledge through verbal testimony) and the ānumānikajñāna (inferential knowledge) are called as parokṣa. In the above cognitions, the content of knowledge is the relation between the knowledge and the objects which is saṃyoga.

216. The śabda jñāna comprehends the words or expressions that are capable of conveying some sence [sense]. This function is known as vṛitti. Even in inferential knowledge the word comprenends [comprehends?] only the word which has vyāpti jñāna (invariable concomitance) and not others. Therefore, both the inferential knowledge and the knowledge through testimony are known as parokṣajñāna or aviśadajñāna as the objects are not noticed directly.

217. The pratyakṣa jñāna is known as viśada jñāna, that which comprehends all the objects with their qualities rūpa, rasa, gandha, sparśa etc., as they are seen directly.

218. In the instances of recollective knowledge (smṛti jñāna) is also a case of parokṣa. It is because though the object is not present physically, yet, the recollection of its form which is eternal forms the content of knowledge. And, hence through saṃskāra (latent impression) there is the contact with the object indirectly.

Footnotes and references:


See Rahasya Traya Sāra (tattvatraya cintanādhikāra) pp.78-80.


See Nyāya Siddhāñjana, p.125.


See Tattva Muktā Kalāpa, II-5-7.



Rasasastra category This concludes The Concept of Dharmabhutajnana according to Vishishtadvaita philosophy explained by Shri Shailacarya. This book follows the model of Vedanta Deshika although the Vishishta Advaita school was originally expounded by Shri Ramanuja. Vishishta-Advaita is one of the various sub-schools of Vedanta which itself represents one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu Philosophy. They highlight the importance of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras.

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