Part XX - Questions related to
Perceptuality (part 1)
VP has established that the criteria for perceptuality
is that the subject consciousness is the same as the
object consciousness. An object is nothing but consciousness
(Brahman) with name and form, i.e. the ‘attributes’ of
the object. Perceptuality of the object occurs in the
mind when the consciousness underlying the subject becomes
one with the consciousness that is the substantive of
the object, the attributes of the object being only
superimpositions on the substantive consciousness. The
fact that 'I am conscious' is direct and immediate knowledge – no
pramANa is required to know that I am a conscious entity.
The criterion of perceptuality therefore demands the
unity in the consciousness of the subject and that of
the object. We can say that perception of an object
is direct and immediate since the substantive of both
the subject and the object in the mind is consciousness
alone – this is unity at the substantive level
and duality at the transactional level.
Additional requirements and implications of the criteria
of perception are illustrated below using question and
On Dharma and Adharma
Q. If the criterion for perceptuality is that the subject
consciousness is the same as the object, then one should
perceive righteous and unrighteous (dharma and adharma)
instead of inferring them based on the good and bad
results that they generate. The criteria for perceptuality
have been met since the consciousness limited by them
is not different from the subject consciousness and
existence of righteousness etc is not apart from that
of the subject.
A. That is not so. Here the VP reminds us that, in
addition to the above criteria at the substantial level,
there is also a requirement at the transactional level
that the mental mood should have attributes as its contents.
In fact, to put this more precisely, the attributes
of the mental moods should be perceptible. In the case
of righteous and unrighteousness, the attributes are
imperceptible as was discussed before.
Hence we can restate the criteria for perceptuality
of an object. The criteria relate to both the substantive
level and the transactional level (an object has to
have attributes at the transactional level, which are
superimposed on the substantive Brahman). At the substantive
level, the consciousness and existence of the subject
are not different from the object. At the transactional
level, the mental mood or vRRitti that corresponds to
the object should have contents/attributes of the object.
The complete perception of an object involves: Brahman
+ the attributes of the object. Brahman is substantial,
whereas the attributes are superimpositions (adhyAsa).
VP establishes the criteria for perceptuality in terms
of both. In the case of dharma and adharma, righteous
and unrighteous, the attributes are imperceptible. Even
though we meet the substantial part, the transactional
part is not met. Because of the imperceptibility of
their attributes, the knowledge of dharma and adharma
is difficult and has to be known only through shAstra-s.
Can perception of one attribute cause perception of
Q. If an object has two attributes (say color and size),
the perception of one (say color) should also lead to
perception of the other (the size). Since both attributes
are locussed on one object, the substantive, the limiting
consciousness is the same for both. The mind, through
the senses, perceives the attributes and a vRRitti is
formed. We are meeting all the criteria for perception;
the consciousness and existence of the knower, subject,
is the same as that of the object and object has perceptible
attributes. Since the object is meeting all the perceptuality
criteria, one should perceive the object with both color
and size. Hence, perception of one attribute should
lead to the perception of the other.
A. No. When one perceives only one attribute, say color,
the vRRitti associated with it will have only that attribute.
The consciousness and the existence of the subject with
the object only extend to that attributive existence.
For the perception of size, the vRRitti has to have
the associated size attribute. Perception of one does
not lead to the other. vRRitti-s associated with the
other attributes have to be formed for complete and
unambiguous cognition of the object.
What is implied in the perceptuality criteria is that
perception is limited to the vRRitti formed of the object
. If the sense data are incomplete, to that extent the
object perception is also incomplete. We defined object
as <limiting consciousness-existence (Brahman) + A
+ B + C + D + …. attributes>. For perceptuality,
the limiting consciousness-existence of the subject
extends to the limiting consciousness-existence of the
object + whatever attributes the senses have gathered
up to that point, say A and B but not C and D. Then
the immediate and direct knowledge of the object relates
to an object with A and B attributes but not with C
and D. If C and D are imperceptible for whatever reason,
then an object devoid of C and D is perceived. In the
subsequent recognition process, if A and B are insufficiently
discriminative to recognize the object from other similar
objects based on memory, then knowledge could be erroneous.
Hence VP says the definition of perceptuality is not
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