(Sample Material) UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit "Indian Philosophy (Mimamsa Philosophy)"

Sample Material of UPSC Mains Philosophy (Optional) Study Kit

Topic: Indian Philosophy (Mimamsa Philosophy)

THE Nyaya-Vaisesika philosophy looked at experience from a purely common sense point of view and did not work with any such monistic tendency that the ultimate conceptions of our common sense experience should be considered as coming out of an original universal (e.g. prakrti of the Samkhya). Space, time, the four elements, soul, etc. convey the impression that they are sub stantive entities or substances. What is perceived of the material things as qualities such as colour, taste, etc. is regarded as so many entities which have distinct and separate existence but which manifest themselves in connection with the substances. So also karma or action is supposed to be a separate entity, and even the class notions are perceived as separate entities inhering in substances. Knowledge (jnand) which illuminates all things is regarded only as a quality belonging to soul, just as there are other qualities of material objects. Causation is viewed merely as the collocation of conditions. The genesis of knowledge is also viewed as similar in nature to the production of any other physical event. Thus just as by the collocation of certain physical circumstances a jug and its qualities are produced, so by the combination and respective contacts of the soul, mind, sense, and the objects of sense, knowledge (Jndna) is produced. Soul with Nyaya is an inert unconscious entity in which knowledge, etc. inhere. The relation between a substance and its quality, action, class notion, etc. has also to be admitted as a separate entity, as without it the different entities being without any principle of relation would naturally fail to give us a philosophic construction. Samkhya had conceived of a principle which consisted of an infinite number of reals of three different types, which by their combination were conceived to be able to produce all substances, qualities, actions, etc. No difference was acknowledged to exist between substances, qualities and actions, and it was conceived that these were but so many aspects of a combination of the three types of reals in different proportions. The reals contained within them the rudiments of all developments of matter, knowledge, willing, feelings, etc. As combinations of reals changed incessantly and new phenomena of matter and mind were manifested, collo cations did not bring about any new thing but brought about a phenomenon which was already there in its causes in another form. What we call knowledge or thought ordinarily, is with them merely a form of subtle illuminating matter-stuff. Samkhya holds however that there is a transcendent entity as pure conscious ness and that by some kind of transcendent reflection or contact this pure consciousness transforms the bare translucent thought- matter into conscious thought or experience of a person.

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But this hypothesis of a pure self, as essentially distinct and separate from knowledge as ordinarily understood, can hardly be demonstrated in our common sense experience ; and this has been pointed out by the Nyaya school in a very strong and emphatic manner. Even Samkhya did not try to prove that the existence of its transcendent purusa could be demonstrated in experience, and it had to attempt to support its hypothesis of the existence of a transcendent self on the ground of the need of a permanent entity as a fixed object, to which the passing states of knowledge could cling, and on grounds of moral struggle towards virtue and emancipation. Samkhya had first supposed knowledge to be merely a combination of changing reals, and then had as a matter of necessity to admit a fixed principle as purusa (pure transcendent consciousness). The self is thus here in some sense an object of inference to fill up the gap left by the inadequate analysis of consciousness (buddht) as being non- intelligent and incessantly changing.

Nyaya fared no better, for it also had to demonstrate self on the ground that since knowledge existed it was a quality, and therefore must inhere in some substance. This hypothesis is again based upon another uncritical assumption that substances and attributes were entirely separate, and that it was the nature of the latter to inhere in the former, and also that knowledge was a quality requiring (similarly with other attributes) a substance in which to inhere. None of them could take their stand upon the self-conscious nature of our ordinary thought and draw their conclusions on the strength of the direct evidence of this self- conscious thought. Of course it is true that Samkhya had ap proached nearer to this view than Nyaya, but it had separated the content of knowledge and its essence so irrevocably that it threatened to break the integrity of thought in a manner quite unwarranted by common sense experience, which does not seem to reveal this dual element in thought. Anyhow the unification of the content of thought and its essence had to be made, and this could not be done except by what may be regarded as a make shift a transcendent illusion running on from beginningless time. These difficulties occurred because Samkhya soared to a region which was not directly illuminated by the light of common sense experience. The Nyaya position is of course much worse as a metaphysical solution, for it did not indeed try to solve any thing, but only gave us a schedule of inferential results which could not be tested by experience, and which were based ultimately on a one-sided and uncritical assumption. It is an uncritical common sense experience that substances are different from qualities and actions, and that the latter inhere in the former. To base the whole of metaphysics on such a tender and fragile experience is, to say the least, building on a weak foundation. It was necessary that the importance of the self- revealing thought must be brought to the forefront, its evidence should be collected and trusted, and an account of experience should be given according to its verdict. No construction of metaphysics can ever satisfy us which ignores the direct immediate convictions of self-conscious thought. It is a relief to find that a movement of philosophy in this direction is ushered in by the Mlmamsa system. The Mimamsd sutras were written by Jaimini and the commentary (bhdsya) on it was written by abara. But the systematic elaboration of it was made by Kumarila, who preceded the great Sarikaracarya, and a disciple of Kumarila, Prabhakara.

The Mimamsa Literature

It is difficult to say how the sacrificial system of worship grew in India in the Brahmanas. This system once set up gradually began to develop into a net-work of elaborate rituals, the details of which were probably taken note of by the priests. As some generations passed and the sacrifices spread over larger tracts of India and grew up into more and more elaborate details, the old rules and regulations began to be collected probably as tradition had it, and this it seems gave rise to the smrti literature. Dis cussions and doubts became more common about the many intricacies of the sacrificial rituals, and regular rational enquiries into them were begun in different circles by different scholars and priests. These represent the beginnings of Mlmamsa (lit. at tempts at rational enquiry), and it is probable that there were different schools of this thought. That Jaimini s Mtmdmsd sutras (which are with us the foundations of Mlmamsa) are only a compre hensive and systematic compilation of one school is evident from the references he gives to the views in different matters of other preceding writers who dealt with the subject. These works are not available now, and we cannot say how much of what Jaimini has written is his original work and how much of it borrowed. But it may be said with some degree of confidence that it was deemed so masterly a work at least of one school that it has survived all other attempts that were made before him. Jaimini s Mtmdmsd siifras were probably written about 200 B.C. and are now the ground work of the Mlmamsa system. Commentaries were written on it by various persons such as Bhartrmitra (alluded to in Nydyaratndkara verse 10 of Slokavdrttikd), Bhavadasa (Pratijhasutra 63), Hari and Upavarsa (mentioned in Sdstradlpikd). It is probable that at least some of these preceded abara, the writer of the famous com mentary known as the Sabara-bhasya. It is difficult to say any thing about the time in which he flourished. Dr Gariganatha Jha would have him about 57 B.C. on the evidence of a current verse which speaks of King Vikramaditya as being the son of ^abarasvamin by a Ksattriya wife. This bhasya of Sabara is the basis of the later Mlmamsa works. It was commented upon by an unknown person alluded to as Varttikakara by Prabhakara and merely referred to as “ yathahuh “ (as they say) by Kumarila. Dr Gahganatha Jha says that Prabhakara s com mentary Brhati on the Sabara- bhasya was based upon the work of this Varttikakara. This Brhati of Prabhakara had another commentary on it Rjuvimdld by alikanatha Misra, who also wrote a compendium on the Prabhakara interpretation of Ml mamsa called Prakaranapancikd. Tradition says that Prab hakara (often referred to as Nibandhakara), whose views are often alluded to as “gurumata,” was a pupil of Kumarila. Ku marila Bhatta, who is traditionally believed to be the senior con temporary of Sarikara (788 A.D.), wrote his celebrated independent exposition of Sahara s bhasya in three parts known as Sloka- vdrttika (dealing only with the philosophical portion of Sahara s work as contained in the first chapter of the first book known as Tarkapada), Tantravdrttika (dealing with the remaining three chapters of the first book, the second and the third book) and Tuptlkd (containing brief notes on the remaining nine books) 1 . Kumarila is referred to by his later followers as Bhatta, Bhatta- pada, and Varttikakara. The next great Mlmamsa scholar and follower of Kumarila was Mandana Misra, the author of Vidhi- viveka, Mlmdmsdnukramant and the commentator of Tantra- vdrttika,vi\\Q became later on converted by Sankara to Vedantism. Parthasarathi MisYa (about ninth century A.D.) wrote his Sdstradi- pikd, Tantraratna, and Nydyaratnamdld following the footprints of Kumarila. Amongst the numerous other followers of Kumarila, fhe names of Sucarita Mira the author of Kdsikd and SomesVara the author of Nydyasudhd deserve special notice. Ramakrsna Bhatta wrote an excellent commentary on the Tarkapdda of Sds- tradlpikd called the Yuktisnehapurani-siddhdnta-candrikd and Somanatha wrote his Mayukhamdlikd on the remaining chapters of Sdstradtpikd. Other important current MimamsS works which deserve notice are such as Nydyamdldvi stara of Madhava, Subo- dhim, Mimdmsdbdlaprakdsa of Sarikara Bhatta, Nydyakanikd of Vacaspati MiSra, Mimdmsdparibhdsa by Krsnayajvan, Mimdmsd- nydyaprakdsa by Anantadeva, Gaga Bhatta s Bhattacintdmani, etc. Most of the books mentioned here have been consulted in the writing of this chapter. The importance of the Mlmmsa litera ture for a Hindu is indeed great. For not only are all Vedic duties to be performed according to its maxims, but even the smrti literatures which regulate the daily duties, ceremonials and rituals of Hindus even at the present day are all guided and explained by them. The legal side of the smrtis consisting of inheritance, proprietory rights, adoption, etc. which guide Hindu civil life even under the British administration is explained according to the Mlmamsa maxims. Its relations to the Vedanta philosophy will be briefly indicated in the next chapter. Its relations with Nyaya- VaiSesika have also been pointed out in various places of this chapter. The views of the two schools of Mlmamsa as propounded by Prabhakara and Kumarila on all the important topics have also been pointed out. Prabhakara s views however could not win many followers in later times, but while living it is said that he was regarded by Kumarila as a very strong rival 1 . Hardly any new contribution has been made to the Mimamsa philosophy after Kumarila and Prabhakara. The Mimdmsd sutras deal mostly with the principles of the interpretation of the Vedic texts in connection with sacrifices, and very little of philosophy can be gleaned out of them. Sahara s contributions are also slight and vague. Varttikakara s views also can only be gathered from the references to them by Kumarila and Prabhakara. What we know of Mimamsa philosophy consists of their views and theirs alone. It did not develop any further after them. Works written on the subject in later times were but of a purely expository nature. I do not know of any work on Mimamsa written in English except the excellent one by Dr Gariganatha Jha on the Prabhakara Mimamsa to which I have frequently referred.

The Paratah-pramanya doctrine of Nyaya and the Svatah-pramanya doctrine of Mimamsa

The doctrine of the self-validity of knowledge (svatah- prdntdnyd) forms the cornerstone on which the whole structure of the Mimamsa philosophy is based. Validity means the certi tude of truth. The Mimamsa philosophy asserts that all know ledge excepting the action of remembering (smrtt) or memory is valid in itself, for it itself certifies its own truth, and neither depends on any other extraneous condition nor on any other knowledge for its validity. But Nyaya holds that this self- validity of knowledge is a question which requires an explanation. It is true that under certain conditions a piece of knowledge is produced in us, but what is meant by saying that this knowledge is a proof of its own truth? When we perceive anything as blue, it is the direct result of visual contact, and this visual contact cannot certify that the knowledge generated is true, as the visual contact is not in any touch with the knowledge it has conditioned. Moreover, knowledge is a mental affair and how can it certify the objective truth of its representation ? In other words, how can my perception “ a blue thing “ guarantee that what is subjectively perceived as blue is really so objectively as well ? After my perception of anything as blue we do not have any such perception that what I have perceived as blue is really so. So this so-called self-validity of knowledge cannot be testified or justified by any perception. We can only be cer tain that knowledge has been produced by the perceptual act, but there is nothing in this knowledge or its revelation of its object from which we can infer that the perception is also objectively valid or true. If the production of any knowledge should certify its validity then there would be no invalidity, no illusory know ledge, and following our perception of even a mirage we should never come to grief. But we are disappointed often in our per ceptions, and this proves that when we practically follow the directions of our perception we are undecided as to its validity, which can only be ascertained by the correspondence of the per ception with what we find later on in practical experience. Again, every piece of knowledge is the result of certain causal colloca tions, and as such depends upon them for its production, and hence cannot be said to rise without depending on anything else. It is meaningless to speak of the validity of knowledge, for validity always refers to objective realization of our desires and attempts proceeding in accordance with our knowledge. People only declare their knowledge invalid when proceeding practically in accordance with it they are disappointed. The perception of a mirage is called invalid when proceeding in accordance with our perception we do not find anything that can serve the pur poses of water (e.g. drinking, bathing). The validity or truth of knowledge is thus the attainment by practical experience of the object and the fulfilment of all our purposes from it (arthakriyd- jiidna or phalajndna) just as perception or knowledge repre sented them to the perceiver. There is thus no self-validity of knowledge (svatah-prdmdnya), but validity is ascertained by samvdda or agreement with the objective facts of experience.

It is easy to see that this Nyaya objection is based on the supposition that knowledge is generated by certain objective collocations of conditions, and that knowledge so produced can only be tested by its agreement with objective facts. But this theory of knowledge is merely an hypothesis ; for it can never be experienced that knowledge is the product of any collocations ; we have a perception and immediately we become aware of cer tain objective things; knowledge reveals to us the facts of the objective world and this is experienced by us always. But that the objective world generates knowledge in us is only an hypothesis which can hardly be demonstrated by experience. It is the supreme prerogative of knowledge that it reveals all other things. It is not a phenomenon like any other phenomenon of the world. When we say that knowledge has been produced in us by the external collocations, we just take a perverse point of view which is un warranted by experience; knowledge only photographs the objective phenomena for us; but there is nothing to show that knowledge has been generated by these phenomena. This is only a theory which applies the ordinary conceptions of causation to knowledge and this is evidently unwarrantable. Knowledge is not like any other phenomena for it stands above them and interprets or illumines them all. There can be no validity in things, for truth applies to knowledge and knowledge alone. What we call agreement with facts by practical experience is but the agreement of previous knowledge with later knowledge; for ob jective facts never come to us directly, they are always taken on the evidence of knowledge, and they have no other certainty than what is bestowed on them by knowledge. There arise in deed different kinds of knowledge revealing different things, but these latter do not on that account generate the former, for this is never experienced ; we are never aware of any objective fact before it is revealed by knowledge. Why knowledge makes different kinds of revelations is indeed more than we can say, for experience only shows that knowledge reveals objective facts and not why it does so. The rise of knowledge is never perceived by us to be dependent on any objective fact, for all objective facts are dependent on it for its revelation or illumination. This is what is said to be the self-validity (svatah-prdmdnyci) of know ledge in its production (utpatti). As soon as knowledge is pro duced, objects are revealed to us; there is no intermediate link between the rise of knowledge and the revelation of objects on which knowledge depends for producing its action of revealing or illuminating them. Thus knowledge is not only independent of anything else in its own rise but in its own action as well {svakdryakarane svatah pramdnyam jndnasya). Whenever there is any knowledge it carries with it the impression that it is certain and valid, and we are naturally thus prompted to work (pravrttt) according to its direction. There is no indecision in our mind at the time of the rise of knowledge as to the correct ness of knowledge ; but just as knowledge rises, it carries with it the certainty of its revelation, presence, or action. But in cases of illusory perception other perceptions or cognitions dawn which carry with them the notion that our original knowledge was not valid. Thus though the invalidity of any knowledge may appear to us by later experience, and in accordance with which we reject our former knowledge, yet when the knowledge first revealed itself to us it carried with it the conviction of certainty which goaded us on to work according to its indication. Whenever a man works according to his knowledge, he does so with the conviction that his knowledge is valid, and not in a passive or uncertain temper of mind. This is what Mlmamsa means when it says that the validity of knowledge appears immediately with its rise, though its invalidity may be derived from later experience or some other data (jndnasya pramdnyam svatah aprdmdnyam paratati). Know ledge attained is proved invalid when later on a contradictory experience (bddhakajndna) comes in or when our organs etc. are known to be faulty and defective (karanadosajndnd). It is from these that knowledge appearing as valid is invalidated; when we take all necessary care to look for these and yet find them not, we must think that they do not exist. Thus the validity of knowledge certified at the moment of its production need not be doubted unnecessarily when even after enquiry we do not find any defect in sense or any contradiction in later experience. All knowledge except memory is thus regarded as valid independently by itself as a general rule, unless it is invalidated later on. Memory is excluded because the phenomenon of memory depends upon a previous experience, and its existing latent impressions, and cannot thus be regarded as arising independently by itself.

The place of sense organs in perception

We have just said that knowledge arises by itself and that it could not have been generated by sense-contact. If this be so, the diversity of perceptions is however left unexplained. But in face of the Nyaya philosophy explaining all perceptions on the ground of diverse sense-contact the Mimamsa probably could not afford to remain silent on such an important point. It therefore accepted the Nyaya view of sense-contact as a condition of know ledge with slight modifications, and yet held their doctrine of svatah-pramanya. It does not appear to have been conscious of a conflict between these two different principles of the production of knowledge. Evidently the point of view from which it looked at it was that the fact that there were the senses and contacts of them with the objects, or such special capacities in them by virtue of which the things could be perceived, was with us a matter of inference. Their actions in producing the knowledge are never experienced at the time of the rise of knowledge, but when the knowledge arises we argue that such and such senses must have acted. The only case where knowledge is found to be dependent on anything else seems to be the case where one knowledge is found to depend on a previous experience or know ledge as in the case of memory. In other cases the dependence of the rise of knowledge on anything else cannot be felt, for the physical collocations conditioning knowledge are not felt to be operating before the rise of knowledge, and these are only in ferred later on in accordance with the nature and characteristic of knowledge. We always have our first start in knowledge which is directly experienced from which we may proceed later on to the operation and nature of objective facts in relation to it. Thus it is that though contact of the senses with the objects may later on be imagined to be the conditioning factor, yet the rise of knowledge as well as our notion of its validity strikes us as original, underived, immediate, and first-hand.

Prabhakara gives us a sketch as to how the existence of the senses may be inferred. Thus our cognitions of objects are phenomena which are not all the same, and do not happen always in the same manner.for these vary differently at different moments ; the cognitions of course take place in the soul which may thus be regarded as the material cause (samavdyikdrand) ; but there must be some such movements or other specific associations (asamavayikdrana) which render the production of this or that specific cognition possible. The immaterial causes subsist either in the cause of the material cause (e.g. in the case of the colouring of a white piece of cloth, the colour of the yarns which is the cause of the colour in the cloth subsists in the yarns which form the material cause of the cloth) or in the material cause it self (e.g. in the case of a new form of smell being produced in a substance by fire-contact, this contact, which is the immaterial cause of the smell, subsists in that substance itself which is put in the fire and in which the smell is produced). The soul is eternal and has no other cause, and it has to be assumed that the immaterial cause required for the rise of a cognition must inhere in the soul, and hence must be a quality. Then again accepting the Nyaya conclusions we know that the rise of qualities in an eternal thing can only take place by contact with some other substances. Now cognition being a quality which the soul acquires would naturally require the contact of such substances. Since there is nothing to show that such substances inhere in other substances they are also to be taken as eternal. There are three eternal substances, time, space, and atoms. But time and space being all-pervasive the soul is always in contact with them. Contact with these therefore cannot explain the occasional rise of different cognitions. This contact must then be of some kind of atom which resides in the body ensouled by the cognizing soul. This atom may be called manas (mind). This manas alone by itself brings about cognitions, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, effort, etc. The manas however by itself is found to be devoid of any such qualities as colour, smell, etc., and as such cannot lead the soul to experience or cognize these qualities ; hence it stands in need of such other organs as may be characterized by these qualities ; for the cognition of colour, the mind will need the aid of an organ of which colour is the characteristic quality; for the cognition of smell, an organ having the odorous characteristic and so on with touch, taste, vision. Now we know that the organ which has colour for its distinctive feature must be one composed of tejas or light, as colour is a feature of light, and this proves the existence of the organ, the eye for the cogni tion of colour ; in a similar manner the existence of the earthly organ (organ of smell), the aqueous organ (organ of taste), the akasic organ (organ of sound) and the airy organ (organ of touch) may be demonstrated. But without manas none of these organs is found to be effective. Four necessary contacts have to be admitted, (i) of the sense organs with the object, (2) of the sense organs with the qualities of the object, (3) of the manas with the sense organs, and (4) of the manas with the soul. The objects of perception are of three kinds,(i) substances, (2) qualities, (3) jati or class. The material substances are tangible objects of earth, fire, water, air in large dimensions (for in their fine atomic states they cannot be perceived). The qualities are colour, taste, smell, touch, number, dimension, separateness, conjunction, dis junction, priority, posteriority, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, and effort.

It may not be out of place here to mention in conclusion that Kumarila Bhatta was rather undecided as to the nature of the senses or of their contact with the objects. Thus he says that the senses may be conceived either as certain functions or activities, or as entities having the capacity of revealing things without coming into actual contact with them, or that they might be entities which actually come in contact with their objects 8 , and he prefers this last view as being more satisfactory.

Indeterminate and determinate perception

There are two kinds of perception in two stages, the first stage is called nirvikalpa (indeterminate) and the second savikalpa (determinate). The nirvikalpa perception of a thing is its per ception at the first moment of the association of the senses and their objects. Thus Kumarila says that the cognition that appears first is a mere dlocana or simple perception, called non-determinate pertaining to the object itself pure and simple, and resembling the cognitions that the new-born infant has of things around himself. In this cognition neither the genus nor the differentia is presented to consciousness ; all that is present there is the individual wherein these two subsist. This view of indeterminate perception may seem in some sense to resemble the Buddhist view which defines it as being merely the specific individuality (svalaksana) and regards it as being the only valid element in perception, whereas all the rest are conceived as being imaginary impositions. But both Kumarila and Prabhakara think that both the genus and the differentia are perceived in the indeterminate stage, but these do not manifest themselves to us only because we do not remember the other things in relation to which, or in contrast to which, the percept has to show its character as genus or differentia; a thing can be cognized as an “individual” only in comparison with other things from which it differs in certain well- defined characters ; and it can be apprehended as belonging to a class only when it is found to possess certain characteristic features in common with some other things ; so we see that as other things are not presented to consciousness through memory, the percept at the indeterminate stage cannot be fully apprehended as an individual belonging to a class, though the data constituting the characteristic of the thing as a genus and its differentia are per ceived at the indeterminate stage 1 . So long as other things are not remembered these data cannot manifest themselves properly, and hence the perception of the thing remains indeterminate at the first stage of perception. At the second stage the self by its past im pressions brings the present perception in relation to past ones and realizes its character as involving universal and particular. It is thus apparent that the difference between the indeterminate and the determinate perception is this, that in the latter case memory of other things creeps in, but this association of memory in the determinate perception refers to those other objects of memory and not to the percept. It is also held that though the determinate perception is based upon the indeterminate one, yet since the former also apprehends certain such factors as did not enter into the indeterminate perception, it is to be regarded as a valid cognition. Kumarila also agrees with Prabhakara in holding both the indeterminate and the determinate perception valid 8 .

Some Ontological Problems connected with the Doctrine of Perception

The perception of the class (jdli) of a percept in relation to other things may thus be regarded in the main as a difference between determinate and indeterminate perceptions. The pro blems of jati and avayavavayavl (part and whole notion) were the subjects of hot dispute in Indian philosophy. Before enter ing into discussion about jati, Prabhakara first introduced the problem of avayava (part) and avayavi (whole). He argues as an exponent of svatah-pramanyavada that the proof of the true existence of anything must ultimately rest on our own con sciousness, and what is distinctly recognized in consciousness must be admitted to have its existence established. Following this canon Prabhakara says that gross objects as a whole exist, since they are so perceived. The subtle atoms are the material cause and their connection (samyoga) is the immaterial cause (asamavayik&rana), and it is the latter which renders the whole altogether different from the parts of which it is composed ; and it is not necessary that all the parts should be perceived before the whole is perceived. Kumarila holds that it is due to the point of view from which we look at a thing that we call it a separate whole or only a conglomeration of parts. In reality they are iden tical, but when we lay stress on the notion of parts, the thing appears to be a conglomeration of them, and when we look at it from the point of view of the unity appearing as a whole, the thing appears to be a whole of which there are parts (see Slokavarttika Vanavddd).

Jati, though incorporating the idea of having many units within one, is different from the conception of whole in this, that it resides in its entirety in each individual constituting that jati (vydsajya- vritti but the establishment of the existence of wholes refutes the argument that jati should be denied, because it involves the concep tion of a whole (class) consisting of many parts (individuals). The class character or jati exists because it is distinctly perceived by us in the individuals included in any particular class. It is eternal in the sense that it continues to exist in other individuals, even when one of the individuals ceases to exist. When a new in dividual of that class (e.g. cow class) comes into being, a new relation of inherence is generated by which the individual is brought into relation with the class-character existing in other individuals; for inherence (samavdyd) according to Prabhakara is not an eternal entity but an entity which is both produced and not produced according as the thing in which it exists is non-eternal or eternal, and it is not regarded as one as Nyaya holds, but as many, according as there is the infinite number of things in which it exists. When any individual is destroyed, the class-character does not go elsewhere, nor subsist in that in dividual, nor is itself destroyed, but it is only the inherence of class-character with that individual that ceases to exist. With the destruction of an individual or its production it is a new relation of inherence that is destroyed or produced. But the class- character or jati has no separate existence apart from the indivi duals as Nyaya supposes. Apprehension of jati is essentially the apprehension of the class-character of a thing in relation to other similar things of that class by the perception of the common characteristics. But Prabhakara would not admit the existence of a highest genus satta (being) as acknowledged by Nyaya. He argues that the existence of class-character is apprehended be cause we find that the individuals of a class possess some common characteristic possessed by all the heterogeneous and disparate things of the world as can give rise to the conception of a separate jati as satta, as demanded by the naiyayikas. That all things are said to be sat (existing) is more or less a word or a name without the corresponding apprehension of a common quality. Our ex perience always gives us concrete existing individuals, but we can never experience such a highest genus as pure existence or being, as it has no concrete form which may be perceived. When we speak of a thing as sat, we do not mean that it is possessed of any such class-characters as satta (being) ; what we mean is simply that the individual has its specific existence or svarii- pasatta. Thus the Nyaya view of perception as taking only the thing in its pure being apart from qualities, etc. (sanmdtra-visayam pratyaksam) is made untenable by Prabhakara, as according to him the thing is perceived direct with all its qualities. According to Rumania however jati is not something different from the individuals comprehended by it and it is directly perceived. Kumarila S view of jati is thus similar to that held by Samkhya, namely that when we look at an individual from one point of view (jati as identical with the individual), it is the individual that lays its stress upon our consciousness and the notion of jati be comes latent, but when we look at it from another point of view (the individual as identical with jati) it is the jati which presents itself to consciousness, and the aspect as individual becomes latent. The apprehension as jati or as individual is thus only a matter of different points of view or angles of vision from which we look at a thing. Quite in harmony with the conception of jati, Kumarila holds that the relation of inherence is not anything which is dis tinct from the things themselves in which it is supposed to exist, but only a particular aspect or phase of the things themselves (Slokavdrttika, Pratyaksasutra^ 149, 150, abheddt samavdydstu svarupam dharmadharminoti), Kumarila agrees with Prabhakara that jati is perceived by the senses (tatraikabuddhinirgrdhyd jdtirindriyagoca.ro).

It is not out of place to mention that on the evidence of Prabhakara we find that the category of visesa admitted by the Kanada school is not accepted as a separate category by the Mimamsa on the ground that the differentiation of eternal things from one another, for which the category of viSesa is admitted, may very well be effected on the basis of the ordinary qualities of these things. The quality of prthaktva or specific differences in atoms, as inferred by the difference of things they constitute, can very well serve the purposes of visesa.

The nature of knowledge

All knowledge involves the knower, the known object, and the knowledge at the same identical moment. All knowledge whether perceptual, inferential or of any other kind must necessarily reveal the self or the knower directly. Thus as in all knowledge the self is directly and immediately perceived, all knowledge may be re garded as perception from the point of view of self. The division of the pramanas as pratyaksa (perception), anumana (inference), etc. is from the point of view of the objects of knowledge with reference to the varying modes in which they are brought within the purview of knowledge. The self itself however has no illumining or revealing powers, for then even in deep sleep we could have knowledge, for the self is present even then, as is proved by the remembrance of dreams. It is knowledge (samvid) that reveals by its very appearance both the self, the knower, and the objects. It is generally argued against the self-illuminative character of knowledge that all cognitions are of the forms of the objects they are said to reveal ; and if they have the same form we may rather say that they have the same identical reality too. The Mlmamsa answer to these objections is this, that if the cognition and the cognized were not different from one another, they could not have been felt as such, and we could not have felt that it is by cognition that we apprehend the cognized objects. The cognition (samvedana) of a person simply means that such a special kind of quality (dharma) has been manifested in the self by virtue of which his active operation with reference to a certain object is favoured or determined, and the object of cog nition is that with reference to which the active operation of the self has been induced. Cognitions are not indeed absolutely form less, for they have the cognitional character by which things are illumined and manifested. Cognition has no other character than this, that it illumines and reveals objects. The things only are believed to have forms and only such forms as knowledge reveal to us about them. Even the dream cognition is with reference to objects that were perceived previously, and of which the im pressions were left in the mind and were aroused by the unseen agency (adrsta). Dream cognition is thus only a kind of remembrance of that which was previously experienced. Only such of the impressions of cognized objects are roused in dreams as can beget just that amount of pleasurable or painful experience, in accordance with the operation of adrsta, as the person deserves to have in accordance with his previous merit or demerit.

The Prabhakara Mimamsa, in refuting the arguments of those who hold that our cognitions of objects are themselves cognized by some other cognition, says that this is not possible, since we do not experience any such double cognition and also because it would lead us to a regressus ad infinitum, for if a second cognition is necessary to interpret the first, then that would require a third and so on. If a cognition could be the object of another cognition, then it could not be self-valid. The cognition is not of course un known to us, but that is of course because it is self-cognized, and reveals itself to us the moment it reveals its objects. From the illumination of objects also we can infer the presence of this self- cognizing knowledge. But it is only its presence that is inferred and not the cognition itself, for inference can only indicate the presence of an object and not in the form in which it can be apprehended by perception (pratyaksa). Prabhakara draws a subtle distinction between perceptuality (samvedyatva) and being object of knowledge (prameyatva). A thing can only be appre hended (samvedyate) by perception, whereas inference can only indicate the presence of an object without apprehending the object itself. Our cognition cannot be apprehended by any other cognition. Inference can only indicate the presence or existence of knowledge but cannot apprehend the cognition itself 1 .

Kumarila also agrees with Prabhakara in holding that per ception is never the object of another perception and that it ends in the direct apprehensibility of the object of perception. But he says that every perception involves a relationship between the perceiver and the perceived, wherein the perceiver behaves as the agent whose activity in grasping the object is known as cog nition. This is indeed different from the Prabhakara view, that in one manifestation of knowledge the knower, the known, and the knowledge, are simultaneously illuminated (the doctrine oi triputlpratyaksd).

The Psychology of Illusion

The question however arises that if all apprehensions are valid, how are we to account for illusory perceptions which cannot be regarded as valid ? The problem of illusory perception and its psychology is a very favourite topic of discussion in Indian philosophy. Omitting the theory of illusion of the Jains called satkhydti which we have described before, and of the Vedantists, which we shall describe in the next chapter, there are three different theories of illusion, viz. (i) atmakhydti, (2) viparitakhydti or anyathdkhyati, and (3) akhydti of the Mlmamsa school. The viparltakhyati or anyathakhyati theory of illusion is accepted by the Nyaya, Vaiesika and the Yoga, the akhyati theory by Mlmamsa and Samkhya and the atmakhyati by the Buddhists.

The commonest example of illusion in Indian philosophy is the illusory appearance of a piece of broken conch-shell as a piece of silver. That such an illusion occurs is a fact which is experienced by all and agreed to by all. The differences of view are with regard to its cause or its psychology. The idealistic Buddhists who deny the existence of the external world and think that there are only the forms of knowledge, generated by the accumulated karma of past lives, hold that just as in the case of a correct perception, so also in the case of illusory perception it is the flow of knowledge which must be held responsible. The flow of knowledge on account of the peculiarities of its own collocating conditions generates sometimes what we call right perception and sometimes wrong perception or illusion. On this view nothing depends upon the so- called external data. For they do not exist, and even if they did exist, why should the same data sometimes bring about the right perception and sometimes the illusion? The flow of knowledge creates both the percept and the perceiver and unites them. This is true both in the case of correct perception and illusory per ception. Nyaya objects to the above view, and says that if knowledge irrespective of any external condition imposes upon itself the knower and the illusory percept, then the perception ought to be of the form “I am silver” and not “this is silver.” Moreover this theory stands refuted, as it is based upon a false hypothesis that it is the inner knowledge which appears as coming from outside and that the external as such does not exist.

The viparltakhyati or the anyathakhyati theory supposes that the illusion takes place because on account of malobservation we do not note the peculiar traits of the conch-shell as distinguished from the silver, and at the same time by the glow etc. of the conch-shell unconsciously the silver which I had seen elsewhere is remembered and the object before me is taken as silver. In illusion the object before us with which our eye is associated is not conch-shell, for the traits peculiar to it not being grasped, it is merely an object. The silver is not utterly non-existent, for it exists elsewhere and it is the memory of it as experienced before that creates confusion and leads us to think of the conch-shell as silver. This school agrees with the akhyati school that the fact that I remember silver is not taken note of at the time of illusion. But it holds that the mere non-distinction is not enough to account for the phenomenon of illusion, for there is a definite positive aspect associated with it, viz. the false identification of silver (seen elsewhere) with the conch-shell before us.

The akhyati theory of Mimamsa holds that since the special peculiarities of the conch-shell are not noticed, it is erroneous to say that we identify or cognize positively the conch-shell as the silver (perceived elsewhere), for the conch-shell is not cog nized at all. What happens here is simply this, that only the features common to conch-shell and silver being noticed, the per- ceiver fails to apprehend the difference between these two things, and this gives rise to the cognition of silver. Owing to a certain weakness of the mind the remembrance of silver roused by the common features of the conch-shell and silver is not apprehended, and the fact that it is only a memory of silver seen in some past time that has appeared before him is not perceived ; and it is as a result of this non-apprehension of the difference between the silver remembered and the present conch-shell that the illusion takes place. Thus, though the illusory perception partakes of a dual character of remembrance and apprehension, and as such is different from the ordinary valid perception (which is wholly a matter of direct apprehension) of real silver before us, yet as the difference between the remembrance of silver and the sight of the present object is not apprehended, the illusory perception appears at the moment of its production to be as valid as a real valid perception. Both give rise to the same kind of activity on the part of the agent, for in illusory perception the perceiver would be as eager to stoop and pick up the thing as in the case of a real perception. Kumarila agrees with this view as expounded by Prabhakara, and further says that the illusory judgment is as valid to the cognizor at the time that he has the cognition as any real judgment could be. If subsequent experience rejects it, that does not matter, for it is admitted in Mimamsa that when later experience finds out the defects of any perception it can invalidate the original perception which was self-valid at the time of its production 1 . It is easy to see that the Mimamsa had to adopt this view of illusion to maintain the doctrine that all cognition at the moment of its production is valid. The akhyati theory tries to establish the view that the illusion is not due to any positive wrong knowledge, but to a mere negative factor of non- apprehension due to certain weakness of mind. So it is that though illusion is the result, yet the cognition so far as it is cog nition, is made up of two elements, the present perception and memory, both of which are true so far as they are individually present to us, and the cognition itself has all the characteristics of any other valid knowledge, for the mark of the validity of a cogni tion is its power to prompt us to action. In doubtful cognitions also, as in the case “ Is this a post or a man?” what is actually perceived is some tall object and thus far it is valid too. But when this perception gives rise to two different kinds of remembrance (of the pillar and the man), doubt comes in. So the element of ap prehension involved in doubtful cognitions should be regarded as self-valid as any other cognition.


Sabara says that when a certain fixed or permanent relation has been known to exist between two things, we can have the idea of one thing when the other one is perceived, and this kind of knowledge is called inference. Kumarila on the basis of this tries to show that inference is only possible when we notice that in a large number of cases two things (e.g. smoke and fire) subsist together in a third thing (e.g. kitchen, etc.) in some inde pendent relation, i.e. when their coexistence does not depend upon any other eliminable condition or factor. It is also neces sary that the two things (smoke and fire) coexisting in a third thing should be so experienced that all cases of the existence of one thing should also be cases involving the existence of the other, but the cases of the existence of one thing (e.g. fire), though including all the cases of the existence of the other (smoke), may have yet a more extensive sphere where the latter (smoke) may not exist. When once a permanent relation, whether it be a case of coexistence (as in the case of the contiguity of the constellation of Krttika with RohinI, where, by the rise of the former the early rise of the latter may be inferred), or a case of identity (as in the relation between a genus and its species), or a case of cause and effect or otherwise between two things and a third thing which had been apprehended in a large number of cases, is perceived, they fuse together in the mind as forming one whole, and as a result of that when the existence of the one (e.g. smoke) in a thing (hill) is noticed, we can infer the existence of the thing (hill) with its counterpart (fire). In all such cases the thing (e.g. fire) which has a sphere extending beyond that in which the other (e.g. smoke) can exist is called gamya or vydpaka and the other (e.g. smoke) vydpya or gamaka and it is only by the presence of gamaka in a thing (e.g. hill, the paksa) that the other counterpart the gamya (fire) may be inferred. The general proposition, universal coexistence of the gamaka with the gamya (e.g. wherever there is smoke there is fire) cannot be the cause of inference, for it is itself a case of inference. Inference involves the memory of a permanent relation subsisting between two things (e.g. smoke and fire) in a third thing (e.g. kitchen); but the third thing is remembered only in a general way that the coexisting things must have a place where they are found associated. It is by virtue of such a memory that the direct perception of a basis (e.g. hill) with the gamaka thing (e.g. smoke) in it would naturally bring to my mind that the same basis (hill) must contain the gamya (i.e. fire) also. Every case of inference thus proceeds directly from a perception and not from any universal general proposition. Kumarila holds that the inference gives us the minor as associated with the major and not of the major alone, i.e. of the fiery mountain and not of fire. Thus inference gives us a new knowledge, for though it was known in a general way that the possessor of smoke is the pos sessor of fire, yet the case of the mountain was not anticipated and the inference of the fiery mountain is thus a distinctly new knowledge (desakdlddhiky-ddyuktamagrhitagrdhitvam anumdna- sya, Nyayaratnakara, p. 363 )\ It should also be noted that in forming the notion of the permanent relation between two things, a third thing in which these two subsist is always remembered and for the conception of this permanent relation it is enough that in the large number of cases where the concomitance was noted there was no knowledge of any case where the concomit ance failed, and it is not indispensable that the negative instances in which the absence of the gamya or vyapaka was marked by an absence of the gamaka or vyapya, should also be noted, for a knowledge of such a negative relation is not indispensable for the forming of the notion of the permanent relation 1 . The ex perience of a large number of particular cases in which any two things were found to coexist together in another thing in some relation associated with the non-perception of any case of failure creates an expectancy in us of inferring the presence of the gamya in that thing in which the gamaka is perceived to exist in exactly the same relation 2 . In those cases where the circle of the existence of the gamya coincides with the circle of the exist ence of the gamaka, each of them becomes a gamaka for the other. It is clear that this form of inference not only includes all cases of cause and effect, of genus and species but also all cases of coexistence as well.

The question arises that if no inference is possible without a memory of the permanent relation, is not the self-validity of inference destroyed on that account, for memory is not re garded as self-valid. To this Rumania s answer is that memory is not invalid, but it has not the status of pramana, as it does not bring to us a new knowledge. But inference involves the acquirement of a new knowledge in this, that though the coex istence of two things in another was known in a number of cases, yet in the present case a new case of the existence of the gamya in a thing is known from the perception of the existence of the gamaka and this knowledge is gained by a means which is not perception, for it is only the gamaka that is seen and not the gamya. If the gamya is also seen it is no inference at all.

As regards the number of propositions necessary for the ex plicit statement of the process of inference for convincing others (pdrdrthdnumdna) both Kumarila and Prabhakara hold that three premisses are quite sufficient for inference. Thus the first three premisses pratijfta, hetu and drstanta may quite serve the purpose of an anumana.

There are two kinds of anumana according to Kumarila viz. pratyaksatodrstasambandha and samanyatodrstasambandha. The former is that kind of inference where the permanent relation between two concrete things, as in the case of smoke and fire, has been noticed. The latter is that kind of inference where the permanent relation is observed not between two concrete things but between two general notions, as in the case of move ment and change of place, e.g. the perceived cases where there is change of place there is also motion involved with it; so from the change of place of the sun its motion is inferred and it is held that this general notion is directly perceived like all universals 1 . Prabhakara recognizes the need of forming the notion of the permanent relation, but he does not lay any stress on the fact that this permanent relation between two things (fire and smoke) is taken in connection with a third thing in which they both subsist. He says that the notion of the permanent relation be tween two things is the main point, whereas in all other associa tions of time and place the things in which these two subsist together are taken only as adjuncts to qualify the two things (e.g. fire and smoke).

It is also necessary to recognize the fact that though the concomitance of smoke in fire is only conditional, the concomitance of the fire in smoke is unconditional and abso lute 2 . When such a conviction is firmly rooted in the mind that the concept of the presence of smoke involves the concept of the presence of fire, the inference of fire is made as soon as any smoke is seen. Prabhakara counts separately the fallacies of the minor (paksdbhdsa), of the enunciation (pratijnabhasa) and of the example (drstdntdbhdsa) along with the fallacies of the middle and this seems to indicate that the Mimamsa logic was not alto gether free from Buddhist influence.
The cognition of smoke includes within itself the cognition of fire also, and thus there would be nothing left unknown to be cognized by the inferential cognition. But this objection has little force with Prabhakara, for he does not admit that a pramana should necessarily bring us any new knowledge, for pramana is simply defined as “appre hension.”

So though the inferential cognition always pertains to things already known it is yet regarded by him as a pramana, since it is in any case no doubt an apprehension.

Upamana, Arthapatti

Analogy (upamana} is accepted by Mlmamsa in a sense which is different from that in which Nyaya took it. The man who has seen a cow (go) goes to the forest and sees a wild ox (gavaya), and apprehends the similarity of the gavaya with the go, and then cognizes the similarity of the go (which is riot within the limits of his perception then) with the gavaya. The cognition of this similarity of the gavaya in the go, as it follows directly from the perception of the similarity of the go in the gavaya, is called upamana (analogy). It is regarded as a sepa rate pramana, because by it we can apprehend the similarity existing in a thing which is not perceived at the moment. It is not mere remembrance, for at the time the go was seen the gavaya was not seen, and hence the similarity also was not seen, and what was not seen could not be remembered. The difference of Prabhakara and Kumarila on this point is that while the latter regards similarity as only a quality consisting, in the fact of more than one object having the same set of qualities, the former regards it as a distinct category.

Arthapatti (implication) is a new pramana which is admitted by the Mlmamsa. Thus when we know that a person Devadatta is alive and perceive that he is not in the house, we cannot re concile these two facts, viz. his remaining alive and his not being in the house without presuming his existence somewhere outside the house, and this method of cognizing the existence of Deva datta outside the house is called arthdpatti (presumption or implication).

The exact psychological analysis of the mind in this artha- patti cognition is a matter on which Prabhakara and Kumarila disagree. Prabhakara holds that when a man knows that Deva datta habitually resides in his house but yet does not find him there, his knowledge that Devadatta is living (though acquired previously by some other means of proof) is made doubtful, and the cause of this doubt is that he does not find Devadatta at his house. The absence of Devadatta from the house is not the cause of implication, but it throws into doubt the very existence of Deva datta, and thus forces us to imagine that Devadatta must remain somewhere outside. That can only be found by implication, without the hypothesis of which the doubt cannot be removed.

The mere absence of Devadatta from the house is not enough for making the presumption that he is outside the house, for he might also be dead. But I know that Devadatta was living and also that he was not at home ; this perception of his absence from home creates a doubt as regards my first knowledge that he is living, and it is for the removal of this doubt that there creeps in the presumption that he must be living somewhere else. The perception of the absence of Devadatta through the intermediate link of a doubt passes into the notion of a presumption that he must then remain somewhere else. In inference there is no ele ment of doubt, for it is only when the smoke is perceived to exist beyond the least element of doubt that the inference of the fire is possible, but in presumption the perceived non-existence in the house leads to the presumption of an external existence only when it has thrown the fact of the man s being alive into doubt and uncertainty .

Kumarila however objects to this explanation of Prabhakara, and says that if the fact that Devadatta is living is made doubt ful by the absence of Devadatta at his house, then the doubt may as well be removed by the supposition that Devadatta is dead, for it does not follow that the doubt with regard to the life of Devadatta should necessarily be resolved by the supposition of his being outside the house. Doubt can only be removed when the cause or the root of doubt is removed, and it does not follow that because Devadatta is not in the house therefore he is living. If it was already known that Devadatta was living and his absence from the house creates the doubt, how then can the very fact which created the doubt remove the doubt? The cause of doubt cannot be the cause of its removal too. The real procedure of the presumption is quite the other way. The doubt about the life of Devadatta being removed by previous knowledge or by some other means, we may presume that he must be outside the house when he is found absent from the house. So there can not be any doubt about the life of Devadatta. It is the certainty of his life associated with the perception of his absence from the house that leads us to the presumption of his external existence. There is an opposition between the life of Devadatta and his absence from the house, and the mind cannot come to rest without the presumption of his external existence. The mind oscillates between two contradictory poles both of which it accepts but cannot reconcile, and as a result of that finds an outlet and a re conciliation in the presumption that the existence of Devadatta must be found outside the house.

Well then, if that be so, inference may as well be interpreted as presumption. For if we say that we know that wherever there is smoke there is fire, and then perceive that there is smoke in the hill, but no fire, then the existence of the smoke becomes irreconcilable, or the universal proposition of the concomitance of smoke with fire becomes false, and hence the presumption that there is fire in the hill. This would have been all right if the universal concomitance of smoke with fire could be known otherwise than by inference. But this is not so, for the concomit ance was seen only in individual cases, and from that came the inference that wherever there is smoke there is- fire. It cannot be said that the concomitance perceived in individual cases suf fered any contradiction without the presumption of the universal proposition (wherever there is smoke there is fire); thus artha- patti is of no avail here and inference has to be accepted. Now when it is proved that there are cases where the purpose of in ference cannot be served by arthapatti, the validity of inference as a means of proof becomes established. That being done we admit that the knowledge of the fire in the hill may come to us either by inference or by arthapatti.

So inference also cannot serve the purpose of arthapatti, for in inference also it is the hetu (reason) which is known first, and later on from that the sadhya (what is to be proved) ; both of them however cannot be apprehended at the same moment, and it is exactly this that distinguishes arthapatti from anumana. For arthapatti takes place where, without the presumption of Devadatta s external existence, the absence from the house of Devadatta who is living cannot be comprehended. If Devadatta is living he must exist inside or outside the house. The mind cannot swallow a contradiction, and hence without presuming the external existence of Devadatta even the perceived non-existence cannot be comprehended. It is thus that the contradiction is resolved by presuming his existence outside the house. Arthapatti is thus the result of arthanupapatti or the contradiction of the present perception with a previously acquired certain knowledge.

It is by this arthapattipramana that we have to admit that there is a special potency in seeds by which they produce the shoots, and that a special potency is believed to exist in sacrifices by which these can lead the sacrificer to Heaven or some such beneficent state of existence.

Sabda pramana

Sabda or word is regarded as a separate means of proof by most of the recognized Indian systems of thought excepting the Jaina, Buddhist, Carvaka and Vaisesika. A discussion on this topic however has but little philosophical value and I have there fore omitted to give any attention to it in connection with the Nyaya, and the Samkhya-Yoga systems. The validity and au thority of the Vedas were acknowledged by all Hindu writers and they had wordy battles over it with the Buddhists who denied it. Some sought to establish this authority on the supposition that they were the word of God, while others, particularly the Mlmamsists strove to prove that they were not written by any one, and had no beginning in time nor end and were eternal. Their authority was not derived from the authority of any trustworthy person or God. Their words are valid in themselves. Evidently a discussion on these matters has but little value with us, though it was a very favourite theme of debate in the old days of India. It was in fact the most important subject for Mimamsa. for the Mint&tnsa sutras were written for the purpose of laying down canons for a right interpretation of the Vedas. The slight extent to which it has dealt with its own epistemo- logical doctrines has been due solely to their laying the foun dation of its structure of interpretative maxims, and not to writing philosophy for its own sake. It does not dwell so much upon salvation as other systems do, but seeks to serve as a rational compendium of maxims with the help of which the Vedas may be rightly understood and the sacrifices rightly per formed. But a brief examination of the doctrine of word (sabda) as a means of proof cannot be dispensed with in connection with Mimamsa as it is its very soul.

Sabda (word) as a pramana means the knowledge that we get about things (not within the purview of our perception) from relevant sentences by understanding the meaning of the words of which they are made up. These sentences may be of two kinds, viz. those uttered by men and those which belong to the Vedas. The first becomes a valid means of knowledge when it is not uttered by untrustworthy persons and the second is valid in itself. The meanings of words are of course known to us before, and cannot therefore be counted as a means of proof; but the meanings of sentences involving a knowledge of the relations of words cannot be known by any other acknowledged means of proof, and it is for this that we have to accept sabda as a separate means of proof. Even if it is admitted that the validity of any sentence may be inferred on the ground of its being uttered by a trustworthy person, yet that would not explain how we understand the meanings of sentences, for when even the name or person of a writer or speaker is not known, we have no difficulty in understanding the meaning of any sentence.

Prabhakara thinks that all sounds are in the form of letters, or are understandable as combinations of letters. The constituent letters of a word however cannot yield any meaning, and are thus to be regarded as elements of auditory perception which serve as a means for understanding the meaning of a word. The reason of our apprehension of the meaning of any word is to be found in a separate potency existing in the letters by which the denotation of the word may be comprehended. The percep tion of each letter-sound vanishes the moment it is uttered, but leaves behind an impression which combines with the impressions of the successively dying perceptions of letters, and this brings about the whole word which contains the potency of bringing about the comprehension of a certain meaning. If even on hearing a word the meaning cannot be comprehended, it has to be ad mitted that the hearer lacks certain auxiliaries necessary for the purpose. As the potency of the word originates from the separate potencies of the letters, it has to be admitted that the latter is the direct cause of verbal cognition. Both Prabhakara and Kumarila agree on this point.

Another peculiar doctrine expounded here is that all words have natural denotative powers by which they themselves out of their own nature refer to certain objects irrespective of their com prehension or non-comprehension by the hearer. The hearer will not understand the meaning unless it is known to him that the word in question is expressive of such and such a meaning, but the word was all along competent to denote that meaning and it is the hearer s knowledge of that fact that helps him to understand the meaning of a word. Mlmamsa does not think that the association of a particular meaning with a word is due to conventions among people who introduce and give meanings to the words . Words are thus acknowledged to be denotative of themselves. It is only about proper names that convention is admitted to be the cause of denotation. It is easy to see the bearing of this doctrine on the self-validity of the Vedic commandments, by the performance of which such results would arise as could not have been predicted by any other person. Again all words are believed to be eternally existent ; but though they are ever present some manifestive agency is required by which they are manifested to us. This manifestive agency con sists of the effort put forth by the man who pronounces the word. Nyaya thinks that this effort of pronouncing is the cause that produces the word while Mlmamsa thinks that it only mani fests to the hearer the ever-existing word.

The process by which according to Prabhakara the meanings of words are acquired may be exemplified thus: a senior com mands a junior to bring a cow and to bind a horse, and the child on noticing the action of the junior in obedience to the senior s commands comes to understand the meaning of “ cow “ and “ horse.” Thus according to him the meanings of words can only be known from words occuring in injunctive sentences; he deduces from this the conclusion that words must denote things only as related to the other factors of the injunction (anvitdbhid- hdna vddd), and no word can be comprehended as having any denotation when taken apart from such a sentence. This doctrine holds that each word yields its meaning only as being generally related to other factors or only as a part of an injunctive sentence, thus the word gam accusative case of go (cow) means that it is intended that something is to be done with the cow or the bovine genus, and it appears only as connected with a specific kind of action, viz. bringing in the sentence gam dnaya bring the cow. Kumarila however thinks that words independently express separate meanings which are subsequently combined into a sen tence expressing one connected idea (abhihitdnvayavdda). Thus in gam dnaya, according to Kumarila, gam means the bovine class in the accusative character and dnaya independently means bring; these two are then combined into the meaning “ bring the cow.” But on the former theory the word gam means that it is connected with some kind of action, and the particular sentence only shows what the special kind of action is, as in the above sentence it appears as associated with bringing, but it cannot have any meaning separately by itself. This theory of Kumarila which is also the Nyaya theory is called abhihitanvayavada 1 .

Lastly according to Prabhakara it is only the Veda that can be called Sabda-pramana, and only those sentences of it which contain injunctions (such as, perform this sacrifice in this way with these things). In all other cases the validity of words is only inferred on the ground of the trustworthy character of the speaker. But Kumarila considers the words of all trustworthy persons as sabda-pramana.

The Pramana of Non-perception (anupalabdhi)

In addition to the above pramanas Kumarila admits a fifth kind of pramana, viz. anupalabdhi for the perception of the non- existence of a thing. Kumarila argues that the non-existence of a thing (e.g. there is no jug in this room) cannot be perceived by the senses, for there is nothing with which the senses could come into contact in order to perceive the non-existence. Some people prefer to explain this non- perception as a case of anumana. They say that wherever there is the existence of a visible object there is the vision of it by a perceiver. When there is no vision of a visible object, there is no existence of it also. But it is easy to see that such an inference presupposes the perception of want of vision and want of existence, but how these non-perceptions are to be accounted for is exactly the point to be solved. How can the perception of wantof vision or wantof existence begrasped? It is for this that we have to admit a separate mode of pramana namely anupalabdhi.

All things exist in places either in a positive (sadrupd) or in a negative relation (asadrupa), and it is only in the former case that they come within the purview of the senses, while in the latter case the perception of the negative existence can only be had by a separate mode of the movement of the mind which we designate as a separate pramana as anupalabdhi. Prabhakara holds that non-perception of a visible object in a place is only the perception of the empty place, and that therefore there is no need of admitting a separate pramana as anupalabdhi. For what is meant by empty space ? If it is necessary that for the perception, of the non-existence of jug there should be absolutely empty space before us, then if the place be occupied by a stone we ought not to perceive the non-existence of the jug, inasmuch as the place is not absolutely empty. If empty space is defined as that which is not associated with the jug, then the category of negation is practically admitted as a separate entity. If the perception of emptj space is defined as the perception of space at the moment which we associated with a want of knowledge about the jug, then also want of knowledge as a separate entity has to be accepted, which amounts to the same thing as the admission of the want or negation of the jug. Whatever attempt may be made to explain the notion of negation by any positive conception, it will at best be an attempt to shift negation from the objective field to know ledge, or in other words to substitute for the place of the external absence of a thing an associated want of knowledge about the thing (in spite of its being a visible object) and this naturally ends in failure, for negation as a separate category has to be admitted either in the field of knowledge or in the external world. Nega tion or abhava as a separate category has anyhow to be admitted. It is said that at the first moment only the ground is seen without any knowledge of the jug or its negation, and then at the next moment comes the comprehension of the non-existence of the jug But this also means that the moment of the perception of the ground is associated with the want of knowledge of the jug or its negation. But this comes to the same thing as the admission of negation as a separate category, for what other meaning cin there be in the perception of “ only the ground “ if it is not meant that it (the perception of the ground) is associated with or quali fied by the want of knowledge of the jug? For the perception of the ground cannot generate the notion of the non-existence of the jug, since even where there is a jug the ground is perceived. The qualifying phrase that “ only the ground is perceived “ be- comes meaningless, if things whose presence is excluded are not specified as negative conditions qualifying the perception of the ground. And this would require that we had already the notion of negation in us, which appeared to us of itself in a special manner unaccountable by other means of proof. It should also be noted that non-perception of a sensible object generates the notion of negation immediately and not through other negations, and this is true not only of things of the present moment but also of the memory of past perceptions of non-existence, as when we remember that there was no jug here. Anupalabdhi is thus a separate pramana by which the absence or want of a sensible object the negation of a thing can be comprehended.

Self, Salvation, God

Mlmamsa has to accept the existence of soul, for without it who would perform the Vedic commandments, and what would be the meaning of those Vedic texts which speak of men as per forming sacrifices and going to Heaven thereby? The soul is thus regarded as something entirely distinct from the body, the sense organs, and buddhi ; it is eternal, omnipresent, and many, one in each body. Prabhakara thinks that it is manifested to us in all cognitions. Indeed he makes this also a proof for the existence of self as a separate entity from the body, for had it not been so, why should we have the notion of self-persistence in all our cog nitions even in those where there is no perception of the body? Kumarila however differs from Prabhakara about this analysis of the consciousness of self in our cognitions, and says that even though we may not have any notion of the parts of our body or their specific combination, yet the notion of ourselves as embodied beings always appears in all our cognitions. Moreover in our cognitions of external objects we are not always conscious of the self as the knower; so it is not correct to say that self is different from the body on the ground that the consciousness of self is present in all our cognitions, and that the body is not cognized in many of our cognitions. But the true reason for admitting that the self is different from the body is this, that movement or willing, knowledge, pleasure, pain, etc., cannot be attributed to the body, for though the body exists at death these cannot then be found. So it has to be admitted that they must belong to some other entity owing to the association with which the body ap- pears to be endowed with movement etc. Moreover knowledge, feeling, etc. though apparent to the perceiver, are not yet per ceived by others as other qualities of the body, as colour etc., are perceived by other men. It is a general law of causation that the qualities of the constituent elements (in the cause) impart themselves to the effect, but the earth atoms of which the body is made up do not contain the qualities of knowledge etc., and this also corroborates the inference of a separate entity as the vehicle of knowledge etc. The objection is sometimes raised that if the soul is omnipresent how can it be called an agent or a mover? But Mimamsa does not admit that movement means atomic motion, for the principle of movement is the energy which moves the atoms, and this is possessed by the omnipresent soul. It is by the energy imparted by it to the body that the latter moves. So it is that though the soul does not move it is called an agent on account of the fact that it causes the movement of the body. The self must also be understood as being different from the senses, for even when one loses some of the senses he continues to perceive his self all the same as persisting all through.

The question now arises, how is self cognized ? Prabhakara holds that the self as cognizor is never cognized apart from the cognized object, nor is the object ever cognized without the cog nizor entering into the cognition as a necessary factor. Both the self and the object shine forth in the self-luminous knowledge in what we have already described as triputl-pratyaksa (perception as three-together). It is not the soul which is self-illumined but knowledge; so it is knowledge which illumines both the self and the object in one operation. But just as in the case of a man who walks, the action of walking rests upon the walker, yet he is regarded as the agent of the work and not as the object, so in the case of the operation of knowledge, though it affects the self, yet it appears as the agent and not as the object. Cognition is not soul, but the soul is manifested in cognition as its substratum, and appears in it as the cognitive element “ I “ which is inseparable from all cognitions. In deep sleep therefore when no object is cognized the self also is not cognized.

Kumarila however thinks that the soul which is distinct from the body is perceived by a mental perception (mdnasa-pratyaksa) as the substratum of the notion of “ I,” or in other words the self perceives itself by mental perception, and the perception of its own nature shines forth in consciousness as the “ I.” The objec tion that the self cannot itself be both subject and object to its own operation does not hold, for it applies equally to Prabhakara s theory in which knowledge reveals the self as its object and yet considers it as the subject of the operation. The analogy of linguistic usage that though the walking affects the walker yet he is the agent, cannot be regarded as an escape from this charge, for the usage of language is not philosophical analysis. Though at the time of the cognition of objects the self is cognized, yet it does not appear as the knower of the knowledge of objects, but reveals itself as an object of a separate mental perception which is distinct from the knowledge of objects. The self is no doubt known as the substratum of “ I,” but the knowledge of this self does not reveal itself necessarily with the cognition of objects, nor does the self show itself as the knower of all knowledge of objects, but the self is apprehended by a separate mental intuition which we represent as the “ I.” The self does not reveal itself as the knower but as an object of a separate intuitive process of the mind. This is indeed different from Prabhakara s analysis, who regarded the cognition of self as inseparable from the object- cognition, both being the result of the illumination of knowledge. Kumarila agrees with Prabhakara however in holding that soul is not self-illuminating (svayamprakdsa), for then even in deep sleep the soul should have manifested itself; but there is no such manifestation then, and the state of deep sleep appears as an unconscious state. There is also no bliss in deep sleep, for had it been so people would not have regretted that they had missed sensual enjoyments by untimely sleep. The expression that “ I slept in bliss “ signifies only that no misery was felt. Moreover the opposite representation of the deep sleep state is also found when a man on rising from sleep says “ I slept so long with out knowing anything not even my own self.” The self is not atomic, since we can simultaneously feel a sensation in the head as well as in the leg. The Jaina theory that it is of the size of the body which contracts and expands according to the body it occupies is unacceptable. It is better therefore that the soul should be regarded as all-pervading as described in the Vedas. This self must also be different in different persons for otherwise their individual experiences of objects and of pleasure and pain cannot be explained.

Kumarila considered the self to be merely the potency of knowledge (jndnasakti) . Cognitions of things were generated by the activity of the manas and the other senses. This self itself can only be cognized by mental perception. Or at the time of salvation there being none of the senses nor the manas the self remains in pure existence as the potency of knowledge without any actual expression or manifestation. So the state of salvation is the state in which the self remains devoid of any of its characteristic qualities such as pleasure, pain, knowledge, willing, etc., for the self itself is not knowledge nor is it bliss or ananda as Vedanta supposes ; but these are generated in it by its energy and the operation of the senses. The self being divested of all its senses at that time, remains as a mere potency of the energy of knowledge, a mere existence. This view of salvation is accepted in the main by Prabhakara also.

Salvation is brought about when a man enjoys and suffers the fruits of his good and bad actions and thereby exhausts them and stops the further generation of new effects by refraining from the performance of kamya-karmas (sacrifices etc. performed for the attainment of certain beneficent results) and guarantees himself against the evil effects of sin by assiduously performing the nitya-karmas (such as the sandhya prayers etc., by the per formance of which there is no benefit but the non-performance of which produces sins). This state is characterized by the dissolution of the body and the non-production of any further body or rebirth.

Mlmamsa does not admit the existence of any God as the creator and destroyer of the universe. Though the universe is made up of parts, yet there is no reason to suppose that the universe had ever any beginning in time, or that any God created it. Every day animals and men are coming into being by the action of the parents without the operation of any God. Neither is it necessary as Nyaya supposes that dharma and adharma should have a supervisor, for these belong to the performer and no one can have any knowledge of them. Moreover there cannot be any contact (samyogd) or inherence (samavdya) of dharma and adharma with God that he might supervise them ; he cannot have any tools or body wherewith to fashion the world like the carpenter. Moreover he could have no motive to create the world either as a merciful or as a cruel act. For when in the beginning there were no beings towards whom should he be actuated with a feeling of mercy? Moreover he would himself require a creator to create him. So there is no God, no creator, no creation, no dissolution or pralaya. The world has ever been running the same, without any new creation or dissolution, srsti or pralaya.

Mimamsa as philosophy and Mimamsa as ritualism

From what we have said before it will be easy to see that Mimamsa agrees in the main with Vaisesika about the existence of the categories of things such as the five elements, the qualities, rupa, rasa, etc. Rumania s differences on the points of jati, samavaya, etc. and Prabhakara s peculiarities have also been mentioned before. On some of these points it appears that Kumarila was influenced by Samkhya thought rather than by Nyaya. Samkhya and Vaisesika are the only Hindu systems which have tried to construct a physics as a part of their metaphysics ; other systems have generally followed them or have differed from them only on minor matters. The physics of Prabhakara and Kumarila have thus but little importance, as they agree in general with the Vaisesika view. In fact they were justified in not laying any special stress on this part, because for the performance of sacrifices the common-sense view of Nyaya- Vaisesika about the world was most suitable.

The main difference of Mimamsa with Nyaya consists of the theory of knowledge. The former was required to prove that the Veda was self-valid and that it did not derive its validity from God, and also that it was not necessary to test its validity by any other means. To do this it began by trying to establish the self- validity of all knowledge. This would secure for the Veda the advantage that as soon as its orders or injunctions were com municated to us they would appear to us as valid knowledge, and there being nothing to contradict them later on there would be nothing in the world which could render the Vedic injunctions invalid. The other pramanas such as perception, inference, etc. were described, firstly to indicate that they could not show to us how dharma could be acquired, for dharma was not an existing thing which could be perceived by the other pramanas, but a thing which could only be produced by acting according to the injunctions of the Vedas. For the knowledge of dharma and adharma therefore the sabdapramana of the Veda was our only source. Secondly it was necessary that we should have a knowledge of the different means of cognition, as without them it would be difficult to discuss and verify the meanings of de batable Vedic sentences. The doctrine of creation and dissolution which is recognized by all other Hindu systems could not be acknowledged by the Mimamsa as it would have endangered the eternality of the Vedas. Even God had to be dispensed with on that account.

The Veda is defined as the collection of Mantras and Brah- manas (also called the vidhis or injunctive sentences). There are three classes of injunctions (i) apurva-vidhi, (2) niyama-vidhi, and (3) parisankhya-vidhi. Apurva-vidhi is an order which enjoins something not otherwise known, e.g. the grains should be washed (we could not know that this part of the duty was necessary for the sacrifice except by the above injunction). Niyama-vidhi is that where when a thing could have been done in a number of ways, an order is made by the Veda which restricts us to following some definite alternative (e.g. though the chaff from the corn could be separated even by the nails, the order that “corn should be threshed” restricts us to the alternative of threshing as the only course acceptable for the sacrifice). In the niyama-vidhi that which is ordered is already known as possible but only as an alternative, and the vidhi insists upon one of these methods as the only one. In apurva-vidhi the thing to be done would have remained undone and unknown had it not been for the vidhi. In parisarikhya-vidhi all that is enjoined is already known but not necessarily as possible alternatives. A certain mantra “I take up the rein “ (imam, agrbhndm rasandm) which could be used in a number of cases should not however be used at the time of holding the reins of an ass.

There are three main principles of interpreting the Vedic sentences, (i) When some sentences are such that connectively they yield a meaning but not individually, then they should be taken together connectively as a whole. (2) If the separate sen tences can however yield meanings separately by themselves they should not be connected together. (3) In the case of certain sentences which are incomplete suitable words from the context of immediately preceding sentences are to be supplied.

The vidhis properly interpreted are the main source of dharma. The mantras which are generally hymns in praise of some deities or powers are to be taken as being for the specification of the deity to whom the libation is to be offered. It should be re membered that as dharma can only be acquired by following the injunctions of the Vedas they should all be interpreted as giving us injunctions. Anything therefore found in the Vedas which cannot be connected with the injunctive orders as forming part of them is to be regarded as untrustworthy or at best inex pressive. Thus it is that those sentences in the Vedas which describe existing things merely or praise some deed of injunction (called the arthavadas) should be interpreted as forming part of a vidhi-vakya (injunction) or be rejected altogether. Even those expressions which give reasons for the performance of certain actions are to be treated as mere arthavadas and inter preted as praising injunctions. For Vedas have value only as mandates by the performance of which dharma may be acquired.

When a sacrifice is performed according to the injunctions of the Vedas, a capacity which did not exist before and whose ex istence is proved by the authority of the scriptures is generated either in the action or in the agent. This capacity or positive force called apurva produces in time the beneficient results of the sacrifice (e.g. leads the performer to Heaven). This apurva is like a potency or faculty in the agent which abides in him until the desired results follow.

It is needless to dilate upon these, for the voluminous works of Sabara and Kumarila make an elaborate research into the nature of sacrifices, rituals, and other relevant matters in great detail, which anyhow can have but little interest for a student of philosophy.

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