Sei sulla pagina 1di 63



I n I n d ia n e p is t e m o lo g y , two w ord s are u se d t o mean

K n o w le d g e . They a re Jnana and Pram a. Jnana means a ll

k in d s o f k n o w le d g e , t r u e o r f a l s e , vrtien r e a l i t y r e v e a l s

t r u e kn ow ledge i t i s c a l l e d Prama o r v a l i d k n o w le d g e .

S o u r c e s o f r i g h t kn ow ledge o r means o f c o g n i t i o n 1 a re

e s s e n t i a l f o r th e e s t a b lis h m e n t o f a v a l i d k n o w le d g e . In

t h i s p o i n t a lm ost a l l t h e t h in k e r s o f I n d ia n sy ste m s a re

u n a n im o u s. But r e g a r d in g t h e number o f Pramanas t h e y a r e

d i f f e r e n t . Y et i t is in t e r e s t in g t h a t a l l th e s c h o o ls of

I n d ia n p h ilo s o p h y b o t h A s t ik a and N a s t ik a are unanim ous

a b o u t p e r c e p t i o n o r P r a ty a k s a Pramana a s th e f i r s t and

fo r e m o s t o f a l l t h e P ra m a n a s.2 P e r c e p t i o n i s t h e p rim a r y

and fu n d a m e n ta l o f a l l t h e s o u r c e s o f v a l i d k n ow led ge and

it i s u n iv e r s a lly r e c o g n is e d . P e r c e p t i o n i s m ost p o w e r fu l

among t h e means o f v a l i d k n o w le d g e , b e c a u s e i t g i v e s a

d i r e c t o r im m edia te kn ow ledge o f r e a l i t y o f an o o j e c t and,

1 . m anadhlna m e y a s id d h ih , SDS, p . 2 3 5 .
laksanapram anabhyani h i v a s t u s i d a h i h , R g. Bha, p . 2 .

2 . p r a ty a k s a s y a pram anesu j y e s t h a t v a d i t i ,
« • * * *
VP, p . 6 .

t h e r e fo r e , i s the r o o t o f a l l other Pramanas. According

to the Nyaya, p ercep tion i s not the only source o f our
knowledge^but i t is the b a sis o f the other sources or

means o f knowledge. Hence i t has been said that a l l the

oth er means o f knowledge presupposes p ercep tion and must
be based on knowledge derived from p erce p tio n . P erception
i s the b a sis on which we have a knowledge o f other truths
by in feren ce as w ell as by comparison and testim ony.
P ercep tion i s the fin a l t e s t o f a l l knowledge. One may
qu estion the truth o f th e knowledge derived from inference^
testim ony e t c . ; but the tru th o f p ercep tion i s in a way
beyond qu estion . Perceptual v e r i f i c a t i o n i s thus the final
t e s t o f a l l other knowledge and as such, p ercep tion i s the
c h ie f o f a l l the sources o f human knowledge, i t i s w idely
accepted by a l l the p h ilo so p h ica l systems since a l l the
systems have to support th e ir th e o r ie s through p ercep tion
in the arena o f ep istem ological in v e s t ig a tio n . The very
simple but co rre ct d e fin it io n o f p ercep tion has been given
by Salikanatha Misra as he says th at p ercep tion i s the
d ir e c t apprehension.

3. sarvapramananam pratyaksapurvakatvat, NVTT. 1 .1 .3 ,

4. s£ ceyam pram itih pratyaksapara, NB, 1 .1 .3 .
5 . sa k sa tp ra titih , pp, V. 125.

In European philosophy, the v a lid ity of perception

as a source o f knowledge is rather overstressed by the
em piricists ana some modern r e e lis t s . According to them,
the truth of perception is unquestionable and self-eviden t.
Thus J.S. M ill remarks ; 'Vhatever is known to us by
consciousness (intuition), Is known beyond p o s sib ility o f
question. What one sees or feels,whether bodily or
mentally, one cannot but be sure that one sees or f e e l s '67
So also .V.T. Marvin thinks that 'perception is the
ultimate crucial te s t, and as such, i t does not presuppose
it s own p o s s ib ility . It simply i s ; and the man who
questions i t assumes i t in order to do the questioning',^
Similarly Russel t e l l s us repeatedly that the truths of
perception ere selfevident truths, fo r which we require no
test at a ll.

The philosophers of Samkhya-yoga system have stated

that perception has been treated as superior to a ll other
forms of vplid knowledge and they assign the following
reasons — ( i ) perception as a form of valid knowledge has
been accepted by a ll logician s, ( i i ) Other valid forms of

6. System of lo g ic , p. 4, cf MTK, p. lu o.
7. Tne New Realism, pp. 00-67, Ib id .
8 . Problems of Philosophy, ch. XI, p. 72, Ibid.

knowledge presupposes perception whereas perception pre­

supposes none o f them.

Ihe term ’ Pratyaksa' consists of two p arts,

'P r a t i ' end 'Aksa', ’ P r a ti’ means before or near or relar-

te d to and 'Akse' means eye. The process through which

immediate knowledge of an object arises or the instrument

by which the object is conceived, is also called Pratyaksa.

That i s why perception i s sometimes defined in terms of
the process as w e ll as instrument th ere in . There is

d iffe re n c e o f opinion among the d iffe r e n t systems o f

Indian philosophy regarding the d e fin itio n o f Pratyaksa.

Carvaka view o f Pratyaksat A ll the schools of Indian

philosophy both Astika and hastlka accept Pratyaksa
(Perception ) as a source of v a lid knowledge. Thus clrvakas,
hold th at perception is the only Pramine or dependable
source o f v a lid knowledge. The perceptual knowledge is
so v iv id that there arises no question about i t s v a lia it y .
External perception and in tern al perception are the two
broad d ivision s o f perception. External perception is that
immediate knowledge which arises out o f the contact o f
senses and o b ject. And internal perception is the immediate

9. pratyaksamekam carvekah TK,vide BP,p,260,


p e rce p tion o f the mental states lik e pleasu re,p ain e t c .

The in te rn a l p ercep tion depends on external p e rce p tio n .
Anything beyond the range o f p ercep tion i s not real.T h e
world o f our p ercep tion i s the only r e a l i t y . Hence th e
Carvakas r e je c t the r e a lit y o f heaven and h e ll as they
ere not o b je c ts o f our p ercep tion .^ 0

The CarvaKss do not consider the v a lid it y o f

Anumana and Sabda. The author o f th e Mahabharata says

th at th e Carvakas do not tr e a t Anumgna or in feren ce and

Agama or authority as Pramanas. He sta te s that both
Anumana and Agama are based on Pratyeksa and t h is i s the
reason fo r which the Carvakas do not consider them as
th e means o f v a lid knowledge. The author o f th e e p ic
a ls o sta te s tnat these ph ilosoph ers do not recog n ise
Anumana as Pramana f o r another important reason. The
reason i s that they cannot assert the v a lid ity o f the
Vyapti or the in v a ria b le concomitance wnich plays the
most s ig n ific a n t part in In feren ce. * The m a te r ia list do
not con sid er th is Vyapti as i n f a l l i b l e . T herefore, the
author o f the Mahabharata observes, th e m a te r ia lis ts do

10. na svargo napavargo va naivatma peraieuxikah,

SDS, p .16 .
11. pretyaksem hyetayor kincana,santiperva,
MBk 218-27.
12. Ib id ., 218-26.

not recognise Anumana as a Pramana,^

Actually, i t is not always possible to attain the

correct knowledge of something with Anumana. Similar is
the case o f Upamann etc. But i t cannot be denied the fact
that one cannot tota lly dispense with Anumana in his
p ractical l i f e . Sometimes, i t is found that Pratyaksa alone
does not serve the purpose. The autnor of the
Myayakusumanjali observes that i f a Carvaka depends entirely
on Pratyaksa he w ill in vite his own miseries due to his
dogmatic view. According to the author when Carvaka w ill go

away to a remote place by leaving his wife and children at

home, naturally, he w ill be unable to perceive them from
that place. Thus, according to his own standpoint, they
w ill be non-existent to him and hence, he w ill have to lament
fo r th eir lo s s . A section o f la tte r Carvakns probably
rea lise th is problem. Therefore, Gunsratna informs that the
Carvakas recognise Anumana also as a Preraana fo r practical
purpose. Gunaratna says that these philosophers agree to
accept such an Inference only as is essen tially necessary
fo r proving the existence of fir e in a h i l l with help of a

13. anumanena yad gatyedidarsanam tadepi asati laksane

jnapake hetau ........ vyabhicaradars'anat............
na kim api, ISiC on MB .
14, darsanadasayam bhavaniscayat................... sokavikalo
vikroset, NKM, p. 355.

column o f smoke. But they do n ot recogn ise such extra­

sensory Inference (Alaukika Anumina) as are commonly
accepted by some other philosoph ers to e sta b lish the
e x isten ce o f heaven, adrsta e t c . Purandara also says

th a t the Carvakas recognise Laukika Anumana or popular

in feren ce as a Pramana.^6

The Jaina View o f Pratyaksa: Prom the viewpoint of

the Jainas v a lid knowledge has been treated in two ways,
namely, Agamic tr a d itio n and lo g ic a l t r a d it io n . Prom the
Agamic point o f view^ determinate knowledge nas been
divided in to f iv e types, namely m etl, s'ruta, avadhi,

maneh-paryaya and k e v e la .^

From the viewpoint o f lo g ic a l t r a d it io n ,v a lid

determinate knowledge has been c la s s ifie d in to two j
Pratyaksa or d ir e c t and Paroksa or in d ir e c t . Bhadrevahu
in h is Avasya k a -n lru k tl. fo llo w s the Agamic tr a d itio n ,

15. carvakair lokayatranirvahangpramanem dhumadyanume-

namisyate e t c . , hSM, p.457.
16. purandarastvaha lokaprasiddham anumanam
carvakairapisyata eva........................... kam alasila,
TS, p . 526.
17 . moti srutavadhi-manahparyaya .<evalani jnanam,TAS,1.9.
18. tad dvibhedam pratyaksam pe-.roksem c a ,- PNT, 2 .1 .

while I^yayavatara o f siddhasena Divakara fo llo w s th e l o g i ­

ca l t r a d it io n . Umasvati in h is fattyarthadhigemasut ra has
follow ed both these t r a d it io n , and h is method has been
borrowed by Madhavacarya in h is Sarvadarsanasamgraha.
According to tn is c la s s if i c a t i o n , knowledge has f i r s t been
divided in to fiv e ty p es, namely, m ati, sru ta, avauhi, manah-
t o
paryaya and kevala. Then they have been brought under two
main heads o f Pramanss; Pratyaksa or d ir e c t and Paroksa or
in d ir e c t . Mati and Sruta have been included in the Paroksa
c la s s , while the r e s t are regarded as belonging to the
Pratyaksa c la s s . cJ hare, Pratyaksa means that knowledge
which i s d ir e c t ly acquired by the s e l f (aksaj without the
m editation o f the mind or the senses, and Parakso is that
knowledge which i s acquired by the s e l f through the
m editation o f the mind and the sen ses.^"

The Jaina lo g ic ia n s d efin e p ercep tion as cle a r

knowledge. According to Vidhyanandi Pratyaksa i s the know­
ledge which is c le a r . Aklanka says Pratyaksani
visadam , rlanikyanandi, Vadideva ana

19. etac ca dvividhani indr iy aJam anindriyajam ca

dvayemapldam mati sruta bhedad dvidha, TB, 1 .5 .
20. aoye paraksam, IAS, 1.11 .
pratyaksani anyat, ib id 1 .1 2 .
21. aksnoti vyipn oti Janati i t i aksah atma, SC, 59.
yat parato vijnanam t a t tu paraksam i t i bhanitam
arthesu, yadi kevalena jnatem bhavati ni jiven a
pratyaksam, PS, 1 .5 8 .
22. NKC, 1 .3 .

Hemacandra also define p ercep tion as cle a r kn ow ledge.^

Thus according to the Jainas, Perception i s cle a r know­
le d g e , P erception is defin ed as d is t in c t knowledge.
D istin ctn ess co n s is ts in the apprehension o f an o b je c t
with i t s s p e c i f i c q u a litie s without the m editation of
any other knowledge. Pratyeksa i s c la s s if i e d in to two:
( i ) em pirical (Samvyavaharike) and transcendental
(Parsm arthike). Empirical perception i s uncontradicted
p ercep tion which prompts su cce ssfu l a ction in th e form
o f attainment o f a desired o b je c t or r e je c t i o n of an

undesired o b je c t . I t depends on sense organs and other

c o n d itio n s. Transcendental p ercep tion , on the other
hand, does not depend on sense organs or a-cy co n d itio n ,
/.gain the em pirical p ercep tion has two forms :
( i ) sensuous a n d (ii) non-sensuous p ercep tion . Sensuous
p e rce p tion i s due to the extern a l sense-organs stimulated
by external o b je c t s . Non-sensuous p ercep tion i s mental
p e rce p tio n . I t apprehends p lea su re, pain e t c ., through
the mind which i s not sense-organ. D istin ct apprehension

o f an o b je c t with i t s i n f i n i t e q u a litie s and r e la tio n s i s

n ot p o s s ib le with sensuous and non-sensuous p ercep tion .

2 3 . visadara pratyaksam, PKM, spastam pratyaksam, PNT


3auddha View of Pratyaksa: The Buddhists define Perception

as the unerring cognition of a given sensum in complete
isolation from all ideate. In it the object of cognition
is a unique individual and the process of cognition is a
mere sensing wlxhout any element of ideation (Kalpana} in
it , Vasubandhu, a Bauddha logician of the Yogacara school,
characterises perception as a cognition that is directly
produced by the object, of which it is the cognition,2^ The
cognition of fire, for example, is a perception. Dinnaga,the
greatest Bauddha logician brings out tne implications of
Vasubandhu’ s definition of perception. According to Dliinaga,
Pratyaksa is different from imagination and has no connec-
tion with names, genus etc.26 Dharmaklrti defines Pratyaksa «

as non-erroneous cognition of a given sensum in complete

isolation from all constructions (Kalpana). He further
states that Kalpana is a distinct cognition (Pramltih) of a
mental reflex (pratibhasa) which is capable of being united
with verbal designation. Pratyaksa is such knowledge as is
free from such construction when it is not effected by an
Illusion produced by colour, blindness, rapid motion,

24. pratyaksam kalpanipodhemabhrantem, NB, I.

25. tatorthadvijnanam pratyaksam, NV, 1.1,4.
26. pratyaksam kalpanapodham namajatyadyasamjutam,
Psa, ch,X,

travellin g on board a ship and other causes . 97

The View of Advaita Vedanta s Samkara re fe rs to three

sources o f v alid knowledge ; Perception, Inference and
Scriptural testimony. Later writers add comparison,
postulation and negation. In the Advaita Vedanta,Percep­
tion as a pramana i s the unique cause of perception as a
form o f valid knowledge. In th is sense, the sense organs
constitute the Karana or the unigue cause o f perceptual
cognition. According to Advaita Vedanta perception is the
direct consciousness of objects^® obtained generally
through the exercise of the senses. I t is the knowledge
acquired through the operation of ^jitahkaranavrtti, in
perception the transparent Antehkarana goes out through

the sense-organs, pervades the ob ject, say, the pot and

assumes the form o f that o b je ct. This transformation of
the internal organ in form o f the object is called
Antahkaranavrtti. 29 P erception i s th e immediate knowledge
in which the mental m o d ifica tio n i s n o n -d iffe r e n t from

27 . abhilipasemsargayopratibhasam pratitih kalpana, ta yi

rahitam timirasubhramananauyinasamksooha dyanahita
bibhramani jinanam pratyaksam, NB, 1 .4 .5 .
^28 . pratyaksapramayah karanem pratyaksapramanam, VP,p,15.
29. tatha taijasam antahkaranamapi caksurSdidvara nirgatya
ghatadi visayades'am gatvi ghatadivisayakarana
• * *

parinamaje sa eva parinamo v rttirityu cya te, VP, p.33.


the object and is l i t up by the self*s lig h t. When the

eye is fixed on a jar the internal organ is supposed to
go out towards i t , illuminate i t by it s own light,assume
i t s shape and cognise i t . This inner a ctiv ity is assumed
to account fo r the transformation of the physical
vibration into mental states. I f one simply stares at
the blue sky one cannot perceive anything. The internal
organ functions lik e lig h t, i t s Vrtti moves outwards in
the form of ray o f lig h t. The Vrtti id e n tifie s its e lf
with the ob ject, and it s id e n tifica tio n might spread over
the whole surrounding scene. What one perceives depends
on the nature of the moae. If the mode takes the form
o f the weight o f the ob ject, one perceives weight, i f of
colour, one perceives colour. In the case of perception
o f the ja r, the consciousness determined by the ja r is
found to be unified with that determined by the Vrtti of
the internal organ fa llin g on that ja r, even as the space
enclosed within a jar in the room is unified with that
enclosed within the room i t s e l f . The two lim iting
conditions of ultimate consciousness, the modification and
the object ao not produce a d ifferen ce. This u nification
makes the cognition o f the Jar perceptual in character.
Perception is distin ct from memory, since only past events
are re co lle cte d . A further qualification is mentioned,that
the object and tne mental mode must belong to the present
time (vartamanatvam).

Vaisesika View of Pratysksai

t •
According to Vaisesika

valid knowledge is what apprehends an object in it s

rea l nature. Invalid knowledge is what apprehends an
object as different from i t . Four kinds of valid know­
ledge are admitted according to Vaisesikas which are
Perception (Pratyaksa), Inference (Lairigika),remembrance
(Smrti)and intuitive knowledge (Arsajnana). Perception
enables us to apprehend substances, qu alities and
actions. Praslastepada defines perception as the cogni­
tion that is dependent on sense-organs.^0 Pratyaksa
according to Vaisesika is external or internal. Internal
perception i s due to conjunction of the s e lf with the
internal organ. Cognition, pleasure, pain, desire,
aversion and v o litio n are apprehended by internal percep­
tio n . External perception is o f fiv e kinds, olfa ctory,
gustatory, visual, tactual and auditory, The Vaisesika
admits yogic perception, by which the perceptual cogni­
tion of the soul ( Atmapratyaksa) arises.

The Mimamsa View of Pratyaksa: Jaimini’ s aphorism ’ sat

satnprayoge purusasyendriyanam buddhi janamatat pratyaksam
animittam vidyamenopalambhanat* forms the basis of the

30. aksaraaksampratityotpadyate i t i pratyaksam,

VB (Pratya).

Mimamsa theory o f P ercep tion . There are, however,

divergent views regarding the in te rp re ta tio n and applica­
t io n o f th is aphorism. Some commentators such as Sahara
hold that the e n tire aphorism i s simply a p o in te r to
e s ta b lish the f a c t that Dharma cannot be known by Percep­
t io n ,^ According to KuraSrila B hatta,P erception i s a

knowledge which i s the r e s u lt o f the r ig h t fu n ction in g

o f the sense-organs with re fe re n ce to th e ir o b je c t s .
The Prabhakara school o f Purvamlmimsa has presented a
p e cu lia r theory o f p ercep tion c a lle d the trip u tip ra ty a k -
* (th e theory o f t r i p l e p e rc e p tio n ). Prabhakara has
propounded t h is theory in h is B rh a ti. which has been
again elaborated by Selikanatha Misra in h is Rjuvimala
and Prakaranapancika. In th e Amrtakala Prakarana o f h is
Prakaranapancika^ Salikanetha has stated that perception

i s the d ir e c t rcnowledge which p ertain s to apprehended

o b je c t (meya), the apprehending person (mata) and t o the

apprehension i t s e l f (m i t i ) . In each act o f P erception
th e idea cf each o f these comes to be i t s con stitu en t
fa c to r . B iis d e fin itio n o f p ercep tion g iv e s us the theory

31* M.S . 1 .1 . 4 •
32 . satindriyarthasambandhe ya purusasya buddhirjayate ta t
pratyaksam, SB, 1 ,1 ,4 .
33 . SV, pp. 38-9.
34. saksat p r a t it ih pratyaksam meyamatrpramasu sa meyesvin-
dryayogatta dravya jatigunesu sa, Pp. V.125.

o f t r i p l e perception end in the Pramana Perayana chapter

o f the Prakarana Panclka a ls o , we have the reference to

t h is p e c u lia r th eo ry .35

The Samkhya-yoga view of Pratyaksat

The Samkhya system con sists o f three d iffe re n t

t ra d itio n s in defining p ercep tio n .v i z ., (1 ) the one i n i t i a ­

ted in the Samkhyasutra probably by Kapila him self ( i i ) t h e

one propounded by Vindhyavasin and ( i i i ) the one

proposed by Isvarakrsna. The Samkhyasutra d efin es

perception as that discernment which being in conjunction

o f an object p ortray s the form t h e r e o f . ^ A popular

d e fin itio n o f perception as the 'op eration o f cognitive

organs, ear and the rest* i s ascribed to the fo llo w e rs of

Varsaganya. P u lin b ih a ri Chakraborty thinks that

Vindhyavasin re v ise d the d e fin itio n given by Varsaganya by

embodying the epithet A vikalpika.38

As regard s the c la s s ic a l sources of Samkhye-yoga

P a t a n ja li does not define perception. Hence the

35. sarv av i j nanahe tut the mitau ca pram a sa k sg tk a rtittv a -

samanyat pratyaksatyenasammata, FP. V. 137.

36. yatsambandhasiddham ta d e k iro lle k h i vijnanam ta t

pratyaksam, SS, 1,89.

37. s ro tra d iv rttih pratyaksam, YD.5 .

38. ODSST, p. 137.

Samkhyakarika of Isvarakrsna i s the e a r lie s t c la ssic a l

source about the definicion of Perception. In the
Samkhya-karlk8 the cerrn Drsta has been used instead of
Pratyaksa. None of the commentators of the Samkhya-
karlka explain why the author of the Samkhyakarika use
the term*Drsta instead of the term 'P ratyak sa'. But the
term'Drste i s very sig n ifican t. All cases of immediate
experience are not due to sense-object contact. The
experiences namely 'I am happy’ , 'I am sorry' e tc ., do
not require the help of sense-organs and Manas.Thus the
term ’Pratyaksa', i s not applicaole in these cases
because though the experience i s Immediate, i t i s not
sensuous. In order to cover such cases, tne term fDrsta’
i s only appropriate. Unfortunately, the author of the
Samkhyasutra does not take notice of the inner s ig n ifi­
cance of the term'Drsta’ used by Isvarakrsna. The term
t 7 . —
Pratyaksa used in the Samkhya sutra denotes only a small
portion of immediate experience. The experience of inner
phenomena remains outside the range of the definition of

The Sam khyakarika of I s v a r a k r s n a gives the

defin ition of Drsta in the following way— Perception i s
a determinate knowledge in respect of every individual
ob ject. The definition when interpreted independently

39. prativisayadhyavasayo drstam, SK. 5.


o f the commentaries ox the Samkhy ak arlka re v e a ls that

there i s no reference to sen se-object contact. Further,

Xsvarakrsna unlike Varsaganya defin es Perception in

terms o f knowledge. This knowledge i s q u a lifie d by

’ pertainin g to in d ivid u al o b je c t ’ . Such a d e fin itio n

also i s unique in the arena o f Indian philosophy. Know­

ledge of a l l kinds, according to Isv a re k rs n e ,is function

or a ttrib u te o f Buddhi. ^
Buddhi i s taken in the sense
o f both — actual agent o f knowing and means o f knowledge.

Thus, the question n a tu ra lly a rise s as to what i s the

fa c to r which d iffe r e n t ia t e s perception from sources of

n on -valid knowledge accepted by Sanikhya.The expression

•determinate knowledge' d iffe r e n t ia t e s i t from doubtful

knowledge, the word‘object’ from already perceived

Il Q
knowledge and the vord 'p r a t i ' from memory e tc .

There i s a set o f scholars who do not in te r­

p re t p ra tiv is a y a as cognitive organ. However, they

introduce sense-object contact through im p o rta tio n

40. adhyavasayo buddhi dharma jnanam v ira g a aisaryam

sattvikametad rupam tamasamesmat vioaryastam ,
41. sa adhyavasiyo buddherasadharana vyaparo,tadveda
buddhih, STK, K.23 .
42. STK 5.
_ A2 A /i
Mathara follow ed by Gaudapada in te rp re t one d e f i ­
n it io n o ffe r e d by the samkhyakarika as p ercep tion is
th e knowledge with referen ce to p a r tic u la r o b je c t .Here
Mathara seems t o d e fin e p ercep tion in terms o f in d e te r­
minate p ercep tion as determ inative knowledge cannot
a r is e in co g n itiv e organ. Thus, Mathara, Gaudapada
im port indriyanam in the above d e fin it io n given by the
Samkhyakarika. The Jayamarigela, however, imports
indriyadvarena and exp lain s the above d e fin it io n as
P erception i s the knowledge of the o b je c t s lik e word
e t c . , through co g n itiv e organs lik e ear e tc.

In terp retin g the d e fin itio n of Isvarakrsna,

« i •

Vacaspati sta tes th at P erception i s a m o d ifica tio n of

the mind which gives d e fin ite cogn ition of o b je c ts
a ffe c te d by the s e n s e -o b je c t-c o n ta c t. In h is op in ion ,
through in te lle c t (Buddhi), ego (Ahamkara), mind
(Manas) and the senses, external o b je c t is apprehended
by the s u b je c t. When an o b je c t i n c it e s the senses the
Manas arranges the sense impression in to a p ercep t,th e
ego r e fe r s i t to the s e l f arid the i n t e l l e c t form the
co n cep t. The author Y uktidlplka e lu c id a te s Isvarakrsn a's
d e fin it io n and holds that the term *visa y a ' r e fe r s to

4 3 . MV, 5 .
44. GB, 5 .
45. JM, 5 .

th e o b je c ts o f cog n itio n , th e word 'P r a t i' in the d e fin i­

t i o n stands f o r proxim ity and the word Adhyavasaya

im plies the fu n ctio n o f th e i n t e l l e c t . The author o f the

Y uktld iplke s p li t s up 'Prativisayadhyavasaya' in to two
component p a r t s —* the f i r s t prativisaySdhyavasaya covers
th e p ercep tion o f external o b je c t s and th e second
p ra tiv isa y ndhyavasiya covers the immediate experience of
the inner phenomena. He holds that i t i s a case o f
Ekasesa i . e . , one component fa c t o r which i s sim ilar
the next one i s dropped according to the r u le o f grammar.
Though one word i s dropped, i t s meaning i s conveyed by
the remaining component. I t denotes i t s own meaning as
w e ll that o f the other (th e dropped o n e). Regarding the
number o f the word, the author o f the Yuktidipika does not
explain why singu lar number has been used Instead o f the
dual onea The Yuktidipika fu rth er shows the s ig n ific a n c e
o f the w ord'P rativisay a’ in th e d e fin it io n . The word

Adhyavasaya’ excludes a p p lica tio n o f the d e fin it io n to the

knowledge o f ab solu tely n on -ex isten t o b je c ts lik e mirage,
the c i r c l e o f fireb a n d and the c it y o f the Gandharvas.
I f th e d e fin it io n would have been worded as adhy&vasaya-
drstam i t w ill include n on -ex isten t o b je c ts also because

4 6 . evam ta rh i pretivisayadhyavasayas'ca prativisayadhyava.

sayasca prativisayadhyavasaya i t i sarupanamekaseseka-
r is y a t e , YD on SK, 5 .

one w ill get determinate knowledge of these ob jects.

— < »
According to Yuktldlplka the word Visaya only can exclude
the knowledge of the above non-existent objects from the
domain of Perception as these are mental concepts and not
tne objects in r e a lity . The word 'P ra ti' in the defin ition
excludes in feren tial knowledge from perception. The word
•prati' means near and thus denotes sense object contact
which is not found in inference. Again the fuktidipika
states that the word 'P ra ti' is used in the defin ition to
exclude understanding o f mutual intention by the cognitive
organs. In Samkhye philosophy when one senseA cognises
i t s object, the other understands it s intention and takes
action. For example, when colour of a ripe mango i s
observed by the eyes, the organ o f taste attains eagerness
fo r that after understanding the decision of the eyes.Thus
understanding of mutual intention arises in organs through
th eir mutual contact end not through the contact of organs
with the object cognised. Therefore, the term 'P ra ti'
excludes understanding o f mutual intention by the cognitive

The Samkhyesutra defines perception as the

knowledge whicn portrays the form of object coming in con-
48 __
ta c t with i t . Here, Knowledge according to /ijnanabhiksu
47. YD» 5.
48. yat sambandhasiddham tadaKarollekhi vijnanam tp t
pratyaksam, oS, 1.89.

stands fo r Buddhivrtti. The Buddhi goes to the object with

the respective cognitive organ and gets the form of that
o b je ct. This is Perception. 49? The essence of the d e fin i­
tion is that Perception i s V rtti of citta followed by it s
contact with the object and through the cognitive organ.

According to Jwalaprasad the defin ition has two special

features t ( i ) that the knowledge called Pratyaksa is
regarded more as an act than as a product and ( i i ) that it
i s the form of object (tadakara) which is cognised and not
the object i t s e l f . 51 Here i t is noticed that knowledge in
Samkhyp is i t s e l f an act as well as a resu lt in the form of
a particular modification or state o f Buddhi. As to the
second observation Buddhi which is a determining principle
i s a form which is not imaginary but real and thus, what is
cognised is the object only and not the form created with

mental imagination as supposed by the Buddhists. According

t0 Samkhyasutra the above d efin ition cannot apply to
perceptive knowledge o f Yogins as also to the Perception of
Isvara. In th eir opinion perception defined here is the
external Perception while the Perceptive knowledge of Yogins
does not come under the purview of it. Again to avoid

49. sambaddhavasttvakaradhgri bhavati yadvijnanam buddhivr-

ttih tatpratyaksam pramanamityarthah, SPB, 1.7,
50. Ibid .
51. HIE , p .195.
52. yoginambayapratyaksatvad na dosah, SS. 1.90.

th e d e fe c ts o f th e d e fin itio n th ey t r y to e x p la in th at

Y o g in s due t o its e x a lt a t io n c a n come i n c o n t a c t w ith

th e o b je c t s ly in g in th e ir cause in p a s t and f u t u r e

state s a ls o . As to th e d e fe c t of its n o n -a p p lic a b ilit y

to I s v e r a 's p e rc e p tio n th e S a m k h y a s u t ra s t a t e s th at
- , 5x
e x is t e n c e of Isv a ra is not p ro v e d . ^

A fte r I s v a r a k r s n a we come a c r o s s t h e d e fin itio n

* i *

of p e r c e p tio n in t h e Y o g a b h a s y s o f Vyasa. In th e Yoga

sy ste m o f P a t a n ja li, th ere is no d e f i n i t i o n o f P e r c e p t io n .

The S u t r a m e n t io n s o n l y P e r c e p t i o n a s one o f t h e t h r e e

v a lid fo r m s of k n o w le d g e . A c c o r d in g t o V y a s a d e v a th e

S h a s y a k a r a on t h e Y o g a s u t r a , t h e mode o f t h e in t e lle c t

g o e s o u t th ro u gh th e channel of sen se organ s ana becom es

u n it e d w ith th e o b j e c t by m ean s o f its m ode. The mode

is th e p a rt and p a r c e l o f t h e in t e lle c t it s e lf. It is

lik e th e r a y s o f th e su n t h a t go out and c a t c h t h e form

o f th e o b je c t w i t h 7t h e y a re u n ite d . In P e rc e p tio n , th e
p a r t ic u la r is e m p h a s is e d t h o u g h t h e u n iv e rs a l e le m e n t in

th e o b je c t used is n o t o v e r lo o k e d . V p c a rp e ti b rin g s out

fo llo w in g im p lic a t io n s o f tn e d e fin itio n ; S in c e

53. Is w a r a s id d h e , SS, 1 .9 2 .
54. in d r iy a p r a n a lik a y a c i t t a s y a v a h y a v a s t up B r a g a t
✓ _ / _
ta d v is e y a h slm a n y a v i s e s a t m a n o a rth a sy a v is e s a v a d h a -
ran ap rad h an a v r t t i h p r a t y a k s o m pram anam , YB, 1 .7 .

Perception is knowledge o f a real ob ject, i t is free from

a ll unreal mental imagination imposed upon i t . The state­
ment that Citta i s coloured by the form o f an object
implies that knowledge existin g in Citta comes in contact

with external ob ject. Though there is no direct contact

o f Citta with the object known yet the cognitive organ
serves as the medium. Perception apprehends ch iefly the
sp e cific nature of an o b ject. It implies that although
generic nature also is apprehended in perception yet it
i s subordinate to sp ecific nature. Vijnanabhiksu
observes that the expression after it s being coloured with
the form of external object through cognitive organs should
not be considered a part o f the d efin ition . It speaks of
merely the cause o f Perception. 56 utnerwise tne definition
w ill not be applicable to perceptive knowledge o f soul etc.,
as also Perception by Isvare fo r the former does not
stand in need of colouring of Citta by external object and
Isvara has no cognitive organ ,^

55. yadyapi samanyamapi pratyakse pretibhasate tathapi

vlsesam pratyupasarjanibhutamityarthah, TV, 1.7,
_ / _ _
56 atmadipratyaksavyapanadlsvarapratyaksa vyapanacca
tasyajanyattvat, YV, 1.7.
57. Ibid.

For a c r it ic a l estimate o f the Samkhye- Yoga

p osition , i t w ill be worthwhile to consider the c r i t i ­
cism of these defin ition . The defin ition offered by
Vindhyavasin is cr itic is e d by Jayantabhatta and Hema-
candra, that given by Varsaganye, by Aklarika, Dinnaga,
Udyotakara and Vacespati Misra and that offered by
Isvarakrsna is c r itic is e d by Jayantaohatta followed by
Hemacandra. The defin ition given by the Samkhyasutra
i s not c r itic is e d by the c r it ic s of Samkhya. It seems
that the Simkhyasutrs is later composition and hence
could not draw the attention o f eminent old logician s.

Jayantabhatta c r itic is e d Vindhavlsin’ s

defin ition on the ground that i t is having much in
common with the Buddhist defin ition and is refuted with
the Buddhist definition i t s e l f . Here the sim ilarity
with the Buddhist definition is with reference to the
condition o f being ’ free fro*n imagination. ’

Hemacandra c r it ic is e s the defin ition mainly

from Jaina point of view. He presupposes that means of
knowledge must be conscious only. The senses are
unconscious and consequently their function w ill also be
unconscious. As such they cannot be the means of
knowledge. The d efin ition offered by tne follow ers of

Varsaganya as the function of (cognitive organ) ear and

the rest has invited severe criticism from Dirinaga,
Aklarika, Uddyotakare ana Vecespati Misra. The points of
th eir criticism are given below*

Dinnega finds follow ing fau lts in the defin i­

tion . The Satnkhyps hold that Perception is the function
o f cognitive organs to apprehend a sp ecific o b je c t . The
object of apprehension i s composed of three gunas.However,
i f a particular cognitive organ cognises a particular
proportion o f the Gunas, there w ill arise the undesirable
contingency of acceptance o f many cognitive organs as the
objects in particular proportion of the Gunas arc

Aklanka rejects the above defin ition on the

ground that it would apply even to the erroneous knowledge

Uddyotakara re je cts the defin ition on the ground

that the Nyaya position is the only coxrect one and that
which d iffe r s from i t is unacceptable and in correct. 58
Vacaspati Misra adds that the above defin ition is wrong
because i t i s equally applicable to doubtful knowledge,etc

5 e. evamenena nygena yanyapyanuktani tanyetasmalak

sananna bhidyeraanani na laksananiti, iW, 1 .4 .

59. NVTT, 1.4.


Jayantabhatta followed by Hemacandra expresses

his d issatisfa ction over I svarakrsna's d efin ition of
Perception, isvarakrsna defines Perception as determi­
nate knowledge of objects,Jayantabhatta states that the
above d efin ition is not correct as i t does not mention
sense-object contact as a necessary condition of Percep­
tio n . Consequently, i t becomes too wide as it i s
applicable to the other Pramanas lik e Anumana which are
f\ n
also the means of definite knowledge.

The aoove discussion leads to following conclu­

sions; Simkhya-Yoga had i t s own tradition of defining
Perception which was not origin ally influenced by other
systems. It has undergone various changes during it s
development. The e a rlie st available d efin ition was
offered oy Vindhyavasin which was revised by the follow ­
ers of Var^agenya. The condition ox being free from
imagination was dropped mainly because i t was not necess­
ary from Sa&khya point of view and because i t could not
stand the critique a lso. The defin ition of Varsaganya was
rejected by the later Samkhyas because i t is not applicable
to the internal perception as also to the extra-ordinary
perception of Yogins. Isvarakrsna defines
perception in terms of determining an individual ob je ct.

60, anumanadivijnananamapl viseyadhyavasayasvabhavattvenat

- ivyaptah, NM, p. 100.

The lo g ic ia n s o f oth er sch ools have c r i t i c i s e d th ese d e f i ­

n it io n s on v a rio u s grounds but most o f th e o b je c tio n s can

b e e a s ily a lle v ia t e d by Simkhya-Yoga.

R o le o f Senses in P e r c e p tio n ; P e rc e p tio n i s p r im a r ily

con d ition ed by th e a c t i v i t y o f th e senses in r e la t io n to

some o b je c t s . Hence P e rc e p tio n i s u s u a lly d e fin e d in

terms o f sense s tim u la tio n . Everyone adm itssense a c t i v i t y

as a fa c t o r c o n d itio n in g a l l p e rc e p tio n . But th e r e i s

some d iffe r e n c e o f o p in io n as t o the exact nature o f th e

senses and t h e i r fu n c tio n s in P e rc e p tio n . According to

th e B uddhists, th e senses are th e e x te r n a l organs occupying

d i f f e r e n t p a r ts o f th e su rfa ce o f th e body. The v is u a l

sense, f o r example, i s tne p u p il o f the eye, sin ce o b je c ts

can be seen o n ly when th e p u p il i s in o rd er but not o th e r­

w is e . For the Jainas a sense i s th e p h y s ic a l organ w ith a

s p e c i f i c energy.^*2 According t o the Samkhyas, th e senses

are not p h y s ic a l bodies l i k e th e p u p il o f th e e y e , but

m o d ific a tio n s o f th e su b tle m a te ria l p r in c ip le c a lle d Aharfi-

k a ra . They th in k th a t a p h y s ic a l organ cannot account fo r

th e P e rc e p tio n o f d is ta n t o b je c t s . I n P e r c e p tio n th e senses

must fu n c tio n in d ir e c t c o n ta ct w ith the o b je c ts o f

P e rc e p tio n . But a p h y s ic a l organ l i k e th e e y e -p u p il cannot

6 1 . g o la k a s y e n d riy e tv a m iti BauddhSh, NSV, 3 . 1 . 3 0

c .f. p . 142.
6 2 . PKK, p . 61.

have d ir e c t c o n ta c t w ith an o b je c t ly in g a t a d ista n c e

o r behind a g l a s s . T h is i s p o s s i b l e on ly i f th e sen se
o rgan be a l l p erv ad in g in c h a r a c t e r and n ot a lim ite d
Jjh y sic a l s u b sta n c e . So th e Sawikhyas th in k th a t th e
s e n s e s are m o d ific a tio n s o f a su D tle a ll- p e r v a d in g
m a tte r and are th e m se lv e s a ll- p e r v a d in g in c h a r a c t e r , ^

The Nyaya r e j e c t s both th e Bauddha and th e

Samkhya view s abou t the n a tu re o f tn e s e n s e s . It a g re e s
w ith the Mimimsi and th e V edanta in h o ld in g th a t the
s e n s e s are n e it h e r th e e n d -o rg a n s nor m o d ific a t io n s of
any a il- p e r v a d in g s u b tle m a t te r . A ccording to th e s e
sy ste m s th e e x te r n a l s e n s e s are m a te r ia l su b sta n c e s
c o n s t it u t e d by th e p h y s ic a l elem en ts and l o c a l i s e d in
th e d i f f e r e n t e n d -o rg an s. Another d e f i n i t i o n o f se n se ,
g iv e n by some N a iy a y ik as i s t h a t i t i s th e medium o f a
c o n ta c t between th e mind and an o b je c t t o produce such
knowledge a s i s d if f e r e n t from menory. T h is d e fin itio n ,
how ever, i s not a p p lic a b le t o mind a s a s e n s e , sin c e it
can n o t be s a i d to be the medium o f c o n ta c t between i t s e l f

63. ah amkar o p ad ana kamin dr iy am, TK, p .2 6 ,

cf.lvTK , p .1 4 3 ,
64. NS, 1 .1 .1 2
65. SM, p . 5 8 .

and objects lik e pleasure and pain. The Sastredioika

/ — - —bb

uefines sense as what produces a clear and distinct

knowledge o f the object i t i s brought in contact with.
This defin ition holds good with regard to a ll the senses
including the mind.

According to the Nyaya and Mimemsa, there are

3ix sense organs. Jf these some are called external and
some internal. There is only one internal sense called
manas or mind. There are fiv e external senses namely, the
olfa ctory , the gustatory, the visual, the cutaneous, and
the auditory. These senses are physical in character,
because they are constituted by the physical elements.
The olfactory sense ts the organ o f apprehending smell.
The gustatory sense is the condition of taste sensations.
The visual sense is the ground of colour sensations and
is it s e lf coloured. The cutaneous sense is the source o f
touch sensations and temparature sensations. The auditory
sense is the source of senations of sound. To the above
l i s t of the six senses, recognised by the Nyaya and the
Mimamsa, the Sarhkhya system adds fiv e other senses. These
are the five senses o f action (Karmendriya). They are
called speech, hands, fe e t, rectum and the sexorgan and
perform respectively the functions of speaking, prehension
( r7
locomotion,evacuation and reproduction. The Vadanta
66. SD,f>.36.
67. a) budnindriyani csksuhsrotraghranarasanespersarakani
vakpaiiipadapeyupastiifin xarmendriyani ityShu,SK,K.26.
b) ^abd§dl§u jancanataalocanamatramisyote vrttih
vacanadSnaviharanat sarganandSsca Pancanani,SK.K,28.

accepts th is with one exception. I t excludes the mind

or antahkarana from the l i s t o f the senses,68

Function of the Senses; The function of the senses is

to produce perception o f ob jects. For a sense organ, to
function is to give us immediate knowledge about certain
o b jects. According to the Buddhists the senses function
without direct contact with the objects o f perception.
They ere a ll 'distance receptors' ( aprapyakari) and do
not require immediate contact wxth their ob jects. This
i s especially seen in the case of the senses o f sight
and hearing, we see fa r o f f objects that cannot have any
direct or approximate contact with the eyes. We hear
sound produced at a long distance from our ears.Similarly
the eye perceives ob jects much la r g o ’ than i t s e lf and so
incapable of being covered by i t . Many of us can,at the
same time, see the same object or hear the same sound
from different places. Conversely, one man can, almost
at the same time, see two things or hear two sounds,
quite apart from each other. This shows that the senses
o f sight and hearing may function without actual contact
with th eir respective objects. According to the Nyaya,
Semkhya, Mimam'sa and Vedanta systems, the senses can

68. VP, Ch. VII.

69. NV, 1 .1 .4 .

perceive only such objects as ere in direct or indirect

contact with them (prapyakarin). This is obvious in
the case of the so called lower senses, namely, touch,
taste and smell. Sensations o f touch and taste srise
only when the sense-organs are in immediate contact with
th eir respective ob jects. To taste a thing is to place
i t in direct contact with the tongue. To touch a thing
is to bring in contact with the s*in. I f the smelling
object be in our immediate surrounding, there i s obvious
contact of i t with the olfactory organ. In the case of
the lower senses a ll systems of philosophy admit a
d irect sense object contact. The remaining two senses
of sight and hearing also act in contact with th eir
o b je cts, althougn not quite as d irectly as the re s t.
According to the Vedanta, the. sense of hearing travels
to the sounding objects and gives us sensations o f sound.
The Nyaya, however, agrees with modern science in holding
that sound waves sent by the object are received into the
are yi
ear-passage end these/ perceived as sound.'

Modes of Perception: broadl> speaking, there are three

Divergent views regarding the modes of perception v iz ,,
(a ) The Buddhist view .according to which Nirvikelpeka is

70. VP, C h.l.

71. BP, 165-166.

th~ only mode of Perception ana there is no sucn thing

as £<3viicelpaka Fratyaksa. (h) The Grammarians view,
which is diametrically opposed to the Buddhist position
end refers to-Sevikslpaka as the only possible form of
Perception and rejects Nirvikalpaka altogether. The
Carvakas and the Madhva and Vallabhe sects of Vedanta
also fa ll in this category and (c) The Majority view,
according to which both Nirvikalpaka anc Savikalpaka
are the valid modes of Perception,

ThP Ru^fjhifit View: According to the Buddhists Nirvikel-

paka is the only type of valid perception. It is such
cognition of an object as contains no element of thought
or ideation in it (kalpena podham)^. Ordinarily
knowledge involves two elements namely, the given or
sensed and the meant or ideated. The Buddhists hold that
what is given is a unique individual that belongs to no
class and is not related to anything.^ One can call it
by a name,bring it under a class end think of it as
having certain qualities, actions and relations. But its
name, class, quality, action and relation are not any
part of what is directly given. These are the

72. PSa.Ch.I.
73. epare tu svrlaicsanamStragocaram nirvikaxpakamicc-
hanti, SD, p. 41.

contributions o f our mind (Kalpsna) to the given

experience. Hence Nirvikalpaka Perception is a
cognition which i s not modified by any idea or con­
cept lik e those of i t s name, class, etc. Nirvikalpaka
Perception i s not a verbalised experience. As
contrasted to th is, Savikelpaka Perception i s a
verbalised experience in which the object i s deter­
mined by the concepts of name, cla ss, relation e tc.
Here we think of the objects having attributes,bearing
certain name and having certain re la tio n s. Such
knowledge , however, is fa ls e , since i t i s not due to
the given object, but to our conceptual construction
of it . Thus the Buddhists reduce Nirvikalpaka to pure
sensation which i s valid but blind and Savikalpaka to

conceptual knowledge which i s d e fin ite but fa ls e .

The Grammarian' s View; According to some lin g u istic

thinkers there cannot be any Nirvikalpaka Perception
in the sense of an unverbelised experience. Ihey hold
that we cannot think things except through words. All
ob je cts are inseparably connected with the words by
which they are denoted. To cognise a thing i s to know
i t as such and such and so to rela te i t to a denotative
word. Likewise^we can act in relation to a thing only
when we know i t precisely as of th is or that kind, i . e ,

determine i t by means of a class-name. In fa ct e ll our

cognitions are embodied in verbal propositions? such as

'i know a c o lo u r ', 'I have a t a s t e ', *it is a smell’ and

so on. A ll cognitions being thus inseparabxe from verbal
expressions, there can be no Nirvikalpaxa or unverbali­
sed cognition. According to the Carvakas, the Jainas,
the ancient Sabdikas and the tfisistedvaita Vedanta of
Riminuja, a ll perceptions are Savikalpaka or determinate
and that there i s no such thing as a perfectly indeter­
minate perception. According to Ramanuja, to know a
thing is to know i t as possessed of certain attributes.
A th in g's existence cannot be separated from i t s nature
and attributes. There being thus no absolutely indeter­
minate Knowledge, the distinction o f Wirvikalpaka and
Savikalpaka perception is a rela tive d istin ction . While
in Wirvikalpaka the object of Perception is p a rtia lly

determined, in Savikalpaka i t i s determined more fu lly

and clea rly .

The Carvakas, the Sabdikas and the Jainas go

further than Ramanuja and hold that Uirvikalpaka Percep­
tion is not real in any sense. According to the Jainas
a ll true knowledge must be a defin ite and an assured
cognition o f ob jects. What distinguishes true Knowledge
from douot, error and the rest is the fa ct that i c is a

firm b e l i e f which i s also tru e .

I t i s a d e fin ite Judge-
ment o f an object as th is and not as th a t. In i t

there i s a d e fin it e affirm atio n or d en ial that an object

i s or i s not. In the so c a lle d N irvikalpaka perception^

however, there i s no such d e fin it e assertion o f anything

about any o b je c t. Hence i t cannot oe recognised as a

form o f v a lid knowledge. In perception tnere need not

be a tra n sitio n from an i n i t i a l stage of vague and

unorganised sense-impressions to that o f d is t in c t and

determinate knowledge. A ll tru e perceptions are,

th e re fo re , determinate (Savikalpatca) cognitions o f

o b je c ts as they r e a lly are in th e m se lv e s.^

The M ajority View; According to the Mlmlmsa, the Sanikbya,

the N yaya-Vaisesika, any perception, N irvik alp ak a or

Savikalpaka, i s a d ire c t cognition o f the re a l in d iv id u a l

which i s a unity of the un iversal and the p a r t ic u la r . It

i s probably Kumarila who has in it ia t e d the proper analysis

o f the problem o f Indeterminate and Determinate forms of

Perception o f Indian pnilosophy. He r e fe r s to

N irvik alp ak a as mere apprehension (A loeana) and a non­

c h ild or of a
r e f l e c t i v e knowledge, whicn resembles the cognition o f a/

74. tannis'eayatmakam samaropaviruddnatvadanumanavat,

PKK, p.3
75. I b id , p. 8.

mute and i s caused by th e mere o b je c t . He admits

r e f l e c t i v e knowledge (Savikalpaka) out condemns i t as a
second stage o f P e r c e p t io n / The Prabhakara school
a lso admit two forms o f Pratyaksa. They agree with the
B h itta sch ool but th e ir expressions d i f f e r in the nature
o f N irvikalpaka p e rce p tio n . According to Kumarila, the

p a r tic u la r and g en eric characters are not p erceived at

the f i r s t moment w hile according to Prabhakara they are
p erceived but not as p a rticu la r and gen eric ch a ra cters.
The Vedanta also r e fe r s two types o f P ercep tion :
( 1 ) Savikalpaka and (2 ) N irvikalpaka.'* Gautama in tr o ­
duces th e ep ith ets 'Avyapadesya and ’ Vyavasayitmeka’ in
the d e fin it io n o f P ercep tion . V lca sp ati holds th at the
Sutrakara r e fe r s to Nirvikalpaka and Savikalpaka forms o f
p e rce p tion through these words. However, th ere i s some
d iffe r e n c e o f op in ion as to th e nature and stru ctu re of
N irvikalpaxa p ercep tion between the Bhatta Mimam’sa and
Samkhya systems, on th e one hand and the Prabhakara ana
Nyaya-Vaisesika systems, on the oth er.

According t o the Samkhya and the Bhatta Mlmimsa

both Nirvikalpaka and Savikalpaka are equally v a lid and

76 . ITK, pp. 114-21.

77 . ta cc a pratyaksam dvividham savikalpaka and
nirvikalpakabhedat, VP, p . 63.

n e c e s s a r y i n o d e s o f p e r c e p t u a l k n o w l e d g e . B y N i r v i k a l p a k a

t h e y m e a n t h a t c o g n i t i o n w n i c h s p o n t a n e o u s l y a r i s e s a t

t h e f i r s t m o m e n t o f c o n t a c t b e t w e e n s e n s e a n d o b j e c t .1
I t i s a k n o w l e d g e o f t h e o b j e c t a s o n e i n d i v i d u a l w h o l e

o f g e n e r i c a n d s p e c i f i c a t t r i b u t e s . T h e r e i s n o

d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n b e t w e e n t h e u n i v e r s a l a n d t h e p a r t i c u l a r

t h a t a r e c o m b i n e d i n t h e b o d y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l . H e n c e

t h e r e i s o n l y a n a p p r e h e n s i o n o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l a s a n

I n d e f i n i t e o b j e c t , b u t n o d e f i n i t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f i t

a s t h i s o r t h a t k i n d o f o b j e c t . ' ? N i r v i k a l p a k a p e r c e p ­

t i o n t h u s r e s e m b l e s t h e p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e c h i l d r e n a n d

d u m b p e r s o n s .

A c c o r d i n g t o N y a y a - V a i s s s i k a a n d P r a b h a k a r a

M i m a m s a o r d i n a r y p e r c e p t i o n i s o f t w o K i n d s , n a m e l y

N i r v i k a l p a k a a n d S a v i k a l p a k a , b o t h o f w h i c h a r e e q u a l l y

v a l i d a n d g r o u n d e d i n r e a l i t y . T h e y h o l d t h a t N i r v i k a l ­

p a k a i s n o t m e r e l y a c o g n i t i o n o f t h e b a r e p a r t i c u l a r

( s v a l a k s a n a ) s i n c e i t m a n i f e s t s t h e u n i v e r s a l a s w e l l .

I f t h e u n i v e r s a l i s n o t c o g n i s e d a t t h e N i r v i k a l p a k a

7 8 . a k s a s a n n i p a t a n a n t e r a m a i v i v i i c t a s a m a h y a v i s e s a

v i b h a g a m s a m m u g d h a v a s t u m a t r a g o c a r a m a l o c e h a j n a n a m ,

y S I ) , P .^ fO •

7 9 . s a m m u g d h a m v a s t u m a t r a n t u p r a g g r h n a n i f c a v i k a l p i t a m

t e t s a m a n y a v i s e s a b h y a m k a l p a y a n t i m a n i s i n a h ,

T K D , p . 2 7 .

stage, our knowledge o f i t at a subsequent Savikalpaka

stage becomes inexplicable. According to haiyiyikas,
Nirvikalpaka is a real but not a perceived feet
(atin driya ). It is conscious but not a self-conscious

The Samkhya-Yoga text accept two kinds o f per­

ception: Normal (Laukika) and abnormal (Alaukika). The
former requires a particular process in sense-object
contact with the respective sense-orgah. Vacaspati
re fe rs to Yogic perception as abnormal (Alaukika) kind
o f perception. The Yogins can perceive the objects like
subtle elements (Tanmatras) which are not the object of
sense perception fo r ordinary people. 81 The Perception
o f Yogins unlike that of normal persons does not depend
upon the contact of th eir external organs with o b je cts.

Srikrsna Vallabhicarya states tnat in addition

to Yogic Perception Simkhya-Yoga accepts Jnriialaksana
type o f abnormal perception. I t is the perception o f an
ob ject which is not d irectly connected with the sense,

80. jannirvikalpakhyam tadatindriyamisyate, BP, p.58.

81. asmadadinamavisayasoa tanmatralnksana
yoginamurdhasrotasam ca visayah, STK under SK.5.

but through a previous knowledge o f th a t o b je c t . For

example, a ft e r p erceiv in g a p ie ce o f sandalwood one

comes t o have the knowledge o f i t s fra gra n ce. The past

experience o f fragrance in sandalwooa serves as con tact
between sense and the o o je c t . The te x ts o f Simkhya-Yoga
do not discu ss abnormal kind o f p e rce p tio n . Vacaspati
g iv e s the reason fo r such an absence. Simkhya-Yoga
system i s meant f o r understanding to common p e o p le . The

supernormal knowledge o f Yogin i s not u se fu l f o r common

p e o p le . The absence o f such a d iscu ssion does not mean
i t s n on -ex isten ce. Such a Yogic p ercep tion must be
adm itted.

The Samkhya accept Nirvikalpaka and Sevikalpaka

as two stages o f p e rce p tio n . They r e fe r t o Indeterminate
p e rce p tion as the immediate, pure and simple c o g n itio n of
an o b je c t . I t presents a vague idea o f the o b je c t .
Determinate p ercep tion , on the otherhand, i s the d e fin it e
c o g n itio n o f an o b je c t r e la te d to i t s p rop erties ana
q u a lifie d by i t s g en eric and s p e c ific c h a r a c t e r is t ic s . In
Samkhya works, /a c a s p a ti Misra i s the pioneer to
subdivide p ercep tion in t o two s u b -cla sse s, namely
( 1 ) hirvikalpaka (Indeterminate p erce p tio n ) and ( i i ) Savi-

kelpaka (Determinate p e rc e p tio n ). Vacaspati Misra fo llo w s

the fo o ts te p s o f Kumarila Bhatta, in th is r e s p e c t. He
quotes verses from the S lokavarttlk a o f Kiumarila Bhatta

to define Indeterminate and Determinate perception. * But
no such terms are found in the authoritative jSTamkhya
works. The word 'Alocana* has been used in the Samkhya-
karika. Vacaspati Misra interprets Alocanajnanam as
Determinate perception which does not discriminate the
two elements of an object namely the particular from the
universal. In the very definition of Drsta, the term
'Adhyavasaya* has been used. Adhyavasaya is defined by
Vacaspati Misra himself as the form of Determinate know­
ledge. Vacaspati Misra admits that Alocana is Indeter­
minate. bo far as we understand the sense of the defini­
tion of 'Pratyaksa' as given by the Samkhyakarika, it is
always Determinate. Vacaspati Misra in his classification
include Indeterminate perception in the class of
perception but does not justify its possibility. If we go
through the explanation of the author of fuktidlplka. we
find that he explains 'Alocana' as equivalent to the form
of the object as seized by the sense-organ.

The Determinate perception is due to the opera­

tion of Manas?as Vicespati Misra interprets. Manas

82. asti hyalocanam jnanam prathamam nirvikelpakakam /

balamukhadi vijnanasadrsam vastujatam / /
tatah perani punarvastudharmairjatyaai bhiryaya /
buddhya vasiyate sapi pratyaksatvena sammata it i / / ,
SV as quoted in STK, 27.

alleviates the doubt regarding the definiteness of the

object cognised. At th is stage genus and particular
q u a lities o f an object are decided. Ahamkara then deter­
mines relation of object with cogniser. Finally, Buddhi
decides whether to accept or to re je ct the o b ject. This is
the fin a l state called Adhyavasaya. At th is stage know­
ledge is turned into Determinates.®^ Here we can say
that the above process d iffe rs from that given by the
Naiyayikas regarding Determinate perception. According to
the Naiyayikas vague apprehension is turned into Determi­
nate at the stage of Manas while according to the £ahikhyas
Determinate knowledge takes place at che stage of Buddhi.
The author of the Samkhyasutra and Vijnanabhiksu are wise
enough not to discuss the problem o f the c la s s ifica tio n of
Pratyaksa. They do never utter a word lik e Nirvikalpaka
or Savikalpaka pratyaksa. Vijnanabhiksu c r it ic is e s
Vacaspati Misra very often on differen t topics but the
cla s s ifica tio n o f perception as given by Vacsspati Misra
escapes his notice and he kept silen t on this to p ic .

83. samkalpena rupena manolaksyate slocitamindriyena

vastu idam i t i sainmugdham idamevam naivam ’ i t i samyak
kalpayati, visesanavisesya^bhavena vivecayatlti yavat,
STK under SK, K. 27

The above discussion i s , according to Samkhya

system. In the system ox Yoga we come across a different
account o f process in perception. Vyasa states that
Citta goes to the external object through senses and gets
the form o f that o b je ct. According to Vijnanaohiksu
Citta goes to the external object along with the senses.
The statement 'through the senses* does not mean that Citta
alone travels to the objects cognised. The fa c t that the
defect o f eye lik e Jaundice a ffects perceptual knowledge
and the Citta is modified into the form of object along
with the sense organ. J Vijnanabhiksu further states that
th is Citta or Jriuddhi again r e fle c ts i t s modification into
the Purusa after getting the re fle ctio n o f Purusa e a rlie r.
There arises the apparent knowledge in Purusa through
th is r e fle c tio n .

Perception in th is way depends upon the contect

o f sense-organs with the object on the one hand and with
the internal organs on the other. When the object is
clea rly v is ib le or when one fe e ls fear or the lik e , the
contact o f external sense with the object and among
internal senses is simultaneous. For example, when one

84. cittasyendriye sahityeneivarthakarah parinamo

bhaveti, YV, 1.7.
85. ................nayanadigatapittadyanvpya vyetirabhyam,
YV, 1.7.
16 5

sees a lio n facing him, operation o f the aggregate of

internal organs ana the external sense is simultaneous.
There i s , however, difference o f opinion amongst trie
‘iamkhyas in th is respect, The Yuktldifrlka maintains
that the theory of simultaneous action is not the view
o f Simkhya. Iwarakrsna treats i t as a prima facia
view and re je cts i t fo r establishing his theory o f succ­
essive action o f senses.

on the basis of the nature o f objects perceived,

perception comes to be of two kinds; external and
in tern al, i'ne former depends upon the intercourse of
external senses with ob jects, while the la tte r requires
tne intercourse of organs with the objects which are also
situated internally and are beyond the reach of the
senses which are extrovert in nature. I t comprehends
the qualities of buddhi lik e pleasure, pain, desire,aver­
sion e tc . In tills there is no need o f postulating
Indeterminate perception because being found at the stage
o f senses i t does not have any scope there. The nature
o f intercourse between Buddhi and the object cognised is
laditmya in the case o f perception o f it s quality and
that of Tadatmyatadatmya in the perception of generic
feature o f the quality.

The Sanikhyas strongly advocate the intercourse

between sense and o b je ct. They also in sist that the
function of every sense organ , or in other words the
sense organ i t s e l f moves to the object cognised. The
Naiyayikas and the Mlmamsakas, however, fe e l that such a
case does not hold in case of perception of sound. The
view of the Sanikhyas d iffe r s from the Naiyayikas in two
resp ects. F irstly, unlike the sanikhyas, the Naiyayikas
hold that sound reaches auditory sense and not vice versa
One sound produces the other in the manner o f a wave
giving rise to another wave (,/icitaranganyaya). The last
one is produced in the ether enclosed by the cavity of
the ear. Secondly, according to the Kaiyayikas, the
auditory sense perceives sound through the relation of
inherence (samavaya) while the Sanikhyas think that the

auditory sense perceives sound through contact. The

Mlmamsakas lik e the Kaiyayikas and unlike the Sanikhyas
hold that the sound travels to the ear. Thus i t is obser
ved that while there is no difference between act and it s
agent in the theory of Semkhya, other schools of philoso­
phy ra ise objections pertain to th is very theory of the
Samkhya of non-difference between function and i t s agent.

Vijnanabhiksu and his follow er Bhsvaganes'a

discussed one problem of perception. Actually
Bhavaganesa repeats the view o f Vijninabhiksu in th is

regard. According to Vijnanabhiksu the sense organ goes

out but not get detached from the body. It prolongs
i t s e l f and the prolonged part remains united with the
sense organ. I t goes straight to the object and catches
the form o f the object with which i t becomes united. The
prolonged part i s celled V rtti. Since a distant object is
perceived small, question arises whether the sense organ
goes out through V r tti. The object remaining at a distant
place i s not re a lly small. The observer perceives i t
small. One simultaneously perceives the lightpost and
the Sun. The distance between the observer and the lig h t-
post is l i t t l e but the distance between the Sun and the
same observer is far greater. It is to be discussed
whether the same V rtti can be united with both o f them
at the same time. I f i t cannot do so, the two objects can­

not be perceived at the same time.Neither Vijnenabhiksu

nor Bhavaganes'a utter a single word to explain these
d if f ic u lt ie s . Again a ll tne sense organs excepting the
visual one do not go out in order to De united with their
o b je cts . Tnerefore, Vijnanabhiksu’ s discussion on this
to p ic is not at a ll tnorough.

Another problem o f perception has not been dis­

cussed either in the Samkhya works or in tne Yoga works.
The problem i s , in case of illu sory perception, is it
p a rtia lly or entirely illusory? The perceptual judgement

has three p a r t s — subject, copula and predicate. If the

predicate i s only illu so ry i t i s questionable whetner
th is wrong predicate invalidate the whole judgement, flut
none of the authors discussed t h is matter.

Internal Perception and I t 3 Objects; Internal Perception

i s due to the internal sense or manas. Jnence i t i s
celled manasa or sntara Pratyaksa. I t i s the knowledge
of mental fa c ts brought about by their contact with the
inner sense or manas. Thus manasa or intern al perception
i s , l i k e introspection, the source of our direct knowledge
about mental or subjective f a c t s , but while modern
in tro sp ectio n ists take introspection es minds’ knowledge,
the Naiyayikas tre a t internal perception as Knowledge of
certain subjective fa c ts other than, but due to the mind
as a sense. Generally speaking, the s e lf and i t s contents
are the objects of internal perception. These ere
perceived when they come in contact with manas or the mind.
In introspection the mind or se lf turns back on i t s e l f and
perceive© what i s going on there without requiring any
Among the oojects of Manasa-Pratyaksa car internal
perception, the nh as ap a r i c che da men L i o n s the feelin g s of
pleasure and pain, desire and aversion, cognition or
knowledge and a l l kinds of mental effort or
Q f.
v o litio n . AL1 of these are perceived when there

86. oanograhyam sukham duhkharaiccha dveso matih krtih ,

BP, p . 57.

i s contact between them end tne in tern al sense o f manas.

According to the Vedanta, pleasure, pain, d esire, aver­
sion and v o lit io n are perceived out th e ir perception
requ ires no sense-organ lik e Menas or the mind. They are
the d iffe r e n t parts or aspects o f the antahkarsna. As
such, there is a natural id e n tific a tio n between these and
the Antahkarana or the mind. This id e n tific a tio n means a
perception o f a l l that is id e n tifie d with the Antahkarana
I t can be said that mental states are perceived fa c ts
because they are mental and so do not require sny sense to
p erceive them. '

As to the question how cognition or knowledge is

known there is a sharp d ifferen ce o f opinion among the
philosophers. According to Samkhya, the Prabhpkara
Mimimsa and the Advaita vedanta, knowledge is known by
its e lf. Cognition or knowledge is a conscious fa c t and
i t i s the very nature of consciousness to be aware o f
its e lf. The point has been elaborated by the Prabha<caras
in the theory o f trip u tis a m v it. According to i t every
knowledge manifests i t s e l f at the same time that i t
manifests an object and the knowing subject. I t is at once
a m anifestation o f three things, namely, knowledge, the

87. VP, Ch.I


o b je c t and the knower. The Jainas also take a sim ilar

view with regard to th e nature o f knowledge. The Advaita

Vedanta takes knowledge or in t e llig e n c e to be the

essence o f the s e l f , th e very s t u ff o f i t . As such know­
ledge i s se lf-m a n ife st and s e l f sh in in g. I t does n ot
re q u ire anything e ls e to manifest o r know it. According
t o the Bhatta Mimamsa, knowledge cannot be d ir e c t ly known.
We can never know any knowledge immediately by i t s e l f or

by any in tro s p e c tio n c e lle d in tern a l p erce p tio n .

Re co g n itio n (P ratyebh ijn a) : Recognition i s also another

kind o f p ercep tion . Recognition may b e understood in two
sen ses. In the wider sense, r e co g n itio n means understand­
ing the nature or character o f a th in g . In th is s e is e ,
to recog n ise a thing i s to know i t as such. In the narrow

wer sense, however, re co g n itio n means knowing a th in g as

th at which was known b e fo r e . Pratyabhijna i s r e co g n itio n
in t h i s sense. I t c o n s is ts in knowing not only th a t a
th in g i s such and such but that i t i s the same thing that
we saw b e fo r e . For example , ’ This i s that D evadatta'.
According to Naiyayikes re co g n itio n i s a kind o f q u a lifie d
p e rce p tio n , in which th e present o b je c t i s q u a lifie d by a
d is t in c t r e c o lle c t io n o f i t s past ex p erien ce. The Mimam-

sakas and the Advaita Vedantins also hold that r e c o g n itio n

is a kind o f p e rc e p tio n . The Mimamsakas, however, do not

distinguish i t from an ordinary Savikalpaka perception.

According to them, recognition i s that kind o f percep­
tion in which the object is determined by the name by
which i t i s ca lled , e .g ., ’ this is Devadatta’ . 88 For
the Advaitin, Pratyabhijna is a perception of the
Nirvikalpaka kind, since there is in i t no prediction of
anything about the perceived object,but an assertion of
i t s identity amidst changing conditions.

According to Samkhya and Yoga systems Praty abhi-

jna or recognition i s a kind of perception. I t is
possible because Buddhi is eternal, and quite differen t
from the momentary cognitions of individuals. The
eternal Buddhi undergoes modifications,by virtue of which
i t becomes connected with the differen t cognitions
involved in recognition. This would not be possible of
the s e lf which is unmodifiable.

According to the Samkhya, a cognition is not

perceived by another cognition but is perceived by the
s e lf. For cognition is regarded as a function o f Buddhi,
which is unconscious and so i t cannot be it s own o b ject,
but can only be apprehended by the s e l f . 7

88. SD, p A 2 .
89. V.P. Ch.I.
90. Y.B., IV.9.

Non-Sensuous Perception In Philosophy;

The concept o f non-sensuous perception is found

in most of the systems of Indian philosophy.All Indian
systems except the Carvakss and the Mlmamsakas believe
in Yogic perception. The non-sensuous perception is
called Atindriyapratyaksa. It is intutive experience
which arises in the s e l f . In the f i r s t place such percep­
tion is not caused in the ordinary way. The sense-organs
do not play e role in i t s production. Secondly, there
is no lim itation o f space, time and place fo r it.One who
has the power to acquire the non-sensuous perception, can
know the objects of the past, present, future, fa r and
near. Again the systems, which believe in A.tindriyaprat-
yaksa accept that i t arises in the s e lf d irectly when the
ignorance i s destroyed by the regular practice o f mental
and bodily d iscip lin e. The se lf shines oy the lig h t of
great knowledge in the state o f p u rifica tion or perfection
and some supernormal powers or the Siddhi or Labdhi arise
in the s e lf. These are not forms o f miracle , but the
power o f the s e lf I t s e lf which arises by the destruction
o f ignorance. The aim o f the Yogi i s not to acquire the
supernormal power. He practices fo r his pu rifica tion in
an e ffo rt to get freedom from the bondage o f the world.

The Way a Theory o f Alaukika Pratyaksa:

The modern Naiyiyikas cla s s ifie d perception into
two types, Laukika or ordinary perception and Alaukika or

extra-ordinary perception. The f ir s t type of perception

i s based on the sense-object contact. In the second
type o f perception, the objects are not actually present
to the senses, but are experienced through an extra­
ordinary medium. All the various kinds o f extra-ordinary
sense-object contacts are called Alaukika-sannikarsa.
Extra ordinary perception i s o f three kinds, namely,
Samanyalaksana, Jnanalaksana and Yogaja.The perception of
the generic character is called Samanyalaksana perception,
sense-object contact not only gives us the knowledge of
the o b je ct, but we become immediately aware of the class

essence (Samanya) existing in the o b je ct. On looking at

a particular animal we can perceive i t as a cow,because
we d irectly perceive 'the cowness' in that cow. 'Cowness'
i s the generic character (Samanya) o f cow.

The second type of extra-ordinary perception is

called Jnanalaksana. I t is the perception of an object
which i s in contact with sense through a previous know-
ledge o f i t s e l f . 91 when on seeing something one says :
'I see a piece o f fragrant sandal wood', he has an imme­
diate knowledge or perception o f i t s fragrance. This
cannot be explained without the help o f Jnanalaksana. It

91. visayi yasys tasyaiva vyaparo jnanalaksanah, BP, 65.


i s extra-ordin ary p ercep tion , because in it the q u a lity

o f th e o b je c t i s p erceiv ed by the sense organs which i s
n ot competent to g iv e us that knowledge. Here our past
experience o f fragrance in the sandalwood does the work
o f con tact between sense and o b je c t . Our past knowledge
o f fragrance brin gs about the present p erception o f it,
although i t i s not a ctu a lly smelt by u s.

The th ird kind o f extra -ord in a ry p ercep tion is

c a lle d Yogaja. I t i s th e in t u itiv e p ercep tion o f a l l

o b j e c t s — p a st, d ista n t and future due to some super­

normal powers generated in the mind by devout m editation
(Yoga~bhyasajanitodharma v is e s a h ;. The r e a lit y o f Yogaja
p e rce p tion i s gen era lly accepted in Indian philosophy on
th e au th ority o f th e s c r i p t u r e s .^ Yukta and Yunjana are
the two kinds o f Yogaja p e rce p tio n . In the case o f Yukta
who have attained s p ir itu a l p e r fe c tio n ^ in tu itiv e knowledge
o f a l l the o b je c ts i s constant and spontaneous .The second
i . e . , Yunjana i s the in t u itio n o f a lo g in who i s p r a c t i­
sing loga to a tta in union with God but has not yet attain ed.
Those who are on the way to p e r f e c t i o n ,i t req u ires th e
help o f concentration as an a u x ilia ry co n d itio n . From
following chart one can have the perception of Kyaya p h llo sophy;

92. B.P. 65-66.

93. B.P. 65-66.
P erception

O rdinary(Laukika) E xtra-ordinary (A laukika)

Mental Samany8- Jnana- Yogaja
(BShya) (Manasa ) laksana leksana

Indeterm inate D eterm inate R ecognition

(N irvikalpaka) ( Sevikalpaka) (Pratyabhigna)

The Advalta Theory o f hon-Sensuous Pe r c e p tio n ;

According to SatfiRara, Brahman i s present in every

man and i s th e universal s e l f in a l l . Brahman i s r e a lit y

but d iffe r e n t from the phenomenal world and not s e n s ib le .
Brahman i s o f th e nature o f con sciou sn ess. Knowledge is
i t s e sse n tia l p rop erty. I t i s Sat ( r e a l ) , C it (con sciou s­
ness) and Ananda ( b l i s s ) . One c?nnot a tta in th e knowledge
o f r e a lit y or the fireman, so long as one i s su bject to
A v id y i o r ignorance. V id yi g iv e s th e h igh est conceptual
knowledge o f Brahman. There i s no d iffe r e n c e between Brah­
man and Atman. Atman i s Brahman. The Anubheva o f Atman
or the in te g r a l experience i s a type o f in tu itio n a l cons­
ciousness which may be c a lle d the knowledge o f Brahman, in
which the in d iv id u a l s e l f f e e l s the id e n tity with 7itman
o r Brahman. I t i s th e in ex p ressib le experience beyond
thought and speech. I t i s SaksatJcara or d ir e c t p ercep tion
o f the awareness o f the em p irical s e l f ana th e Atman. One
can get t h is in t u it io n o f Atman by f a i t h , d ev otion , medi­
ta tio n , study and by a preparation o f mind.

The V aisesika View:

The V aisesika to o b e lie v e s in the ca p a city o f

Yogins t o p erceive th in gs which i s beyond the reach of
ordinary p e o p le . Prasastapida says that Y ogins, during

the state o f ecstasy, perceive through th eir minds alone

which acquire extra-ordinary excellence resulting from
the practice of Yoga. He further holds that in the post
ecstatic state, not only the mind but even the external
senses acquire excellence and Yogins can perceive subtle
and remote objects with th eir help.

The Buddhist View of Yogi-Pratyaksa

Dharmaklrti defines Yogi Pratyaksa as the know­

ledge which is manifested in the highest state of deep
meditation on transcendental re a lity . 94 Dharmattora says
that the Yogi Pratyaksa is clear and Nirvikalpaka
knowledge. 95

The Jalna View; According to the Jaina view souls in

th eir natural condition are omniscient. I t is due to the
accumulation of Karmic matter during transmigrstory state
that they lose omniscience and consequently they^ only so
much as is permitted by the sense-organs. But when
through the practice of right conduct the v e il o f Karmic
matter i s destroyed they regain omniscience. Knowledge in
th eir state depends purely on the soul and i t i s called
transcendental perception (paramathic pratyaksa).

94. bhutirthabhavanaprakarsaparyantgjam yogijnanam c e t i ,

NB, p.14.
95. sphutabhatvadeva ca nirvikalpakara, Ibid, p. 15.

Transcendental perception does not depend on sense-organs

or any condition. The omniscience o f a soul lib era ted
from the bondage o f Karma i s called transcendental per­
ception. Transcendental perception is e ith e r incomplete
(Vikalpa) or complete (Sakalfca). Incomplete transcendental
perception i s o f two kinds — Avadhi and Manahpary ?ya.
(1 ) Due to che p a r tia l removal o f the Karma matter that
obstructs knowledge, the s e lf perceives remote sensible
o b jects. This perception is independent o f the sense-
organs or mind. But as th is perception is lim ite d , i t is
c a lled AvadhiJnana or lim ited knowledge. ( 2 ) When a man
g e ts r id o f Jealousy, hatred and otner lik e passions, he

attain s th e power o f entering the minds o f otners and

knowing th e ir thoughts d ire c tly witnout the help o f any
sense-organ or mind. This i s callea Manahparyaya. When
a l l the Karma matters obstructing knowledge are removed
once fo r a l l , the s e lf attain s i t s natural power o f omnis­

cience. This is called Kevalajnana, and t h is i s known as

2 akalj>ap ar amart hi ka Pratyaksa or complete transcendental

p ercep tion *

The Samkhya View; Yogic perception is admitted by the

Sanikhya, which holds that a l l things e x is t involved or
evolved at a l l tim es. The mind of the Yogin can come in to
contact with the past and the future ob jects wnich e x is t
at present in a laten t condition by virtu e o f certain powers

produced by m editation. Yogic p ercep tion produced by th e
powers o f mind i s u nlike sense p ercep tion .

The supernormal Powers in Yoga System:

Through the p r a c tic e o f Yoga, the Sadhaka acquires

some supernormal powers in p a r ticu la r sta te o f the Yeugika-
sadhana. These are c a lle d Siddhi or the supernormal powers,
and a knowledge o f supernormal o b je c t s . Through i t th e Yogi
o r the Sadhaka knows the inmost core o f o b je c t s and reaches
the great lig h t o f wisdom (P ra jn a lok a ). He acquires
heightened powers o f the senses by which he can see and
hear at a d ista n ce, have d ir e c t knowledge o f the p a st, and

can acquire knowledge o f o th e r s ' mind (paracittajnanam ). He

can a lso know p a st, present and fu tu re by the supernormal
power. The Yogi can make h is body in v is ib le also and by the
r e a lis a tio n o f the d iffe r e n c e between the s e l f and the outer
world he gains om niscience. A Yogi can acquire a l l those
supernormal powers by the d is c ip lin e o f body and mind. The
aim o f a Yogi i s not t o acquire them but he t r ie s to make
p e r fe c t h is s e l f and to g e t freedom. According to the Yoga
system o f philosophy, these supernormal powers are not
considered as m iracles, because they hold that the world
open to o n e 's senses i s not the whole world o f nature.O ne's

96. SPB, i.9 1


p h ysical senses do not have the power or cap acity to

p erceiv e the whole w orld. The world beyond on e's
c a p a c itie s has i t s own scien ce and laws, which are
apprehended by the supernormal power o f the Y ogi. A
Yogi acquires t h is capacity by d is c ip lin e and medita­
t io n .

The Mimanisakas does n ot recogn ise the Yogic

p e rce p tio n . In the Yogic p ercep tion , the Yogins have
some ex tra -ord in a ry Yogic power through which they can

p erceiv e th at are past ana fu tu re, im p ercep tible and

d is t in c t . This in tu itio n i s eith er sensuous or non­
sen suous. I f the form er, then, since the senses cannot
come in to con tact with p a st, future and d is t in c t
o b je c t s , th ere can be no cogn ition o f them. Even the
in te rn a l sense o f manes can produce only cog n ition s o f
th e mental sta tes o f pleasure and pain. I t i s meaning­
l e s s to argue that the senses can comprehend o b je c ts
without coming in to contact w ith them when they a tta in
a high degree o f development, because no amount o f
development can change the nature o f the sense-organs.
I f th e Yogic in t u itio n apprehends th ings perceived in
th e p a st, then i t i s a case o f memory. I f i t apprehends
o b je c t s th at have not been p reviou sly apprehended, then
i t s v a lid it y i s d ou b tfu l. A knowleage o f p a s t ,d is t in c t
and fu tu re o b je c t s can be g o t only through the Vedas and
nothing e ls e .

Theory o f P e r c e p tu a l E r r o r : The sy stem s o f In d ia n p h ilo ­

sophy have d iv e r g e n t view s on th e i s s u e o f p r o c e s s and
c a u s e s o f erro n eo u s knowledge in p e r c e p tio n . T h eir th e o ­
r i e s are p o p u la r ly s t a t e d to be Atm akhyati h e ld by Y oga-
c a r a sc h o o l o f Buddhism, A sa tk h y a ti h e ld by Madhyamika
sc h o o l o f Buddhism , A khyati h e ld by p ra b h a k a ra sch o o l o f
Purvamimam'sa, A n yathakhyati h e ld by th e N a iy iy ik a s , th e
V a i s e s i k a s , the B h a tta Mimamsekas, Yoga and th e J a in a
sy ste m s and A n irv a c a n iy a k h y a ti h eld by the Samkare sch o o l
o f Uttaram lm arose. A ccordin g to th e f i r s t , Atman o r

Buddhi (know ledge) i t s e l f a p p e a r s e rro n e o u sly in th e form

o f o b je c t . The second e x p la i n s t h a t th e o b je c t e rro n e o u sly
p e r c e iv e d i s a c t u a lly n o n - e x is te n t ( A s a t ) . The u p h o ld ers
o f th e t n i r d m ain tain t n a t in f a c t th e re i s no e rro n eo u s
knowledge a t a l l . In th e c a s e s l i k e ’ t n i s i s s ilv e r 'w h e r e
s h e l l e r r o n e o u s ly a p p e a rs t o be s i l v e r , what d i r e c t l y
p e r c e iv e d i s ' t h i s * , the s i l v e r i s only remembered and in
f a c t due to i t s c o n fu sio n w ith memory i t lo o k s to be s i l v e r .
A ccordin g t o th e fo u r th some o b je c t i s e rro n e o u sly

p e r c e iv e d in th e form o f some o th e r o o je c t . For exam ple,

due t o s i m i l a r i t y o f s h e l l w ith s i l v e r , s i l v e r s i t u a t e d
a t some o th e r p la c e i s remembered and i s im posed can th e
s h e l l and th u s th e s h e l l i s e rro n e o u sly p e rc e iv e d to be
silv e r . F i f t h l y th e fo llo w e r s o f A d v aita V edanta th in k
t h a t th e o o je c t e rro n e o u sly p e rc e iv e d i s u n d e fin a b le .

Knowledge in Samkhya-Yoga b r ie fly means taking

th e form o f an o b je c t by Buddhi. In the case o f percep­
tio n such a m od ifica tion o f Buddhi i s brought about by
se n se -o b je ct co n ta c t.

Thus when the form o f o b je c t in Buddhi corres­

ponds to the o b je c t known, the knowledge i s r ig h t ; when

i t i s d iffe r e n t the knowledge i s wrong. Perceptual

e rro r i s , thus, non-correspondence o f th e form o f Buddhi
to the o b je c t when that knowledge in v olv es sen se-ob ject
c o n ta ct. The Samkhya theory o f perceptual e rro r did not
assume con crete form in the ea rly te x ts o f the sinuchyas.
I t i s f o r the f i r s t time found mentioned in the Samkhya
— 98 - z
-s u t r a s . The Samkhyakarika o f Isvarakrsna whicn i s
th e e a r lie s t Samkhya wortc a v a ila b le , does n ot e x p lic it ly
deal with the problem but im p lies seme theory o f percep­
tu a l error w hile dealing with e r r o r . One can consider
th e theory o f error in two a sp ects, why does i t occur

and how does i t occu r. As to the f i r s t i t i s lack o f

knowledge which gives r is e to complete non-perception or
p a r tia l p e rce p tio n . The reasons fo r lack o f knowledge

97. upattvavispyanamindriyanam'vrttau sattani buddhestho-

raoabhibve s a ti ya sattvasamudrekah sa adhyavasaya i t i ,
v r t t ir it i,jn a n e m it i cakhyayate, STK,under LK.5.
98. naikasyanandacidrupattve dyoyorbhedat, SS, 5 .6 6 .
are great distance, extreme proximity, defects o f
organs, non-steadiness o f mind, minuteness,interposition,
predominance and intermixture. The consequence of
partial knowledge is that Buddhi f a i l s to distinguish
between real and unreal. As a result,Purusa appears to
be active and Buddhi appears to be sentient. The Samkhya-
karika does not d irectly deal with the second aspect of
the problem and does not e x p lic itly mention the process
o f erroneous perception but a Karika in i t implies that
the object observed i s mistaken to be o f differen t nature
due to th eir resemblance through the memories of past
experience. When Purusa which is sentient and inactive
and Buddhi which i s insentient and active come in mutual
contact, the former looks the active and the la tte r lik e
— — XO 0
sentient. Here the Karika, deals with the erroneous
id en tifica tio n o f Purusa with Buddhi.

The Yoga system unlike Samkhya pna lik e Byayevai-

sesik a , does not accept the p a r tia l or incomplete

Knowledge as leading to erroneous perception .lt b eliev e s

99. atidurat samipyadindriyaghatanmano anavasthanat

sauksmad vyavodhanadabhibhavgt samanabhihara,
10J. tasmat tat semyogadacetanam cetanavadiba lirigam /
gunakartitve api tatha karteba bhavatyudaslneh,
Sk, K. 20.

in Anyathakhyati in which error is not due to lack of

knowledge but due to positive superimposition of some­
thing else on an ob ject, Vijnanabhiksu draws th is con­
clusion from the description of Avidya in the Yogasutra.
In Yoga, Avidya i s not lack of knowledge, but a positive
misconception leading to perverted knowledge. But there
i s a difference between Yoga and Vaisesika system$. In
the cases like erroneous perception of shell as silv e r,
the Vaisesikas think that the external real silver is
attributed on the shell while Yoga holds that i t is the
conception or idea of silv e r inside the body which is
attributed on the ob ject, Vijnanabhiksu supports th is
view on the following ground j fir s t ly , the theory of
Vaisesika philosopny on th is aspect is not clear because
the knowledge of the object of sh ell, which is placed
near is not taken into account in case of erroneous
perception while the silv e r is placed fa r away. Secondly
when some object is perceived in dream and is realised
to be non-existent after waking up from that stage, we
cannot say that i t was the real object placed somewhere
which appeared erroneously in dream. In the opinion of
Vijnanabhiksu,Yog a system is not interested in discussing
the cases of worldly perceptual e rro r. Since the worldly
examples do not help to attain liberation which is the
sole aim of Yoga philosophy those are not discussed in
th is system in d e ta ils.

In conclusion, i t can be said that the problem

o f perception in Semtchya and the Yoga works has not
been discussed in i t s f u l l length. The reason for in ­
complete discussion i s that the philosophers o f both
the Samkhya and Yoga schools are interested in s e lf-
re a liz a tio n . Logic plays a subordinate role in their
metaphysical and ethical science.