Jainworld
Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jivaraja Jaina Granthmala, No. 20

General Editorial
Preface to The First Edition
Preface to The Second Edition
Synoptic Philosophy
  Approach to Reality
  The Jaina Theory of the Soul
  Critique of Knowledge
  The Doctrine of Karma in Jaina Philosophy
  The Pathway to Perfection
  In this Our Life
  Men and Gods

CRITIQUE OF KNOWLEDGE

 

 

According to Prabhakara, self is necessarily known in every act of cognition. Cognition is self-luminous. It not only manifests itself, but also supports the atmana much as the flame and the wick Neither the self nor the object is selfluminous. There can be conciseness of an object without the conciseness of the self.  In every act of cognition there is a direct and immediate apprehension of the self. But the self can never be known as object of knowledge. It is only to be known as a subject. It is revealed by triputa samvit.

 

The Jaina holds with Prabhakara that cognition is always apprehended by the self. Cognition reveals itself, the self and its object. Every act of cognition cognizes itself, the cognizing subject and the cognized object. But the Jaina denies that consciousness alone is self-luminous. He regards self as non-luminous. Self is the subject of internal peception.  When I feel that I am happy I have a distinct and immediate apprehension of the self as an object of internal

perception, just as pleasure can be perceived though it is without form.. "Oh Gautama, said Mahavira, "The self is pratyaksa even to you. The soul is cogninable even to you". [48] Again, unlike the view of Prabhakara, the Jainas hold that it is the object of perception, and it is manifested by external and internal perception. To the question 'how can the subject be an object of perception ?', the Jaina replies that whatever is experienced is an object of perception.

 

William James made a distinction between the empirical self, the me, and the transcendental self the I. The self is partly the known and partly the knower, partly object and partly subject.  The empirical ego is the self as known, the pure ego is the knower. "It is that which at any moment is conscious" Whereas the me is only one of the things which it is conscious of. But this thinker is not a passing state It is something deeper and less mutable.[49] Prof.  Ward holds that the pure self is always immanent inexperience, in the sense that experience without the experient will be unintelligible.  It is also transcendental, in the sense that it can never be the object of our experience.[50] The Jainas were aware that consciousness of self is not possible by ordinary cognition. Therefore, they said, it is due to internal perception.

 

Self-consciousness does not belong to the realm of pure con-sciousness which is foundational and without limitation.  That is the cetana which is the essential quality of the soul. But when we descend to the practical levels the realm of vyavahara, we find the distinction between subject and object in consciousness. The question whether the self is perceived by direct experience like the internal perception of the Jainas, or by the immediate intuition, (pratibha jnana) of the Vedantins, is raised as a consequence of this distinction. In all this, the question is answered from the empirical point of view. On this basis. we may say that there are two aspects of consciousness: a) pure and transcendental consciousness, and b) ernpirical consciousness. Atman is pure consciousness. Jiva is consciousness limited by the organism.  Atman is the subject of consciousness. It is also the object of internal perceptions but only in the sense that it is immanent in consciousness though not clearly cognized as object. Jiva is both the subject and the object of consciousness, because it is the cognizer as well as the cognized.

 

IV. The Atama theory of knowledge is very old and probably originated in the pre-Mahav1ra period.[51] The Jnana pravada formed a pair of the Parvasruta which formed a part of the ancient literature. Jinabhadra, in his Visesavasyakabhasya, quotes a Purva Gatha on jndna.[52] There seems to have been no difference of opinion between the followers of Parsva and Mahavira regarding the division of knowledge. Both of them accept the five-fold distinction of knowledge. The Agan as have also presented the five divisions of knowledge.

 

Knowledge is inherent in the soul, but owing to perversity of -attitude arising out of the veil of Karman, we may get wrong knowledge, ajnana. Knowledge is perfect when the veil of Karmans totally removed. It is imperfect even when there is partial subsidence or destruction of Karman. The soul can get perfect knowledge directly when the veil of Karma is removed.  That is Pratyaksa jnana. But eirlpirical knowledge, experience of this world. is possible with the help of the sense organs indirectly.  Such knowledge was called paroksa jnana.  Matijnana (sense experience), and Srutajnana (knowledge due to verbal communication), are paroka jnana; while Avadhi (extra sensory perception) Manahpai-yaya (telepathy), and Kevalajnana (omniscience), here called pratyaksa.[53] But later, in

order to bring the Jaina theory of knowledge in line with the theories of other systems o� Indian thought, they modified their Conception of Pratyakasa and Parolisa Jnana.  In the Anuyogadvara Sutra, we find a change in terminology. Mati and Sruta began to be called pratyaksa as they were possible through the operation of the sense organs. Jinabhadra calls the two sarnvyavahara pratyaksa.[54] Alongside of Jaina, we have direct intuition of the object. It is Darcana. Darsana has similar subdivisions.  The general classification of knowledge and intuition mentioning their perversities, is shown in Table I on next page. The subsidence and destruction of the veil of Karman is a necessary condition of knowledge and intuition. Wrong knowledge is characterized as samsaya (doubt), viparyaya (perversity), and anadhya.  vasaya (wrong knowledge caused by carelessness and indifference).  Owing to the lack of discrimination between the real and the unreal, the soul with wrong knowledge, like the lunatic, knows things according to its own urhirns.  Perversity of attitude veils the faculty of perception and knowledge, and knowledge becomes vitiated. It becomes ajnana.[55]

                                               

Pratayaksa : We may now consider sense perception or pratyaksa jnana, as the Nandisutra 4-5 calls it. It is knowledge obtained through the operation of the sense organs and the manas. Hemacandra describes in the Pramanamimamsa that pratyaksa is that which is immediate, clear and unambiguous. He analyses the various definitions of pratyaksa of other schools and shows that they are not adequate. The Naiyayika definition of perception as unerring cognition which is produced by the sense object contact and the like, he asks, which is not of the nature of cognition, function as efficient instrument for the determination of the object? The Buddhists have given a definition of perceptual cognition as that which is free from conceptual construction and is not erroneous. But Hemacandra says that this definition is irrational since it has no bearing on practical activity. It has no pragmatic value. Jaimini defines perception as that which is engendered

 

 TABLE (1A)

 

 
 
 

TABLE 1B

 

       

in the mind of a person upon the actual contact of the sense organ with the object. This definition is also too wide, since it overlaps such cognition, as doubt; and illusions also occur as a result of sense contact. The older exponents of the Samkhya school define perceptual cognition to be modification of the sense organs such as the organ of hearing. But sense organs are devoid of consciousness, therefore, their modifications cannot be conscious. 

If, on the other hand, it is assumed to derive its conscient character from its association with a conscious principle like the self, then the status of the organ of knowledge should be accorded to the self. Therefore, Hemacandra said perceptual cognition is immediate and lucid.[56] In Platos, dialogue, Theaetetus, Socrates said that, `if knowledge and perception are the same, it leads to an impossibilty, because a man who has come to know a thing and still remembers it does not know it, since he does not see it and that would be a monstrous conclusion.[57] In the Nandisutra a distinction is made between indriya-pratyaksa and anindriya-pratyaksa. Indriya-pratyaksa is cognition which is immediate and direct and arises out of the operation of he five sense organs. There are, therefore, five types of sense perveption-the visual, aditory, tactual, olfactory and gustatory. The experience that does not need the sense organs and is immediate may be called extra-sensory perception. It is also pratyaksa, because it is immediate and direct. It is of three types avadhi, manah-parydya and kevala-pratyaksa. The old Jaina thinkers thought that knowledge born with the help of the five senses as well as the manas may be called matijiana. But in indriya-pratyaksa they included knowledge born of the five sense organs, as the mind is not for them exactly a sense organ. It is a quasi-sense organ.  Umasvati defines matijnana as knowledge caused by the senses and mind, since mind is a quasi-sense, no-indriya.[58] The commentator Siddhasenaganin mentions three types of mati: (i) knowledge born of the sense organs, (ii) knowledge born of the mind, and (iii) knowledge due to the joint activity of the sense organs and mind.[59] However, from the Bhasya of the Tattvarthasutra the find that Matijnana can be distinguished into different types, as (i) knowledge due to sense organs, little sense perception; (ii) knowledge due to the mind only.  like cinta; (iii) knowledge due to the joint activity of the mind and the senses. Memory and recognition can be included in Matijnana. Sense perception (indriya-pratyaksa), as a species of Matijnana is of five types based on the nature and function of the five sense organs.[60] The five senses possess he capacity of sense experience because the Cognition of the stimulation must be conditioned by the relevant instruments. The Jaina analysis of sense perception has a great psychological significance, although perception was a logical and metaphysical problem for the Jainas as for other Indian philosophers. In fact, even in the West, philosophers were first busy with the logical and the metaphysical analysis of the problem of perception, but with the advancement of psychology as a science may have realized that perception is more a problem for psychology.  Bertrand Russell says that, 'the problem of perception has troubled philosophers from a very early date.  My own belief is that the problem is scientific, not philosophical, or, rather, no longer philosophical. [61]