Yoga Sutra 1.25 the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent

Sūtra I.25

In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent

All certain knowledge, of past or future or present or a combination of them, or from extra-sensory perception, whether that knowledge be small or great, is the seed of omniscience. He in whom it becomes transcendent is omniscient. The seed of omniscience attains the ultimate, because it is something which has degrees, like any measurable. He in whom knowledge attains the ultimate, is omniscient. And he is a special Puruṣa.

A proof is added in demonstration of the Lord who has been described: In whom the seed of omniscience becomes transcendent. In whom in that Lord as described, it is proper that it should become transcendent. What should become transcendent? All certain knowledge whether from perception or from inference, with its field the past, with its field the future, or with its field the present, or with its field a combination of them, or with its field what is beyond the senses. As the past and future are part of what is beyond the senses, those perceptions are all called extra-sensory. This extra-sensory perception is three-fold: with its field the subtle, with its field what is concealed, and with its field what is distant. The well-known limited knowledge, whether small or great, can increase by the very fact that it has degrees, so it is the seed of omniscience, as the knowledge of smoke (is the seed) of the knowledge of fire.

He verily is omniscient in whom the supreme limit is reached. It is said in whom because knowledge abides in a knower, so a knower is implied, and it is in that knower.

So with power too. It has degrees and so increases, and the one in whom it attains the limit is omnipotent. By this it is established that there is a creator, controlling the maintenance and withdrawal of the world also. He in whom the increase of power reaches the ultimate is the supreme Lord. And the perfection is the absence of the defect (doṣa) of illusions (viparyaya) like powerlessness.

(Opponent) If so, then in that Lord there will be perfection of ignorance (a-jñāna) too, increasing till perfect in its own nature by reaching the limit.

(Answer) Not so, because ignorance is opposed to knowledge, and these two opposites cannot coexist in a single being. For where knowledge is preeminent, ignorance is impossible. Where light increases, darkness can only be lessened.

(Opponent) The reverse should hold too.

(Answer) Not so, because when there is light, we do not see darkness. When darkness is there, it is removed by a light, but when there is a light it is never overcome by darkness.

Even in the rainy season when the sun does not appear because it is covered by clouds, that is merely a screening of the vision; the light itself is not overcome, as darkness is (by light).

Therefore ignorance cannot exist where there is increase of knowledge, any more than darkness can exist in the sun; for the material cause (upādāna) of knowledge is sattva, which always and altogether overcomes the other guṇa-s, rajas and tamas.

Further, there cannot be an increase in ignorance as such, because its object is not a real thing; whereas there can be growth of knowledge, whose object is knowable (real) things. If ignorance had a real thing as its object, it would be knowledge.

(Opponent) One might say that ignorance attains its perfection in inanimate things.

(Answer) But that cannot be called perfection, but a complete absence of knowledge (and that is all). If there were a perfection of ignorance, then a thousand repetitions of ignorance would not be dispelled by a single knowledge (as they are). It ought to require knowledge arising the corresponding number of times to dispel the ignorance. Therefore by its very nature, ignorance can have no ‘perfection’.

Anything that has degrees increases till the ultimate is attained; the limited measure of things like fruits ends up in the vastness of space. And so the seed of omniscience can reach a highest limit. It is a direct perception by one entity of the whole and the parts of the total aggregate of things, which are all knowables like jars.

It is because things are knowables that men seek for them, as they look for jars for instance. Again, the earth is something produced, for it has parts like a jar.

So the world has been constructed by One who knows the separate classes of living beings, of their karma and its means and its results, and he provided the world as an appropriate place for these to be experienced, as one might build a palace for people to live in. The earth is created by One who has the knowledge of what is to be experienced by the many living beings, like rice and barley (cultivated by a farmer for others to eat).

These two examples show that the abode of all the living beings, the earth with its mountains and rivers, has been created by a single conscious master craftsman, adapted so that those who live in it can have the appropriate experiences.

The sun is created by one Knower who has power to control the light in which the many beings share, for its essence is light, like a lamp. The sun’s course, rising and setting at fixed times, is ordered by One who knows its purpose, for it goes according to fixed times as if pulled along. The course of sun, planets, moon and stars is controlled by one intelligent Lord; for to keep to fixed times is inherently difficult, as it is for a punctilious student or servant.

The waxing and waning of the moon is controlled by a single Knower of the times of the lunar month, etc., for there is accurate discrimination of the divisions of time, as with a clock. The moon has been created by one who knows those discriminations of time, because its waxing and waning are controlled to the minute.

The world has a single Lord who is intelligent; just as when there are many groups of living beings each with its appointed leader and with conflicting interests, the whole tribe has a single sovereign.

There must be a supervision by some one entity of the whole complex of occupations with their means and ends, as in the example of war, for instance, where mutually opposing or co-operating interests must subserve a single purpose. There must be a supervision because it is complex, as in the operations of a potter. This is our position.

Everything is simultaneously overseen by One, because there are mutual relations between many things, and relations too are well known to be of more than one kind.

When a means like the fire rite (agnihotra) is to be undertaken, it is overseen by someone, because it is essentially a means to effect a purpose, like the satisfaction of hunger from eating.

All powers are overseen by some one, because of the fact that they are things, like jars. When there is no intervening obstacle, everything material is perceived by someone, since there is a relationship with that thing’s attributes of sound and so on; as the sound is clearly heard when a man is munching a large cake, even apparently very far off.

Inherently everything is known directly by somebody by the very fact that it is a knowable, as in the case of a drama. In the absence of obstacles, everything is known by someone, inasmuch as everything is related to everything else, as the actors are bound together in the plot of the drama.

The omniscient (Lord) is free from saṃsāra because he has no Ignorance – in that like a released self; he is apart from taints, etc. because his knowledge is unobstructed – in that like a perfect yogin.

By the fact of that freedom from Ignorance and obstruction by taints, etc., it is certain that he has perfect knowledge of every object without the mediation of senses like the eye; the all-pervading mind of the supreme Lord is in simultaneous contact with every object, and so can perceive everything. For there can be no reason for his not perceiving the totality of things.

Nor can there be any obstruction by solid forms any more than by space, for his mind is in contact with all things. There being infinity of objects, there is infinity of their appearances and disappearances, of memories and purposes; but the process of that mind is like the light of the sun, for it grasps them in their forms as objects.

His mind-sattva is not impeded by any covering of taints and so on arising from contact with a-dharma. Sattva, all-pervading and in-all-things, does have also a dependent perception (in ordinary men) through the gates of the senses, where its innate mode of activity overcomes the limiting obstructions of a-dharma, etc. For instance, a lamp set in a perforated jar illumines what is outside through the openings of the holes in its enclosure; but this same lamp, when its enclosing covering has been shattered, illumines everything without being dependent on holes for a path. Just so the sattva of the Lord, being untouched by the covering of taints, etc., has perception of absolutely everything at the same time, for there is no cause which could suppress any particular object. So there is no question of transcending or failing to transcend (some limitation).

The world, then, must have a single Lord by whom everything is perceived, because there are many different kinds of things for which he stands as the protector, as in the familiar case of a kingdom.

The wise have taught the performance of duties of caste, stage of life and so on, with their respective agents, experiencers, action, discipline and the related results. These are to be performed by those seeking the results, or by those who are fearful of committing sins. So it is like applying medical remedies. The teachings are like medical prescriptions in that it is for the sake of others that they are taught, in that they are relied on by informed people, and in that they deal with things which the ordinary man would not come to know without being taught.

The sole efficient cause for the fashioning of body and senses is someone knowing all their purposes, for they are means of bringing about definite actions and states, like the machine which works the marionettes in a dolls’-house show. (Gītā XVIII.61).

They have a definite arrangement, as it has.

And the senses, as instruments, are comparable to a plane for paring wood fine.

Again, they all make up the occasion for definite effects, the purposes of the human experiencer and the means for his experiences, as a jar does. These are the reasons for their existence.

Earth is perishable because it is of middling dimensions, liable to be destroyed by various causes, a basis on which experience can take place, with forms which are means for producing the results of actions; in some places it is piled up, in others reduced, or increased or taken away or burnt or split.

Things like the body, composed of earth and other elements, are perishable, because they have the power of destroying each other, as armed men have.

And on the other side, in every way the opposite to man, there is space, with its properties of creation and destruction. It makes things manifest, as the receptacle which holds the external sense-objects with their properties, like a jar.

Therefore it is established that there is a supreme Lord (parameśvara) whose lordship is unlimited in power and knowledge.

(Opponent) The meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’, because all that can be known is individual things denoted by words, whose knowers must depend on some means to know them, just as we do.

The word ‘Lord’ does not imply any connection with unlimited knowledge. It is a word, like the word jar, and the world has no omniscient Lord of all, for it consists of independent beings in mutual confrontation like princes and kings. In the past and future as in the present, no living beings experience omniscience, just because they are living beings like ourselves. There is no omniscient Lord of all as you imagine, for none such is known, any more than the horn of a hare.

He could not be omniscient and a Lord if he were incorporeal like a released self. Again, if he is supposed to have a body, then his embodiment would be in accordance with dharma and a-dharma and he would be a being of this world (saṃsārin) just like ourselves. If he is to be without a body, then he will not be the creator of the world who blesses his devotees; he will be simply a released self.

We admit that the particular ordering of the world is adapted to give particular experiences, but that is purely natural like the sharpness of thorns, or the opening and closing of waterlilies and lotuses. The going and staying of sun, moon, and stars also is natural to them, like the action of magnets.

(Answer) If it were merely natural, there would not be the order in the earth and elsewhere. Nor is there any example of anything accomplished of itself; it is generally accepted that the sharpness of thorns is not merely from their nature (but has a cause).

(Opponent) Heat and so on are, so to say, the very nature of fire; in the same way, order in the world is caused by the qualities of the things.

(Answer) Then the order in palaces too would be from the mere qualities of the things, and the argument would be too wide.

(Opponent) Let this too be from their nature.

(Answer) That is not right, because it is apparent that the order in the world is connected with the aim of giving experience of the results of dharma and a-dharma. It will subsequently control the states of the agent and his dharma and a-dharma.

Therefore the order in the world is not natural, because it has a purpose, namely to provide experience for living beings, like the order in a palace. The movement of the moon and stars is not natural, just because it is a movement, like the movement of us human beings.

(Opponent) Let us say that our movements too are natural.

(Answer) No, because then they ought always to be the same, like the heat of fire. The heat of fire being natural, there is nothing to produce any drive to attain something for itself, because there is no subject there. But in the order of action and result, there is a drive to attain something for oneself (as in building a palace), arising from a definite cause, and it is not merely natural.

(Opponent) Let the definite cause of the drive be the nature of the order in palaces.

(Answer) Allowing that the nature could be of this kind, then the order in the world too will embody a drive from that same definite cause as with the palaces. Therefore your argument is not at all a clearing up of the weak point, namely that there is dependence on an outside agent, and in fact it proves the opposite.

Your inferences are no proofs because they go against ordinary experience, against proper inference, and against authority. First there are the contradictions in the inference from the standpoint of having degrees (sātiśaya, as opposed to the transcendence or niratiśaya of the sūtra). Then the contradiction with sacred authority is established by such texts as ‘he who is all-knowing, omniscient’ (Muṇḍ. Up. 1.1.9) and ‘One ruler’ (Kaṭh. Up. 5.12).

But there is also contradiction of common experience. Everyone, including women and cowherds, does turn to God, under names like Śiva and Nārāyana. Even when they are being disobedient or distracted in their minds, running wild into fields prohibited by him, they still bow their heads before the Lord and worship him with offerings of lotus garlands. By this they hope to attain their ends.

(Opponent) The only contradiction is between two propositions: one declares the non-existence of omniscience, and the other is your own inference.

(Answer) That proposition of yours is no true inference. Why not? From the first, it is faulty. When you begin by saying that the meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’, your very statement has referred to the Lord, so you are making an issue of something already established (siddha-sādhyatā).

(Opponent) It is only the Lord as proposed by us. …

(Answer) Then it is the fallacy of specifying something uncertain.

(Opponent) What we are saying is, that the Lord is not omniscient.

(Answer) As before, you are making an issue of what you have already established (by your own words – siddham sādhyate).

And it contradicts your own position. How so? With the development of the seeds (potentialities) of power and omniscience, an ultimate must be reached, as with any measure. The word ‘Lord’ means that power has attained its ultimate, and ‘omniscient’ means that knowledge has similarly attained. The attainment of the ultimate means unlimitedness. As with all measures, the limitations of the measure come to an end in the self or in universal space or the like.

In fact you are referring to the meaning of the words while at the same time their meaning – that the Lord is the attainment of the ultimate – is supposed to have been rejected. If a word has part of its meaning rejected, it is not being meaningfully used.

(Opponent) Well, we do not admit that for all measures there is a final unlimitedness.

(Answer) That is opposed to your own doctrine. For if there is no all-pervadingness of self and space and so on, they will have the defects of limited measure and of transience.

(Opponent) The all-pervadingness of the self means simply that it shows itself in all places by its effects (as individual selves).

(Answer) Then the inference (sāmānyato-dṛṣṭa) would have to be drawn that the selves of birds should exist in the bodies of men. Here too inference cannot be contradicted.

(Opponent) You have not shown that our conclusion does contradict inference.

(Answer) The contradiction of inference comes in saying that self and space must be perceptible things, like elements such as earth. No such contradiction of inference can be allowed, because it would mean that inference would cease to exist (as a proof).

(Opponent) Let us do without inference.

(Answer) Then there could be no confidence in perception either.

(Opponent) Perception is valid because it produces confirmable ideas.

(Answer) The ideas from inference are equally certain, so that too should have validity.

(Opponent) Inference (for instance, of fire) is only when there is a perceived relation with the (seen) object, namely smoke.

(Answer) In that case inference would cease to exist. (Proposition) this place which has smoke does not have fire; (reason) because no relation with fire is known by direct perception; (example) as in places known to be without fire.

(Opponent) In such cases where the relation is not seen, the apparent force of inference comes from the fact that it agrees with some other means of proof.

(Answer) Then direct perception – inasmuch as it is a proof just like inference – would be a proof only because of agreeing with yet another proof. It would turn out to be no more of a proof than inference, because there would be no further proof to confirm it. Therefore the authoritativeness of inference cannot be impugned, in view of the fact that it produces ideas which are certain.

Further, one who does not accept the force of inference should have no fear of snakes and the like, because he has never actually perceived any personally fatal relation with them. He would not make use of medicines to cure disease, because he would have no fear of death. And as he would have had no experience of birth, he would think that his body had never been born. And he would not reject or take up or use things. Therefore inferring from the general case that what is measurable has increasing degrees, it is established that there is a knowledge which is unlimited – the knowledge possessed by the Lord.

Moreover, in the very statement that there is not a divine omniscience, we find a recognition that it exists, because it is impossible to deny what has no meaning. The word ‘not’ by itself has no sense. When it is said that the Lord is not omniscient, in those words the fact of an omniscience somewhere has been accepted.

As when it is said that there is no horn on a hare, or that there is no son of a barren woman, or there are no flowers in space – things like horns and sons and flowers do exist somewhere; the denial of them is only as related to the hare and the barren woman and space. So here too. When it is said ‘the Lord is not omniscient’, by the denial of any relation between what is meant by ‘Lord’ and what is meant by ‘omniscience’, an omniscience is being accepted, of someone other than the Lord. For unless the related things have been accepted as existent, their relationship can not be denied. Their existence thus proved, is now denied by you and made out to be unproved. Which is mere futility, for there can be no denial of the universally accepted meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. To deny the universally accepted infinite extent of space with the words ‘there is no space of infinite extent’, and then to propose that it exists in the limited measure of things like jars, is not reasonable.

When the Lord and omniscience are denied, the position is self-refuting by its own words, for it accepts the Lord and omniscience as the established meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’. It cannot be that fire is not the meaning of the word ‘fire’.

(Opponent) The words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’ are not of established meaning.

(Answer) Even so, it is not reasonable to deny that they refer to something. One cannot take up a position as to something which is not established at all. One is not entitled -just because the matter is not established – to deny that there is a goatherd girl on this mountain. The denial would have no basis because it would refer to something uncertain.

(Opponent) Between the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’, with (allowably) established referents, and unlimited Lordship and omniscience, which have not been established as existing, the relation is simply imagined by certain people, like the imagination of flowers in the sky. It should be denied.

(Answer) There too, since a meaning has been accepted and then denied, the proposition is self-refuting.

Because you admit that the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’ mean universals, manifesting more than one lord and omniscient one, namely some with degrees and others transcendent.

It is well known that the two words give rise to the idea of something with more than one manifestation, in that they are connected with ideas of superior and inferior. For it is not that when the head of a village is called the lord of it, the heads of two or three villages will not be even greater lords, or that one who is the head of a single household should not be lord of it. This is the ordinary sense of the word.

In grammar, the word omniscient is always connected with the idea of degrees (i.e. knowing about every fact in one or more particular fields). ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’, with limits or without limits, must be accepted as the things referred to by the two words. So a proposition which denies them is contradicting what has been accepted, like denying that the meaning of the word ‘great’ is the greatness of Self or of space and so on.

(Opponent) There is no unlimited Lord or omniscient one, for none such is ever perceived; there is no Lord, any more than there is a man with two heads.

(Answer) Still, since it is admitted that the words do refer to something, the proposition contradicts what has been admitted. Inferring from the fact that lordship and omniscience are potentialities which increase by degrees, the fact of unlimited Lordship and omniscience can be known. Like anything measurable, they go to infinity, and they are not uncertain just because they are not directly perceived.

(Opponent) The word ‘Lord’ as it stands does not mean omniscient, because omniscience has to be demonstrated as a fact, like any other knowledge.

(Answer) That would be a proposition opposed to all proofs, which all establish that the settled meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is the omniscience which we are discussing.

Now let us see what he would say who maintains that the meaning of the word ‘Lord’ is not ‘omniscient’ because omniscience must be demonstrated factually like a jar-

(Opponent) There is no omniscient one in this world. Neither in time or direction or space or habitations of living beings, nor in living beings themselves, is there omniscience. Nor does any proof demonstrate anyone who is omniscient. True knowers never meet anyone omniscient.

(Answer) Such statements deny any unlimited Lord or omniscient one, and they are contrary to the accepted meanings of the words, so they must be said to be unsound as propositions.

(Opponent) Why then, the proposition that the son of a barren woman does not exist because no living being ever meets him anywhere in the world at any time, and no living being is the son of a barren woman, would be subject to the same unsoundness!

(Answer) Not so, because the words denying the existence of the barren woman’s son do not refer to any established meaning, as do the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. All you have done is to deny a meaning which is merely an idea produced by stringing the words together; there is no acceptance of the existence of a barren woman’s son. So the denial is not self-contradictory.

(Opponent) What the negation ‘the Lord is not omniscient’ is rejecting is simply an idea that had been accepted; of course it could never reject an actual fact, like a mahout driving away an elephant. If by a ‘not’ one could drive away a fact, then by a simple ‘not’ one would drive off the ideas of the theist (īśvara-vādin). What is being rejected here is a mere idea; this is a standard form of refutation, and there is no defect in our position.

(Answer) Yes, but there is a distinction. The idea of an established thing may get denied at some other particular time, being based on the universal of the thing, as in the sentence ‘there is no jar (here and now)’. Another idea, of something imaginary, induced by verbal associations and without any real content at all, is also rejected, as in ‘there is no son of a barren woman’.

But where there is rejection of a true fact established by some means of right knowledge, such rejection of what is admitted to exist must be wrong, as in the sentence, ‘the meaning of the word Lord is not omniscient’. The statement that the transcendent omniscience of the Lord is the meaning of the words ‘the Lord’s omniscience’ is generally accepted, and by that indicatory mark it is established that an unlimited Lordly omniscience does exist, just as words like ‘great’ and ‘many’ imply an infinite extent.

These words like ‘great’, carrying as they do the sense of the normal corresponding universals of degrees of greatness and so on, are indications pointing to the existence of an unlimited universal greatness, etc., manifesting in those degrees. The manifestation of unlimited greatness has the power of pervading the universals of greatness, etc., in the corresponding manifestation of limited degree. Whenever there is the limited degree, that unlimited pervades it. But the latter, being unlimited, is not something that can be pervaded by something else, so in infinity the pervading universal comes to an end, since that always depends on the existence of something which it can pervade. Thus it is established by right knowledge that the refusal of any meaning to the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’, which has been urged, is a rejection of a demonstrated fact; as such, it is a false position.

Nor can it be made out that the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscience’ do not have these meanings, or have some other meanings. From the gradually increasing degrees of power, omniscience and lordship among men, (we infer) a principle which is unlimited, and to labour to deny it is a position contradicting inference. Moreover in denying the Lord ‘imagined by the other side’, they end up basing themselves on a (telepathic) perception of the minds of others.

(Opponent) It is only from the words (of those others) …

(Answer) No, because their words accord (with what we are saying), inasmuch as they show that the fact of degrees is a conclusive indication proving the existence of absolute omniscience. In denying such meaning to the words, you deny what you have accepted, and as before it is contrary to inference.

Again, without omniscience there is no certainty about the (limited) knowability of things. Why? Because that depends on having accepted the absolute knowledge and power which we have described. Now let him willingly accept what is similar (to what he has already accepted), and then there is the certainty of omniscience, from what has been already accepted.

To deny what is similar to what one has accepted comes to saying, ‘a pot is not a pot, because it is a thing, like a cloth’; it would be like that here too.

Unless an unlimited principle is accepted, there would be no certain basis for the postulated characteristics of the knowability of objects. And when it is accepted, what needs to be proved further? He who would say to a satisfied man, ‘Do not eat the food’, what would he have accomplished?

(Opponent) Well then, accepting the Lord beyond limitations, I deny that he possesses omniscience.

(Answer) This is not reasonable, because omniscience too has no limits. Lordship and omniscience which have degrees are in the field of superiority and inferiority, and therefore indefinite, so they cannot be the principal meanings of the words ‘Lord’ and ‘omniscient’. Words like ‘great’ are not being used in their primary sense when used to describe things like jars, because jars are of indefinite size, as against things like space. So here too, infinite Lordship and omniscience, which are not indefinite, are the principal meanings of the words. Rejecting the principal meaning of words leads nowhere.

You reject the omniscience of the Lord on the assumption that he must have the character of a knowable object; but it would similarly follow that if he were a knowable object like a jar he should be unconscious, because it is the same argument. As knowability would involve non-omniscience, so it would involve unconsciousness.

(Opponent) That contradicts perception.

(Answer) Here again, how is it that you do not even glance at your own contradiction of inference and sacred authority?

Nor can it be that somewhere there has been something illusorily projected, for or against. For among the knowables, the actual things always exist; a delusion is not classed as a knowable thing.

(Opponent) He is not omniscient because he is a self.

(Answer) It would follow that your gods would not have knowledge, any more than a released self.

(Opponent) That contradicts perception.

(Answer) You yourself are contradicting inference and authority, as before. As to the point that neither in the past nor in the future does anyone know of any Lord, which throws doubt on any knowledge of gods at the present time, inasmuch as living beings are the same now as in the past and future: the answer is, that living beings of the past and future know through indicatory marks such as having degrees, and as inquirers they are conversant with the means of right knowledge, so that they are like ourselves (and will reach the same conclusion).

(Opponent) The Lord has no body, so he is no more omniscient than the released selves, or space for example.

(Answer) Not so, because he has a body.

(Opponent) Since manifest and unmanifest (principles) are all without a body, we must conclude that such a Lord would not be eternal, because having a body he would then be connected with dharma and a-dharma.

(Answer) No, because he is without a body.

(Opponent) It is a contradiction that he both has a body and has not.

(Answer) No, for there is the example of the same self which when released has no body, but while in the process of releasing himself, has one.

(Opponent) In that particular case there is no contradiction because the times are different.

(Answer) Here too we accept difference of time. Furthermore just because he is the Lord, he has the double potentiality of simultaneously having instruments and being without them. So the holy texts say, ‘Without a body, in all the bodies’ (Kath. Up. 2.22), ‘Who stands in all beings’ (Bṛhad. Up. 3.7.15), and ‘Who is all-knowing, omniscient (Muṇḍ. Up. 1.1.9) and others.

(Opponent) The holy texts of the Veda aim at giving injunctions and prohibitions, and not ideas about the Lord.

(Answer) Not so, for the holy texts (just cited) are not ancillary to anything else. For indications and so on from texts that are ancillary would not give right knowledge of something else (but these do).

(Opponent) They are merely ancillary, for rites like the full moon sacrifice contain the injunction to study of the scriptures on the Self and repetition of Om (svādhyāya).

(Answer) No, because there are other injunctions such as the soma rite, with separate instructions for them, and they could not each be ancillary to the other. So when holy texts say for instance ‘He is to be thought on, to be meditated upon’, it is proper that they have their own field, and are not ancillary to rites like agnihotra.

(Opponent) There is no result (from pure self-realization).

(Answer) There is, for it is shown in statements of the holy texts like ‘He attains all worlds and all desires who has sought that self and realized it’ (Chānd. Up. 8.12.6).

(Opponent) These texts are merely supplements to injunctions to worship (upāsanā), and they are simply praise.

(Answer) There cannot be praise by describing what does not exist at all. For the sense of the text ‘Vāyu is the swiftest god’ (Taitt. Saṃ. 2.1.1) cannot be that Vāyu is not the swiftest.

(Opponent) There could be praise by referring to something that does not exist in certain places.

(Answer) No, because here we are concerned with something established by inference (as all-pervading).

(Opponent) As he is conjoined with all bodies and sense organs, the Lord must be affected by the happiness and pain of all living beings.

(Answer) No, because there are other auxiliary causes for them. Dharma and a-dharma are the causes responsible for the embodiment and experience of living beings. Dharma and a-dharma are the causes which bring them to pain and other experiences, and there is no dharma or a-dharma in the Lord. What connects the effects of body and so on with their cause is the absolute omnipotence; it is like a house (built by the Lord) and the one who has entered it (the living being).

(Opponent) There is no perception of everything (by the Lord) because perception needs sense-organs (which are limited), as we find in our own experience.

(Answer) No, because there is no cause to obstruct those (such as the Lord or perfect yogin-s) who have the capacity to perceive all things. Any restriction of the field (of knowledge) is made by the covering up, by dharma and a-dharma, of sense-organs which are (inherently) all-pervasive. Where the veiling by the obstacles of dharma and a-dharma is not found, there is nothing to prevent the sense-organs from having as their field everything without exception.

Or again, the Lord experiences everything through the sense-organs of all the living beings, into which the inmost self, itself without sense-organs, has entered as into a house. There is nothing without the living Inner Dweller; the holy texts ‘Who is abiding in earth’, ‘Who is abiding in water’ (Bṛhad. Up. 3.7.3 and 4) and others teach us of the Lord as the Inner Dweller in all.

And again, his perfect sattva, endowed with the Lordliness of eternal power and knowledge, going everywhere like space, is in touch with everything; it illumines every object because it is directed to everything, and it is never obstructed because it has no association with dharma or a-dharma and so on. Therefore, though the Lord has no body and no sense-organs, he is perfect in omniscience.

(Opponent) A mind can only come into touch with forms and so on by means of sense-organs like the eye.

(Answer) No, for this holds only in the absence of divine power or the dharma (which gives special power).

And it is found in the world that sometimes objects of vision are not perceived by the eye. When the object of vision is total blackness, it is known even with closed eyes by an attentive inner organ, and that same complete blackness is not apprehended even with eyes wide open when the mind has wandered off. It is the same with the light apprehended in space.

(Opponent) But darkness is simply absence of light; it is not a thing.

(Answer) It is, for an absence could not conceal things.

(Opponent) It is simply from absence of light, the cause of perception, that things like jars are not seen; it is not that darkness conceals them.

(Answer) Not so, because there is a light of the eye itself, and it is not that it depends on another light to help it. To the extent that there is nothing else of a different nature to conceal the things, just so much of them will be lit up by the light of the eye. For a light does not depend on another light to second it in lighting up things. If it did depend for help on some other light, then even at night, seconded by the light of the moon, it should perceive forms as clearly as in daylight, since there would be no cause of obstruction.

Again, if darkness were merely an absence, then it should not appear as a weak darkness in brilliant moonlight at night; it ought to be destroyed by that all-pervading light in whose brightness it stands. With an actual thing in the brightness, it is natural that it should have distinctions of weakness and intensity and so on, but not with an absence, for that can have no such distinctions.

(Opponent) Without assistance, the eye cannot perceive, and there is no cognition.

(Answer) This too is not invariably so. In the case of a flash of forked lightning, there is indeed light but it is so intense that the sight does not perceive anything by it. It is not however reasonable that the dazzlement which is seen as a result of connection with lightning should be an absence of perception, for it is not opposed to perception.

Again, in the medical texts, the shadow (of the patient) is said to be sweet, or to be cold. But there can be no sweetness or coldness of what is not a thing. And they call darkness good or bad for certain eye conditions: but an absence could not be so characterized.

Furthermore, a shadow is perceived as from a light. If darkness were a non-existent, how could there be – within the circle of illumination – a shadow caused by the light?

(Opponent) If we take it as a real thing, there is the difficulty that the two are opposites (co-existing).

(Answer) No; it is possible as with the snake and its poison. Poison is deadly, but not to the snake, and so with the light and its shadow.

Therefore darkness is a real thing, being intense or faint like light, excluding what is opposed to it like a jar, and making a distinguishing line for the perceiver, like a boundary.

Thus it is possible for the mind (antaḥkaraṇa) to perceive a sense-object even without recourse to the senses. Even when the ears are covered by bowls, there is awareness of the singing in them. Nor can it be supposed that the bowls would constitute another ear; if bowls are put over the ears of a deaf person, he cannot hear with them.

Again, we find that forms and so on are perceived, without need of senses, also through the knowledge of statements.

Further (if perception depended absolutely on the co-operation of the senses) nothing would arise from the memory, whereas we know that there is some degree of perception in the mind without the senses, for in a dream the memories stand out clearly as forms and other objects (like sounds).

If perception of an object is effected only by an accompanying conjunction of senses and mind, then in sleep, when they are separated, it would be inhibited. But this is not so.

Moreover it is everywhere agreed that the mind is independent in perception of pleasure and pain.

Therefore the senses are illumined by the mind, which is purely independent and spontaneous in its perception of objects. So it was said through a sense-channel (comm. to I.7) and there is the holy text ‘By the mind alone he sees, by the mind he hears’ (Bṛhad. Up. I.5.3).

(Opponent) As the senses have recourse to light, so the mind is a perceiver only when it has recourse to the help of the senses.

(Answer) No, because even the example is not invariably so. Nocturnal animals, for instance, see things by a second kind of faint light, as if it were full day. And even in the light of day, an owl does not see anything at all.

Further, take the case of weighing gold. We see that an expert can tell the amount of it by merely looking, without using any means of finding out the weight (such as using the scales).

(Opponent) Then the eye and other senses serve no purpose.

(Answer) The senses are like the scales, in that they are useful for the others. Just as a man who has very fine discrimination in the field of weighing has the skill to determine the quantity of gold without using any scales, so there is the possibility of the mind’s perceiving an object, through its own great purity, even without calling on the aid of senses like the eye.

For a result which is normally accomplished by several men may still be accomplished by one; for example, a stone which would take more than one to lift may be seen to be lifted single-handed by some strong man.

So it is that the objects which are perceived by the mind of others only with the aid of the senses are perceived by the mind-sattva of the supreme Lord by its simple regard, without their having to be observed through an eye and so on. There is perfection of pure power and glory in Him, where they reach their peak.

But because of the inferiority of the saṃsārin-s (beings of the world) in power and knowledge, due to the taint of Ignorance, their mind depends on the aid of the senses, as when weak people combine to lift a stone.

Now there are certain worldly beings, like Buddha and Ṛṣabha, who become lords, but they do not achieve the transcendent power, knowledge and glory. Because there is the fact that they are limited by time; even those who are devoted to their religion admit that the Buddhas are limited by time.

So their Lord is limited in time. It can only be inferred, from the evidences of their being in time and having a beginning in time, that the sovereignty and so on of the Buddhas is not complete and has degrees. At one time they did not have it, at one time they do not have it, at one time they will not have it – these are the three indications for the inference. It is thus the opposite of transcendence.

Since their perfection is time-dependent, the earlier Buddhas would have had the advantage of time, but there could not be unlimited power and glory and omniscience in them, because it would be opposed by that of later ones.

(Opponent) They have equal power and knowledge and sovereignty, but their equal sovereignty and rulership is not at the same time.

(Answer) Still, since that would mean frustration of a desire of some Buddha from a different time to come into touch with things of this time, he could not have absolute sovereignty. For inasmuch as desire has no bounds, one Buddha will some time desire to overrule another Buddha and to come into his sphere; if he does not do it, his omnipotence would be impaired.

(Opponent) Another Buddha has no need of his grace. And there is no passion in him, so he will have no desire to enter the sphere of another Buddha.

(Answer) Formerly he had the desire for the condition of Buddhahood at some time, and that must come to fulfilment in the time of some Buddha or other. And there are other living beings to whom he could give his grace, so it is reasonable that he should wish to dwell in that other time. Not all the living beings of that time will have been given grace by the future Buddha.

Though it is suffering for his Buddhahood, yet in order to give his grace to living beings, from his Buddhahood he will come to be in that other time, according to his wish.

And the Buddhists admit that their perfect one’s state of Buddha-nature and freedom from pain was formerly associated with Ignorance, so that transcendent power, knowledge and glory do not pertain to Buddha or to Ṛṣabha or any other tīrthakara.

But these defects do not apply to our Lord, for he is not limited in time. His power, knowledge and sovereignty are unlimited, and so we infer that no defect of having degrees or uncertainty can be suspected of him who is as it were like space.

Inference comes to an end in determining a universal and it cannot pronounce on individual cases. Particulars like names are to be known from sacred authority. He himself needs no grace; his purpose is to give grace to living beings, by teaching knowledge and dharma. At the dissolution at the end of the aeon, and at the great dissolution, he resolves, ‘I will save them, caught as they are in saṃsāra.So it is said: The First Knower, assuming a created mind out of compassion, as the exalted highest seer declared the doctrine to the inquirer Āsuri.

Inference comes to an end in determining a universal and it cannot pronounce on individual cases. In determining the universal of the existence of a special Puruṣa with transcendent power, knowledge and sovereignty, the inference exhausts itself, because it goes only so far. The example of inference which was given (sūtra 1.7) was, that if there is getting to a place, there must be movement. Inference has no capacity to determine individual qualities or names, etc., of the Lord, though they exist, because these are not in the field of a pure universal.

To sum up: inference cannot tell us about individual qualities, because all it does is to reveal universals. How should inference reveal things absolutely inaccessible to it, outside its field, matters where it has no power or knowledge, questions of dharma and a-dharma and limitation and so on? So it does not reveal what is outside its field.

(But in its field) the inference that omniscience exists does not need the failure of the inference that omniscience does not exist. For inference is not something which has to wait for confirmation by another; when fire is inferred from the sight of smoke one does not wait for a statement by a third party.

He himself needs no grace because there is nothing which he lacks for himself; his purpose is to give his grace to living beings sunk in the mire of Ignorance. There is no other to give the teaching which is a boat by which they can cross over the sea of saṃsāra, and he teaches knowledge and dharma to those who take sole refuge in him.

Nor is the fact whether he is or is not omniscient to be arbitrarily taken as self-evidently doubtful, because we do not hold that the true being of the omniscient one is self-evident like a jar. Until it is settled that it is truly a hare, one cannot doubt whether or not the hare has horns.

(Opponent) What comes from another is dubious.

(Answer) It may come from another, but if you yourself do not know the true nature of the Lord, why should you doubt it?

(Opponent) He might be under an illusion.

(Answer) If no universal (of omniscience) is ever perceived, it cannot be a cause of illusion. For no one erroneously sees a cuckoo in the mother-of-pearl (in which they do sometimes erroneously see silver, which they must have seen existing somewhere else). So he says, Particulars like names are to be known from sacred authority. They are to be looked for in scriptures like the Veda, Itihāsa, Purāna, and books on yoga and dharma.

by teaching knowledge and dharma to those who take refuge in none other, who have entrusted themselves to him entirely, at the dissolution at the end of the aeon and at the great dissolution when the particular knowledge from the scriptures, which were received from the grace of the Lord, and the teachers of that knowledge, are all destroyed, again and again compassion rises to fill him – ‘I will save them’. And likewise it has been said, The First Knower, assuming a created mind out of compassion, as the exalted highest seer declared the doctrine to the inquirer Āsuri. The First Knower means the one who in the beginning knows the knowledge which is not affected by rajas or tamas. Or the word first may refer to the fact that knowledge and dharma are at the beginning and the teaching begins with them, and that beginning is this Knower. He created a mind by his mere intention, a yogic mind, and entered into possession of it, in order to give the teaching.

as the exalted highest seer (ṛṣi): that he is the highest is known from scripture (āgama). Ṛṣi means, according to the root, on the one hand ‘seeing’ (from ṛṣ to see) and on the other hand ‘condition’ (from ṛ to go). The Lord alone, the highest ṛṣi, under the names Kapila or Nārāyana and so on, taught the inquirer Āsuri.

Therefore the Lord has been ascertained to be other than pradhāna or Puruṣa, and to be the source of grace for all living beings through his knowledge of their states and the ripening of the fruits of their karma. It is not to be objected that this does not show how the Lord endowed with the wealth of perfect sattva does create, or how he grants his grace, and so on, for it has been said, From scripture it is to be sought. There are things outside the range of inference to which it cannot reach, since it does not extend to particulars and their relationships.


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