Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Self-awareness of pleasure and pain vs. self-awareness of cognition

In a previous post on Vedānta Deśika's Seśvaramīmāṃsā ad MS 1.1.4 I quoted a passage about the fact that dharma might be perceptible "[even] for Mīmāṃsākas, like our [inner] pleasure and [pain]". The learned editor of the Seśvaramīmāṃsā, T. Viraghavacharya, explains that the example of pleasure and pain is only meant for Mīmāṃsakas, "not for us" (na tv asmān prati). In fact, "according to our opinion, pleasure and [pain] cannot be seized by the sense faculties (indriya), because they shine forth by themselves (svayamprakāśa), since they are of the nature of cognition". According to the Mīmāṃsā, on the other hand, "cognition would not be an example, because it is only inferred through the fact that one has known something" (that is, one infers the fact that there has been a cognitive act because one ends up knowing something, but one does not "perceive" cognition while occurring –so Kumārila).
Hence, pleasure and pain are –as far as Mīmāṃsakas are concerned– the only candidates for being directly perceivable, although not through the outer sense faculties. On the other hand, if Vedānta Deśika had spoken to a wider audience, he could have used the instance of cognition (also directly perceived although not through the outer sense faculties).
Further consequences of that:
1. Vedānta Deśika spoke to a mixed audience (he does not mention the cognition example, which would not have been shared by Mīmāṃsakas, but he specifies that the pleasure and pain one is meant "for Mīmāṃsakas", thus admitting that there are further readers who are not Mīmāṃsakas).
2. Does point 1 mean that Vedānta Deśika had in view just Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsakas? In fact, Prābhākaras would have thought of cognition in a very different way.
3. Cognition is admitted by Viraghavacarya to be "directly perceivable". This does not seem to be the same as what Dharmakīrti, for one, claims when he speaks of cognition as svayamprakāśa. In fact, for him cognition is not "perceived" insofar as there is no perceiver beyond it. Viraghacarya's seems, hence, to be a different position, influenced by the assumption of an enduring subject beyond cognition. Whose position is this?
4. What does this entail in regard to the possible Prābhākara side of Vedānta Deśika's Mīmāṃsā?

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