Article by Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ay) and Dr Manasa, B.A.M.S
True, transparent and sterile, unadulterated knowledge doesn’t come that easily. It needs keen observance, dedicated perseverance and penance, determined learning, hawk-eye concentration and moreover sense-mind coordination. Such knowledge is called as Pratyaksha.
This knowledge is obtained by the proper coordination of sense organs (indriyas) with their sense organs (indriyarthas) i.e. Indriyartha Sannikarsha.
Process of Indriyartha Sannikarsha
Initially the sense organs (indriyas) make a contact with their related objects (indriyartha). The indriya gathers information or gets a direct knowledge of the indriyartha. The jnana i.e. knowledge, experience or information gathered by sense organs (yathartha anubhava) is transferred to the mind (manas). This knowledge is pure and unadulterated, as it is (yathartha).
From there on the information or knowledge gained by sensory perception and mediated by the mind is analyzed and scrutinized by the intellect (buddhi).
Buddhi decides whether the given information of piece of knowledge is worth learning or not and transfers the ideal knowledge which is beneficial to the soul (aatma).
The aatma is the known as well as learner. He enjoys the benefits of the knowledge.
Read related: How Knowledge Is Gained Through Sense Organs?
Only if this indriyartha sannikarsha takes place properly, we gain yathartha anubhava or gnana (direct, unadulterated knowledge or experience). For this to happen the coordination axis between indriyartha, indriya, manas, buddhi and aatma should be healthy and intact. If any one component is not in rhythm within the coordination or absent from the sequence, pratyaksha gnana is not obtained in its true sense.
There are many obstructing factors or constraints for Yatartha gnana or Pratyaksha gnana. These factors block or interrupt the process of sequence leading to pratyaksha knowledge. They are called Pratyaksha Badhaka Bhavas i.e. Constraints for true knowledge and perception.
Read related: Pratyaksha Pramana: Knowledge Perception Through Sense Organs
Pratyaksha Bhadaka Bhava
Constraints For True Knowledge and Perception – Pratyaksha Bhadaka Bhava / Pratibhandakara Bhava
सतां च रूपाणाम् अति सन्निकर्षाद् अति विप्रकर्षाद् आवरणात् करण दौर्बल्याद् मनो नव स्थानात् समानाभिहाराद् अभिभावाद् अति सौक्ष्म्यात् च प्रत्यक्ष अनुपलब्धिः।(च.सू.११/८)
अति दूरात् सामीप्याद् इन्द्रियघाताद् मनो नवस्थानात्।
सौक्ष्म्याद् व्यवधानाद् अभिभावात् समानाभिहारात् च॥(सांख्यकारिका.७)
The below mentioned factors block the pathways of true knowledge and perception i.e. Pratyaksha gnana. We need to keep in mind that in spite of the objects being present, the knowledge is not gained by the sense organs in the presence of these constraints.
These constraints shall be understood with the example of one sense organ, mainly the eye (organ of vision) and shall be understood on the same lines for the other indriyas also.
Read related: Classification Of Pratyaksha Pramana
Ati dooraat (Ati Sannikarshaat) –
If the object is too far from the sense organ, its knowledge cannot be perceived properly. For example, an object at a long distance from the eye is a baadhaka bhaava. In this example it is difficult to make out the exact nature, shape, size, colour etc about the object though the object is present. The accommodation of vision to far objects is difficult as the vision has a limited dimension of its field. Here the learner or knower will surely know that some object is present but he cannot describe the object because he is not able to see it clearly or perceive it in its natural form. Thus ‘the distance factor’ is a constraint for Pratyaksha gnana.
Ati Saameepyaad (Ati Sannikarshaat) –
Just like the far of objects cannot be perceived in true sense, the objects in close proximity of sense organs too are not perceived. The minimum distance at which objects should be present so as to be perceived is 25 cm in the visual field (for a person having normal vision). If the object is at a lesser distance than that, it cannot be perceived. Example, we cannot read a book by placing the book very close to our eyes. The vision doesn’t accommodate the objects very near to the eye. Thus the ‘nearness of the object’ forms a constraint for Pratyaksha gnana.
Indriya Ghaataad –
Injury or disease of the Indriya or sense organs will make the perception difficult or impossible. Indriya is an important component in the indriyartha sannikarsha or ‘cycle of perception’. In the physical or functional impairment of the indriya the perception of true knowledge in spite of the object being present in the vicinity becomes difficult. Thus, ‘the injury to the indriya’ becomes a constraint for true knowledge and perception.
Mano nava sthaanaat –
Perception of true knowledge or yathartha anubhava is also not possible if the mind or manas is located somewhere else, i.e. away from the equation of Indriyartha Sannikarsha. We call this condition as ‘physically present and mentally absent’. This is also called popularly as ‘absent mindednesses. As we know, mind is also an important component in the indriyartha sannikarsha, whose presence is mandatory so as to perceive true knowledge. When in the process of gaining the knowledge, if the mind is thinking something else and not in the sequence of sannikarsha, one cannot perceive the true knowledge of what he is seeing in spite of seeing the object or subject in discussion. Thus an ‘absent mind’ forms a hindrance or constraint for true knowledge.
Soukshmyaad (Ati soukshmyaad) –
The minuteness of the object (microscopic or invisible nature) of the object also makes perception of true knowledge of the object difficult or impossible. If the object is too small, it cannot be perceived or understood in its true form. If it is microscopic it is beyond perception. Thus the ‘minuteness of an object’ forms a constraint for true knowledge through pratyaksha.
Karana dourbalyaad –
Weakness of Chakshu (physical or anatomical eye) or chakshu indriya (functional apparatus of the eye, physiology of vision) gets weak, the perception becomes difficult. (Similarly the perception by other sense organs too should be understood). Thus ‘the functional debility or failure of sense organs’ forms a constraint for true knowledge.
Perception of true knowledge or identification of an object becomes very difficult when it is admixed or lost amidst a big mass (group) of similar objects. Example, a handful of wheat mixed in a big bag of wheat. In this instance, it is difficult to identify or isolate the same grains which were added amidst a big mass of similar grains. This is due to the similarity. Thus ‘similarity of an object with identical objects’ becomes a constraint for true perception.
When any dominant object blocks the visibility of another material, the perception of the second object becomes difficult. Example, the stars are not seen in the bright light of the Sun during day time. Here the stars though present are dominated and hidden by the Sun and Sunlight. Thus the ‘dominance of one object over the other’ is a constraint for the true knowledge or perception of the second object which is recessive or unexpressed in spite of being present.
When any object is masked or covered by something, its perception becomes difficult in spite of the object being present. Example when any material like a ball or book is covered by a cloth, it is difficult to predict what lay beneath the cloth. Thus ‘being covered’ forms a constraint for true knowledge or perception.
A demarcating screen or wall amidst the viewer and the object makes the perception of the object impossible. In spite of the object being present behind the screen or wall, it is difficult to predict the object or its nature. Thus ‘demarcation’ forms a constraint for true knowledge or perception.
Just before Finishing –
Ayurveda has given a wonderful explanation of perception of knowledge and also the factors which cause hindrance in acquiring true knowledge. This article is to being forth the ancient wisdom of ‘Pratyaksha badhaka bhavas’ to our ‘knowledge hungry’ readers.
Click to Consult Dr Raghuram Y.S. MD (Ayu)