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Re: Dreams as explained by discussion on pramAnas

From: Venkat Nagarajan (
Date: Mon Apr 17 2000 - 08:02:53 PDT

Dear Bhagavtas/Sri. Venkatraman,

Sri. Venkatraman Wrote:

> What I feel is cognition plays only a role of a medium of understanding
in an experience and not a role of a cause because without cognition
there is no talk about experience itself. It's only a medium and it should be


Objects by themselves are not capable of being catalysts; it is direct
sense contact that gives rise to cognition (direct sense contact either at
the time of cognition or at some earlier point in time.)  Thus, it is not the
object that is the cause of a real effect, but rather the cognition triggered
by direct sense contact (contact either at the time of cognition or at some
earlier point in time.) 

KEY POINT: There is no question of talking about effect independent of
cognition.  For example, suppose one shuts off all his sense organs;
some time after that, an object is placed before that individual.   Can the
object act as a catalyst?  No!  

>  You said that "cognition is real and hence only real objects can cause
real experience". This is a partial statement.     I feel here you are
generalising by using the term "real objects" which in this case means
only cognition which is internal.  

Please note, we are discussing a topic that belongs in a metaphysical
paradigm.  Your are using notions belonging to a empiricist/logical
positivist paradigm.  One cannot provide an empirical proof in matters that
are beyond the realm of senses.  Only proof by inference is available.
(In fact strictly speaking all proofs are proofs by inference.  That is a
whole different matter however.)  It is very important to keep in mind the
paradigm in which one is discussing matters or else the discussion will
go nowhere.  It is fine to disagree, but the disagreement must be framed
within the paradigm in which the discussion is taking place. 

>The question remains as to whether unreal external objects can give
rise to cognition. If answer is yes, then "unreal objects can give rise to
cognition and hence real experience".


When one is confronted with a rope-snake, either a rope-snake
cognition, which is different from a real snake cognition,  arises, or a
rope-snake cognition, which is the same as a real-snake cognition,
arises.  In either case, it is a real object that leads to a real effect.  That
is, if the rope-snake cognition differs from a real snake cognition then it
cannot be considered illusory.

Ramanuja dasan,

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