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Alavandar's Siddhitrayam - Part 3

From: Venkatesh K. Elayavalli (
Date: Fri Jul 30 1999 - 20:08:39 PDT

Dear Members,

In this post the Introduction to Atma Siddhi by Sri R. Ramanujachari is

Atma Siddhi - Introduction (continued)
By Sri R. Ramanujachari

The pramanas by which the self is known are not considered. The Nyaya
and Sankhya doctrines
that the soul is known through inference come in for scrutiny. The
fallacies lurking in their proofs
for the existance of the soul are relentlessly exposed. The Nyaya
arguments could, at best,
prove the existance of 'some entity' as the substrate of qualities such
as effort and desire; but it
would be difficult to call it the 'self'. Likewise, the arguments
advanced by the Sankhya are
shown to fail of their purpose. Yamuna also exposes the deficiencies of
the Nyaya and the
Sankhya conceptions of the soul.

Then he demonstrates the untenability of the view that the self is
directly perceived. Bhatta maintains
that the self becomes aware of itself and this must only be trough
manasa-pratyaksha, sicne the
external senses cannot cognise itself., which is subtle and formless.
Bhatta understands aham-pratyaya
(self-consciousness) literally. The I it is said, can be perceived
directly. So the self according to hom,
is both subject and object of knowledge. Prabhakara objects to this and
contends that the self is
always subject and that it is revealed as such (grahaka eva), as subject
only is all kowledge. In
other words, it is revealed simulateously with the object. Whenever an
objec, say a pot, is known,
there is, in addition, self awareness. But the self so known is cognised
as knower, not as object
of knowledge. Either school of Mimamsa criticises the other; and Yamuna
shows that neither
position stands logical scrutiny. He says the self cannot be revealed by
that for which he stands
witness, any more that he who witnesses the pot can be revealed by the
pot. Yamuna states that
persons well versed in the vedas, have no faith in the power of reason
to prove the existence of
atman, assert that this proof is furnished by the vedas alone.

Aumaniki mapyatmasiddhim asradd adhanah srautimeva tam srortriyah
sankiranti. Thus it is concluded
that teh self is known only through sruti and srutyarthapatti. What the
scriptures teach has to be properly
understood and for this unclouded reasoning is a pre-requisite.

Then Yamuna establishes that the soul is self-luminous counsciousness in
itself and possessess knowledge
as its attribute. In its very essence (svarupa) the soul is
consciousness; and it has consciousness as
attribute (dharma). To distinguish consciousness, which is of the nature
of dharma or attribute from that
which is the svarupa of the soul, it has come to be called
dharmabhutajnana (attributive consciousness).
Attributive consciousness is eternal and natural to the soul ass
luminosity is to the sun. This doctrine, special
to visistadvaita vedanta, offers a satisfactory solution for many a
knotty problems.

-To be continued ................


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