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Re: substance and attribute

From: K. Sadananda (
Date: Thu Mar 22 2001 - 11:31:19 PST

Kasturi -Thanks for the mail.

  Let me state my understanding of the perceptions and the knowledge - 
it comes close to what you wrote - but with some difference - may be 
terminology is different.

The Input from the senses - form, color, taste, touch and smell - is 
fed to the mind which integrates depending on the input from the 
object  into an image on the mind-screen with all the attributes -The 
image in the mind forms a locus for which all the attributes are 
associated. The sequence of steps up to this point are  perception - 
volition and cognition.  At this point we come up with the conclusion 
that there is an object out there with these attributes - This 
includes the spacial coordination of the object in relation to the 
surrounding as seen by the senses. (time concept is little different 
since it involves two sequential cognitions and the gap between them 
is  the time - hence in defining time we need mind plus two 
sequential cognitions, one after the other - Einstein defines as two 
sequential events - but in addition to the events we need again an 
observer or a conscious mind who does not change with the events) 
Upto now it is all  input data. The conclusion involves that there is 
object out there and that conclusion involves intrinsically  the mind 
assuming that there cannot be an object with out attributes - this is 
based on its conditioning from the past.  Mind cannot perceive the 
object but only the sense input - The conclusion that it is an object 
(substance) with those attributes is a conclusion by the mind - as I 
understand it so far. Now proceeding further -

Up to this it is to a large part vastu tantram - depends on the 
degree and intensity of attributes and efficiency of the senses and 
sense input - 20-20 vision etc. In the first-time cognition of the 
object (I am calling it as an object but attributes with an 
associated image of the forms locus in the mind), there is no 
recognition of the object as it is such and such - But once the 
memory is stored and I am informed by parent or father or who knows 
the object - the object with these attributes is a cow or horse or a 
human being etc. When informed I associate the attributed locus as 
this is a cow etc.  Second cognition and the third cognition of the 
objects - from these- one can pick up the common attributes, dharma-s 
and come up a notion of  jaati - Thus One picks up in the process the 
common features of the jaati to compare with other objects- this is a 
cow -those particular generic  attributes that distinguishes the cow 
from all other objects.  In all these process - if one goes deeper - 
as I see it - what we are knowing through the senses are only 
attributes and the conclusion that this is an object which is the 
substance with these attributes is made up inference by the mind that 
there cannot be an object without attributes.  This is because 
substance is not grasped by the senses.  The rest of the discussion 
of the reality of the object whether it is prama or bhrama, false 
knowledge, etc all involves subsequent analysis involving analysis of 
error or khyaati - where again different theories exist.  Technically 
- dharma and dharmi aspect - It appears to me the dharmi is only due 
to inference in the mind due to the fact that dharama cannot be 
without the dharmi - what is that dharmi - no other definition other 
than the one which has dharma.  This is really a circular argument 
since dharmi can never be known independently and to recognize 
dharma-s a conscious entity has to be there. Once inference, 
conclusion and what you call consciousness entity - are involved in 
establishing a dharmi which is a locus of dharma-s- we have to ask a 
question again can the existence of the object be established 
independent of a conscious entity - (which utilizes the mind (needs 
to have mind) to operate and to cognize the attributes etc.)

It looks like you have gathered more books than what I have.   Let us 
keep thinking about these.

I will be out of the country the next four weeks and I will not be 
able to respond to any mails till I return

Hari Om!
K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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