Who Was Purandaradas?

Purandaradas (1480–1564) was the founder of the Haridasas, a sect of saint-composers in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, was a devotee (bhakta) of the deity Vishnu.

Aside from the intellectual virtues of Purandaradas' poetry, it is said that the melodic structure of his songs provided the basis for the Karnatic school of Indian music, which is the most popular musical genre in southern India.

Many facets of Purandara Dasa, who is renowned as one of the pioneers of Carnatic music, have captured the public's attention, yet the location of his birth is still a mystery. 

The saint-poet, who is believed to have been born in 1484, is said to have written more than five lakh kritis, keertanas, and ugabhogas in Kannada and Sanskrit. 

Sri Purandara Dasa was a poet, musician, and ardent follower of Lord Krishna. 

He is regarded as the founding figure of Carnatic music. 

At 1494, Purandaradasa was born in Kshemapura in the Shimoga District of Karnataka (there are varying accounts of his birthplace). 

Many people held the opinion that the mystic saint was born in the fortified town of Purandhargad in Pune, Maharashtra. 

However, Malnad cultural aficionados said he was born at Araga, close to Thirthahalli. 

The state government instructed Kannada University to form a five-person committee to investigate the veracity of the birthplace claims made for Purandara Dasa. 

The committee's report was kept a secret. The Purandar fort, which is approximately 50 kilometers from Pune, has proof of several conflicts involving the Marathas, the Mughals, and even the British, but it does not include proof of Purandara Dasa's birth. 

Similar to Araga, there isn't much conclusive inscriptional or archaeological evidence. 

However, there is evidence that the area was a significant province during Vijayanagara authority. 

The majority of the Vijayanagara inscriptions at Shivamogga, according to B L Rice's Epigraphia Carnatica, are connected with the Araga kingdom, or as it is often known, the Male Rajya or hill kingdom, of which Araga, was the capital. In 1975, the Vijayanagara kingdom's Harihara and his four brothers acquired complete authority over the whole old Hoysala empire, according to the Karnataka State Gazetteer of Shimoga District. 

The fourth brother, Marappa, was appointed as the Araga rajya's governor. 

During the reign of the Keladi Nayakas, a dynasty that gained notoriety in the 15th century, Araga also receives a noteworthy mention. 

These facts unequivocally demonstrate Araga's status as a historical center of power and culture. 

There is no more information on the saint poet's birthplace outside these poems. 

The birthplace of Purandara Dasa is now officially recognized as Keshavapura or Kshemapura. 

Three kilometers separate the quiet hamlet from the city of Araga. 

The assertion is supported by sporadic evidence discovered near Dasanagadde, Vartekeri, and Vittalanagundi (located close to Keshavapura). 

A resident of Keshavapura claims to have discovered several artifacts on his property that are even vaguely connected to the mystical poet. 

The property, which is bordered by thickets, has a dried-up brook and hills to the east of it. 

A community may have been there decades or perhaps centuries ago, according to foundation ruins discovered inside the area. 

While a local was cultivating a field, a saint's idol was discovered. 

There have also been several engraved stones, shattered clay pots, and grinding stones discovered here. 

Locals think that before giving up the world and adopting Haridasa philosophy, Purandara Dasa spent his formative years at Araga. 

They contend that the poet engaged in diamond trafficking at Vartekeri, a site with market ruins. 

Additionally, literary evidence points to Purandara Dasa's familiarity with the Malnad tongue. 

During the Keladi Nayaka's reign, honorific titles like Nayaka were popular in Male Rajya. 

Nayaka is a surname that is still often used in and around Araga. 

Although definitive archaeological evidence that unequivocally supports Purandara Dasa's identity or his ancestry has yet to be discovered in Araga, the area was unquestionably a cultural hub in Shivamogga throughout the middle centuries. 

He was the child of Leelavathi and Varadappa Nayaka. 

Wealthy trader Varadappa Nayaka and his wife gave their kid the name Srinivasa Nayaka. 

The young man had a solid education as he grew up and was an expert musician as well as in Kannada and Sanskrit. 

Srinivasa Nayaka was first not inclined to the spiritual path. 

He kept up the family company and expanded it greatly. 

He was a miser who would not give a cent to anybody. 

He was known as Navakoti Narayana, a man of great fortune. 

Tradition holds that a lovely tale explains how Srinivasa Nayaka, the Navaloti Narayana, evolved into Purandara Dasa. 

Poor Brahmins routinely come into Srinivasa Nayaka's store to seek for assistance. 

One day, Srinivasa Nayaka gives him a few useless coins as a deterrent and instructs him not to return. The Brahmin then meets the kind wife of Srinivasa Nayaka. 

She offers the Brahmin her nose stud, a gift from her mother, after being moved by his tale. The Brahmin visits Srinivasa Nayaka and makes an attempt to sell him this diamond. 

Srinivasa Nayaka recognizes his wife's jewelry and locks it up before rushing home. He approaches his wife, explains how he obtained the gem, and strongly insists that she reveal the existence of her nose stud. 

She cannot respond to him, so she prays to Lord Krishna, and amazingly, the gem materializes in her hand. 

Srinivasa Nayaka's life is forever altered by this event, and he comes to understand that the Lord Himself was the one who had come to chastise him. 

Then, he renounces all he has and embarks on a new life with his family. 

Following his renunciation, Srinivasa Nayaka joined the renowned saint Vyasaraja's order and was given the name Purandara Vittala in honor of the Lord of Pandarpur. 

Srinivasa Nayaka acquired the name Purandara Dasa as of that moment. Purandara Dasa had a meager existence and had to beg for food. 

He would begin each morning with a Tamboora in his palms, a Tulasi Mala around his neck, and tinkling anklets on each foot. 

He would perform wonderful melodies he had written himself in honour of Lord Hari as he walked through the streets. 

Everyone who heard the songs was spellbound by their captivating melody and simple, easy-to-understand Kannada lyrics. 

At the end of the day, he would take home whatever he had earned. This was how he lived after he had donated all of his possessions and turned his focus to Bhakthi. 

According to legend, Purandara Dasa wrote over 475,000 Kannada and Sanskrit songs. There are currently only 1000 available. 

The songs of Purandara Dasa reveal his devotion to Lord Narayana, particularly Sri Krishna. 

He sings about a range of experiences in Sri Krishna's life. He also satirizes all the numerous pretensions and vices that are prevalent in society in several of these songs. 

He mocks the fake Bhakthas who display all the outer characteristics of Bhakthi but lack genuine kindness or dedication. Many musicians and poets in Karnataka have been influenced by his entrancingly gorgeous tunes. 

Since Purandara Dasa codified the music system, which was a synthesis of diverse South Indian traditions and the musical science outlined in the Vedas, he is regarded as the founder of Carnatic music. 

He came up with a method for grading classes on how to learn Carnatic music. 84 ragas were recognized by Purandara Dasa. 

Each of his lyrics is an exquisite musical piece. His compositions influenced a wide range of musical genres, including Kritis, Keertans, Padams, and even other obscure styles. 

He had a significant impact on Carnatic music. He had a big impact on Sri Thyagaraja, who paid him respect in his Prahalada Bhakthi Vijayam. 

According to legend, Purandara Dasa lived to be 80 years old. 

He influenced people's hearts with devotion by using the all-pervasive enchantment of music and the medium of colloquial language.

~ Kiran Atma

Hindu Pramanas


    A tradition might be critically examined from the inside out or from the outside in. I'll approach it the first manner in this essay. 

    Raising the kinds of questions I'll be asking already suggests a certain detachment from that tradition, but I do it with the intention of promoting conventional ways of thinking rather than pointing out any flaws or limitations it may have. 

    One faces the danger of becoming an overly quick, superficial, or even haughty critic of a long and revered tradition if they live outside the place where that tradition arose and still has strong roots and are exposed to a strong and chronologically and culturally more relevant style of thought. 

    One develops the impression that they are liberated, free of every tradition, and may thus criticize their own. 

    But if that illusion of freedom is false, then criticism is only surface-level. 

    The critic will be forgetting what Gadamer so vividly taught us if he asserts that he is free from all traditions and that he is instead thinking within a new tradition, such as the tradition of (modern) rationality. 

    I will only indirectly discuss the texts that these schools get their inspiration from while discussing the Indian philosophical heritage. 

    Instead, I will focus on the Indian darsanas, the traditional philosophical schools. 

    This choice, which is supported by the use of antiquity, gives us a less unclear discourse to consider and enables us to avoid numerous common mistakes. 

    When discussing Indian philosophy, it's typical to argue, for instance, that it is profoundly spiritual, that its aim is not only intellectual gymnastics but rather the spiritual alteration of one's character, and that philosophy is a tool for achieving moksa, or spiritual emancipation. 

    Such broad assertions are, to put it mildly, quite deceptive; in a well-known interpretation, they may even be untrue. 

    Characteristics of Indian Philosophy

    The following observations might pave the way for a more thorough examination of the characteristics of Indian philosophy:

    1. First and foremost, there is no denying that the Upanisads have a strong spiritual motivation: it is said that realizing the atman will end all suffering in this world and lead to a state of spiritual emancipation (whatever the latter may mean). 

    Even though the darsanas attribute their beliefs and doctrines to the Upanisads, it is sometimes mistaken to fail to discern between their purported spirituality and that of the Upanisads. 

    2. Second, contemplating spiritual issues is not in and of itself spiritual.  This assertion merely serves to reaffirm the kind of thinking it is, not to diminish it. 

    Quâ thought is neither spiritual nor non-spiritual; it may be comprehensive or shallow, daring or conventional, logically rigorous or lacking in rigor, critical or creative. 

    Consider the related statement that perception is not a function of thought. 

    3. Another point often overlooked by proponents of the spiritual nature of the darsanas is that although some of them, at least, acknowledge sabda as a pramana or method of real knowledge, they do not associate sabda with any particular experience. 

    Those who seek to claim that the identification of Sabda as a Pramana is equivalent to agreeing to the spiritual experiences of the "seers" an authoritative position misinterpret this issue, about which the philosophical tradition had considerable clarity. 

    I'll come back to this perplexity later. 

    Cliches like the idea that Indian philosophies rely more on intuition than intellect exhibit the same kind of misconception. 

    Apart from the fact that the terms "intuition" and "intellect" have multiple and overlapping usage, I want to remind individuals who like such clichés that none of the darsanas use the word "intuition," which is a pramana. 

    Without going into any more detail, let me go on to the flattering remarks I want to make. 

    I'll categorize my comments into three groups: those about pramana, or real cognition's methods, those about prameya, or its objectives, and those about the theory's general position, goal, and relationship to other lines of investigation. 

    The Purpose Of Philosophical Theories.

    A philosophical theory must provide a detailed explanation of how things are, but it must also support that description with a theory of evidence, logical justification, and critical evaluation. 

    It must have a philosophy of those theoretical procedures in addition to using facts, reasons, and critical evaluations. 

    It must provide universal responses to issues like: When is a cognitive assertion true? What kind of evidence are appropriate in determining if a cognitive assertion is true? What kinds of reasons for holding certain ideas are acceptable? What standards are acceptable for seriously evaluating competing claims? What are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the criteria when they conflict? The pramana theory focuses on solving these problems. 

    The fact that all of the darsanas developed their own theories of pramana at some point throughout their evolution is a unique indication of the high degree of intellectual complexity of the darsanas. 

    As is fairly well known, these theories varied not just in terms of how pramana was defined (and the accompanying idea of prama, i.e., actual cognition), but also in terms of how many pramanas there were and what characteristics each one had. 

    Here, I want to call attention to a few standout characteristics that come up in these debates and shed a little, if any, light on the Indian conception of reason. 

    Let's start by pointing out a significant discrepancy in locution, which is not just a question of locution but rather indicates serious fundamental problems. 

    Until recently, it was common in the Western philosophical tradition to question whether knowing comes from reason or experience. 

    The solutions provided by the rationalists and the empiricists were different. 

    These responses, in their different iterations, guided Western philosophy's development. 

    The concepts "reason" and "experience" don't have direct equivalents in Sanskrit philosophical jargon, and the epistemological problem has never been discussed in such broad terms. 

    On the other hand, the issue of whether perception is the sole pramana or if anumana is a pramana was posed, and it is possible that this question will be misunderstood for the one that was just presented in the Western tradition. 

    Neither "perception" nor "anumana" are interchangeable with "experience" or "reason," respectively. 

    Every philosophical school that acknowledged perception as a pramana did so, but many of them did not limit perception to sensory perception, nor did they limit sensory perception to the realm of perceptible characteristics, like color, and material things, like sticks and stones. 

    The ego and its attributes, such as pleasure, suffering, desire, and cognition, universals, such as redness, natural-kind essences, such as cowness, and relations, such as touch and inherence, were among the objects that were considered to be sensually sensed (of a quality in a substance; of a universal in its instances). 

    Anumana, or inference, derives from perception, which makes it obvious that it differs from reason (as used by rationalists). 

    No school of Indian philosophy, excepting Buddhism, assigned inference a "constructive" function. 

    It is aware of what is otherwise knowable. 

    Perception is always given importance. 

    There are no rationalists in India. 

    Unlike "experience" and "reason" in traditional Western philosophy, neither perception nor inference were used to identify any particular mental capacity. 

    In one instance, perception was the consequence of the same abilities or cognitive tools acting in a different way; in another, inference was the result. 

    I've elaborated on this topic to warn against the tendency to identify close relatives of Western epistemologies in pramana theories. 

    What Is Pramana?

    The words that came before point to another aspect of the pramana ideas. 

    A pramana is the particular cause of a real cognition or irreducible inherently. 

    There are two distinct types of justifications for a pramana not being accepted by a certain school. 

    1. Some Buddhists do not consider inference to be a pramana for this reason: an inferential cognition perceives its object as an instance of a universal rule and not in its uniqueness, and is thus not true to its object's own nature. 
    2. Another reason is that the type of cognition it causes is simply not true cognition. However, there are many more explanations for why a purported pramana is not really one. 

    The Vaisesikas stress that the supposed linguistically created cognition is not of an irreducible kind, but rather reducible to inference. In doing so, they do not dispute the truth of the putative linguistically generated cognition. 

    What Constitutes A Pramana?

    A pramana hypothesis so makes the following three claims: 

    (1) Some cognitions are true, or prama; 

    (2) Some of these true cognitions fall under a type that cannot be reduced to any other type; and 

    (3) True cognitions of such an irreducible type are brought about by a particular collection of causal circumstances. 

    As a result, the pramana theory incorporates a kind of causal theory of knowledge:1 a valid cognition must not only be true to its object (arthavyabhicarin), but it must also be formed correctly, that is, by the proper causes. 

    This may be stated in terms of current philosophy as follows: S has a cognitive state of the type "p" if this cognitive state is true and if it is produced in the appropriate manner. 

    This last explanation in terms of a mental state brings me to the third aspect I want to highlight. 

    Pramanas As Causes And Defenses For Cognitive Experiences.

    The dualism of mind and matter, the subjective and the objective, has divided Western thinking since at least Descartes, in addition to the competing claims of reason and experience. 

    The separation between the private and public is one of the offsprings of the latter division. 

    This has become known as the psychologism issue in more contemporary philosophical thought. 

    The ghost of psychologism has haunted epistemology and theory of logic, and both fields have made efforts to exclude any mention of inner mental states from their language. 

    Pure objectivism, whether of the Platonic or physicalist kind, has been the result. 

    In contrast, Indian epistemologists have openly employed "mentalistic" discourse and haven't given much thought to issues with psychologism, private language, etc. 

    You might just charge them with being uncritically naive. 

    But given their sharpened critical faculties, it is necessary to look elsewhere for the causes. 

    It is generally known that for the majority of Indian philosophers, the mind (if manas is to be interpreted that way) is more of a delicate kind of prakrti or matter, an unconscious inner sense organ, rather than a space for personal experiences. 

    Only the self, or atman, has the ability to "perceive" the thoughts and other experiences that belong to them (if self-manifesting, then so only to the owner). 

    However, it does not necessarily follow that no one else can know them through any of the pramanas other than perception if S is the only one with an internal perception of his experience. 

    Additionally, these episodes have their ideal purposeful contents, which numerically unique episodes belonging to different owners and occurring at various temporal locations may share. 

    This is true even if they are owned by the same person. 

    I've shown in other places how, given this idea of "mental episodes," it is possible to create a logic of cognitions with the proper logical rules for inference. 

    Therefore, discussing a cognitive experience should not raise the specter of psychologizing. 

    The causal story that permeates Indian epistemologies was mentioned earlier. 

    It is now able to take a closer look at it. 

    It has become customary to clearly distinguish between questions of causal origin and questions of epistemic justification, possibly since Kant (quaestio factis). 

    Causal Theory Of Knowledge.

    A causal theory of knowledge has only recently become very popular, but causal theories of knowledge must be able to accommodate justificatory concepts like truth and logical validity. 

    Indian epistemologies might be used as a valuable example in this respect. 

    The pramanas act as both causes and defenses for cognitive episodes, as B. K. Matilal emphasized in his most recent book on perception. 

    This, in my opinion, was made possible by first separating out non-controversial instances of true cognitions from similar instances of false cognitions, searching simultaneously for

    (1) the marks that distinguish the former from the latter, and 

    (2) the distinctive causal conditions that produce the former and not the latter, 

    and finally combining (1) and (2) in the definition of pramana. 

    The causal conditions producing cognitions (of a certain type) and those producing true cognitions (of that type) coincide in theories that view truth as svatah. 

    The logician-cum-epistemologist believes that causal theories are problematic since they are infamously reductionistic. 

    When Causal Theories Suffice.

    According to Indian tradition, which saw them as descriptive and consistent with cognitions' distinctiveness and claim to reality. 

    There are two aspects to this liberalism: first, whereas the causal laws used by Indian epistemologists are formulated in terms of such heterogeneous elements as physical contacts, revived memories, and desires to have a certain kind of knowledge, for example—if needed, even activation of traces of past karma and the pervasive passage of time—reductionist causal laws are physicalistic and oriented to the prevailing physical theory. 

    Second, such a causal story is descriptive rather than explanatory because it is written to conform to the intuitive requirements of a cognitive event rather than to the limitations of an existing physical theory. 

    The general restrictions resembled those of a significant ontological theory. 

    Before moving on to the prameya theory, or ontology, I will only make two more remarks about the pramana theory. 

    In that order, these two comments will address anumana (or inference) and sabda (word). 

    In the secondary literature, it has been extensively discussed how the Indian theory of anumana is nonformal (it tells a story about how inferential cognition arises) and psychological (it requires an instance where the universal major premise is satisfied). 

    Both descriptions are accurate, but unless properly understood, they run the risk of misleading. 

    I've already discussed how Indian thought combined logic and psychology. 

    This viewpoint is well shown by the theory of inference. 

    The reconciliation of psychology and logic was achieved through both the logicization of psychology and the psychologization of logic: 

    the former by assuming that the psychological process of reasoning conforms to the logical (any apparent deviation, such as in allegedly fallacious reasoning, being due to misconstrual of the premises); and the latter by turning logic into a logic of cognitions rather than of propositions. 

    The Indian theory of anumana is not ignorant of formal validity, though. 

    In actuality, a valid Nyaya anumana can be abstracted from a valid mood. 

    The merely formally valid inference, such as in tarka or counterfactuals, was ignored because the focus was on cognitions (rather than sentences or propositions), and anumana as a promana, as a source of true cognition. 

    This brings me to the idea of the word, or sabda, as a pramana, or a source of genuine cognition. 

    The deeper roots and true pillars of the Hindu tradition are actually found here. 

    The Indian epistemologies already have a novel feature in the simple recognition of sabda as a pramana. 

    Perception, reasoning, introspection, and memory are among the types of knowledge that are acknowledged by Western epistemologies. 

    Many philosophers today emphasize the crucial part that language plays in forming our knowledge. 

    But as far as I'm aware, no one regards language—or verbal utterance—as a stand-alone method of learning about the outside world. 

    And yet, how much do we really know only by listening to people, reading books, and other things—not to mention our religious and moral convictions that come from studying the scriptures? Indian epistemologies acknowledged sabda (listening to a competent speaker's utterances) not only as a pramana but also as the key source of our cognitions about all those things that go beyond the bounds of what is feasible for sensory experience. 

    The following are some features of the sabda-pramana theory that I want to highlight. 

    1. First off, sabda, as a pramana, is not just a word; it is a sentence, and that sentence is spoken, not written. 

    Without a doubt, the spoken and the heard take precedence over the written. 

    2. Second, most Indian theorists place more emphasis on imperative than indicative phrases when it comes to language development. 

    The purpose of the sentence utterances is primarily—if not exclusively—to give orders, recommend actions that should be taken or avoided, and other similar tasks, rather than to state facts. 

    3. Thirdly, most Indian theorists adhere to a pure referential theory of meaning (both for words and for sentences) and lack a concept of sense as opposed to reference. 

    (Several individuals have attempted to demonstrate where to look for such a theory of sense since I made this diagnosis 20 years ago. 

    Mark Siderits' attempt is the most convincing of these attempts. 

    I believe my general diagnosis is accurate, even though Siderits is correct in tracing a sort of sense theory to the Buddhist apoha theory.) 

    The difference between understanding and knowing can be blurred in the theory of sabdapramana thanks to a direct referential theory. 

    The Nyaya literature is full of translations of meaningless phrases like "hare's horn," but the real obstacle to the theory is the lack of a tenable explanation for what it means to comprehend a false sentence. 

    If the Naiyayika are to be consistent, abdapramana must be fundamentally true. 

    False sentences are unable to produce understanding (sabdabodha), let alone prama. 

    However, theoretically speaking, sabdabadha and sabdajanyaprama are identical. 

    It is all too clear that this identification creates enormous problems. 

    4. Fourthly, the claim that sabda is an irreducible pramana is most strongly supported in the field of what should and shouldn't be done. 

    If factual facts may potentially be proven by observation or some type of reasoning, it is reasonable to assert that the only way we can know what is right and wrong is through vocal instruction, whether it be written or spoken, from moral authorities, wise people, or the scriptures. 

    The assertion that the sacred, well-known scriptures (the Vedas and the Upanisads) are apauruseya, or that they were not written by any human author, is a significant one that solidly supports tradition. 

    This grants them an authority that no text by a human author could support—one that is free from any possibility of fault and cannot be changed. 

    At the conclusion of this article, I will revisit the idea of "apauruseyatva." 

    Pramana Theories.

    What kinds of prameya theories, or potential sources of true knowledge, did Indian philosophers hold? 

    What can be done at this point, given the wide range of ontologies—from the pluralism of Nyaya-Vaisesika to the monism of Advaita Vedanta—is to call attention to some important aspects of those ontologies. 

    First of all, it should be recognized that these ontologies do not accept any abstract entities of the kind that Western ontologies do. 

    We have Fregean senses (such as propositions), numbers, and universais among the common abstract objects. 

    I've already stated that, in my opinion, there are no fully developed Fregean senses. 

    Numbers are reduced to the characteristics of sets (gunas). 

    Although universals are widespread, they are not the kind of rarefied beings that can only be understood through the use of reason, as they are understood in the Western metaphysical tradition. 

    They are perceived through the same sense organ that their instances are, making them somewhat more concrete entities. 

    There are also no purely hypothetical possibilities. 

    It is not surprising that these last creatures are absent because, contrary to Indian thought, God's mind, which serves as their habitat in Western metaphysical tradition, does not have the ability to create something out of nothing. 

    Some standard concepts of necessary truth and its opposite contingent truth simply cannot find any formulation in the Indian systems due to the lack of possibilia and abstract entities such as propositions. 

    We therefore have descriptions of what the world actually is, but not of what might have been or what might not possibly have been. 

    Remember that the typical expression of vyapti is extensional rather than modal ("It is impossible that..."): "It is never the case that in all those loci where smoke is present, fire is absent." The fact that science and metaphysics have stood sharply apart since the beginning of metaphysics in Aristotle is one reason why the metaphysical scheme in traditional Western metaphysics claimed a sort of necessity over and against those features of the world that the sciences study. 

    According to this argument, metaphysics is not concerned with beings but rather with being quâ being, which is defined in a number of well-known ways (for example, as the highest being, the most general predicates or categories, or the definition of the word "being"). 

    Science and metaphysics are still intertwined in the minds of Indian metaphysicians. 

    Both both out to comprehend how the universe is organized; the main difference is in the generality of their approaches. 

    Advaita Vedanta As An Exception.

    The only exception to this rule is Advaita Vedanta, which holds that since there is only one Being at work beneath all things, metaphysics—if that is what para vidya needs to be called, which is highly dubious—is the study of that Being. 

    If creation from nothing, and thus creation in the strict sense, has no place in Indian thought, then this is not merely a peripheral phenomenon for the darsanas; rather, it determines some very central features of not only the Indian cosmologies but also of the metaphysical concepts of God, substance, time, and negation, as I believe it can be demonstrated. 

    Unfortunately, I am unable to look into that issue at this time. 

    The Pramana-Prameya Structure

    In this final and concluding section, I'd like to discuss the entire pramana-prameya structure, or the philosophical endeavor as it is represented in the darsanas. 

    The Indian philosophers were working on extremely complex philosophical issues, but they weren't explicitly and consciously concentrating on the nature of their work. 

    It is normally in reaction to the skeptical criticisms of a Madhyamika that occasionally they would, while justifying their business, comment on the nature of what they would be doing. 

    Without delving into linguistic specifics, let me mention some of the important points. 

    1. The Madhyamika critique includes an ontology critique in addition to an epistemology critique. 

    The critic argues that they are dependent on one another. 

    Without first deciding what needs to be known, you cannot determine what the pramanas are. 

    And until you have the knowledge necessary on hand, you cannot answer the second question. 

    So where do you start? Why not abandon the whole endeavor if the cycle cannot be broken?


    2. In response to this challenge, the pramana-prameya theorist has stated, in brief, that it assumes an unnecessarily strong reading of the unity of the two parts of a darsana. 

    A pramana's relationship to its prameya is not one-to-one. 

    More than one pramana can have knowledge of the same thing. 

    Consider the Nyaya and the Vaisesika for an example of how one and the same ontology system can be made to work with various epistemologies. 

    By defining both and creating a many-one or one-many relation between terms on each side, it is possible to overcome the mutual dependence that jeopardizes the relationship between cognition and object in general. 

    3. According to (2), a darsana is not a seamless whole that cannot have portions removed from the context of that system. 

    My interpretation conflicts with the traditionalists' interpretation, which treats each darsana as a distinct viewpoint. 

    The Russian immigrant David Zilberman held this comprehensive view of a darsana, which I reject here. 

    His untimely death was a serious loss to Indian philosophy. 


    4. Although it is not stated explicitly, practice suggests that this is frequently the case, the reflective question of what kind of knowledge a philosophical system itself yields (or amounts to) and whether it can be appropriated into one or more of the pramanas recognized by the system was chosen. 

    The reason was a failure to recognize that philosophical knowledge is a type of knowledge that is, quâ knowledge, distinct from the types of knowledge that are thematized within the system. 

    This was already alluded to earlier. 

    In light of the purely referential theory of meaning, an alternative solution that would have involved drawing a distinction between understanding and knowing (where philosophy produces understanding but not knowledge) was not feasible. 

    The knowledge of brahman is such that both the knowledge and the entity of which it is knowledge are thematized within the system, according to the Vedantin, who claims that this knowledge leads to moksa. 

    What kind of cognition is meant when the Nyaya Stra claims that understanding the sixteen padarthas results in the highest good? Are there one or more pramanas involved? It appears that the answer is "yes." 


    5. Students of the darsanas frequently ponder where the framework (the list of pramanas and prameyas) that the later authors continued to refine was derived by the early masters, the authors of the stras and Bhasyas. 

    It does not allay that anxiety to say that they elaborated a way of seeing using the verbal root "drs" (= to see). 

    In any case, it is untrue that the later writers merely improved and clarified the framework put forth by the forefathers. 

    The more typical answer was to trace the framework back to the sruti, although they did tweak and modify it within reasonable bounds (which also argues against a strong holistic interpretation of the darsanas) (the heard texts with no human author). 

    Think about the intellectual phenomenon whereby philosophical systems as different as Vedanta and Nyaya claimed sruti affiliation. 

    So how should the nature of sabdapramana be understood in order to make sense of this paradoxical situation? 

    The nature of sabdapramana as applied to sruti should, in my opinion, be understood for this purpose in a way that is implicit in the tradition's understanding of itself but is not explicitly stated as such. 

    In my interpretation of the function of sruti in relation to philosophies, I deviate from the conventional wisdom in this area. 

    The sruti's apauruseyatva does not, in my opinion, imply that the texts are not composed at all or that they represent some extraordinary, mystical experience. 

    Not the first, both because there is sufficient internal evidence that the texts were written and because a literal interpretation would be absurd. 

    Not the second, because in my opinion, sentences express thoughts rather than experiences. 

    Although this is not the appropriate time, I would like to defend the last thesis. 

    Setting aside these two frequently accepted views, I want to offer the following. 

    First, considering the authors' intentions is completely irrelevant and useless when attempting to understand the sruti texts. 

    Insofar as they are readily available to us and serve to define the tradition for us, the texts, or the words themselves, are primary. 

    We interpret those words by using them to describe our experiences, the outside world, and ourselves. 

    While conventional wisdom assigns the sruti's words whatever meaning it deems appropriate, I leave room for interpretation. 

    It is this fluidity of meaning, this unending potential of interpretation, the ongoing challenge they offer to us, which sets the words of the sruti apart from those of smrti . 

    They are fundamental not because they represent facts which are unassailable, but because they describe the framework within which the Hindu philosophers posed questions, comprehended their concerns, and judged their replies. 

    In this sense, sabda (like sruti) is not itself a pramana , but underlying the latter's uses. 

    Apauruseyasruti is not the highest pramana , infallible and risen above all the others. 

    Instead, it is the origin of all questions and worries (source, not solution) for which the various pramanas show a unique philosophical relevance. 

    So, who is adopting that tradition in their thinking? My response is that sharing the concerns as sources of philosophical issues is what is required, not thinking traditionally or adhering to any or all of the schools' responses. 

    Thus, rather than defining the tradition in terms of beliefs, I describe it in terms of concerns.

    ~Kiran Atma