Thursday, November 28, 2013

Logical system of Madvacharya by Dr S. Srikanta Sastri

If psychology is a science of mental phenomena, characterised by the pursuance of future ends and of the choice of means for their attainments, it is the special function of logic to concern itself with the problems of truth and error. The realistic schools admitting enduring objects and cognitions hold that all knowledge is intrinsically right, except in the case of contradiction or deficiency. The extremely idealistic schools however assert that all knowledge is intrinsically unreliable and only subsequently by re-cognition becomes reliable. As perhaps the last great exponent of realism and theism in India, Sri Madhvãcãrya's system of logic as expounded in his Pramana laksana may be compared with other systems.

Madhvãcãrya starts with a definition of Pramana as "corresponding to the object". This terse definition implies the reality of the object, a cognition corresponding to the object and a valid means of attaining such cognition. Thus it can be distinguished from doubt and otherness. As a contrast the Buddhist definition of Pramana as efficacious knowledge applies to the ultimate reality which is momentary (svalakshana, ksana). The Buddhists stipulate that
Depiction of Dinnaga
uncontradicted experience is the source of right knowledge, and this right knowledge depends on sensation, not conception4. The Mimasaka definition of pramana5 as a means of right knowledge is from Madhva's point of view also defective. The Bhattas urge that in the cognitions "this is a pot", "the pot is known", and "the pot is revealed" there is a sequence and hence the first leads to the second. Since such cognition of the thing is primary, there are no defects of illusion. But Madhva urges that right cognition is knowledge only and does not exclusively depend upon the object. In the statement “the pot is known", the pot was manifest, but, it is the knowledge alone that is revealed due to the attribute of the object cognised. Therefore we arrive at the statement "the pot is known" and such a proposition is not valid regarding the cognisability which is an attribute of the object. Therefore knowledge alone becomes manifest as the object's quality and hence is not different as another thing like right knowledge.

Another Mimamsaka view of right knowledge is that it is the knowledge of the object hitherto undetermined and the means of obtaining such right knowledge is pramana. This definition is also defective because the right knowledge of the known is excluded and there is no evidence for the assertion that valid knowledge of the previously cognised object is invalid and its means also as invalid. Then if it is objected that all memory which depends upon the previously cognised object should be accepted as valid, it is not so, because of selectivity. The Prabhakaras assert that experience alone is valid knowledge and do not accept the validity of memory. Knowledge is of two kinds: experience and memory, the latter is born of the previous experience and since error is possible, the view that experience alone constitutes right knowledge cannot stand. 

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