Logical construction is something that follows on verbal knowledge but has no real object
This (vikalpa) does not amount to right knowledge.
Now he describes logical construction. Verbal knowledge means knowledge from words, and something that follows on verbal knowledge means something whose nature is to follow from the verbal knowledge, good or bad, which comes from the fixed relation between words and their meanings; but has no real object means that nothing is actually expressed, inasmuch as there is no actual (yathābhūta) thing as the meaning of those words from which that knowledge follows. Logical construction is thinking without reference to any actual thing.
(Opponent) If it follows on verbal knowledge, it should be taken as authority.
(Answer) It does not amount to right knowledge. It does not fall under authority because it has no real object. Authority does arise from verbal knowledge, but it relates to actual things. So authority has a real object, indicated by the words, whereas logical construction, having no real object, is not right knowledge.
Moreover, logical construction is the same in the speaker and the hearer; in both of them the idea of the logical construction has arisen from words. Not so authority, which is such for the hearer alone; for the speaker it is what he has seen or inferred.
Again, for one in the samādhi without verbal associations (nir-vitarka), logical construction ceases, but not authority. Therefore it does not amount to a right knowledge.
Nor does it amount to illusion. Though its object is non-existent, it is by the prestige of verbal knowledge that worldly life is upheld wholly. As for example when it is said ‘consciousness is the nature of Puruṣa’, since Puruṣa is consciousness alone, what is being described here, and by what? Yet an idea does arise by way of description, as in the case of the words ‘Caitra’s cow’.
(Opponent) Since its object does not exist, it should be included under illusion.
(Answer) Nor does it amount to illusion. Why not? Because it follows on verbal knowledge. Illusion – though its object too is non-existent – has no reference to verbal knowledge; it has been defined as false knowledge based on an untrue form. But logical construction is an extension of ideas determined by a right knowledge. Illusion is in the end removed, because it contradicts everything else; not so, logical construction, because that conforms to ideas from a right knowledge.
So the expressions whose object is non-existent and following on verbal knowledge, taken together, point to a separate mental process, logical construction, which is distinct both from right knowledge and from illusion, though it has a trace of each of them about it. Inasmuch as there is this trace of them about it, logical construction is introduced immediately after them instead of memory, because memory is based simply upon something experienced formerly.
(Opponent) No such mental process can be established, because it has no real form.
(Answer) Though its object is non-existent, it is by the prestige of verbal knowledge that worldly life is upheld wholly. The word wholly is intended to make it clear that there is no other cause apart from verbal knowledge. To the demand for an example he says, consciousness is the nature of Puruṣa. As the power-of-consciousness has been defined as unchanging, Puruṣa is simply consciousness. That being the thing itself, there is no difference between them, and the words ‘the consciousness of Puruṣa’ do not amount to a description, which always presupposes some difference somewhere.
To make this point, the grammarian says in his work Vārttika, ‘A thing is established by bringing out a secondary element (in the description).’ In the present case, ‘Caitra’s cow’ assumes a difference, and ‘Puruṣa’s consciousness’ is just like it in form; but Puruṣa is not something different from consciousness, so the words cannot be descriptive, whereas Caitra’s difference from his cow is the basis of a description. Nor is consciousness anything different from Puruṣa, which could make for a description. And yet, the idea does appear that ‘consciousness is the nature of Puruṣa’ is somehow a description, implying relation between different things.
‘Puruṣa is actionless’ is a denial that it has the property of a thing. Similarly, when it is said ‘the arrow stops’ or the arrow has stopped’, we understand cessation of movement and the thing as itself alone. So ‘Puruṣa does not come to have properties’ means simply the absence of properties coming to be for him, not that Puruṣa does have a property – of not coming to be. Thus the properties, by which the life of the world goes on, are imagined logical constructs.
Vastu-dharma means the property (dharma) of a thing or fact (vastu); pratiśiddha-vastu-dharmā means that the fact of having a property is denied of him. As Pāṇini says (sūtra 5.4.124) dharmādanic kevalāt- the word dharma becomes dharman and hence dharmā by the change called samāsānta at the end of a compound which is to be taken as a whole.
The word thing indicates the guṇa-s like sattva, and their properties are denied of Puruṣa.
It is not that the very denial would mean that the properties of sattva and the others must be possible in Puruṣa. The meaning is simply this: they do not exist in any Puruṣa so that they could be described as ‘his’. But even so, just as there is an idea of description in the words ‘the spotted cows are his’, so there is an idea of description in the words ‘the properties are denied of him’.
Again, to say ‘action has gone from him’ implies a previous connection with action, as when we say ‘action has gone from Caitra’ (an idiom for ‘Caitra is taking a rest’). Action is impossible in Puruṣa, so it is impossible for action to go from Puruṣa. Still, the sentence ‘Puruṣa is without action’ does give an idea of description.
Puruṣa does not come to have properties means that the coming-into-existence of properties is not found in him, as has been said. The commentator explains: it means simply the absence of properties coming to be for him. For instance, he is without guṇa-s, pure, without parts. Giving the various examples in regard to the self (ātman) is to define by exclusion what the self really is.
The arrow stops, the arrow will stop, the arrow has stopped. A well-known example from life is given to resolve any remaining doubt. Stops is cessation of movement, absence of movement. There is no conjunction of an absence with any of the three periods of time, nor of an arrow as a substance regardless of function, nor any connection of the cessation of movement, which is an absence, with an arrow which is a thing. Thus the three examples are given: the arrow stops, will stop, has stopped.
(Opponent) The bare meaning of the root ‘stop’ is cessation of motion. What subject can there be for a predicate like cessation of motion?
(Answer) This is why other examples are given. Unless they are distinct, neither subject nor predicate can exist. There is a verbal root having the sense of cessation of motion, and an idea of description is aroused by the designative power of the words, implying a relation between an existent subject and existent predicate. This is how the object of a logical construction is produced, as demonstrated in the various examples.