Yoga Sutra 4.14 a thing is what it is by the fact of a unitary change

Sūtra IV.14

A thing is what it is by the fact of a unitary change

The guṇa-s are ever tending towards light, activity, and stasis respectively. When they have the nature of perception, a unitary change as an instrument (of perception) is the sense-organ of hearing. Then a unitary change in their nature as object is a sound, and that is the perceived sound. Then a unitary change of sounds and other objects of a class compatible with that form is an ultimate atom of earth, with the subtle element as component. Of these (atoms) are the unitary changes called earth, cow, tree, mountain and so on.

The guṇa-s are ever tending towards light, activity, and stasis respectively. When they have the nature of perception from predominance of light, essential awareness grounded in I-am-ness, a unitary change as an instrument (of perception) is the sense-organ of hearing, just as light comes out of the opposites oil, wick, and fire. The same applies to the skin and other sense-organs; there is an appropriate change into the sense-organ, by the guṇa-s combining to carry out the purpose of Puruṣa.

Then a unitary change in their nature as object, the nature of the guṇa-s with tamas predominant, is a sound, and that is the perceived sound.

With the other elements also it is to be harmonized, by similarly adding liquidity, heat, motility, and revealing – as they are compatible.

With the other elements also it is to be harmonized. Unitary change of sound, touch, colour, and taste, of a class compatible with liquidity, is an ultimate atom of water, with the subtle element of taste as component. Of these (atoms) is the unitary change of water.

The unitary change of sound, touch, and colour, of a class compatible with heat, is an ultimate atom of fire, with the subtle element of colour as component. Of these atoms the unitary change is fire, both the submarine fire and the light from firewood. The unitary change of sound and touch, of a class compatible with motility, is an ultimate atom of air, with the subtle element of touch as component. Of these atoms the unitary change is wind, and the seven Marut wind-gods. So the unitary change of sound, of a class compatible with revealing, is space.

On these lines it is all to be harmonized, as unitary change of things compatible brought together as liquidity, heat, motility and so on. So there is singleness of change, however many the things may be, and thus they form single objects, and there is something to give selectivity to it all as perceived and perception.

(Opponent) There is no object apart from consciousness (vijñāna): there is only consciousness apart from objects.

(Opponent) This single object of an idea, such as a sound, does not exist at all. It is all simply displayed in consciousness, for the being of its being is consciousness. As to this being of its being, There is no object apart from consciousness, nor any separate being perceived from a separate consciousness, There is only consciousness apart from objects, a separate existence, perceived as separate.Thus we refute the theory of existence apart (from consciousness). For these reasons we assert that there is no object outside consciousness.

Here is the proof of it: there is no object perceived apart from consciousness, because apart from consciousness nothing is perceived, and objects are as consciousness itself. The conscious experiences of things in the waking state, being without any external objects, are simply consciousness, and so they are like the consciousness in the dream state. Or we could say that the objects imagined in consciousness during waking, as objects, are like those of dream. Again, whatever the objects, the consciousness is invariable, so that as consciousness it is like that of the dream state.

And in that case, what is there to trouble us? The Transcendental Aloneness (kaivalya) urged upon us, being outside the perception of Puruṣa, has no basis.

(Answer) As a pillar for example, though perceived, has no existence (on your theory), so vijñāna-consciousness similarly perceived, has no existence. That being non-existent, it would entail absence of any perceiving subject, for lack of proof. So of whom would there be the Aloneness (release – of which your school speaks)? By whom or what would the separation be seen, and again, by whom or what would the bondage or conjunction be asserted? In the absence of bondage, there would be no effort towards the attainment of the highest good (niḥśreyasa), and that result would not follow.

Furthermore, when it is said ‘there is no object apart from consciousness’, it means that the words consciousness and object have one and the same meaning, as if one were to say, ‘combustion is fire’. In which case, consciousness is the perceived object and the perceiving subject both, so that the confrontation of object perceived and perceiving subject is a matter of mere words, and it is not denied that one thing can be both perceived object and perceiving subject. It would follow that Puruṣa too would be perceived object and perceiving subject. Then release too would be meaningless, and there would follow numerous other defective positions.

In this way they deny things as they are, holding that a thing is comparable to a dream object, no more than a form in consciousness, and not, in the final analysis, existent. In this way they are rejecting, on the basis of an essentially unproven logical construct, the thing standing before them in its own strength. How should their words have any credibility?

So in this way by force of a mere show of reasoning, they deny things as they are, holding that a thing is comparable to a dream object, no more than a form in consciousness, and not, in the final analysis, existent. In this way by such a hypothesis they themselves are rejecting, denying this which they have admitted, by now saying ‘it does not exist’, on the basis of an essentially unproven logical construct, the thing standing before them in its own strength. How should their words have any credibility? For those who propagate denial of their own experience cannot be worthy of credence.

The proposition that there are no objects apart from vijñāna-consciousness contradicts direct perception. We should recognize that vijñāna-consciousness is an instrument of perception, by which we perceive an object, in the form of a worm for example. The consciousness which reveals it is the perceiver, and what is revealed is the object. Since perception arises from the two things, the object and consciousness which are distinct in character, there is no trace of anything apart (from them). So that your argument from non-perception of anything apart is unsound.

The fact of the form of the worm, etc. is not from consciousness alone. Out of the one consciousness there would not come both the revealer and the revealed, any more than out of a single light. When that one light is divided into two separate lights, we do not see one as illuminator and the other as illumined, because it is not possible that the two should be in either one separately. And it is the same in the case of consciousness.

Moreover, the Buddha’s counter-argument undermines his own position. For you cannot propose that the very thing you desire to prove does not exist; and if it does exist apart from vijñāna-consciousness, then the jar and so on too must be taken to exist.

Even with knowledge of dream objects, inasmuch as they are perceived things, they are not without some objective basis.

To argue that knowledge has no object goes against perception and against normal usage. All knowledge has an object, just because it is knowledge; as there is knowledge of the bad arguments of the opponent and knowledge of the good arguments of one’s own side. So it is fundamentally unsound to reason that such things as knowledge are without any object.

Why is it so unreasonable?

 

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