Yoga Sutra 4.15 since there is difference of the minds the two must be distinct categories

Sūtra IV.15

Since there is difference of the minds, while the object is the same, the two must be distinct categories

A single thing becomes an object of many minds, to which it is common. It is not dependent on any one mind, nor determined by a number of minds. The thing stands by itself. How so? The object is the same: there is difference of the minds.

Though the thing be the same, when the mind regarding it looks to righteousness, from that very thing there is knowledge of happiness. From that very thing, when the mind looks to unrighteousness, it is knowledge of pain. Similarly, looking to ignorance, it is delusive knowledge. From that very thing, looking to right knowledge, there comes unbiased knowledge. Therefore, object and knowledge are distinct categories, because they are different as object known and the knowledge of it; there is not even a trace of overlap between them.

Why is it so unreasonable that a perceived object should not exist? Since there is difference of the minds, while the object is the same, the two must be distinct categories. A single thing such as a son, becomes an object of many minds, the field of attention of a number of minds, to which it is common, the same. It is not dependent on any one mind, nor, just because it is not dependent on one mind, does it become determined by a number of minds.

The thing stands by itself, is established in self-dependence irrespective of minds. How so? The object is the same, the object such as a son is only one; there is difference of the minds. Though the son is a single object, there is plurality of the knowledge of the knowers. How is there this difference of the minds? The reply is: Though the thing be the same, when the mind regarding it looks to righteousness, from that very thing there is knowledge of happiness like that of mother and father in relation to the one son.

From that very thing such as a son, when the mind looks to unrighteousness, that is to say, is hostile, knowledge of pain will be entailed.

Similarly for the desire-dominated looking to Ignorance, it is delusive knowledge. From that very thing for instance, the son, for the yogin-s looking to right knowledge, there comes unbiased knowledge, without either rejection or possessiveness. For such animals as are beasts of prey, there is knowledge of it as food, and finally there is knowledge of the corpse of the son when it is abandoned (at the funeral rite).

If a thing were to be determined by the mind of one person, then the minds of the others would be coloured by the determination of that one mind, and this is not a reasonable idea, for we never find any whose knowledge is not circumscribed (by his own location). If the other minds were coloured by the determination of the one mind, then everyone would know everything equally, and we do not find this. Therefore it is not that the things are determined by mind, but that object and knowledge are distinct categories, because they are different as object known and the knowledge of it; there is not even a trace of overlap between them.

Something like a son, which becomes the object of knowledge of happiness, is not as such determined by that particular knowledge, because there are minds which are affected by it in quite different ways, just as a debating proposition appears to its proposer good, but to an opponent, defective. If the proponent and opponent, etc., were all simply vijñāna-consciousness, there would be collapse of means, ends and the rest of daily life.

(Opponent) Let it be that it is just other forms of knowledge that exist, apart from one’s own vijñāna-consciousness.

(Answer) Suppose it were so. Then the thing, being the object of another’s knowledge, is admitted to be a separate thing, and the argument becomes simply a matter of names. But the difference between object and subject needs no proof, and there is not even a trace of overlap between them.

(Opponent) If we accept your view that a thing is established in its own nature, then it ought not to be the focal point of differing ideas of happiness and so on (as it has been described just now).

(Answer) The reply follows:

A thing is a movement of the three guṇa-s, a functioning of guṇa-s. It is referred to minds according to their impelling cause such as righteousness or unrighteousness. The cause of an idea arising corresponding to what impels it is according to the particular nature of that (impulsion).

A thing is a movement of the three guṇa-s, a function of guṇa-s. It is referred to minds as differences of happiness or pain, etc., according to their impelling cause such as righteousness or unrighteousness, inasmuch as they change and have various capacities. The cause of an idea arising corresponding to what impels it righteousness or another quality, is according to the particular nature of that (impulsion). In the case of an impulsion of something like righteousness, the thing such as a son becomes the cause of happiness, according to the nature of sattva. Where it is unrighteousness, it is cause of pain, according to the nature of rajas, and where it is a case of Ignorance, that same thing becomes a cause of delusion, according to the nature of tamas. In the case of Right Vision, that thing is a cause of unbiased knowledge, according to the nature of the thing as it is.

There are some who say: Existence of a thing is invariably concomitant with the knowledge of it, from the very fact that it is experienced, as happiness and so on. Ruling out the fact of common experience, they deny any actual (enduring) thing in the earlier and later moments.

There are some others of the Buddhists, who accept the existence of external objects, who say: Existence of a thing is invariably concomitant with the knowledge of it. As vijñāna-consciousness arises and perishes every instant, with no permanent entity supporting it, in the same way it is only in conjunction with knowledge that an object is experienced and perishes, from the very fact that it is experienced, as happiness and so on. Just as experience in the form of happiness and pain, etc., arise and perish in conjunction with consciousness and are not common to all, so too objects such as jars originate and perish together in the same vijñāna-consciousness alone, as is shown by the fact that they are simply experienced.

They too, like the Vijñāna-vādin Buddhist, ruling out the fact that a common thing makes itself an object to various minds as happiness and other experiences, deny any actual (enduring) thing in the earlier and later moments: since its (existence is) appearance in one’s own consciousness, in neither earlier nor later instants is any actual thing (to be supposed).

The actual nature of a thing, however, is not (mere) concomitance with vijñāna-consciousness, because there is the recognition ‘That indeed (yesterday) is this (here and now)’. What arises and perishes in an instant, like vijñāna-consciousness, would not be recognized as ‘That indeed is this’; for it is not thought ‘That indeed is my vijñāna-consciousness here’, but it is a thing that is cognized again, as ‘That indeed is this’. While object and knowledge exist on the same occasion, still there has to be the distinction between them.

Nor is it a recognition arising from similarity. Because the object and subject arise and perish simultaneously. When it is established that some particular thing has been seen, the idea that arises at the sight of another thing which is similar to it, is: ‘It is similar.’ Or perhaps there is a desire: ‘I hope to see something similar to it.’ For when a thing is known to have perished on one day, no one will look forward to seeing it on the following day. Nor can the afore-mentioned desire be in the form ‘someone very like me wishes to see it’, for this is not what we find: everyone exerts himself for his own purposes, and is not seen to do so regarding those with whom he has no concern.

So the present object here and now is not just something concomitant with present knowledge here and now, because it is known also as an object in the past.

Again, what is past is not born and perishing concomitantly with past knowledge, because it is also known as an object now. Things known by knowledge past or future also exist now, because they are known as ideas in the present. What is here and now is the same in previous or later moments.

(Opponent) But there is uncertainty about them, as for instance the knowledge of happiness, pain and so on (described before).

(Answer) Not so, because it has also been shown that what is past or future exists in its own nature. In which case, happiness and so on do themselves exist in their own nature; the same reasoning applies when they are taken as the example.

(Opponent) There is not the feeling of happiness, etc., when a thing is in the time-phases of past or future as when it is in the form of the present.

(Answer) That is making an issue of what has been established already (siddha-sādhyatā): the bare existence of the boy is not his adulthood.

From here on it will be shown that it cannot be right that a thing should depend on mind for its existence. Would it depend on a single mind, or would it depend on several? As to dependence on a single mind, there is this to say:

 

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