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Journal of Vaishnava Studies

Deepak Heritage Books
Hampton, Virginia
In Cooperation With
Department of Philosophy and Religios Stdies
CHristopHer NeWport UNiVersitY

Newport News, Virginia 23606

Senior editors
Steven J. Rosen
(JoUrNal of VaisHNaVa stUDies)
Graham M. Schweig
(CHristopHer NeWport UNiVersitY)
Managing editor
Steven J. Rosen
Associate editors
E. H. Rick Jarow
(Vassar College)
Barbara Berasi
International Advisory Board
Gy L. Beck
(tUlaNe UNiVersitY)
Edwin F. Bryant
(rUtgers UNiVersitY)
Gerald T. Carney
(HampDeN-sYDNeY College)
Amarnath Chatterjee
(DelHi UNiVersitY)
Nirmal Narayan Gpta
(BeNgali eDUCatioNal faCilitY,
Howrah, Calctta)
Barbara Holdrege
(UNiVersitY of CaliforNia,
saNta BarBara)
Jne McDaniel
(College of CHarlestoN)
Joseph T. OConnell
(UNiVersitY of toroNto)

The Journal of Vaishnava Studies (JVS) is a biannal, interdisciplinary refereed

pblication dedicated to the in-depth stdy of the Vaishnava traditions of
India, from ancient times to the present. The jornal presents the research
of Vaishnava scholars and scholars of Vaishnavism, ths representing both
practitioner and academic perspectives.
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(or Ka) and Braj (or Vraja) will ths be rendered variosly.
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(anonymos) qalified scholars in the field prior to pblication. For accepted
contribtions, final editorial decisions, in terms of content and style, rest
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Copyright 2009 A. Deepak Publishing, Inc. The copyright of all printed
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United States of America. (ISSN 1062-1237)


Volume 18

No. 1

Fall 2009


Joseph T. OConnell / Kirtan O Gramin Krishti (Kirtan and

Village Culture): The Final Chapter of Hitesranjan Sanyals
Bangla Kirtaner Itihas (History of Bengal Kirtan)

Jason D. Fuller/ Bengali Vaishnava Homelands


Aleksandar Uskokov/Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


Kiyokazu Okita/A Bengali Vaishnava Contribution to Vednta:

Baladeva Vidybhsana on the Word atha in the Brahmastra 1.1.1


Leena A. Taneeja/Expecting the Unexpected: The Secret of the Gift

in the Bengali Vaishnava Tradition


Satyanarayana Dasa/The Concept of Bhagavn in Bengal Vaishnavism

as found in Jiva Goswamis Bhagavat-sandarbha


Dhanurdhara Swami/rila Bhaktisiddhnta and Rgnugasdhana-bhakti


Graham M. Schweig/Toward A Constructive and Comparative

Theology of Krishna Bhakti for Contemporary Bengal Vaishnavism


Book Reviews


About the Contributors




he religios path known as Vaishnavism can be described as devotion to Krishna, Rma, Vishn, or any of his divine incarnations. It is
seen by its adherents as a type of monotheism in which worship of a
personal God is the focs. In sheer nmbers, it prevails as the leading religios system over Shaivism, Shaktism, and the many other paths commonly
associated with Hind dharma.
There are ancient scriptral texts that form the basis of this religion: the
Vedas, the Prnas, the Mahbhrata (inclding the Bhagavad-gt), the
Rmyana, and the writings of the great cryas. Some of these texts date
back to at least the second centry B.C., with an oral tradition that goes back
to antiqity. Vaishnavism is known as santana dharma, or the eternal fnction of the sol, and adherents also refer to it as bhakti-yoga, or the devotional path throgh which one can link with the Spreme.
The religion of Vaishnavism is expressed in varios ways throghot the
Indian sbcontinent. One sch expression is Bengali or Gaya Vaishnavism. This is a form of the religion that began in sixteenth-centry Bengal
with the great avatra/saint r Chaitanya Mahprabh (14861533), bt
which participates in the mch older form of the tradition. It is called gauya becase r Chaitanya proclaimed his mission in the region that was
then known as Gaadea. This extended throghot the sothern side
of the Himalayan Montains and the northern part of the Vindhy Hills,
which is called ryvarta, or the land of the ryans. This portion of India is
divided into ive parts or provinces: Srasvata (Kashmir and the Pnjab),


Knyakbja (Uttar Pradesh, inclding the modern city of Lcknow),

Madhya-gaa (Madhya Pradesh), Maithila (Bihar and part of Bengal), and
Utkala (a portion of Bengal and all of Orissa).
The celebrated ancient capital of Gaadea, or Gaa, was sitated in
what is now the modern district of Maldah. The seat of the Sena dynasty,
this capital was eventally transferred to the ninth or central island on the
western side of the Ganges at Navadvpa, which is now known as Mypra
(althogh at that time it was called Gaapra). Chaitanya Mahprabh
appeared in that area, and so Gaya Vaishnavism natrally took on that
nomenclatre to commemorate the event.
There are scholars, however, who arge that since the term Gaya
refers only to Bengal or Gaadea, it is not appropriate as an overall name
for the religios tradition. The ideological aspect of Gaya Vaishnavism,
they say, extends beyond the designated parameters of Gaadea, and so
they prefer to call the tradition Chaitanya Vaishnavism or Chaitanyaite
Vaishnavism, which is apparently more accrate in the sense that the religion is based on the inspiration and teaching of r Chaitanyanot on a
geographical location.
Addressing this objection, there is a scholarly contingent who have pointed ot that there is a material Gaa (the land in and arond Bengal) and
a spirital oneGaa maalawhich is the sacred space of the same
area. This conception is reinforced by the etymology of the word Gaya,
for the primary non, gua (anglicized as gur), which literally refers to
molasses, or sweetness, can be extended to the adjective gaua, the name
of the contry associated with Gaya Vaishnavism. This is a grammatical,
poetic, and even spirital derivation, since Gaya Vaishnavism is viewed
by its practitioners as the clmination of a long spirital evoltion, like the
proverbial icing on an already delicios cake. Adherents consider Gaya
Vaishnavism the cap on the Vaishnava traditionit adds the necessary
sweetness to a delectable recipe. The secret ingredient, say the Gayas, is
r Rdh, for it is her sweet devotion to Krishna that embodies the essence
of Gaya Vaishnavism. Her madhu-sneha, or honey-like love, was not flly
revealed before the time of r Chaitanya Mahprabh.
Rabindranath Tagore and others have written abot the profsion with
which sgarcane grows in Bengal, and that the sweetness of that region
overlows into many aspects of everyday life, not least in the indigenos
religion. Sch writers are qick to point ot that Gaya Vaishnavism,
nlike other forms of Vaishnavism, emphasizes mdhurya, or the sweet


love of God, as opposed to aivarya, or Gods majesty. Conseqently, the

title Gaya has deeper implications than one might at irst sspect.
Ordinary or conventional nderstanding (smnya) of terms sch as
Gaya tells only one side of the story; bt the tradition gives another
perspective, one that is infsed with a spirital sensibility (pramrthika).
A real Gaya Vaiava, then, is not one who merely lives in Gaa bt
one who lives for gaua: one who lives for the sweetness associated with the
love and worship of Rdh and Krishna. A Gaya Vaishnava is one who is
absorbed in Rdh-Krishna and in Chaitanya Mahprabhand in their
divine service. Indeed, whether sch a person is called a Bengali Vaishnava
or a Gaya Vaishnava or what have yo, he or she is a servant of the
Divine, first and foreforemost.
In this volme, we allow the Bengali Vaishnava tradition to nfold by
beginning with an overview article written by Joseph T. OConnell, one of
the leading scholars of Bengali stdies in the West. His paper is essentially
a translation of Bgla Krtaner Itihs final chapter, which focses on the
origins of Bengal Vaishnavism as a movement. Originally written by Indian
historian Hitesranjan Sanyal in Bengali, OConnell offers s not only a
translation bt a lengthy introdction and notes, providing special insight
into the work and the tradition. This leads into an article by Jason Fuller
who discsses Bengali Vaishnava homelands, both in the sense of earthly
regions that have special meaning for Bengali Vaishnavas (i.e., Mypr,
Navadvp, Vndvana, and so on) as well as the spirital conterparts of
these same land areas.
Next, Aleksandar Uskokov takes s into the complex world of Bengali
Vaishnava epistemology, explaining how the tradition views knowledge as
sch as well as the varios acceptable methods for acqiring knowledge.
Picking p on these self-same methods, Kiyokazu Okita looks at the all-toopregnant word atha in Brahmastra 1.1.1, a seminal text in the Bengali
Vaishnava tradition, elcidating the insights of traditional Vaishnava commentators, inclding Gaya Vedntists. Leena A. Taneja, too, engages
classical philosophical thinking as she explores Jacqes Derridas theory of
the pre gift throgh the lens of the well-known Krishna/Sdm story, in
which the Lords devotee brings Him a gift, expecting nothing in retrn.
All sch philosophical meandering reaches its zenith in the Bengali
discssion of God in His topmost personal form. This is the sbject of
Satyanarayana Dasas paper, which focses on Bhagavan as opposed to
Brahman, or the sweet personal Absolte, known as Krishna, in contrast


with the amorphos void known as Spreme in the varios schools of

Advaita Vednta. Satyanarayana takes s on a jorney throgh traditional literatre and the realizations of the sages, focsing mainly on Jva Gosvms
Bhagavata Sandarbha, a densely philosophical text establishing the spremacy of Bhagavn realization and the personality of Krishna.
Dhanurdhara Swami then directs or attention to more modern times,
when the renowned and scholarly spirital master, rla Bhaktisiddhnta
Sarasvat (18741937), proposed novel changes in the established tradition
for pragmatic reasons. Deeply considering the era in which he lived, as well
as his adience, Bhaktisiddhnta chose to de-emphasize the more esoteric
aspects of Bengali Vaishnavism, and he was criticized for it. Dhanrdhara
Swami explains this lminarys decision, looking at his philosophical and
historical reasoning. In the end, the swami shows, Bhaktisiddhnta was not
deviating from the tradition in the slightest, bt was rather reforming it and
bringing it into a modern context.
If Dhanrdhara Swami examines the life, teachings, and motives of one
of the twentieth-centrys leading Vaishnavas (Bhaktisiddhnta Sarasvat),
Graham Schweig thoroghly analyzes that stalwarts leading disciple, A. C.
Bhaktivednta Swm Prabhpda (18961977), the fonder-chrya of the
International Society for Krishna Consciosness (ISKCON), as a brilliant
contemporary theologian. Schweig does this, primarily, by looking at the
texts Prabhpda chose as his focs, and also by analyzing the all-important
words prema, bhakti, and rasa, so fndamental to both the larger Bengali
Vaishnava tradition and to ISKCONs more modern expression of it.
Steven J. Rosen

bengali VaishnaVa epistemology

Aleksandar Uskokov

he problems of knowledge in the philosophical system of Gaya

Vednta (Bengali Vaishnavism) seem to be the most neglected element in the secondary literatre abot the system. In my view, the
only serios attempt in recent years to treat the problems of knowledge
was the book Substance and Shadow by the late Shotra Swami (19502007).
Althogh it is an excellent work of philosophy, a prodct of deep insight
into the problems, it can hardly be described as a secondary sorce. Ths,
an introdctory yet exhastive article on Gaya epistemology wold not
be ot of place.
The prposes of this article, then, are three: (1) To give a comprehensive
overview of the sbject. Since the primary sorces dealing with Gaya
epistemology are not yet translated into English, this overview shold be
valable for both the general reader and the specialist. (2) To note the
most signiicant points in Gaya epistemology. These can be sbsmed
nder three categories: testimony, the sbject of knowledge, and the process of God-realization. (3) To emphasize some original contribtions of
Gaya epistemology to knowledge, in particlar the treatment of the sbject of knowledge. Relative to this third prpose, it is appropriate to mention that the primary texts of Gaya philosophy do not treat the sbject of
knowledge in their epistemology sections, bt in the sections on ontology.
Therefore, extracting the Gaya conception of the sbject of knowledge



will, I hope, contribte to the originality of this article, going beyond its
expository prposes.
Throghot this paper yo will ind bits of comparison to Western philosophers. Clearly my goal is not a serios comparative stdy; that wold
reqire a longer article than this. However, I am sre that ideas are like
seeds that can frctify, and ths I did not want to dispense with offering the
comparative in a seedlike form.
I assme that or readers are familiar with the metaphysical standpoints
of Vednta in general and of Gaya Vednta in particlar, and therefore I
will not treat them at all. This also holds tre for the etymology of the word
Gaya. For the irst ive parts of this paper my principal sorce is the
Vednta-syamantaka of Baladeva Vidybhaa,1 and from the sixth section
on, sbtitled The Sbject of Knowledge, I primarily rely on the writings of
A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda. I will also draw from the Tattva-sandarbha of Jva Gosvm and from two commentaries thereon: Jva Gosvms
ato-commentary titled Sarva-savdin and Baladeva Vidybhaas commentary titled Tattva-sandarbha-ippa.
Prelude to the Methods of Knowledge
in the Indian Philosophical Tradition
Before moving to what Gaya Vednta recognizes as methods of knowledge in the broader context of the Indian philosophical tradition, we need
to say a few words abot the general framework of the theory of knowledge.
In terms of this framework, the representatives of Gaya Vednta mainly
accept the formlations of Nyya-darana. So the irst thing we need to
mention is the terminological distinction between jna and pram. The
term jna can be translated as knowledge in the sense of cognition,
or content of consciosness. The characteristic mark of cognition is: the
immediate knowledge that becomes the sbject of the consciosness, having the form I know.2 Knowledge is classiied as representative (recollection, smti) and given (experience, anubhava), and there are two kinds of
experience: valid and invalid.
Valid apprehension is that in which an object is known as possessing
attribtes it really possesses, e.g., the apprehension of silver arising in an
object where there is silverness. This is also known as the valid knowledge
(pram) of a thing.3
That is non-valid apprehension in which an object is known as having an
attribte which it does not have in reality: e.g., the apprehension of silver

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


arising in a piece of mother-of-pearl. This indeed is called false cognition

Valid cognition is not only jna, content of consciosness, bt also
pram, correspondence of experience with reality. Obviosly, this is a theory of trth as correspondence. We also have to mention that jna is a term
sed mch more often with different meanings. It refers to consciosness
as an antonym of insensibility, knowledge as an antonym of ignorance, and
so on. Bt, from a strictly gnoseological viewpoint, the distinction between
jna and pram mst be preserved. Ths a method of knowledge in the
Indian tradition is always a method of certain knowledge. Therefore bear
in mind that by knowledge we mean certain knowledge and not jst any
content of consciosness.
In Sanskrit the method of knowledge is known as prama. Prama is
pram-karaaan instrment for gaining correct knowledge (Nyya-bh
5). In Sarva-savdin, the ato-commentary by Jva Gosvm on his own
Tattva-sandarbha, he lists ten methods of knowledge prominent in the varios schools of Indian philosophy. Baladeva Vidybhaain Vednta-syamantaka and in his commentary on the Tattva-sandarbhalists nine methods, one less than Jva. We will go throgh all ten. Bt we will not consider
all the nances and differences in the nderstandings of these methods in
the varios schools. There are differences, no dobt, and certainly we will
mention some. Bt the actal interest for s is what the representatives of
Gaya Vednta thoght of the ten methods of knowledge, and what that
meant to them.
Here we shold also mention that these ten methods of knowledge
(apart from abda, testimony) receive no extensive critiqe from Jva and
Baladeva. A good many of them (mainly those which can be sbsmed
nder the three principal or independent methods) do not deserve an
extensive critiqe, and the reasons for this lack of criticism are simple. First,
the theory of knowledge oght to be primarily interesting for the possibilities of certain knowledge; probable knowledge is interesting to those who
fancy mental gymnastics, bt it cannot plead for a central position in an
engaged philosophy that ascribes no vale whatsoever to what is temporary
and ncertain. If it is possible to demonstrate in a simple manner that some
method of knowledge cannot provide certainty, its frther extensive treatment is inconseqential.
Second (this reason is connected with the irst), the qestions that stimlate the inqiry into the possibilities, methods, and limits of knowledge



simltaneosly determine the treatment of the inqiry. No matter how

interesting the qestions might be abot a priori and a posteriori knowledge
or abot the natre of the laws of physics and mathematics (in a Hmean
and Kantian sense), they can never be the most essential qestions. What
we really want to know is: Who am I? Is my existence meaningfl or senseless? Am I sentenced to temporality, or I am eternal? Is there a way to ind
ot my tre natre?5
The answers are beyond the reach of the faclties of sensal intition,
beyond the nderstanding (which, even if endowed with a priori categories,
mst still operate with the sensal intitions, becase withot them it is
empty; its sole fnction is to make the sense intitions see), and beyond the
mind (which inevitably enmeshes itself in its antinomies and lacks the lumen
naturale that St. Aqinas thoght it possessed). Since my breakthrogh, on
my own, into transcendence is impossible, all that is left for me is to hope
that a ray of transcendence or divine light will descend pon me. And this
prespposes sbmission to Gods revelation; at that point, all interest in the
sbtleties of sensal knowledge, the nderstanding, and the mind stops.
The Ten Methods of Knowledge
1. Sense perception (pratyaka6)
Sense perception is the basic knowledge from which all other knowledge
comes. Its origin is the contact of the senses with sense objects. The cognition born from the contact of the sense organ with its object is called
pratyaka, perception, as in: I see this pot with my own eyes.7 Some philosophers in India think that the differentia speciica of perception is not
the direct contact of the senses with the sense objects; otherwise, how do
we explain that God sees everything in spite of having no senses? We can
explain this method of knowledge only by the immediacy of cognition, the
fact that this knowledge is not a prodct of either prior knowledge or some
process of reasoning.8 With the langage of phenomenology, we wold say
that perception is the immediacy of the objects to consciosness.
There are two modes of sense perception: indeterminate (nirvikalpaka)
and determinate (savikalpaka). Indeterminate perception is the primary
cognitive act, in which the object and its diverse characteristics are not
perceived as related. Tarka-sagraha, the standard manal on the NyyaVaieika system (written by Annabhaa, ca. 1600), describes indetermi-

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


nate perception as characterized by the apprehension, This is something. For

example, while perceiving an apple, we perceive something that has a shape,
color, fragrance, and so on. However, we do not think of it as an apple.
Sppose on the irst day of yor examination yo enter the bathroom
engrossed in thinking abot the possible qestions and their answers. It is
not nlikely that yo may inish yor bath withot thinking of the water
sed by yo as water, as cold, etc. Yet it cannot be said that yo did not perceive the water. Bt for a very real perception of it, yor act of bathing cannot be explained. This perception of water and its characteristics, withot
any thoght or judgment of it as water, as liquid, as cold, etc., is the nirvikalpaka or indeterminate perception of it.9
When we process this aggregate of indeterminate perceptions with the
aid of the different categories of predication, we end p with a determinate
perception, and then we say that the perceived object is an apple, a cow, or
whatever. Ths determinate perception is cognition of the object as marked
by some characteristic. At that time the perceived object becomes a sbject
(in a logical sense) to which attribtes are predicated.
There is one more mode of pratyaka, namely recognition (pratyabhij).
Recognition means cognition of something already known by cognition.
An example: This mst be the same restarant that I visited the last time I
was in Prage.
Depending pon which sense comes in direct contact with its object,
perception is classiied as six kinds.10 We have ive external senses and,
correspondingly, ive kinds of external perception: visal, aditory, tactile,
gstatory, and olfactory. We have also an internal sense organ (anta-karaa
or manas, the mind), which perceives or states of consciosnessdesire,
aversion, willing, pleasre, pain, and cognition. The contact of the mind
with these psychical states and processes is called mental perception.
The school of Nyya frther classiies perception into ordinary and extraordinary, and they are on their part sbdivided into categories, bt this is
beyond the scope of or ndertaking.
2. Inference (anumna11)
Inference is the instrment of drawing conclsions, as in the example:
There is a ire on the hill, becase there is smoke. The cognition of ire is a
conclsion. The instrment of this conclsion is the cognition of smoke.12
Anumna is knowledge which follows from some other knowledge. It is
actally a process of drawing a conclsion from some mark (liga), standing for given knowledge, on the basis of niversal concomitance (vypti)



between the conclsion and the mark. Take the classic example: While
walking in natre, we perceive smoke rising from a hill. This is a sensal
cognitionknowledge originating from the contact of the eye with the
sensm. Bt this simltaneosly serves as a mark or sign of the presence of
ire on the hill. Fire is drawn as a conclsion from the mark of smoke. And
the conclsion is drawn becase we know that there is a reglar, invariant
concomitance (vypti) between smoke and ire.
One more classic example: In s there is the cognition that Devadatta13 is
mortal. This cognition comes from the knowledge that Devadatta is marked
with the attribte of hmanity (in the sense of membership in a class) and
from being acqainted with the invariant concomitance of hmanity with
Inference as a propositional strctre has members flly correspondent
with the terms of Aristotelian logic. To present these members, let s look
at the classic inference in an otline:
- The hill is on ire (or there is a ire on the hill);
- becase there is smoke;
- wherever there is smoke, there is also ire.
The hill in this inference plays the role of paka, a sbject abot which
something is to be demonstrated or afirmed. It is correspondent with the
minor term in an Aristotelian syllogism. Fire plays the role of sdhya, that
which is spposed to be demonstrated or predicated abot a sbject. It is
correspondent with the major term in an Aristotelian syllogism. Finally, the
smoke plays the role of liga, a mark of something, from which a conclsion is conseqent; or of hetu, a reason for the conclsion; or of sdhana,
a means by which the conclsion is drawn. It is correspondent with the
middle term in an Aristotelian syllogism.
In a cognitive sense, the seqence of apprehension corresponds to the
distribtion of the two premises and the conclsion in an Aristotelian syllogism. What we are cognizant of irst is that there is smoke on the hill (the
minor premise). Then we remind orselves that wherever there is smoke
there is also ire (the major premise). Finally, we conclde that there mst
be ire on the hill. However, as far as the formal expression of or cognition is concerned, Indian logicians claim that it has to follow the otlined
strctre. And it is appropriate to remember at this point that the word
prama, apart from method of knowledge, also stands for demonstration

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


or proof. Ths it is no wonder that the strctre of inference in Indian

logic does not correspond to the strctre of Aristotles syllogism, bt rather with the strctre of the demonstration, in which the conclsion is given
irst and the argments second.
The inference otlined above is called svrthnumna, an inference for
oneself. Indian logicians distingish svrthnumna from parrthnumna,
inference for others. They consider that an inference as a conclsive proof
appropriate for the comprehension of others has to be expressed in ive
propositions, called anvayas, sccessors or members. These members,
exempliied with instances, are as follows:
- assertion (pratij): Socrates is mortal;
- reason (hetu): becase he is a man;
- general rle or niversal proposition, spported by known instances (udharaa): all men are mortal;
- application of the general rle in the particlar case (upanaya):
Socrates is a man;
- conclsion (nigamana): therefore he is mortal.
One remark abot the third member: It seems to me that the instance is
meant to grond or inference in reality and to protect it from the danger
of formalism, in the sense that a tre conclsion can follow from false premises provided the strctre of the proposition is valid. The third member of
the inference also looks like an attempt to join the niversal qantiication
with the particlar qantiication, thanks to which the major premise wold
not mean: If there is sch a thing as a man, then that thing wold also be
mortal; bt rather There is indeed sch a thing as a man, and that thing is
Indian logicians classify inferenceapart from inference for oneself and
inference for othersin varios ways and on varios gronds. For s, it is
important to mention the classiication based on the type of relation of the
middle term to the major term.14 A prely positive inference occrs when
the middle term is only positively related to the major term, and we get the
knowledge of concomitance between the middle and the major term by the
method of agreement in presence. An example:
- All knowable objects are namable;
- the pot is a knowable object;
- therefore the pot is namable.



This is actally a niversal, afirmative conclsion drawn from niversal,

afirmative premises. (This inference is correspondent to the irst igre in
Medieval logic, known as the Barbara modus.)
A prely negative inference occrs when the middle term is only negatively related to the major term. It is a reslt of the concomitance of the absence
of the major term and the absence of the middle term. An example:
- That which is not different from other elements has no smell;
- the earth has smell;
- therefore the earth is different from other elements.
A mixed inference occrs when the middle term is related to the major
term both positively and negatively. There is an invariant concomitance
between the middle term and the major term both in the sense of presence and in the sense of absence. The niversal premise is afirmative when
it is an effect of the apprehension of positive instances, or agreement in
presence; it is negative when it is an effect of the apprehension of negative
instances, or agreement in absence. Examples:
- All smoky objects are iery;
- the hill is smoky;
- therefore the hill is iery.
- No non-iery object is smoky;
- the hill is smoky;
- therefore the hill is iery.
3. Testimony (abda)
Testimony is the word of a trstworthy person, like in the sentence: There
are ive trees on the bank of the river; or in: He who desires heaven shold
worship by performing the agnioma sacriice.15 Baladeva will pay special
attention to testimony after the critiqe of sense perception and inference.
For now, sfice it to say that valid testimony refers to the prononcements
of a trstworthy person, and trstworthy is he who speaks abot a state
of affairs as it actally is. This testimony can be sacred (vaidika Vedic; the
prononcements of God himself) and mndane (laukika hman). The

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


sacred testimony is certain in all circmstances, while the mndane testimony is certain only if the person is trstworthy. The treatment of abda in
the schools of Nyya and Karma-mms is very interesting and important
for the philosophy of langage, bt the scope of or ndertaking gives s
no license to dwell on that.
4. Comparison (upamna)
Comparison is the instrment of knowledge derived from analogy. It is
like the sentence: Gavaya is similar to a cow. Analogy is the cognition of
the relation of the name and the object it denotes. The instrment of analogy is the cognition of similarity.16 Upamna is, then, the sorce of or
knowledge abot the relationship between the word and its denotation. If,
for example, we do not know what a wild cow (gavaya) is, and some experienced and reliable forester tells s, Gavaya is something similar to a cow,
then, if we happen to see some gavaya when we go to the forest and remember the foresters words, the cognition, This is a gavaya, occrs in s. In
this way the relationship between the word and its denotation is established.
The instrment, thanks to which this relationship between the word and its
denotation is established, is the similarity between the gavaya and the cow.
This is how comparison is explained in the school of Nyya.
In Karma-mms it is nderstood in a different way. Cognition is prodced from comparison when, while perceiving an object similar to some
object that we already know, we apprehend that the object we are already
familiar with is similar to the object we are becoming acqainted with.
Ths, if a man knows what a cow is and goes to the forest, he may see a
gavaya and apprehend its similarity to the cow. In this way he can ind ot
that the cow is similar to the gavaya.
5. The postulate (arthpatti17)
A postlate is the hypothesis of other circmstances as the case, from
the observation of the (sal) circmstances not occrring. Like in the
sentence: The fat Devadatta does not eat dring the day. Becase Devadatta
does not eat dring the day, his fatness cannot be (nder sch circmstances). Therefore this introdces his noctrnal eating (as the case of
his fatness).18 The postlate is, then, an assmption of a certain fact as
the case of a state of affairs, withot which this state cold not have taken
place. As sch, we se postlates in or daily life. Not inding in the trnk
of my car the bag illed with goods from the market that I left there (I went



back to the market to by some more things, and I did not lock the trnk),
I conclde (and postlate) with annoyanceand, if I am a fragile natre, in
tearsthat someone mst have stolen it. If I look for my friend at his home
and I cannot ind him, knowing that he is alive, I postlate that he mst be
somewhere else; otherwise, we cold not explain why he who is in fact alive
is not home.
The adherents of Karma-mms classify two types of postlate: drthpattipostlating a fact which is essential for explaining something
seen (Devadattas fatness or the absence of the bag in the trnk) and drthpattipostlating a fact which is essential for explaining something that
is heard. And for the second there are also contless examples. If my wife
shots at me, It is over! I have to postlate the addition with or marriage to her exclamation to make sense of it. When a word cannot make
sense in its literal meaning, we have to postlate a igrative meaning. For
example, in the sentence Indstry is the key to sccess, we have to postlate that key is sed in the sense of means; otherwise, the sentence will be
senseless. And when someone approaches me on the streets of Skopje, saying, Hey gys, can I ask yo something?19 I have to postlate a singlar
nmber, thogh the literal meaning necessitates the plral; otherwise, the
prononcement will lack any sense.
Arthpatti, or postlate, is often compared with the disjnctive hypothetical
syllogism. The similarities between them are nmeros, bt insficient to
sggest fll eqivalence. For the conseqences are what are essential for the
hypothetical syllogism, while arthpatti is a search for the grond or case
for the state of affairs. (Arthpatti is accepted as an independent means of
knowledge by followers of Karma-mms and Advaita-vednta.20)
6. Non-perception (anupalabdhi)
By the non-perception of a pot its nonexistence [or absence] is ascertained. Bt non-perception is absence of perception. Ths, by the proof of
nonexistence we conclde to the nonexistence of the pot.21 This method
of knowledge is also called nonexistence, absence (abhava), which is obvios from the qote. Nonexistence in this context does not mean absolte
nonexistence, bt absence of the object of knowledge in conditions in
which it shold be present. For example, if it is dark and I cannot see the
cp on the table (and I know that I have left it there), the fact that I cannot
perceive the cp does not give me the right to conclde that the cp is not
on the table.

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


Only appropriate non-perception (yogynupalabdhi) is the sorce of or

cognition of nonexistence. The argment why non-perception shold be
accepted as a separate means of knowledge is the fact that in anupalabdhi
there is no direct contact of the eye with the object of perception, which is exactly the criterion pon which the cognition is qaliied as sensal. Nor cold
it be sbsmed nder inference, for in that case we wold have to sppose
an invariant concomitance (vypti) of non-perception with nonexistence,
which is not the case. For, the niversal afirmative proposition Whatever
is not perceived does not exist is invalid, and ths we cannot infer from it
to some particlar afirmative conclsion. Non-perception is accepted as an
independent means of knowledge by the followers of the schools of Karmamms and Advaita-vednta.
7. Inclusion (sambhava)
Ten is inclded in one hndred. This assmption of the intellect is called
inclsion.22 Inclsion is, then, cognition of a smaller qantity that mst
be within a larger qantity. We cold give contless examples: we know
that he who has a thosand dollars has to have one hndred; he who has
a car mst have a steering wheel; he who has three children has to have
one; he who has a ton of coal has to have half a ton (at least ntil consmption). Inclsion is accepted as an independent means of knowledge by the
Parikas, the school of brhmaas flly conversant with the Pras.
8. Tradition (aitihya)
Tradition is notorios knowledge transmitted in an nbroken chain,
originating from an nknown speaker, like in the sentence: there is a ghost
living in this banyan tree.23 Tradition is accepted as a separate means of
knowledge by the Parikas.
9. Gesture (ce)
Some also accept gestre as a means of knowledge. Like, lifting (ten) ingers may prodce knowledge that there are ten pots, etc.24 Two modern
examples: the index inger and the middle inger in the position of a V can
signify victory; a ist can be indicative of a threat.
10. The words of sages or exalted personalities (ra)
This method is flly correspondent with the Pythagorean ipse dixit.



examination of the Pramas

The materialistic philosophy of Crvka accepts only sense perception as a
valid method of knowledge. The Vaieikas and the Bddhists, in addition
to sense perception, accept inference. Besides these two methods, Skhya,
Yoga, Jainism, and Vednta (in the interpretations of Rmnja and
Madhva) se the method of testimony. Nyya accepts comparison, too. The
postlate is accepted by one branch of Karma-mms. Another branch
of Karma-mms and Advaita-vednta also accept non-perception. Along
with these six, the Parikas se tradition and inclsion.25
In Vednta-syamantaka 1.49, Baladeva examines how many pramas
can be accepted as independent. He starts with a critiqe of materialism,
becase it accepts only sense perception. The Crvkas claim that men are
in ignorance, fll of misgivings, liable to confsion, and ths have no right
to take a leap in the darkfrom what is perceived (e.g., smoke) to what is
not (ire). By sense perception it is impossible to be cognizant of that which
is hidden, what is beyond the prview of the senses. And ignorance, misgivings, and mistakes are obstacles for drawing conclsions abot what is concealed. If someone brdened by these shortcomings speaks abot things
that lie beyond perception and, conseqently, is ncertain, a sensible person will not accept his words.
Bt this discorse on ignorance, misgivings, and mixing things p is itself
a demonstration that the Crvka philosopher applied the method of inference; otherwise, which sense organ did he apply to apprehend that people
are in ignorance, fll of misgivings, and erring? And how did he manage to
perceive these shortcomings when they are concealed within s, not within
the prview of or senses? So it does not matter how vigorosly the Crvka
philosopher may defend this stance; he himself cancels it in practice. Withot adopting inference and the knowledge we receive from others, life will
become impossible. Baladeva mocks the rejection of inference in the following way: Respected follower of Crvka, since yo believe only in the
direct evidence of yor senses, why do yo cry so piteosly seeing yor dear
wife pregnant by her paramor?26 Yo did not see it happenso it did not
happen. Ths, willingly or nwillingly, even one sworn to believing ones
eyes has to accept inference.
Apart from that, by entering into polemics with philosophical opponents,
the Crvka philosopher infers their standpoints on the basis of the words
they have said, and in this way he accepts their words. By his condct he
demonstrates that he nderstood what they wanted to say. And his words

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


are also accepted becase he does not indiscriminately speak of the others
ignorance and so on, bt only after having irst ascertained their words.
Only ths will his words make sense to those who are prdent. In this way
he implicitly endorses testimony as a method of knowledge, i.e., knowledge
of the ignorance of others.
Vaieikas accept inference as a valid method of knowledge, bt do not
accept testimony. Rather, they sbsme testimony nder sense perception
and inference. This is ngronded, becase testimony is or sorce of
knowledge abot what is dificlt to obtain throgh sense perception and
inference. For example, or knowledge of the movements of the planets
and stars depends on testimony from others. Practically (perhaps even theoretically) it is impossible to determine the position of every plant and star
on the basis of or perception and inference. We learn from teachers the
laws of mathematics and astronomy sed to calclate the planetary and stellar positions; apart from that, instead of doing the calcls orselves, we se
pre-calclated ephemerides. So testimony cannot be sbsmed nder perception and inference, bt is an independent process we may call adoption.
Comparison cannot be accepted as an independent method of knowledge. Depending on its form, it is sbsmed nder perception, inference,
or testimony. The cognition occrring in s when we hear the sentence
Gavaya is something like a cow has the natre of received knowledge
(gama), which is, no dobt, in the realm of testimony.
However, the cognition that the word gavaya signiies something similar
to a cow (i.e., the process of apprehending the relationship between the
name as a sign and the thing signiied) is a prodct of inference. This is
how cognition takes place in comparison: That word which is employed by
the elders in a certain sense (as a sign for a denotatum) is expressing exactly
that sense (it is sing its primary signiicative force), nless the word has
some other force (some igrative meaning); like the word cow is signifying cowness. The word gavaya is sed as something similar to a cow. This
cognition is comparison indeed.27 This qote from Vednta-syamantaka is
very cryptic, and we have to nfold it.
According to traditional Sanskrit poetics, words have three signiicative
fnctions known as abda-vttis, or forces of a word. The primary signiicative
force of a word is its literary or dictionary meaning. If it is a general name,
it stands for the generic natre of the class,28 bt also for all the separate
members of that class. We learn this primary signiicance of the words from
or elders. The following is a classic example29 of how this goes on. A small



child still nable to talk hears the older brother tell the middle brother:
Bring a cow. Then he notices that the middle brother performs some
activity. And knowing from personal experience that every action prespposes some knowledge (for, even in order to play with something he knows
that he has to get that thing, and perhaps also to ind it), he concldes that
the activity of the middle brother was indced by something that he learned
from the older brother. In shorta sentence prodces knowledge, and
knowledge indces one to act.
Bt the child does not yet know what the speciic words in the sentence
mean, and that learning is accomplished by the processes of vpa (change
to a fresh word in a sentence) and udvpa (removal of an old word in a
sentence). The next time the older brother tells the middle brother: Bring
a horse. The yongest brother again notices that the middle brother is
indced to action, bt he also notices: (1) in the prononced sentence
something remains the same (bring), while something changes (instead of
cow, now it is horse); and (2) in the middle brothers action something
remains the same (he brings something), while something changes (instead
of a cow, now it is a horse). So the child concldes that the word reoccrring in the sentence refers to that which reoccrs in the action, namely the
act of bringing, and that which changes in the sentence refers to that which
changes in the action. Ths the word cow in the irst sentence has to refer
to the cow which the middle brother broght, and the word horse in the
second sentence has to refer to the horse the middle brother broght.
The primary meanings of words are classiied into two categories: (1)
rhiconventional30 sage, according to particlarity, generic character,
or attribteHe is ittha.31 This is a cow. This is white.32 and (2) yoga
the meaning derived from some other word formed by the addition of
an afixe.g., the word pcaka (chef) is formed from the root pac, which
has a sense of cooking and the agent sfix ka.
The second signiicative force of the word is lakaa-vtti, or the secondary
sage of the word, which implies something nexpressed. The classic example is a cowherds village in Gag.33 Becase it is impossible for a village
to be in a river, that which is not stated has to be inferred: It is a cowherds
village on the bank of the Ganges.
The third signiicative force of the word (gaua-vtti) is the igrative
or metaphoric sage. Ths when we hear that Devadatta is a lion,34
Devadatta is referred to as sch, not becase he is a lion bt becase he has
some qalities similar to a lions (strength, corage and so on).

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


In comparison we are spposed to be learning the primary force of words.

So bearing this in mind and looking at the qotation from Vednta-syamantaka, we cold otline the process of comparison in which we learn the primary meaning of words as one inference:
- assertion: the word gavaya refers to something similar to a cow;
- reason: becase the elders se it in that sense;
- general rle with an instance: words sed by the elders in a particlar sense signify that primary sense, nless there is some igrative sense (sch as cow signifying cowness);
- application: this is a case in which the elders se the word gavaya
to signify something similar to a cow;
- conclsion: the word gavaya is sed to signify something similar to
a cow.
Ths we have the comparison, in which the relationship between the name
and the object named is actally a process of inference.
However, the cognition of similarity with the cow prodced by the direct
contact of the senses with a gavaya is sensory knowledge. Ths comparison
in any case cannot be considered an independent means of knowledge.
And as for the postlate, it is also in the scope of inference, of the prely
negative type. The whole syllogism can be presented in an otline:
- assertion: Devadatta eats at night;
- reason: becase he is fat, and he does not eat dring the day;
- general rle with an instance: he who eats at night cannot be fat
if not eating dring the day, jst as he who eats neither dring the
night nor dring the day is not fat;
- application: he is not like that (that is, he is fat);
- conclsion: therefore he eats at night.
Non-perception cannot be accepted as an independent method of knowledge, either, becase the nonexistence of the object is actally perceived.
In non-perception there is a direct contact of the eye with the space qualiied by the
attribute of nonexistence of the object.
Inclsion is also traditionally sbsmed nder inference, becase one
hndred means not being bereft of ten; this is a sficient condition for
inferring that ten and other qantities are inclded in one hndred.



Tradition as sch is not at all a method of valid knowledge, for the credibility of the originator of the belief transmitted in the tradition is ncertain.
If it is established that the originator is a trstworthy person, then tradition
is in the scope of received knowledge (gama) or testimony. The same
holds tre for the athority of the sage (ra). If he is trstworthy, his words
are accepted as testimony; otherwise, he cannot be a sorce of accrate
Gestre is testimony sing the services of inference.
Ths, after examining all the methods of knowledge, we come to the conclsion that three of them are independent: sense perception, inference,
and testimony. The other seven are within the scope of the other three and
ths are dependent. Baladeva sbstantiates this with a qotation from the
Critique of Sense Perception and Inference
In the next two paragraphs of Vednta-syamantaka, Baladeva examines
whether sense perception and inference offer the certainty we need in
philosophy. As for sense perception, it is able to reach only what is in the
immediate proximity of certainty and yet at an appropriate distance. It cannot grasp what is very far off, like a bird lying, or what is too close, like the
eyelids. Perception also depends on or mentality. When we are distrbed,
excited, or immersed in thoghts, we might not notice what we wold otherwise certainly notice. My mind was not present; I did not see it.36 Thales
did not fall in the ditch by accident.
Sense perception cannot grasp that which is covered, still nmanifested,
mixed, or minte. Ths we cannot perceive the planets and the stars covered by the snshine. We cannot taste yogrt that is there in the milk as
potency, becase it is not manifest. We cannot see the drops of rain mixed
with a reservoir of water, and althogh atoms exist, we cannot see them
becase they are too small. As Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda concldes,
Under these circmstances, whatever we are experiencing at the present moment is totally conditional and is therefore sbject to mistakes and
incompleteness. These mistaken impressions can never be rectiied by the
mistaker himself or by another, similar person apt to commit similar mistakes.37
As for inference, we shold remember that inference is anumna
knowledge following pon some other knowledge. Therefore its certainty,
provided the process of inferring is condcted in a valid way, will depend

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


on the certainty of knowledge from which the conclsion is drawn.38 We

can easily realize that errors in perception will case errors in inference.
Perception is ncertain even when all the necessary conditions for certainty
exist. Sometimes it creates illsory impressions. We can remind orselves
of a good magician who demonstrates how to saw a girl in half, thogh
we know that this cannot be the case. And if he is exceptional, like David
Copperield, the impressions will be that mch stronger: Everything is ine
with s; we are alert and following his every movement; what he is trying
to do is impossiblebt lo!the State of Liberty is gone.39 The instance
cited by Jva and Baladeva is a classic example in Indian philosophical texts:
Seeing the illsory severed head of someone we know, we conclde that
it belongs to Devadatta or Yajadatta,40 bt it is not so. In sch circmstances the certainty whether sense perception is valid can only come from
someone who knows the realityfor instance, Copperield himself. In its
absence, the probability of errors in the inference is inevitable.
Also, when we conclde from something perceived to something nperceived on the grond of the invariant concomitance of the nknown with
the known (like the concomitance of ire with smoke), we can make an
error becase we lack certainty of the existence of the case (hetu) in the
predicate of the conclsion (sdhya). Baladeva gives the following example:
The ire has been extingished by rain, bt there is still smoke rising above
the hill, and it contines for some time. [Not knowing this,] one concldes
that there is ire on the hill becase of smoke.41
There is a reason why people as sbjects of knowledge cannot pretend
to certainty from perception and inference. We are brdened by for innate shortcomings, known in Sanskrit as bhrama, pramda, vipralips, and
karapaava. Bhrama means erring becase of misidentifying something for
something else. The classic example pervading all Indian philosophy is seeing a man in a post becase the conditions of perception are inappropriate.
Another classic example is seeing a snake in a rope. Mistakes in cognition
also condition or practical activities. Swami Prabhpda often gave the
example of Mahatma Gandhi; thogh warned that he might be assassinated
at a meeting, he still decided to go there, and it happened.
Pramda means inattention or intentness on something else, becase of
which, that which is within the sensal grasp goes nperceived. We have
already hinted at this in the critiqe of perception. Here we can offer the
example Baladeva gives in his commentary on Tattva-sandarbha: Becase of
this (pramda), we dont listen to the song, althogh it is sng in or prox-



imity.42 This intentness on something else manifests also on the ontological plain: Being absorbed in the body, we fail to notice or real natre as
spirit. That is why pramda is often referred to as illsion.
Vipralips refers to the omnipresent tendency of cheating. The classic
example given by Swami Prabhpda is that of the salesman who claims
that he will make no proit from s, thogh we know that this cannot be
tre. Baladevas example is: Becase of this, the trth is not revealed to the
disciple, althogh it is known (to the teacher).43
The forth innate shortcoming is karapaavaimperfection or weakness of the senses. We need not elaborate on this; it is a notorios fact. Baladevas descriptive example is: Becase of this, althogh the mind is ixed,
one does not become cognizant of the object as it is. In other words, one is
composed, his attention is well-directed, bt still he cannot become cognizant of the object becase it is simply not within the range of perception.
In terms of the methods of knowledge, bhrama, pramda, and karapaava
are pecliar to perception and inference, while vipralips is an error of testimony (however, this error, nlike the other three, is not fatal).
The Nature of Testimony
If perception and inference cannot provide certainty even in daily life, they
are all the more incompetent for establishing a contact with a reality of an
extramndane and inconceivable natre, namely God. So what is left for s
to examine is the character of testimony.
Baladeva claims that testimony as the word of a trstworthy person does
not case fallacios cognition. If, for example, someone who deserves
nconditional confidence (becase of being experienced and having
spotless character) tells s: There are precios stones in this mine, this
will prodce a correct apprehension in s, thogh we do not have direct
experience. Not only that, testimony is the primary manner by which we
learn abot the world, from the percepts of or elders, at school and the
niversity, and today from the mass media and so on. Baladeva44 lists a few
characteristics of testimony in the process of cognition of mndane objects
and gives illstrations for them one by one.
1. Testimony is a process of knowledge independent of perception and
inference. The proof of this is that there are facts which we do not form
a cognition of by perception and inference, althogh we have employed
these processes. Baladeva gives a simple example (perhaps too simple, bt
nevertheless illstrative): Ten men cross a river. They want to be certain that
all of them arrived safe. One among them conted the others from one to

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


nine, bt forgot to cont himself. Everyone else did the same, bt the reslt
did not change. Ths they began to lament, having lost the tenth man.
Some wise man passed by there, and inding ot the case of their grief, he
placed them in a row. Then he conted them from one to nine and to their
joy declared to the tenth, Yo are the tenth!
2. Testimony annls (corrects) perception and inference. Baladevas
example refers to the power of mantras sed by an expert physician while
treating the patient. One of these mantras is sarpa-dae tvayi via nsti:
Althogh yo were bitten by a snake, there is no poison in yo.45
3. Testimony is not contradictory to perception and inference. For example, One drg alone removes the disorder of the three bodily hmors;
one cold know this from an Ayrvedic text or doctorin stras one does
not find logically impossible statementsand perhaps experience the
reslt by taking the drg.46
4. Testimony can se the services of perception and inference as an illstration or a corrective. An example of the irst: testimony claims that heat is
the remedy against cold, and this is conirmed by perception. An example
of the second: We hear that iron can ct anything earthly (prthiva), and
on this basis we conclde that iron can ct diamonds; however, sense perception shows that this is not the case. Althogh earthly, diamonds ct iron.
This corrects the testimony, and we conclde that iron can ct anything
earthly except diamonds.
5. Testimony can also be of service to perception and inference. For
example, travelers trobled by cold spot smoke rising from a nearby hill
and conclde that there is ire there. They start off in that direction to get
warm. On their way they meet a man who tells them: There is no ire on
the hill; it was recently extingished. However, on the next hill yo will certainly ind ire.
6. Testimony is the best way to learn abot things beyond the reach of
perception and inference, sch as the position of the planets in the zodiac,
the times of solar eclipses, and so on.
All this may sond interesting, bt the navoidable qestion is: Is there
really a sorce deserving nconditional trst? What abot the hman tendency of cheating, hanging above testimony like a gillotine? Forapart
from learning abot the world, which cannot be done withot conidence
in teachers, bt which is irrelevant for existential qestionsthe doctrines
of the sages abot that which is beyond the world are variegated. As we
learn from the Mahbhrata, one cannot establish oneself as a sage or
philosopher nless one stands in opposition to other philosophers. This



being the case, who is the one deserving or conidence? Gatama, Kada,
Kapila, Patajali, Yjavalkya, or ilya? Bddha or akara? Plato,
Aristotle, or Aqinas? Descartes, Kant, or Hegel? Hsserl, Bergson, Scheler,
or Heiddeger? Or Newton, Einstein, or Planck? Who is an pta-purua, a
trstworthy person? Well, in the ltimate analysis, no one. If something
comes from a man, it has to be brdened by his shortcomings and cannot
plead for certainty. For testimony to be absoltely certain and trstworthy, it
has to come from God himself. And ths we come to the point at which or
treatment of the problem has to trn 180 degrees. Seemingly we will make
an nwarranted leap, bt eventally everything will fall into place.
The Subject of Knowledge
If we say that the tre natre of a person is spirit, this will sond like a
mere repetition of something old; no one will lad s for an epoch-making
novel idea. For this is exactly what Plato, Descartes, Berkeley, and Scheler
have claimed, to name jst a few. This is what Gaya Vednta also claims.
However, there is an epoch-making novelty in what Gaya Vednta means
by saying man is spirit.47 And it is this: that my natre as spirit manifests in
the fact that I never come in toch with matter.
As spirit I am qaliied by consciosness. Bt apart from being spirit, I
have impressions of the world, which is not spirit. Bearing in mind that
cognition can represent only that which is similar, how is it possible that
something different from my natre relects in me? This qestion is one
over which philosophers in the West often dispted. Berkeley, for example,
claimed that my knowledge of the world is possible becase both the world
and I share the same natre; the world is an idea appropriate for spirit
and withot a material carrier, for if it had sch a carrier, I cold not have
formed a cognition of it, becase the only things that spirit is capable of
knowing are ideas. Marx and his followers wold also eqate the natre of
thinking and being, bt at the opposite end, by saying they are both matter,
and ths their connection is nproblematic. Descartes postlated two sbstances harmonized in a parallelism made possible by God.
The soltion to this problem offered by Gaya Vednta is different
from these three. It is tre that I am spirit, bt in my present condition this
spirit is in a potential state, is seedlike, and its role is to give life to what by
natre is deadthe body. My self-conception, the way I experience myself
in sch circmstances, cold be called an empirical, impre selfimpre
becase I identify myself with something I am not. Namely, althogh I am

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


pre spirit, I consider myself to be matter, or the body I se.

As an empirical self, my microcosm is composed of a few elements.
We already have mentioned the irst element, what in Sanskrit is called
ahakra, the principle of identiication by which I identify myself with
matter thogh I am spirit. Swami Prabhpda calls it the false ego. The
second element, or layer of my microcosm, is the mind (manas), bt not
mind in a Kantian sense. The manas is the focal point of my conation, the
aspect of mental processes or behavior directed toward action or change
and inclding implse, desire, volition, and striving. The third element or
layer is the intelligence (buddhi) or nderstanding. Together these three
make p cittaempirical, impre consciosness.
Now, for cognition of what is arond me, I need senses, ive in all: hearing, sight, toch, smell, and taste. That which is arond me refers to
the sense objects: sond, form, tactile impressions, aroma, and lavor. For
action I also need senses, ive in all: arms, legs, voice, ans, and genitals. If
we consider the empirical consciosness as representing the false ego, the
mind, and the intelligence and cont them as one, then these sixteen form
my subtle body.48
Apart from this sbtle form, I also have a gross body that acts as the bearer of the sbtle one. It is composed of earth, water, ire, air, and ether, and
their modiications, in the form of the sensory and active organs.
All of this is matter: ine, sbtle matter on the one hand and gross, corporeal matter on the other. This is precisely why it is possible to establish
the connection between the world as the object of knowledge and myself as
the sbject of knowledge. What I may ordinarily consider spirit (the sbtle
body) is actally matter with a semblance of spirit, being energized by spirit.
The sbtle body is similar to both matter and spirit and is their mediate
link. Ths I, being spirit, am the sbject of knowledgesomething that
matter cold never be. Matter cannot be the sbject of cognition becase
it is dead. I am the sbject of cognition, yet I do not come in direct contact
with matter. As myself I am only a seedlike potency; my real natre is
nmanifest, bt capable of manifestation. I am the sbject of knowledge
throgh the complex of the sbtle, material body, which makes my mediate contact with matter the object of knowledge. So I am the sbject of
knowledge not as myselfeternal pre solbt as the conditioned sol
covered by the gross and sbtle bodies.
We will go throgh this same analysis the other way arond. There is a
world arond me consisting of ive elements: earth, water, ire, air, and



ether. These elements come in contact with me, as the sbject of knowledge, throgh the sense organs. This contact generates perception. The
ive objects of knowledge are rdimentary or sbtle elements, representative of the gross elements. The vibrations transmitted throgh ether case
cognition of sond. Fire or light cases cognition of form, air of toch,
water of taste, and earth of smell. And ths Berkeley was rightthere is no
sond, form, toch, taste, and smell otside of me. However, this does not
mean that there is nothing that is not an idea.
These sense objects are processed by the mind. The mind is attracted by
some of them and replsed by the othersacceptance and rejection is its
faclty.49 While doing this, it can se the services of the intelligence. The
role of intelligence is to illminate the natre of the objects deemed attractive or replsive by the mind. Intelligence has ive states, conditions, or
modiications (vttis): dobt (saaya), misapprehension (viparysa), correct apprehension (nicaya), memory (smti), and sleep (svpa).50
Philosophy is in the domain of intelligence becase the origin of philosophy is in dobt. The essential property of philosophy is dobt; dobt gives
rise to the impets for philosophical speclation. To deal with philosophical
qestions, Aristotle said, one needs free time, schole, or the leisre gained by
being a free man (not a slave) and by not having to work for ones maintenance. Leisre is a reqired accidental, bt leisre is no garantee that one
will engage in philosophy. Moreover, philosophizing can end in either misapprehension or correct apprehension. Bt we will say more on this later.
My state of pre spirit in sch circmstances is in a state akin to sspension. Perhaps it is most appropriate to compare it to a dream. While dreaming, I preserve the concept of my identity and remain a knower of cognition, bt that identity can take new and different variants, some of which I
cold not even imagine while awake. Althogh apprehensive in reality, in
my dream I cold be the main hero in some battle. My son cold all of a
sdden appear as my grandfather, and my grandfather cold trn ot to
be my lover. There is no need to enmerate examplesthat cold go on
ad ininitum. What is crcial here is that the dream is my illsory state, albeit
a real one, and so is my condition of identifying with the body. It is illsory,
bt real. I remain the sbject of knowledge, bt I consider myself something I am not. Sitated within the heart of this body, which is compared to
a tree by the Upaniads,51 I, like a bird tasting the frits of the tree, hallcinate, dreaming the dream of material existence.

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


God as the Source of Certain Knowledge

Next to me, in the same heart, on the same tree, is another person, another
bird. Unlike me, who is hallcinatingenjoying and sffering the dream
lifethat person is flly awake, observing my condition while I am both
awake and asleep.52 The Upaniads call him the Paramtm, Spersol,
or God. Althogh capable of breaking my dream life by force and ptting
an end to my sorrow, God does not want to interfere with my freedom. In
reglar circmstances his role is to take care of the exection of the law of
karma. I myself cannot break my dream, bt to indce him to do that for
me, I have to become disgsted with dreaming and have to want to awaken
withot reservation or second thoghts.
The fact that God does not interfere with my dream does not mean he is
ninterested in me. In many ways, bt withot sing force, he tries to point
ot the inappropriateness of my misidentiication with something I am not.
One of these ways is that from him, within my heart, constantly emanates
tre knowledge. Krishna, or God, is sitated in everyones heart. As yo
become priied, He speaks. He speaks always, bt in or impre condition, we cannot hear.53 Apart from that, sing pre sols as media, he
reveals the knowledge of himself in the form of holy scriptres. In Sanskrit
these scriptres are known as Vedas. Veda actally means knowledge, and
knowledge cannot be an exclsive possession of a single cltre. In this
sense Swami Prabhpda said on nmeros occasions that even scriptres
that are nominally not Vedic, i.e., the Bible and the Koran, can be accepted
as Vedic revelations.
The idea is this: the Vedas as sond (abda) transmit knowledge of God,
and in that sense they are not hman creations. Even more, rmad-Bhgavatam says that the Vedas are God himself, his own emanation, flly identical with him.54 For the beneit of the sols misidentifying with matter, he
appears either personally (as Vysadeva, the literary incarnation of God, to
edit the previosly aral scriptral testimony of himself and preserve it in
writing)55 or throgh pre sols active in varios cltral environments.
The differences in cltral environments and the volme of the knowledge
revealed throgh speciic pre sols make for mch of the differences
between scriptres. These are seeming differences, becase the essence of
scriptre is to teach s to love God.
Swami Prabhpda often sonded this theme: People shold not be
kept in darkness; they shold be broght into the light. Therefore in every
hman society there is a religios instittion of some sort. What is the pr-



pose of Hindism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, or Bddhism? The prpose is to bring people to the light. That is the prpose of religion.56
So the prpose of religion is to train people how to love God. That is the
prpose of all religion. Whether yor religion is Christianity or Hindism
or Mohammedanism, the prpose of yor religion is to train yo how to
love God, becase that is yor constittional position.57
It does not matter whether yo are a Christian or a Hind or a
Mohammedan. Jst try to develop yor love of God. Then yor religion is
very nice; otherwise, it is simply a waste of time.58
I do not say that Christians shold become Hind. I simply say, Please
obey yor commandments. I will make yo a better Christian. That is my
mission. I do not say, God is not in yor tradition; God is only here in
ors. I simply say, Obey God. I dont say, Yo have to accept that Gods
name is Krishna and no other. No. I say, Please obey God. Please try to
love God.59
The pre self has self-evident knowledge (svata-siddha-jna). This knowledge reqires no evidence. It is Veda. In the empirically cognizable world of
matter this Veda manifests as the for Vedas, the Upaniads, Bhagavad-gt,
and in other traditions and cltres as the Bible, Koran, and so on.60
Five Stages of Spiritual Knowledge
Althogh the Vedic sond is objective and self-evident, it is still sudurbodham,61 very dificlt to nderstand by someone conditioned by matter. We
are deaf and blind, for the knowledge that emanates from the Lord is right
at handyet we see it not. The Vedic sond is dificlt to comprehend
becase the heart (along with the spirital sense of hearing) is covered by
the false ego. Therefore, there is a need for this sond to become intelligible to or empirical senses. Since one cannot visally experience the presence of the Spersol, He appears before s as a liberated devotee. Sch a
spirital master is none other than Krishna Himself.62
God as the Spersol appears before or visal and aditory perception as
a liberated devotee, a spirital master, to give s knowledge abot himself.
This transmission of spirital knowledge sometimes goes on in an nbroken chain of teachers (guru-parampar).63 For the teachers testimony to be
pta-vkya (testimony from a trstworthy sorce), he has to be qaliied by
two conditions:64 namely, he has to be ixed in the Vedas (abda) and in the
Spreme (para). Jva Gosvms commentary is illstrative: Learned in the
Vedas, becase of being dedicated to deliberation; ixed on the Spreme,

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


in his manifestations as Bhagavn and so on, thanks to direct experience

According to the testimony of Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda,66 the
Vedic process of knowledge has ive stages:67
1) pratyaka direct sense perception;
2) paroka knowledge received from others;
3) aparoka realization;
4) adhokaja experienced knowledge gained from the realm that
is napproachable by the senses;
5) aprkta the highest spirital knowledge.
The irst three stages are common to both empirical and spirital knowledge and are relative to the three independent methods of knowledge
(sense perception, inference, and testimony). One learns throgh ones
senses, or he makes inferences, and he learns from others what is not
directly available. And this is also the case in spirital knowledge. Becase
one cannot see God in ones own heart and cannot hear or properly nderstand his words, the knowledge of God incarnates before his visal and
aditory perception (the verse qoted above says sktdirect experience)
in the form of a self-realized gr. Thanks to the direct contact with sch
a self-realized teacher, the disciple eventally can testify as to how spirital
knowledge is practiced.
Then comes the stage of paroka. If pratyaka was before the eyes or with
ones own eyes, paroka means with someone elses eyes. Now the disciple
hears abot what is not within the range of the senses and literally sees
throgh someone elses eyes. A lcid example: . . . at midnight we might
call a friend living thosands of miles to the west of s and ask if he sees the
sn. Hearing his report, Yes, it is a snny day here, we see the sn throgh
paroka vision.68
After this comes the stage of aparoka: not with someone elses eyes, i.e.,
with ones own eyes. This does not refer to direct sense perception, bt to
realization of what has been heard. On the basis of the training ndergone,
a disciple is now capable of nderstanding the scriptres himself. Or he
nderstands the Vedic sond (abda) by sing methods of reasoning and
And in this stage we can position the role of philosophy.69 If it is based
on revelation, it serves as a means of realizing revealed trths and ends in



correct apprehension (recall the ive conditions of intelligence: dobt, misapprehension, correct apprehension, memory, and sleep). On this level of
knowledge, sense perception also changes. Now it is not jst ordinary and
simple sense perception; it becomes learned, edcated sense perception,
molded by the word (abda). Thanks to what he has learned from testimony, the disciple can now see reality as it really isas God sees it. What he
now sees are not objects with independent or mysterios existence, objects
of contemplation or enjoyment, bt rather transformations of Gods energies. He observes the world throgh the lenses of what he has learned, as
we do in any life condition. This sense perception, based on revelation, is
free from the for defects of conditioned hman life (imperfect senses,
mistakes, illsion, and cheating).70
Even if it is ngided by revelation, inference on that which is beyond
ordinary perception can see glimpses of light. For example, while dreaming I am in all kinds of conditions and circmstances. Sometimes I am
happy. Sometimes I am scared, perhaps becase I am being chased by a
tiger. Nevertheless, what is constant in dreams is the fact that I remain the
same, thogh constantly changing bodies. A dream ends, and the dream
experiences and adventres also come to an end. In some sense I die, bt
I am reborn in the next dream, and everything starts anew. Althogh while
awake I am aware that the wakefl state has a higher reality, higher than the
dream life, what is the garantee that this life is not also jst one dream in
a chain of dreams I have, while my higher, spirital natre is asleep? In any
case, philosophical reasoning shold shake my conviction that I am matter
and that death has to be the end of everything.
Nice examples of sch philosophical reasoning are fond in Platos Phaedo
and in Descartess inference of res cogitans. Bt if this philosophizing is not
joined with revelation, it cannot provide a transition to the next stage of
knowledge, adhokaja. Thanks to spirital practice, a disciple is able to rise
from the stage of intellectal realization of trth to the level of personal
insight. This insight is a personal experience, bt not throgh the material
senses. Now the adept can see reality as it is, thanks to spirital vision or
the vision of the heart (remember that God is in the heart). To express the
whole idea: he is now emerged in direct contemplation of God.
The ifth stage, aprkta, refers to the fll development of or spirital
natre and to the transition from passive awe and reverence and contemplation characteristic of the previos stage to or mtal relationship with

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


Singling ot the most signiicant elements of Gaya epistemologytestimony, the sbject of knowledge, and God-realizationlet s consider their
possible contribtion to epistemology in general.
First, it seems to me that Western philosophy has not paid de analytical
attention to testimony as a method of knowledgeattention which is dobtless merited. In or own philosophical conceptions, testimonial knowledge
is either taken for granted or ridicled. The irst approach is nphilosophical a theory of knowledge shold examine the means by which we acqire
knowledge. We implicitly se testimony as a method of knowledge from or
very birth, bt testimonial knowledge is not in voge with philosophers.
Ridicle, the second approach to testimonial knowledge, is jst as ncritical as the irst. We do not have to qote from methodology textbooks,
which say that accepting the method of athority is nscientiictheir
athority has already convinced s that athority has no place in scientiic
knowledge. However, Thomas Khns Strctre of Scientiic Revoltions
clearly shows how mch scientiic knowledgeor any knowledge, for that
matterdepends on athority, testimony, or a paradigm.
Second, I ind that the nderstanding of the sbject of knowledge in the
Gaya Vednta is an original one and deserves serios attention as a prospective soltion to the sbject-object relation. Indeed, I consider it to be
the most important contribtion of this school to general epistemology.
Third, as far as the process of knowledge of God is concerned, I think that
the details revealed in the Gaya Vednta tradition cold also be signiicant for other religios traditions. For if God is one, then the paths leading
to him cannot be all too different in the varios traditions. Ths a ray of
light from one tradition cold shine in the other traditions, too.
1. The athorship of Vednta-syamantaka is a matter of dispte. The work
may have been written by Baladevas gr, Rdhdmodara Dsa. We will
treat it provisionally as Baladevas work. In one sense the athorship is
irrelevant, since what is presented in Sarva-savdin (Jva Gosvms own
commentary on Tattva-sandarbha), in Baladevas commentary on the Tattvasandarbha, and in Vednta-syamantaka is pretty mch one and the same. For
practical prposes I have chosen to follow Vednta-syamantaka.
2. Jnmty-anuvyavasya-gamya jnam eva lakaam iti bhva. (Tarkasagraha-dpika 3.16, translation by Swami Virpakshananda.)



3. Tad-vati tat-prakrako nubhavo yathrtha. Yath rajate ida rajatam iti

jnam. Saiva pramety ucyate. (Tarka-sagraha 3.19, translation by Swami
4. Tad-abhvavati tat-prakrako nubhavo yathrtha. Yath uktv ida rajatam iti jnam. Saiva apram ity ucyate. (op. cit., 3.20).
5. A good illstration for this is the qestion posed by Santana Gosvm
to r Caitanya Mahprabh:
ke mi, kene mya jre tpa-traya
ih nhi jnikemane hita haya
Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me troble? If I do
not know this, how can I be beneited? (r Caitanya-caritmta, Madhya-ll
20.102) In this connection, Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda wold freqently say that these are the qestions that make one hmanthey are or
differentia speciicanot simply asking any qestions, inclding those abot a
priori and a posteriori knowledge or the laws of physics and mathematics.
6. The etymology of the word is prati-aka: before, or in front of, the eye.
7. Artha-sannikam indriya pratyakam. Ghaam aha caku paymty
dau. (Vednta-syamantaka 1.3)
8. Cp. Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, University of Calctta, 1984, pp. 174-5.
9. op. cit., p. 179.
10. Pratyaka tvan mano-buddhndriya-pacaka-janyatay a-vidha bhavet.
(Sarva-savdin, 9).
11. The etymology of the word is: after (anu) knowledge (mna)knowledge following some other knowledge.
12. Anumiti-karaam anumnam. Girir vahnimn dhmd ity dau. Agny-dijnam anumiti. Tat-karaa dhmdi-jnam. (Vednta-syamantaka 1.3)
13. Devadatta is the Indian Socrates, a character referred to as a representative of the hman race in propositions (Socrates is mortal, becase he is a
man) Literally Devadatta means God-given.
14. Cp. Satischandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, University of Calctta, 1984, pp. 191-3.
15. pta-vkya abda, yath nad-tre paca-vk santi. Yath cgniomena
svarga-kmo yajetety di. (Vednta-syamantaka 1.3)
16. Upamiti-karaam upamnam. Go-sado gavaya ity dau. Saj-sajsambandha-jnam upamiti. Tat-karaa sdya-jnam. (ibid.)

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


17. The etymology of the word is artha-pattispposition of a fact. Or

translation of artpatti as postlate is in a Kantian sense: for the possibility of some state of affairs, it is necessary to postlate some conditio sine qua
non that is effecting this state of affairs and which cannot be dedced from
premises. And we will remember that Kant postlated Gods existence not
as something dedced from ethical premises bt as the niqe principle
with which it is possible to explain the ethical premises of moral life.
18. Anupapadyamnrtha-daranenopapdakrthntara-kalpanam arthpatti. Pno devadatto div na bhukte ity dau. Iha divbhujnasya pnatvam
anupapanna tat tasya nakta bhojitva gamayati. (Vednta-syamantaka 1.3)
19. This is an example from a cltral context. Similar (drastic) examples
from the American context wold be addressing someone as vanilla face or
20. For arthpatti, compare Satischandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan
Datta, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy, University of Calctta, 1984, pp.
325-327, and G. Prathapa Simha, Arthpatti: A Critical and Comparative Study
of the Views of Prva Mms, Advaita Vednta and Nyya-Vaieika Systems, Sri
Venkatesvara University, Tirpatti, 1991.
21. Ghady-anupalabdhy ghady-abhvo nicito nupalabdhis tpalabdher
abhva ity abhvena pramena ghady-abhvo ghyate. (Vednta-syamantaka
22. ate daaka sambhavatti buddhau sambhvana sambhava. (Ibid.)
23. Ajta-vaktkatgata-pramparya-prasiddham aitihyam, yatheha bae yako
nivasatty dau. (Ibid.)
24. Aguly-uttolanato ghaa-daakdi-jnakar cepi kaicana mnam iyate.
25. Compare Vednta-syamantaka 1.2 and G. Prathapa Simha, Arthpatti: A
Critical and Comparative Study of the Views of Prva Mms, Advaita Vednta
and Nyya-Vaieika Systems, Sri Venkatesvara University, Tirpatti, 1991, pp.
26. Crvka tava crv-ag jrato vkya garbhim
pratyaka-mtra-vivso ghana-vsa kim ujjhasi (Vednta-syamantaka 1.5)
27. Ya abdo vddhair yatrrthe prayujyate so sati vtty-antare tasybhidhy.
Yath go-abdo gotvasya. Prayujyate ca go-sade gavaya-abda iti tasyaiva so bhidhyti jnam upamnam eva. (op.cit. 1.7)
28. In Sanskrit it is called jti, and it means gens or species, depending
pon whether its members are individals or classes.
29. Compare Note 107, pp. 185-7, in Swami Virpakshananda, Tarka



Sagraha, With the Dpika of Aambhaa and Notes, Sri Ramakrishna Math,
Madras, 1994.
30. Bt it is a conditional conventionality, becase, both in Nyya and
in Gaya Vednta, words receive their signiicative force by the mercy of
God. In Gaya Vednta, all meaningfl words are primarily names of God,
and in a secondary sense they are names of the object which they signify by
31. A wooden elephant; the name is sed as an instance of a personal
32. rdhara Svm on Bhgavata Pura, 10.87.1.
33. Gagy ghoa.
34. Siho devadatta.
35. pratyaka cnumna ca stra ca vividhgamam
traya suvidita krya dharma-uddhim abhpsat
Sense perception, inference and the varios kinds of revealed scriptres
these three are to be well nderstood by him who is desiros of tre
knowledge abot dharma. (Manu-sahita 12.105, cited in Vednta-syamantaka 1.9)

36. Yad ukta me manonyatra-gata may na dam ity di. (op. cit. 1.10)
37. A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda, Message of Godhead, p. 8,
Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, Los Angeles, 1990.
38. Isnt this exactly the reason why logicians want to ignore the content
and to deal exclsively with the formal laws of inference?
39. Yo can watch it on:
40. Yajadatta is of the same natre as Devadattaa character sed as
representative of mankind in philosophy texts. Devadatta is sed by Jva and
Yajadatta by Baladeva.
41. Vy tat-kle nirvpita-vahnau ciram adhikoditvara-dhme parvate vahnimn dhmd ity dau. (Vednta-syamantaka 1.11)
42. Yenntike gyamna gna na ghyate. (Commentary to Tattva-sandarbha 9)
43. Yay iye svajto py artho na prakyate (Ibid.)
44. They actally originate with Jva Gosvm, in his Sarva-savdin, bt
here we are following Baladeva for practical reasons.
45. Indian cltre traditionally ascribes inconceivable power (acintya-akti)
to some precios stones and mantras, and this is often sed as an example

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


in philosophical works. One classical instance is rdhara Svms commentary on Viu Pura, 1.3.2. This may sond strange to s, bt let s remember the healing power of sggestion and hypnoses.
46. According to ancient Indian medicine, diseases are cased by an
imbalance or disorder of the three bodily lids: kapha (phlegm), pitta
(bile), and vta (air).
47. This is not an exclsive possession of Gaya Vednta; it is a fndamental assmption in many schools of Indian philosophy. However, I cannot recall a singe thinker in the West who shares this conception. Perhaps
the phenomenology of Hsserl, Scheler, and other phenomenologists
qaliies as some similarity.
48. Compare rmad-Bhgavatam 6.1.50.
49. op. cit., 3.26.27.
50. op. cit., 3.26.29-30.
51. Muaka, 3.11; vetvatara, 4.6.
52. op.cit., 3.12 and 4.7.
53. Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2003.1, 731116SB.DEL.
54. This is becase God as absolte has no parts and is a single, ndivided
sbstance. Althogh having different aspects, they are different in a conditional sense. Ths his name, qalities, form etc. share the same absolte
natre and are identical. Therefore the sond emanating from him is also
flly identical with him.
55. And in this sense Vysa, the athor of the Vedas, is considered to be
Gods incarnation.
56. A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami Prabhpda, Journey of Self-Discovery,
Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, Bombay, 1990, 1993, p. 72.
57. op. cit., p. 75.
58. op. cit., p. 76.
59. op. cit., pp. 110-111.
60. Here it is appropriate to mention that for Gaya Vednta, we ind
the most intelligible and the prest manifestation of knowledge of God in
the rmad-Bhgavatam or Bhgavata Pura. This is extensively elaborated
by Jva Gosvm in his Tattva-sandarbha.
61. rmad-Bhgavatam, 11.21.36.
62. jve skt nhi tte guru caittya-rpe
ik-guru haya ka-mahnta-svarpe, Caitanya-caritmta, di 1.58.
63. Bhagavad-gt 4.2 is illstrative of this.
64. rmad-Bhgavatam, 11.3.21.



65. bde brahmai vede vicra-ttparyea. Pare brahmai bhagavad-di-rpvirbhve paroknubhavena nita tathaiva nih prptam. (Bhakti-sandarbha 202)
66. Compare Bhaktivedanta VedaBase 2003.1, 680706SB.MON, 710718IN.
DET, 750112SB.BOM, 750610MW.HON i 760610RC.LA.
67. The concept is frther elaborated: Shotra Swami, Substance and Shadow, The Vedic Method of Knowledge, Govinda-Verlag, Zrich/Altenbrg, 1996,
pp. 163-6.
68. op. cit., str. 164.
69. If by philosophy we mean only speclationan idea which is, I mst
admit, alien to me.
70. This is one more classiication of sense perception: simple (avaidua
not edcated) and learned (vaiduaedcated). It is given by Jva Gosvm
in Sarva-savdin, 9. Tad eva ca puna vaiduam avaidua ceti dvividham.
Tatra vaidue ca vipratipatti-bhramdi-n-doa-rhityt, abdasypi tan-mlatvc
Aabhaa, Tarka-sagraha.
Baladeva Vidybhaa, Tattva-sandarbha-tippani (in the Tattva-sandarbha
edition of Sri Haridas Sastri).
Baladeva Vidybhaa, Vedanta-syamantaka (the edition of Haridas Shastri,
Vrindavan, sine anno).
Chatterjee, Satischandra and Dhirendramohan Datta, An Introduction to
Indian Philosophy, Calctta: University of Calctta, 1984.
Jva Gosvm, Bhakti-sandarbha (edition of Sri Haridas Sastri, Vrindavan,
Jva Gosvm, Tattva-sandarbha (edition of Sri Haridas Sastri, Vrindavan, sine
anno, contains Jvas ato-commentary and the commentaries of
Baladeva, Rdhmohana Gosvm, and Garakiora Gosvm).
Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, Bhagavad-gt As It Is (2nd
Edition), Singapore: Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1989.
Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, The Journey of Self-Discovery,
Bombay: Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1990, 1993.
Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, Message of Godhead, Los Angeles:
Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1990.
Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, r Caitanya-caritmta, 17 Vols.,
Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1975.

Bengali Vaishnava Epistemology


Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, r Iopaniad, Los Angeles:

Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1993,
Prabhpda, A. C. Bhaktivednta Swami, rmad-Bhgavatam, 12 Cantos,
Singapore: Bhaktivedanta Book Trst, 1987.
Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, The Principal Upaniads, London: George Allen
& Unwin, Ltd., 1953.
Simha, G. Prathapa, Arthpatti: A Critical and Comparative Study of The Views
of Prva Mms, Advaita Vednta, and Nyya-Vaieika Systems,
Tirpatti: Sri Venkatesvara University, 1991.
Swami, Shotra, Substance and Shadow, The Vedic Method of Knowledge,
Zrich/Altenbrg: Govinda-Verlag, 1996.
Virpakshananda, Swami, Tarka Sagraha, With the Dpika of Aambhaa
and Notes, Madras: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1994.
Viumahpuram (Nag Pblishers, 1985).

Joseph T. OConnell is Professor Emeritus in the Study of Religion at the
University of Toronto, Canada, and Visiting Professor of World Religions in
the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. His doctorate from Harvard is in the
Comparative Study of the Major World Religions. His primary area of scholarship is the history of religion in relation to society in the Bengal region
with special concentration on the Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition and certain
sectors of the Muslim tradition in Bengal. Currently he is encouraging the
development the academic study of religion in Indian and Bangladeshi universities.
Jason D. Fuller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious
Studies at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He received his PhD.
from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 where he specialized in the history of Bengali Vaishnavism. He is currently working on a book dealing with
the nineteenth-century Vaishnava reformer, Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He is a
frequent contributor to the Journal of Vaishnava Studies.
Aleksandar Uskokov, who hails from Skopje, Macedonia, joined the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 1992, and served mainly
in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust as a translator, editor and production manager for their Serbian and Macedonian literature. He has a BA (Honors) in
Philosophy, University St. Cyril and Methodius, and an MA in Philosophy
of Religion. He has published several articles in the scholarly journal,



Kiyokazu Okita is a doctoral candidate at the Faculty of Theology, University

of Oxford. His doctoral research focuses on Baladeva Vidybhaas
philosophy and its relation to other Vedntic schools. He holds a BA in
Religious Studies from International Christian University (Tokyo) and an
MA in the Study of Religion from Oxford University.
Leena A. Taneja is a professor of South Asian religions at Stetson University
in Deland, Florida. Her academic interests include the devotional traditions of India and postmodern theory. Her most recent publication
includes a new book based on her dissertation, Tracing the Absence of Faith:
Deconstruction, Hermeneutics, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava Tradition (2008).
Satyanarayana Dasa is the founder-director of the Jiva Institute of Vedic
Studies, Vrindavan, U.P., India. He holds B.Tech. and M.Tech. degrees
from IIT Delhi, and a PhD degree in Sanskrit from Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
University, Agra, India. Besides this, he has studied the six systems of
Indian philosophy in the traditional manner through guru parampara.
Satyanarayana specializes in the Achintya-bhedbheda school of Vednta.
He is also visiting professor at the State University of New Jersey, Rutgers,
and at Terre du Ciel University, France. His published works include a
commentary on Hitopadesh, Yoga of Dejection, Bhagavata Mahatmya, Nama
Tattva, Spiritual Health, In Vaikuntha Not Even The Leaves Fall. Other forthcoming works include Vedic Psychology, The Art of Love, and a translation of
Bhagavata Purana to be published by Penguin Books.
Dhanurdhara Swami was initiated into the Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage
by Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1974. In 1982, he
accepted the sannyasa order of life, ordaining him as a swami. He is the
author of three books: Waves of Devotion: A Comprehensive Study of The Nectar
of Devotion; Greetings from Vrindavana, a selected collection of his thoughts
and realizations from 2000-2004; and Japa Meditations: Contemplations on
Entering the Holy Name, a collection of selected personal realizations
on japa meditation by himself and others. He is currently working on
several writing projects including a contemporary book on bhakti and
another on kirtan.
Graham M. Schweig is a scholar of comparative religion who focuses
on the religions of India. He is a specialist in love mysticism and bhakti



traditions. He did his graduate studies at Harvard University and the

University of Chicago, receiving his doctorate in Comparative Religion
from Harvard. Schweig has taught at Duke University and University of
North Carolina, and was Visiting Associate Professor of Sanskrit at the
University of Virginia. He is currently Associate Professor of Philosophy
and Religious Studies and Director of the Indic Studies Program at
Christopher Newport University, on the Virginia peninsula. He has
contributed numerous pieces to encyclopedia volumes, journals, and
books. His book, Dance of Divine Love: Indias Classic Sacred Love Story
was published by Princeton University Press (2005), and more recently,
Bhagavad Gita: The Beloved Lords Secret Love Song, was published by
HarperOne/Harper Collins Publishers (2007).