All knowledge is of the Real.
'Those who understand the Veda hold that all cognition has for its object what is real; for.Sruti and Smriti alike teach that everything participates in the nature of everything else. In the scriptural account of creation preceded by intention on the part of the Creator it is said that each of these elements was made tripartite; and this tripartite constitution of all things is apprehended by Perception as well. The red colour in burning fire comes from (primal elementary) fire, the white colour from water, the black colour from earth--in this way Scripture explains the threefold nature of burning fire. In the same way all things are composed of elements of all things. The Vishnu Purâna, in its account of creation, makes a similar statement: "The elements possessing various powers and being unconnected could not, without combination, produce living beings, not having mingled in any way. Having combined, therefore, with one another, and entering into mutual associations--beginning with the principle called Mahat, and extending down to the gross elements--they formed an egg," &c. (Vi. Pu. I, 2, 50; 52). This tripartiteness of the elements the Sûtrakâra also declares
[paragraph continues] (Ve. Sû. III, 1, 3). For the same reason Sruti enjoins the use of Putîka sprouts when no Soma can be procured; for, as the Mîmâmsakas explain, there are in the Putîka plant some parts of the Soma plant (Pû. Mî. Sû.); and for the same reason nîvâra grains may be used as a substitute for rice grains. That thing is similar to another which contains within itself some part of that other thing; and Scripture itself has thus stated that in shells, &c., there is contained some silver, and so on. That one thing is called "silver" and another "shell" has its reason in the relative preponderance of one or the other element. We observe that shells are similar to silver; thus perception itself informs us that some elements of the latter actually exist in the former. Sometimes it happens that owing to a defect of the eye the silver-element only is apprehended, not the shell-element, and then the percipient person, desirous of silver, moves to pick up the shell. If, on the other hand, his eye is free from such defect, he apprehends the shell-element and then refrains from action. Hence the cognition of silver in the shell is a true one. In the same way the relation of one cognition being sublated by another explains itself through the preponderant element, according as the preponderance of the shell-element is apprehended partially or in its totality, and does not therefore depend on one cognition having for its object the false thing and another the true thing. The distinctions made in the practical thought and business of life thus explain themselves on the basis of everything participating in the nature of everything else.'
In dreams, again, the divinity creates, in accordance with the merit or demerit of living beings, things of a special nature, subsisting for a certain time only, and perceived only by the individual soul for which they are meant. In agreement herewith Scripture says, with reference to the state of dreaming, 'There are no chariots in that state, no horses, no roads; then he creates chariots, horses, and roads. There are no delights, no joys, no bliss; then he creates delights, joys, and bliss. There are no tanks, no lakes, no rivers; then he creates tanks, lakes, and rivers.
[paragraph continues] For he is the maker' (Bri. Up. IV, 3, 10). The meaning of this is, that although there are then no chariots, &c., to be perceived by other persons, the Lord creates such things to be perceived by the dreaming person only. 'For he is the maker'; for such creative agency belongs to him who possesses the wonderful power of making all his wishes and plans to come true. Similarly another passage, 'That person who is awake in those who are asleep, shaping one lovely sight after another, that indeed is the Bright, that is Brahman, that alone is called the Immortal. All worlds are contained in it, and no one goes beyond it' (Ka. Up. II, 5, 8).--The Sûtrakâra also, after having in two Sûtras (III, 2, 1; 2) stated the hypothesis of the individual soul creating the objects appearing in dreams, finally decides that that wonderful creation is produced by the Lord for the benefit of the individual dreamer; for the reason that as long as the individual soul is in the samsâra state, its true nature--comprising the power of making its wishes to come true--is not fully manifested, and hence it cannot practically exercise that power. The last clause of the Katha text ('all worlds are contained in it,' &c.) clearly shows that the highest Self only is the creator meant. That the dreaming person who lies in his chamber should go in his body to other countries and experience various results of his merit or demerit--being at one time crowned a king, having at another time his head cut off, and so on--is possible in so far as there is created for him another body in every way resembling the body resting on the bed.
The case of the white shell being seen as yellow, explains itself as follows. The visual rays issuing from the eye are in contact with the bile contained in the eye, and thereupon enter into conjunction with the shell; the result is that the whiteness belonging to the shell is overpowered by the yellowness of the bile, and hence not apprehended; the shell thus appears yellow, just as if it were gilt. The bile and its yellowness is, owing to its exceeding tenuity, not perceived by the bystanders; but thin though it be it is apprehended by the person suffering from jaundice,
to whom it is very near, in so far as it issues from his own eye, and through the mediation of the visual rays, aided by the action of the impression produced on the mind by that apprehension, it is apprehended even in the distant object, viz. the shell.--In an analogous way the crystal which is placed near the rose is apprehended as red, for it is overpowered by the brilliant colour of the rose; the brilliancy of the rose is perceived in a more distinct way owing to its close conjunction with the transparent substance of the crystal.--In the same way the cognition of water in the mirage is true. There always exists water in connexion with light and earth; but owing to some defect of the eye of the perceiving person, and to the mysterious influence of merit and demerit, the light and the earth are not apprehended, while the water is apprehended.--In the case again of the firebrand swung round rapidly, its appearance as a fiery wheel explains itself through the circumstance that moving very rapidly it is in conjunction with all points of the circle described without our being able to apprehend the intervals. The case is analogous to that of the perception of a real wheel; but there is the difference that in the case of the wheel no intervals are apprehended, because there are none; while in the case of the firebrand none are apprehended owing to the rapidity of the movement. But in the latter case also the cognition is true.--Again, in the case of mirrors and similar reflecting surfaces the perception of one's own face is likewise true. The fact is that the motion of the visual rays (proceeding from the eye towards the mirror) is reversed (reflected) by the mirror, and that thus those rays apprehend the person's own face, subsequently to the apprehension of the surface of the mirror; and as in this case also, owing to the rapidity of the process, there is no apprehension of any interval (between the mirror and the face), the face presents itself as being in the mirror.--In the case of one direction being mistaken for another (as when a person thinks the south to be where the north is), the fact is that, owing to the unseen principle (i.e. merit or demerit), the direction which actually exists in the other direction (for a point
which is to the north of me is to the south of another point) is apprehended by itself, apart from the other elements of direction; the apprehension which actually takes place is thus likewise true. Similar is the case of the double moon. Here, either through pressure of the finger upon the eye, or owing to some abnormal affection of the eye, the visual rays are divided (split), and the double, mutually independent apparatus of vision thus originating, becomes the cause of a double apprehension of the moon. One apparatus apprehends the moon in her proper place; the other which moves somewhat obliquely, apprehends at first a place close by the moon, and then the moon herself, which thus appears somewhat removed from her proper place. Although, therefore, what is apprehended is the one moon distinguished by connection with two places at the same time--an apprehension due to the double apparatus of vision--yet, owing to the difference of apprehensions, there is a difference in the character of the object apprehended, and an absence of the apprehension of unity, and thus a double moon presents itself to perception. That the second spot is viewed as qualifying the moon, is due to the circumstance that the apprehension of that spot, and that of the moon which is not apprehended in her proper place, are simultaneous. Now here the doubleness of the apparatus is real, and hence the apprehension of the moon distinguished by connexion with two places is real also, and owing to this doubleness of apprehension, the doubleness of aspect of the object apprehended,i.e. the moon, is likewise real. That there is only one moon constituting the true object of the double apprehension, this is a matter for which ocular perception by itself does not suffice, and hence what is actually seen is a double moon. That, although the two eyes together constitute one visual apparatus only, the visual rays being divided through some defect of the eyes, give rise to a double apparatus--this we infer from the effect actually observed. When that defect is removed there takes place only one apprehension of the moon as connected with her proper place, and thus the idea of one moon only arises. It is at the same time
quite clear how the defect of the eye gives rise to a double visual apparatus, the latter to a double apprehension, and the latter again to a doubleness of the object of apprehension.
We have thus proved that all cognition is true. The shortcomings of other views as to the nature of cognition have been set forth at length by other philosophers, and we therefore do not enter on that topic. What need is there, in fact, of lengthy proofs? Those who acknowledge the validity of the different means of knowledge, perception, and so on, and--what is vouched for by sacred tradition--the existence of a highest Brahman--free from all shadow of imperfection, of measureless excellence, comprising within itself numberless auspicious qualities, all-knowing, immediately realising all its purposes--, what should they not be able to prove? That holy highest Brahman--while producing the entire world as an object of fruition for the individual souls, in agreement with their respective good and ill deserts--creates certain things of such a nature as to become common objects of consciousness, either pleasant or unpleasant, to all souls together, while certain other things are created in such a way as to be perceived only by particular persons, and to persist for a limited time only. And it is this distinction--viz. of things that are objects of general consciousness, and of things that are not so--which makes the difference between what is called 'things sublating' and 'things sublated.'--Everything is explained hereby.