Perception does not reveal mere being.
In reply to the assertion that perception causes the apprehension of pure Being only, and therefore cannot have difference for its object; and that 'difference' cannot be defined because it does not admit of being set forth in definite alternatives; we point out that these charges are completely refuted by the fact that the only objects of perception are things distinguished by generic character and so on, and that generic character and so on--as being relative things--give at once rise to the judgment as to the distinction between themselves and the things in which they inhere. You yourself admit that in the case of knowledge and in that of colour and other qualities this relation holds good, viz. that something which gives rise to a judgment about another thing at the same time gives rise to a judgment about itself; the same may therefore be admitted with regard to difference 1.
For this reason the charge of a regressus in infinitum and a logical seesaw (see above, p. 32) cannot be upheld. For even if perceptive cognition takes place within one moment, we apprehend within that moment the generic character which constitutes on the one hand the difference of the thing from others, and on the other hand the peculiar character of the thing itself; and thus there remains nothing to be apprehended in a second moment.
Moreover, if perception made us apprehend only pure Being judgments clearly referring to different objects--such as 'Here is a jar,' 'There is a piece of cloth'--would be devoid of all meaning. And if through perception we did not apprehend difference--as marked by generic character, &c., constituting the structure or make of a thing, why should a man searching for a horse not be satisfied with finding a buffalo? And if mere Being only were the object of all our cognitions, why should we not remember,
in the case of each particular cognition, all the words which are connected with all our cognitions? And further, if the cognition of a horse and that of an elephant had one object only, the later cognition would cause us to apprehend only what was apprehended before, and there being thus no difference (of object of cognition) there would be nothing to distinguish the later state of cognition from remembrance. If on the other hand a difference is admitted for each state of consciousness, we admit thereby that perception has for its objects things affected with difference.
If all acts of cognition had one and the same object only, everything would be apprehended by one act of cognition; and from this it would follow that there are no persons either deaf or blind!
Nor does, as a matter of fact, the eye apprehend mere Being only; for what it does apprehend is colour and the coloured thing, and those other qualities (viz. extension, &c.), which inhere in the thing together with colour. Nor does feeling do so; for it has for its objects things palpable. Nor have the ear and the other senses mere Being for their object; but they relate to what is distinguished by a special sound or taste or smell. Hence there is not any source of knowledge causing us to apprehend mere Being. If moreover the senses had for their object mere Being free from all difference, it would follow that Scripture which has the same object would (not be originative of knowledge but) perform the function of a mere anuvâda, i.e. it would merely make statements about something, the knowledge of which is already established by some other means. And further, according to your own doctrine, mere Being, i.e. Brahman, would hold the position of an object with regard to the instruments of knowledge; and thus there would cling to it all the imperfections indicated by yourself--non-intelligent nature, perishableness and so on.--From all this we conclude that perception has for its object only what is distinguished by difference manifesting itself in generic character and so on, which constitute the make or structure of a thing. (That the generic character of a thing is nothing else but its particular structure follows) from the
fact that we do not perceive anything, different from structure, which could be claimed as constituting the object of the cognition that several individuals possess one and the same general form. And as our theory sufficiently accounts for the ordinary notions as to generic character, and as moreover even those who hold generic character to be something different from structure admit that there is such a thing as (common) structure, we adhere to the conclusion that generic character is nothing but structure. By 'structure' we understand special or distinctive form; and we acknowledge different forms of that kind according to the different classes of things. And as the current judgments as to things being different from one another can be explained on the basis of the apprehension of generic character, and as no additional entity is observed to exist, and as even those who maintain the existence of such an additional thing admit the existence of generic character, we further conclude that difference (bheda) is nothing but generic character (gâti).--But if this were so, the judgment as to difference would immediately follow from the judgment as to generic character, as soon as the latter is apprehended! Quite true, we reply. As a matter of fact the judgment of difference is immediately formulated on the basis of the judgment as to generic character. For 'the generic character' of a cow, e.g., means just the exclusion of everything else: as soon as that character is apprehended all thought and speech referring to other creatures belonging to the same wider genus (which includes buffaloes and so on also) come to an end. It is through the apprehension of difference only that the idea of non-difference comes to an end.