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In Indian philosophy,
Paroksha refers to mediate knowledge or indirect
cognition, mediated by sensory-intellectual apparatus, in which
thought systems psychological insights that have evolved in the
context of two levels of realities, empirical and transcendental, are
gained through both direct cognition and indirect cognition of things
that exist in the universe.
2 Understanding some schools
Sanskrit expression made up of two words – Para (beyond) and
Aksha (eye), literally means beyond the eye i.e. beyond the range of
sight. Therefore, it also means invisible, remote, hidden or
mysterious. The Aitareya
Brahmana VII.30 gives its meaning as
"mysterious" and "mystery" – "tan nayogrohan santan nyogrodhan ity
achakshate parokshena, paroksha-priya iva hi deva" (The nyogodha is
called nyogrodha after the mysterious (etymology) for the gods like
Understanding some schools
Caravaka school of thought which does not believe in causation and
its universality, advocating naïve realism and empiricism rejects
inference as a means of valid knowledge because it depends upon vyapti
i.e. the universal concomitance between the middle term and the major
term, and because one vyapti is based on another vyapti thus involving
an infinite argument. According to this school vyapti can only be
known through perception of perceptible things alone and therefore,
perception is the only means of valid knowledge. This school does not
consider imperceptible things to exist.
Gautama Buddha is believed to have directed all monks and scholars to
thoroughly analyze his words and not adopt them for the sake of
respect. He taught rationalism and trust in one's own reasoning and
belief, and spoke about the distinction between the mere reception of
truth and the knowledge of truth which involves rational
conviction. The later Buddhist thinkers such as the Sautrantikas,
opposed to the Yogacaras who deny the reality of external objects
reducing them to cognitions, advocating indirect realism recognized
the reality of external objects which produced their own cognitions
and imprinted their forms on them as being basically perceptible; they
developed the doctrine of impermanence into the ontological doctrine
Dharmakirti considered the so-called external
objects as mere sensations, that all object-cognitions are due to the
revival of the sub-conscious impressions deposited in the mind which
are not excited by external objects. The Madhyamakas regard external
objects and subjective cognitions to be equally essenceless with Sunya
as their eternal basis and reject the plurality of external objects
and internal cognitions because of their relativity. Buddha’s
teachings lend support to the three valid cognizers which are the
three consciousnesses that comprehend the manifest (visible
phenomena), the slightly hidden phenomena or kimchid-paroksha (which
can be inferred) and the very hidden phenomena or atyartha-paroksha
(which is known through the power of belief).
The followers of the
Jain School of Thought consider knowledge as
emanating from the soul to be
Pratyaksha (direct cognition) and the
knowledge which is inherited from the senses,
cognition); paroksha-knowledge is gained with the help of the mind and
senses (Mati) or through what is heard or learnt (Shruti).
According to this school Mediate knowledge (Paroksha), which is Valid
knowledge (Pramana), though indistinct and devoid of perceptual
vividness, is of five kinds – Recollection that determines the real
nature of an object perceived in the past, Recognition that knows a
present perceived object as known in the past, Induction which is
knowledge of the past invariable vyapti arising from the observation
of their co-presence and co-absence, Deduction or
which is based on vyapti derived induction and Testimony is the
knowledge of objects derived from words of reliable persons, which
are all secondary sources that involve conceptualization of the object
of knowledge by means of rational or analytical thought processes.
Paroksha is second-hand knowledge.
According to the
Paroksha consists in the intellectual
assent to a stated proposition and
Aparoksha consists in the actual
realization of that proposition. In
Paroksha there is the
distinction between the subjective concept and the objective reality
which that concept represents in consciousness but which distinction
is irrelevant in the case of
Aparoksha knowledge. A man is said to
attain paroksha (indirect) wisdom when he knows (theoretically) that
Brahman exists; but he is said to attain sakshatkara (direct
cognition) when he knows (or realises) that he is himself Brahman.
Then, he becomes Jivanmukta.
Vedanta conveys the aparoksha
Absolute in a paroksha way which is a valid way because while
referring to certain facts about
Brahman paroksha does not refer to
Srimad-Bhagavatam (XI.xxi.35) it refers to the
indirect (proksha) statements of the rishis. The rishis of the Vedas
are found to speak variously about
Brahman in an indirect manner
(proksha-vada) e.g. "The eye, O Emperor, is the Supreme Brahman" or
"This being who is in the right eye is named Indha. Though he is Indha
, he is indirectly called Indra, for the gods have a fondness, as it
were, for indirect names, and hate to be called indirectly". Thus,
paroksha is "This", and aparoksha is "That" of the Upanishads.
Paroksha wisdom or mediate knowledge, which is right perception, does
not liberate a person from
Saṃsāra but it is confirmed by Aparoksha
wisdom. The paroksha-vada (indirect injunctions) of the Vedic rishis
indirectly leads one to the path of liberation Srimad-Bhagavatam
Bhagavad Gita XIII.12-13,
Arjuna about that which
is to be known, and also about that by realizing which one attains
immortality. This is paroksha wisdom by which the attention of the
listener is aroused and the fruit of such knowledge is indicated viz -
the knowledge of the knowable beginningless attributeless Brahman
gaining which one gains the aparoksha wisdom, the knowledge of the
Knower of the field,
Brahman who exists but transcends all verbal
expressions, who cannot be expressed in terms like existence and
Shankara explains that
Krishna objectifies the acosmic through the
process of superimposition and sublation by designating
Brahman as the
field-knower by employing the adjunct, field, variously pluralised due
to hands, feet, etc.
Brahman is to be realised as existing.
Brahma Sutras III.ii.15) states that like light, the
Brahman in connection with Upadhis (limiting
adjuncts) appears to have a form.
^ Girishwar Misra. Psychology in India Vol. IV. Pearson Education
India. p. 107.
^ On the History and Literature of the Veda: Book review. 16. Journal
of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal. July–December 1847.
^ Dan Perdue. Debate in Tibetan Buddhism. Snow Lion Publications.
^ Amguttaranikaya, Kalamasutta
^ Saddarsanasamgraha ii.45-47
^ V.B.Srivastava. Dictionary of Indology. p. 111.
^ Jadunath Sinha. Outlines of Indian Philosophy. Pilgrim Books (P)
Ltd. pp. 124–5.
^ G.R.S.Mead. Five years of Theosophy. Echo Library.
^ Sris Chandra Sen. The Mystical Philosophy of the Upanishads. Genesis
Publishing (P) Ltd. p. 197.
^ Swami Parmeshwaranand. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Upanishads.
Upanishad IV.i.4 & IV.ii.3
^ "Libration from the Illusory Energy". Archived from the original on
Bhagavad Gita Shankara-Bhasya. pp. 539–546.
^ Badarayana. Brahma-Sutras (with translation and commentary). Advaita