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Satkhyati – A Theory Of Error In Hindu Philosophy

Satkhyati is one among the seven theories of error in Hindu philosophy. This theory is advocated by the adherents of the Visishtadvaita philosophy of Ramanuja. It holds that all cognitions are intrinsically valid and, as such, all judgments must be regarded as true (yathartham sarva vijnanam). The so-called erroneous judgment is only inadequate in so far as it apprehends one aspect of the object and neglects the other. Reality is the subject of all judgments so that no judgment is non-objective. This view rests on the metaphysical stipulation that everything is contained in everything (sarvam sarvatmakam) so that erroneous judgment becomes logically impossible.

According to the doctrine of panchikarana, objects of the visible world, which are all compounds, contain all the five elements (earth, water, air, fire and ether) in varying proportions. In a mirage, earth is the preponderant part and water is also there, however slight. Therefore, in an illusion of this nature, water is also presented to the eye. It is the relative smallness that is ignored. It is recommended that all judgments truly characterize the referent.