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Theory Of Error As Per Madhvacharya Philosophy

Error is the opposite of knowledge. Different schools of Hindu philosophy have discussed the nature of error and its occurrence with great interest. Jayatirtha has expounded theory of error in Madhvacharya philosophy after showing inadequacies in the theories of other schools.

The Dvaita or “dualist” school of Hindu Vedanta philosophy originated in 13th-century South India with Sri Madhvacharya (Madhva).

The Dvaita theory of error is known as abhinava – anyatha khyati. According to this theory, whenever there are any defects in either the subjective or the objective conditions of knowledge, error occurs. The appearance of unreal as real and of real as unreal is illusion. In bhranti (error), the non-existent is present as existent and the existent is presented as non-existent.

The Dvaita school subscribes neither to the view of the wholesale unreality of the constituents of an error nor to the view that one real object appears as another real object existing elsewhere. Contact with the sense organ is necessary before there is any perception. Contact is possible only with a real object. Therefore, all the constituents cannot be unreal. A real object existing elsewhere is not in contact with the sense organ. Therefore, when one thing appears as another, the latter is unreal. This view conforms to the subletting cognition that occurs later.

When someone cognizes a shining object and thinks that it is silver, there is wrong knowledge and this is due to –

  • Right experience of a shining something
  • Non-apprehension of shell as shell
  • Right experience of silver in the past
  • The samskara of the experience of silver seen in the past.

Source - Notes taken from Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume III - page 560 - IHRF - Rupa - 2011