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Sakshatkara In Hindu Philosophy – Intuitive Perception

Sakshatkara in Hindu philosophy is the intuitive perception which enables one to see with one’s own eyes or realize personally. Perception is defined as the accurate knowledge generated through contact of the senses with objects, devoid of any doubt and error, not associated with any other simultaneous sound cognition.

Perception may be nirvikalpa (non-determinate) or savikalpa (determinate). Gangesha, a later Naiyayika of great reputation, has described perception as immediate awareness. In the history of speculation, this discussion has raised the deepest questions in philosophy. Our knowledge springs from two fundamental sources of our own self; the first receives representations (receptively of impressions), the second is the power of knowing an object by these representations. The first visualizes an object and the second makes us think of the object. The correlation of the facts consciously is what is known as apprehension or Sakshatkara.

As every phenomenon contains manifold processes, different perceptions are found in the mind singularly and in a scattered condition. A connection amongst them is necessary. There exists therefore in us an active power for the synthesis of the manifold. This we call apprehension.

Philosophically, it is called realization or a revelation of the fact of the natural phenomenon. This is to be realized by direct contact of the senses, such as seeing, touching, and tasting. This is referred to as pratyaksha pramana. On the other hand, one can infer logically, as in the case of inferring the presence of fire by noticing the presence of smoke in the mountain. This is anumana pramana. If a person who has actually experienced a fact expresses it, we take it as realization. This is the word of a reliable person (aptavakyam) in the pramana. These three type of revelations lead to Sakshatkara (realization) through the senses. However, one may assert that sugar is sweet, it will be perceived only by tasting it, and then one gets the Sakshatkara of the sweetness of sugar. Similarly, if the knowledge of Brahman leads to the experiencing of its presence through yogic revelation, then that realization leads to the peaceful state of mind called sakshatkara.

Perception has in it all the characteristics that belong to intellectual activity at its highest. Organized perception succinctly describes all the activities of intelligence. Perception is not only the source of all knowledge but is itself knowledge; it is unconditionally the only true knowledge. It imparts an insight for assimilation by man. Wisdom (the correct eye) and searching for judgment proceed from the way in which man apprehends the perceptible world, but not from his mere abstract knowledge. This basic or ultimate content of every science consists not in profits, which can finally be apprehended only through perception. So also the basis of true wisdom and real insight of each man does not consist in conceptions and in abstract rational knowledge but in what is perceived wand in the degree of acuteness, accuracy and profundity with which he has apprehended it.

Direct and immediate knowledge of a situation may be the outcome of long meditation, of endeavors which have employed all the resources of science, and of the power reflections and thoughts, in order to understand all the forces and characteristics which have entered into the situation and made it what it is. This power is present in every man, and the perception of every successful man may be seen to be of gradual growth and of growing intensity. There is no difference in kind between the Sakshatkara of one man and that of another; the difference lies in the power which a man acquires by utilizing his experience by focusing on a perception which is the necessary presupposition of an intelligent action.

In the logical system of philosophy, it is defined as aparoksha jnana – the knowledge that is gained through experimentation or personal interaction of senses. This is possible through yogic practices. One gets the Sakshatkara of mystical truths in the state of mind bereft of all worldly afflictions. This intellect is of two kinds – samprajnata and asamprajnata. In the first stage, he can find the cause and effect, and in the second, the revelation cannot be assigned any particular cause. This Sakshatkara will be at various levels which will be experienced, in different degrees, and words are not sufficient to give that apprehension.

Sakshatkara is realization. The Upanishads stress the importance of the realization of the omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent of the Highest Reality (Brahma Sakshatkara) which creates, maintains, and dissolves the world. According to the fundamental doctrines of the Upanishads, such a Sakshatkara leads to liberation.