Indian thinkers have long felt the schism between Indian and Western philosophies and an equally strong desire to transcend this schism. They have recognized a strong need to, at least, open a serious discourse between the two traditions disburse that has not really taken place on an equal footing. Thus it seemed important when two major institutions of philosophy came together to organize this international conference. The ICPR, the chief patron of philosophical research in India, and the CARP, which is dedicated to the cause of the advancement of phenomenology, jointly conceived the theme of the conference, on which a meaningful discourse across the two traditions was thought to be possible.

The conference had chiefly to do with the work of Prof. J.N. Mohanty, an Indian philosopher currently based in the U.S.A., who is acclaimed to be a leading phenomenologist in the West. Prof. Mohanty has written several papers and a book on issues dealing with Indian philosophy. It is his labor that had actually prepared the intellectual ground for discourse and made possible the mobilization of Western scholars associated with CARP and Indian scholars associated with ICPR.

One naturally expected some major comments to be voiced in this conference on the comparative state of the Indian and Graeco-European philosophical traditions. More so, since Prof. Mohanty's stature in contemporary Western philosophy is well established and because he has done serious research on Indian philosophy as well. But, strangely enough, the event fell short of this expectation. Several papers only dealt with one tradition and had no comparative content while others had poor comparative content, the noteworthy exceptions being the papers of Prof. Mohanty and Prof. Kern. It seems to me, however, the failure was a consequence of the -perspective within which the conference was conceived. This is not to suggest, though, that the proceedings of the conference did not lead to the precipitation of several deep comparative questions. Indeed, the conference provided an occasion to reflect fruitfully on the current state of comparative scholarship.

To begin with the idea for the conference was conceived within the unequal context characteristic of the current state of the politics of knowledge. A particular system of philosophy namely, transcendental phenomenology was singled out from the Western tradition. Edmund Husserl had described transcendental phenomenology as (a) the first ever scientific philosophy devoid of metaphysical pre-suppositions that had plagued all earlier philosophical enterprises of the West; (b) the culmination of a search began by the Greeks which had since fumbled in the wilderness, a search for a secure pivotal platform from which to reflect pre-suppositionlessly and endlessly. Transcendental phenomenology discovered such a platform and thus inaugurated 'scientific philosophizing which is securely founded on that platform.

No particular philosophical system was singled out for comparative probing from the Indian philosophical tradition. As a result, no sustained investigation and presentation of an Indian philosophical system was possible for the comparative purpose. Rather, any fragmentary aspect of Indian tradition could be invoked and pet formulations of 'every aspect' of Indian tradition could be brought in to the comparative discourse. Phenomenology with its sophisticated technical apparatus was, thus, pitched for an encounter with a diluted ideality called 'Indian philosophy which lacked a coherent unified technical apparatus.

It is quite understandable if an encounter is conceived at a civilization level where presuppositions of two philosophical traditions are comparatively debated. Such a discourse can be meaningful even at the expense of abstaining from the technicalities of the various philosophical systems that constitute these traditions. It is equally possible to imagine a comparative endeavor between two philosophical systems belonging to the two traditions so that technical subtleties are able to confront each other. Neither of these two strategies was present here, however. As a result, phenomenology with its formidable terminology was hegemonically present without any Indian philosophical system being able to establish a comparative dialogue with it or vice versa. Another consequence of this inequality was that phenomenology's rootedness in Western tradition remained invisible. Phenomenology was present with its roots mystified and 'Indian philosophy was present with its sophistication obscured.

One wonders if this inequality was the result of a poor state of Indian scholarship or had a deeper rationale grounded in the justified comparative standing of phenomenology vis-a-vis Indian philosophies. Prof. Mohanty's key note address - "Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy: The Concept of Rationality" - naturalized and rationalized this inequality and set the limits and tone of discourse. For Mohanty, Husserl's phenomenology gave him 'the stance of a transcendental ego' enabling 'apperception of another world (in this case Indian Philosophy)' and 'understanding other's point of view as a noematic (sense) structure' without sacrificing otherness and thus 'finally realizing the "world-noemata" are of one and the same world, that the identity of world is one identity in and through these differences' [p. 1*4] (2). Mohanty, apparently, is 'convinced that phenomenology provides a unique ground to overcome the relativism of traditions without hurting any tradition [p. 4]. But the reduction of others to noematic structures is an essentially unequal move that absorbs differences in the interests of phenomenology. If others are interpretable as 'sense structures' in Husserlian phenomenology, it, perhaps, eliminates pre-emotively, the possible critique of phenomenology by others. With respect to the Indian tradition, Mohanty declared that '40 years of preoccupation with Husserlian stance has helped me to understand and interpret the Indian philosophical tradition, in this case, not the other but I myself [p. 1-3]. The irony is that the unique stance which transcendental phenomenology gifts him is the very stance he discovers as being absent in the entire Indian philosophical tradition.

Mohanty singled out two reasons for his totalist insight into Indian philosophy.

(A.) The non-availability of a theory of sense (as distinguished from reference), and
(B.) An ontologically oriented mode of thinking [p.10].

Mohanty characterizes various Indian theories of consciousness thus: they oscillate between descriptive psychology and metaphysics of consciousness’ [p.10]. None of these measures up to transcendental constitutive phenomenology 'save, possibly, certain strands in Buddhist theories' [p.10]. Husserl spent his life trying, precisely, to overcome psychologism and metaphysics within the Western tradition. Thus by inference, .Husserl's critique of Western philosophy becomes a critique of the Indian philosophical tradition as well - a case of straightforward transposition. The ball is left in the Indian court. We shall return to other implications of this approach later. The point being made here is that the inequality in the idea of this conference emerged, as noted earlier, as a natural consequence of Mohant’s comments on the alleged uniqueness of phenomenology.

Naturally, the faith in phenomenology remained largely unquestioned in the conference. No serious critique of phenomenology could be found in the papers presented and in the subsequent discussions. The papers followed, more or less, certain thematic patterns. Bruzina, Balaslev, Balasubramaniam and Kern tread the comparative ground rather cautiously. More often than not, their excursions into comparative criticism brought forth criticism internal to the basic premises of phenomenology.* Kern's paper did rupture the boundaries of the phenomenological tradition but he did not situate his critique of phenomenology within the "specificities of an Indian tradition. Then there were papers that discussed Husserl's work within the thematic of a larger Graeco-European philosophical tradition. Parmenides' ancient formulae and speculations on the unity of being and thinking resurfaced in several interesting forms. Mar Greogrios argued ingeniously, citing Heidegger and Dignaga in this regard. Phenomenological hermenutics received some attention, called forth chiefly by Mohant’s own remarks on sabda pramana. In several) instances, it was obvious that Mohantys evaluation of the privileged status of phenomenology, had served as an inducement for discourse.

Ronald Bruzina's "Last Philosophy: Ideas of Transcendental Phenomenological Metaphysics - Eugene Fink with Edmund Husserl: 1928 -1938" described an unfulfilled project of Husserl in collaboration with Fink on certain perennial metaphysical problems of the West. A bit scandalous, this paper showed how metaphysics was to make a comeback in phenomenology despite .its early radical anti-metaphysics attitude. This paper does bring in a mild critique of pure Husserlian phenomenology and its alleged anti-metaphysics pretensions. It was Heidegger's critique of Husserl's implicit metaphysics in phenomenology which had brought back several problems for pure phenomenology as could be seen in Bruzina's paper and also in Thomas K Seebohm's "Paradox of Subjectivity and the Idea of Ultimate Grounding in Husserl and Heidegger". Leaving aside these internal critical problems, phenomenology stood towering above all, with the confidence that other systems of philosophy are interpretable in its terms. This reading of phenomenology was not merely with regard to Indian philosophical systems .but even with Western Analytic philosophy as was evident in discussions by Mohanty and Secbohm and in the arguments attempted by Heelan. The Universalist stance of pure phenomenology never came up for serious examination, and its presuppositions could not be delineated so that they could be shown to withstand criticism.

Karl Schumann's "Husserl and Indian Philosophy" revealed a shocking Eurocentrism on the part of the founder of phenomenology. Husserl thought that the non-European cultures never really 'produced' philosophy [p30]. India for him represented 'only an empirical anthropological type' (Husserliana VI, 14) p. 20]. He thought it is 'to mistake the meaning of the term, and to tamper with it if one speaks of Indian and Chinese philosophy and science’ [(Husserliana VI331), p.24 J. The idea of philosophy as 'self-transparent omniscience in hand', to Husserl was Greek and not merely European. 'Europe aimed at the realization of the absolute idea, no matter how imperfect and distorted their actual results may be, whereas other cultures, notwithstanding even their most brilliant results, never claimed to be intrinsically worried by the explicit idea of philosophical omniscience' [ (Husserliana VI, 325), p.24 ]. 'As animal reason is to human reason, pre-philosophical reason (i.e., Indian thought) is to philosophical reason (European thought)' [(Husserliana, VI, 338) p. 38, fn. 88 ](3). 'Europe or the idea of philosophy is unique in the history of mankind', states HusserL and adds that 'all other groups of mankind are aware of this, not withstanding their unbroken will to spiritual self- reservation, to Europeanise themselves, whereas we, as long as we understand ourselves properly, would never Indianise ourselves’. [(Husserliana, VI, 320) p. 25, fn. 89]. The spectacle of the Europeanisation of all other cultures bear witness to the fact that the European idea of philosophy is of absolute significance for mankind as such' [(Husserliana, VI, 14), fn. 89]. It was as if the colonial success was taken as the success of the European idea of philosophy. The very enterprise of 'philosophy' as construed by Husserl seemed to exclude the Indian philosophical world. Like Hegel, Husserl had no doubts that Europe has a stance which 'comprehends and cancels other cultures' [in. 90].

The question remains - Is this exclusion intrinsic to the very enterprise of phenomenology or is the Eurocentrism in the birth of phenomenology merely incidental/accidental, arising from the contingent fact of colonisation? Schumann and Mohanty are inclined to take the latter view. (Schumann himself could not come to attend the conference and his paper was read by Mohanty, who disclosed that his key note paper was basically complementary to Schumann's paper). Both Schumann and Mohanty feel that the Universalist stance of pure phenomenology could be salvaged out of Husserfs colonial disposition. However, salvageability is not the issue here. The non-hegemonic equality in a comparative dialogue will not get established unless the universalist stance of phenomenology is seriously deconstructed within the western tradition as well as in accordance with Indian philosophies. Otherwise the comparative discourse would merely imply an effort at working out a case that Indian traditions were also 'philosophical’ in the Husserlian sense, either as 'prescientific philosophy’ or even as 'scientific philosophy’.

There is therefore, a need to deconstruct phenomenology’s hegemonic position, to pronounce its own prejudices and rootedness in the western tradition so that comparative discourse could begin. The Universalist pretense of phenomenology requires justification before comparative discourse could be reduced to a mere interpretative discourse on Indian philosophy from the standpoint of pure phenomenology. Even the possibility that there could be a critique of phenomenology from the standpoint of some strands in Indian philosophy was ruled out from this perspective. There could only be the critique of Indian philosophies from the standpoint of phenomenology. The universalistic perspective not only concealed the origin and roots of phenomenology but also its possible critique. It is not surprising, then, that the papers with comparative content did not really break the limits of discourse that inhered in Mohant’s comments and ideas.

Mohanty was inclined to characterize Indian theories of consciousness as 'prescientific' since in them are found positions oscillating between descriptive psychology and metaphysics of consciousness. Anindita Niyogi Balslev in "Analysis of I - Consciousness in the Transcendental Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy" argued that the treatment of consciousness in Advaita Vedanta, as explicated by Madhusudan Saraswati, cannot be classed as either descriptive psychology or metaphysics of consciousness [p. 13]. Thus Advaita Vedanta acquires the status of Husserl's scientific philosophy’. She further suggests an interpretation of the Advaitin concept of adhyasa-s as a constitutive principle of Advaitin 'phenomenological egology’, an interpretation which is radically at variance with Mohanty’s thesis of the absence of the theory of constitution as a significant mark of all 'prescientific philosophies', according to Husserl. The notion of layered adhyasa, starting from ahamkaradhyasa to other adhyasa-s is considered similar to I -consciousness in terms of its three phenomenological reductions. But there is a serious difficulty in interpreting adhyasa as a constitutive principle in the Husserlian sense. For, the function of adhyasa (avidya) has a dual character - of avarana sakti (concealment) and of viksepa sakti (posting out) (karya). It is avarana sakti, the power of concealment that cannot be understood by interpreting adhyasa as a constitutive principle. Adhyasa in its aspect as a concealing principle would violate self-sufficiency and self transparency implied in the theory of constitution. The Advaitin grounding of chaitanya (ahamkara visista) in chit (Brahma) gives adhyasa an altogether different role than the constitutive role of the supposedly ungrounded consciousness of Husserlian phenomenology; so much so that even a descriptive similarity of adhyasa and the theory of constitution for I-consciousness will be problematic. At variance with the character and function of adhyasa, the theory of constitution is construed primarily to avoid grounding which would necessarily bring in metaphysics in the Western context. The deep dissonance of adhyasa and the phenomenological constitutive principle is further indicated by the fact that the Husserlian concepts of transcendental elements of consciousness (like noemata and apodictive give nness in general), arrived at by the strategy of bracketing, eiditic and transcendental reductions, are not obtained by Advaita Vedanta. Moreover, for Advaitins, where is the neutral hyletic data (static constitutive form) which constitutes Object as intentional objects? There seems to be a problem, here in suggesting an interpretation of adhyasa as a constitutive principle.

In comparative discourse it is invariably the difference which is more significant than the similarity since it is the defence of difference which is more pervasive and hence tough and insightful, whereas the thesis on similarity does not require a defence and can afford to overlook systemic entailments which go against the thesis. Like Anandita's paper several papers dealt with phenomenology and Advaita Vedanta without articulating difference or bringing out comparatively the limitations of either to face each other. R. Balasubramanian in "Advaita Vedanta on the Problem of Enworlded Subjectivity" declared that 'Advaita Vedanta may be characterised as "transcendental phenomenology" and "metaphysics of experience" [p.l]' in the same breath. N.K. Devaraja in "Self and Freedom: The Vedantin and Phenomenological Perspectives" was quite contented that the motif of freedom dominates phenomenologists and all systems of Indian thought [p.l]. Ramakanta Sinari in "Comments on J.N. Mohanty’s 'Phenomenology and Indian Philosophy: The Concept of Rationality" did not mind a bad joke -'perhaps Husserl was an avtara of Sankara' [p.7]. The two papers of Kalyan Bagchi and Mrinal Kanti Bhadra dealt with phenomenology s interaction with Vedanta as embodied in the thoughts of K.C. Bhattacharya and Kalidas Bhattacharya respectively.

While these papers showed a fairly large scale interest in the comparative study of Advaita Vedanta and phenomenology, most of them used terms like transcendence, transcendent and transcendental vaguely to the extent of losing the comparative ground altogether. Non-precise and synonymous use of these Western philosophical terms did sustain a feeble sense of the similarity of phenomenology and Advaita but they also made the arguments sterile and without force. This was quickly realized and pointed out by the Western phenomenologist’s.

Interestingly enough, Balasubramanian's paper posed some serious questions for Husserl’s phenomenology from the Advaitin standpoint. He questioned the all pervasive 'intentionality’ of consciousness in Husserl's phenomenology on the question of the nature of consciousness in a dreamless sleep state [pp. 10-11]. In this state neither the directedness of consciousness nor the absence of consciousness are present This, as a problem, was overlooked and not answered by Western phenomenologist’s present at the conference. All Indian philosophical systems accept vishaya of vakya, .or jnana or buddhi depending on this or that system but not object directedness of alma (or chit). This holds even for the anatmavadin Buddhist. But, Husserlian consciousness is always consciousness-of. The Western term consciousness needs to be, therefore, disambiguated before it can be used in the context of Indian philosophy.

Advaita argues for atma as sakshi (witness) to understand consciousness in a dreamless sleep 'state. The notion of sakshi refuses the problem of non-identity of ego and consciousness and the logical impasse invoked by the atma being both subject and object in a cognition such as T know I am'. These arguments do indicate the non-finality of the 'transcendental ego' and suggest that intentionality is not essential (svabhavika), but only adventitious (aupadhika) to consciousness [p.ll]. This is a strong claim but Mohanty summarily dismissed it saying that he sees no need to posit an Advaitin consciousness in excess of the self-suflicicnt Husserlian transcendental ego. Mohanty obviously chose to overlook Balasubramanian's dreamless sleep state argument. Another unanswered query of Balasubramanian was - How does phenomenology tackle plurality of consciousness? This is a familiar philosophical issue in Indian philosophy but perhaps a non-issue in the European Christian tradition. In fact, comparative discourse truly begins at a point where reflections on why non-issues are issues in one tradition, and vice versa, are seriously undertaken.

Iso Kern in "Object, Objective Phenomenon and Objectivating Act According to the 'Vijnapiimatratasiddhr of Xuanzang" suggested that the 'occidental phenomenologist may find here (Vijnanavadin Buddhist)... "universal" verification of his own insights and he may be stimulated to consider new questions and answers' [p.l]. He based his analysis on the Chinese commentary of Xuanzang (Chen wei shi lun) and its super commentary by Kuiji (632-682) on Vasubandhu's 'Trimsika Vtjnaptimatrata-siddhC (Thirty verses on the doctrine of mere consciousness). According to Kern, Xuanzang's analysis of the objectivating act (Vijnaptikriya) shares with phenomenology the insight into the constitutive character of knowledge and on the unacceptability of an object separated from or outside of consciousness [p.4-8]. Kern finds Xuanzang's notion of bija (contained in the deepest level of consciousness, the eighth consciousness, alayavijnana or mulavijnan) analogous to Husserl's sedimentations of the history of a given stream of consciousness [p.7J. Further, the evolution of bija as hetu parinama (evolving at the level of cause) and phalaparinama (evolving at the level of effect: habits etc.) are found to be analogous to Husserl's static constitution (the appearance of the object through the multiplicity of acts) and genetic constitution (becoming of mental habitude) [p.8]. However, the shared insights end here as soon as we situate Xuanzang's analysis in the context of the Buddhist notion of moksa (liberation) and karma siddhanta (principle of rebirth).

The bija in rnulavijnana are of two kinds - (i) nisyanda (seeds of similar continuation, Le., seeds whose causes are similar to their effects like the ones involved in objective cognition, habituation, learning etc) and (ii) vipaka" (seeds of different ripening, i.e., seeds whose effects or fruits are different from their causes like the ones which are involved in the retribution of our former deeds or even the constitution of our physical bodies). These second kind of seeds are karma bija. After death the ego, depending on the kinds of karma bija, embodies accordingly in future births. This cycle of births continues until the ego is dissolved or liberation (nirvana) is achieved. Not only knowledge, but, the body is constituted here. In fact the doctrine of 'mere consciousness' proposes that there is no radical distinction between knowledge and body. Factuality (like that of the body) and morality (like that of deeds) are tied together in karma bija. The obsessive concern with transparent intentionality in phenomenology hardly leaves scope for a coherent philosophy of the body and sensory fields. This was amply illustrated by the confused paper "Merleau-Ponty, Transcendental Imagination, and the Body Schema: on the De-lineation of the Visible". In fact, several 'strange' questions addressed to phenomenologist’s, whose answers could not even be expected, also illustrate the impossibility of an adequate phenomenology of the body. Advaitins had asked what happens to the transcendental ego at death and after death? Does it die? There was a little feminist query from Anandita about the gender of the transcendental ego.

Therefore, Iso Kern's plea that phenomenologists learn from the treasure house of vijnanavada [p. 12], specially its theory of karma, to account for phenomena that cannot be explained by the concept of habitude seemed apposite. But while this suggestion might enrich phenomenology it would also transform transcendental phenomenology beyond recognition. Kern's suggestion, then, pictures vijnanavada as a kind of pure phenomenology in respect of the Husserlian variety with the added content of karma siddhanta. However, the paper falls short of an incisive analysis of those premises of phenomenology that commits it to a situation where its discourse lacks an adequate phenomenology of the body.

It must be noted here that the difference between pure phenomenology and vijnanavada is much more pervasive and deep. The telos of 'eidos ego' in phenomenology derives from a distinct teleological impulse specific to the Graeco-European civilization that does not obtain in Indian traditions. Besides, vijnanavada will find unacceptable the apodicticity of passive constitution or original evidence and pregivenness as well as the eidetic necessity of passive constitution.1 The phenomenological neutrality of hyletic data gets questioned since even that is constituted by the currency of either same (like humans) or different (like cats and human) karma sarira-s. The hetuparinama of bija is not strictly interpretable as static constitution, characterizing eidetic necessity given apodictically as original evidence. This difference has to do with the Graeco-European notion of Form (which is refunded by pure phenomenology in variance with the classical foundation of Form found in platonic realism) and it is this very notion which is hardly found in Indian philosophies including vijnanavada. In vijnanavada the bija sarira resident in rnulavijnana is ultimately dispensable in the process of attaining nirvana. This implies a non-recognition of the apodicticity and self-givenness 6f the eidos structures, in consciousness. Fallibility of Form in vijnanavada must be necessarily intrinsic in order that the ultimate dissolution of bija sarira is possible. Thus, idealities such as a proposition, set or Turing machine are not constituents given apodictically but only evidenced in consciousness as constituents of sanskara sarira prevalent in a particular sahskrti or civilisation. Apodicticity of Form, irrespective of its 'cultural' content, which Husserlians would happily ‘grant',(4) is unacceptable to vijnanavadins and can only be considered a civilization faith that constitutes the Graeco-European theoretical endeavor.

Iso Kern's critique of the notion of intentionality, central to transcendental phenomenology* does not lead him to depart from its terrain. The discursive limits of phenomenology are not really seen for what they are. Kern, like Mohanty, assumes the centrality of phenomenology as a philosophical tradition. Now, this tradition gathers force from Parmenides' famous formulations on the identity of being (einai) and thinking (noein). This Parmenidian principle has been variously interpreted from Plato onwards by several philosophers in the Western tradition, including Husserl and Heidegger, to yield mutually antagonistic philosophical systems (like Platonic vs. Husserlian or even Heideggerian vs. 'metaphysics of presence' which includes the Platonic and Husserlian systems). However, it seems obvious that even these mutually antagonistic systems are caught in a structural bind that locks their formulations within the theses of identity and "sameness".

Husserl used two concepts to understand phenomenon, namely, noema and noesis. Noema are objects that obtains in consciousness and noesis the intentional agency, the thetic or projecting process that actively appropriates or explores the noematic structure of the object. The match of the two, noema-noesis, is fundamental for the phenomenological investigation of noemata through the study of corresponding noeses. This sense of a correspondence and a match that 'presuppositionless' phenomenology invokes can be considered as a return of the ancient Parmenidian metaphysical principle.

Patrick A. Heelan's "Experiment and the 'Fulfillment of Theory" invoked the Husserlian interpretation of Parmenidian principle to fruitfully extend the scope of phenomenological inquiry into a challenging traditional domain of Western analytical philosophy, namely, theory-experiment relation in quantum mechanics and other areas of modern science. Paulos Mar Gregories' "Phenomenology and the Transcendent: Which Way does one Transcend?" singled out the Husserlian interpretation of the Parmenidian principle to evaluate it in the context of Dignaga and Heidegger.

Heelan, while investigating scientific phenomenon, renders the noema-noesis match between objective invariance of noema and subjective invariance of noesis mathematically as the 'common abstract transformation group' [p.4-5]. Any object, for instance my pen, reveals various profiles while undergoing translation and rotation; simultaneously I get various perspective profiles through translation and rotation of the agency, i.e., myself. Both processes emulate ('represent' in the mathematical sense) the invariant of a common abstract transformation group [p.4] (5) The invariant of a common abstract transformation group represents the Parmenidian identity. But does a common abstract transformation group exist for various noema-noesis pairs and would the Parmenidian principle even hold in such an instance? For instance, temporal transformations would violate the match and, hence, an abstract transformation group cannot be formulated in the case of temporal transformations; because the self-identity of noemata cannot be sustained through temporal transformations. Temporality is deeply antithetical to Form, as such, and the idea of Form follows from Husserl's interpretations of the Parmenidian principle. The point here is that the Parmenidian principle is tacitly presumed and operates in Heelan's extension of pure phenomenology. It discloses and conceals its presence thus, simultaneously, to re-affirm its own civilization faith.

Mar Gregorios, on the other hand, is critical of the Husserlian interpretation of the Parmenidian principle on the ground that the presence of an inexhaustible fund of noemata in consciousness is not apodictically self evident [p.7], and since it is eidetic, its' correspondence with the real object is questionable and indefensible. He particularly picks up, as an instance, the noema of God [p. 11] which, according to Husserl, is 'the ideal representative of absolute knowledge (Husserl, Ideas, p.41S) and has to be structurally the same as knowing man or the transcendental subject. The givenness through appearances of the noema of God as an idealised human being is doubtful, and ascribing to it apodictic self-evidence an equally doubtful act. Gregorios suggests that it is Husserl's insistence on 'givenness through appearances' which restricts his transcendentalism and whatever he is able to arrive at through the three otherwise impressive methodological reductions, including his idea of God. Thus, Husserl's method is incapable of apprehending the radically transcendent [p. 12], namely, the point where consciousness as conscionsness-of is itself transcended [p. 14], such as in the state of nirvana or moksa. This corroborates well with Balasubramanian's point about the non-finality of transcendental ego.

The Husserlian obsession with appearances ('presence') is founded on the assumption that the real object has the same structural composition as the eidetic or noematic object [p. 16]. Noema is composed of a nucleus ‘x’ around which cluster certain predicates or properties or qualities. The real object is also composed of a nucleus V holding together certain predicates. The nucleus of noemata and the real object might be different, but since' meaning and content only deal with predicates, the tic or intentional act intuits the entire meaning of the external object in terms of its set of predicates as given in the noemata. Husserl calls both nuclei an 'empty x’ [p. 10]. Through this move the identity of thinking and being is refounded. This is where the Parmenidian principle is assumed. Through this move the identity of eidetic noemata and the real is tacitly upheld. This identity forces down the conception of noemata as a bundle of all meanings copulated to the nucleus given at once, though a particular thetic act might evidence only a perspective sense of an object at a time. The perspective sense in a particular thetic act is resolvable through abstract transformations covering all possible perspectives as complete meaning or as noemata. The identity of the structural compositions of the real and the noemata founds perspective appearances as sense structures and, in return, is founded all given’s through appearances. The reduction of consciousness as consciousness-off is possible through a tacit identity of the structural compositions of the real and the noemata.

Gregories cites Dignaga's (Sth century AD) view on pratyaksha (sense perception) and anumana (inference) from 'Pramana Samaccaya' to contest the Husserlian version of the old Parmenidian problematic. According to Dignaga, this identity of being and thinking would be based on adhyavasaya or false identification [p. 19). Dignaga makes a radical distinction between vastu and real externality, which activates sense-impressions, and cognition, which is construed as it is, because of the karma (vasana) sarira. The vastu itself has its own svalaksana, which is unique, particular and distinct from everything else (sarvato-vyavrtta), a momentary point, an instant (kshanika), without extension or duration and is beyond quanficand-qualification relation (viseshya-viseshana-bhavanavagahi). Cognition, on the other hand, construes universals and objects in a complex of relations through inferential procedures. The real object, in this instance, has neither a nucleus nor qualifying predicates [p. 19]. The Parmenidian identity will simply not obtain here. Dignaga's approach is an instance from the Indian philosophical tradition which helps us situate the limits of phenomenological enquiry. Such instances are abundantly present in the Indian philosophical tradition.

It is clear that Mar Gregorios has drawn much of his critique of Husserl from Heidegger, a rebellious student of Husserl and an irritant for Husserlians. Heidegger has developed a radical critique of the identity of being and thinking as is epitomized in the various interpretations of the Parmenidian principle since Plato (in his 'Identity and Difference'). He has clubbed all these attempts, including Husserl's, as instituting’metaphysics of presence'. Heidegger's original insight is that the identity of being and thinking conceals the origin of and the disclosure of being as well as thinking. The postulation of identity creates a self-same transparency of being and does not help in installing 'difference' as a category. The always-already givenness of the entirety of beings mystifies and defers an enquiry into the origin of beings and constructs artificial defences to conceal the problem of origins and thereby, institutes a 'metaphysics of presence*. The identity of being and thinking stems from not considering the 'ontological difference' between Being and beings. The presence of the fund of noemata that make possible the thetic act and the givenness of noema in appearances both arise from the prejudice of 'presence' founded through the identity of being and thinking. (Jacques Derrida, a contemporary Western thinker has extended this Heideggerian insight to focus on the fallacy of 'presence' as embodied in the notion of form as such).

However Megger's critique of Husserl is fundamentally different from the tacit critique implied in the work of Dignaga and taken up by Gregories. Here, the foregrounding of two different critical assumptions can only be seen as the beginnings of comparative enquiry. Heidegger's reinterpretation of the Parmenidian principle (in his 'Identity and Difference', p.27), by introducing 'ontological difference' between Being and beings does lead him out of the closure of 'presence' but still confines him within the systemic domain of the third person temporally indefinite Greek verb on ('to be') and its synonyms. This verb on still remains as a secure fulcrum in which is delimited thinking as well as reality as ‘on-to-logy’, with the charge, now, of 'difference (ontological)' added to it. This insightful 'difference' is a result of Heidegger's emphasis on the active sense of the infinitive 'to be’. Heidegger's etymological equipment is so narrow compared to Yaska's (a 6th century BC etymologist regarded as an uthority in the Indian tradition) that he cannot theorise the opposition of bhu- (bhava: happening, becoming) and as- (satta: being) ('Nirukta' 1.1.7). Instead, he theorises an opposition between to eon (the Being) and esti outo (what is there as same, self-identical or being.) According to Yaska ('Nirukta' 1.2), asti (being) is only one of the vikara (modification or expression) of bhava among the six vikara-s, and, if inflated as a philosophical pivot (as in on-to-logy) it would play a role of concealment of bhava pradhanata (primacy of bhava) and its other modifications. It will not only restrict the apparatus of verbs as such in analysis (the most stark example can be found in modem formal languages) but would also not be able to deconstruct the implied concealment of bhava. In this sense, the narrowness of Heidegger's enterprise lies in his not being able to rise above the apparatus of the Greek verb on (and its synonyms). He, therefore, theorizes a restricted critique of the metaphysics of 'presence’ and as a result ends. Up with a discourse of withdrawal and dispossession. True, Heidegger's nonconstructive conversation with the Graeco-European tradition helps demonstrate certain limits of the Graeco-European tradition, including that of Husserl, but he offers little by way of transforming the destiny of the same tradition.

There can hardly be, therefore, a serious philosophical affinity between Heidegger and Dignaga, given Heidegger's faith in the apparatus of the verb on and Dignaga's preoccupation with the apparatus of the verbal root ma- (measuring, knowing) (as in pram ana, prama, prameya, anumana etc.) Dignaga's project of demarcating authentic and errorfull knowledge to pave way for the quest of nirvana and mindful righteous action (dharma) is not concerned with ontology. Indeed, it aids us in unmasking questions of ontological import so central,to the Western philosophical tradition and its epistemology. The notion of vastu as radically external to cognitive acts serves to define, here, the path of action. Heidegger, concerned as he is with the pivotal on, from the Greek, does not rupture the limits of ontology. He is unable to suspend this opaque ultimate rationality, so endemic to the Graeco-Roman tradition. Phenomenology, ironically enough, is imprisoned by what it seeks to escape.

At this point we will return to Mohant’s insights into the Indian philosophical tradition
(Sic. the concept of rationality) especially with regard to the Universalist stance of transcendental phenomenology. This Universalist stance derives its authority from a so-called 'ontology-free' phenomenology, free from 'psychologism' and 'metaphysical speculation'. The term on-to-logy in our usage (which we believe is an insightful usage) is to be understood in the strict context of the Parmenidian principle, along with the various meanings of 'to be' such' as the existential, copulative, veridical, judicative or even the active sense. The positing of a fund of noemata, even as idealities or unrealities, means fulfilling an on-to-logical (on is to be understood in a judicative sense) requirement. It is a result of anthologizing (morpheme on is to be taken not merely in existential sense) of experience; only three methodological reductions are made to yield a self-transparent theory of constitution. It is, thus, a predicative on-to-logy of apodictive givenness which forms elements of the theory of constitution. This anthologizing impulse in phenomenology is, as Heidegger noted, a consequence of its own civilization faith in 'pure' Form. While Heidegger came close to demonstrating the complicity of the 'metaphysics of presence' with the notion of Form, he himself never completely abandoned it. It is, in this context, that one ought to consider Mohant’s dilemmas over Indian philosophy's refusal of certain issues pertinent to the Graeco-European tradition. For, the limits of the latter should suggest a creative inquiry into the former.

It is the reductivism of the Parmenidian principle which splits up relations as de re (causal) and de dictb (logical) in a residual and irreconcilable fashion. It is no wonder then, that Mohanty is surprised by pramana sastra - It appears, then, as though these thinkers (Indians) solved the problem that has led to much quandary in Western thinking; the problem namely, of, how to relate the two spaces - the causal space and the logical space [p. 5]. It needs to be added that this, 'problezri' was never discovered or never was the need felt to articulate it in the Indian tradition. Rather, one can witness abundantly the redundancy of this 'problem' in various schools of philosophy cin the Indian tradition. Mohanty, of course, takes note of this fundamental difference between Husserlian thinking and Indian philosophy. This difference, exists, however not merely with Husserlian thought but with the larger Graeco-European tradition of epistemology and logic The pertinent issue which awaits resolution, then, is - does pramana sastra limit the ideality of the logical and the contingency of the casual' [p. 11] in a detrimental manner, a manner that leads to inaction or harmful action or whether pramana sastra refuses the Graeco-European impasse that can only be resolved by constructing runaway idealities or feticides contingencies.

First of all, we have to see this refusal of a schism between causal and logical spaces in the larger context of certain key tenets of Indian philosophy vis-a-vis the Graeco-European tradition. These are, the absence of the idea of proposition, absence of the distinction between truth and validity, absence of the distinction between sense and reference, absence of the distinction between contingent and necessary, absence of deductive inference, absence of the theory of modalities, absence of formal logic etc These tenets signify the absence of the notion of pure Form in Indian intellectual endeavours. They signify 'negatively because they point towards an absence in the Indian tradition of certain distinctions and concepts which occupy a central position in Graeco-European theoretical endeavours. There is very little scholarship which strives to articulate the silences in the Graeco-European tradition from the perspective of the Indian tradition. Hence, the negative significations of the Indian tradition testify more to the hegemonic instance of the Graeco-European tradition than to the failure of Indian philosophy as such:

When Mohanty says that ‘their (Indian) theory of meaning being, generally speaking, a referential theory (except the apoha theory and some version of sphota theory)' [p.7]he is commenting hegemonicaUy on a certain absence, the absence of a distinction between sense and reference in the Indian tradition.

The Fregeian distinction between sense and reference, between F and x of a proposition F(x) is originally situated within the formal concept of a proposition (a result of a refinement of the Aristotelian copulated proposition by Port Royal logicians). Thus meaning would deal only with predication F or sense. Husserl is able to reduce the importance of the Aristotelian disjunction between predicate and object by making the object empty with the device of the noemata. The thetic act, constituted as a unity of thinking and being, also helps focus on the sense structure or meaning. Mohanty does not situate Husserl's theory of meaning as a specific theoretical act within the tradition that contains as a basic premise the concept of proposition and the Parmenidian principle. For, it is only within this context, that a sense theory or reference theory of meaning can be .made. Thus, to classify most of the Indian theories of meaning as referential or non-referential is a theoretically naive move, since it means taking for granted the notion of proposition and the Parmenidian principle. Vyakarna tradition, which accepts bhava pradhanata or the centrality of the verb in a unit of cognition defies object predicate distinction and, moreover, preferentiality of a verb is a contradiction in terms. The theory of meaning in the Vyakarna tradition (including sphota theory) does not allow us to state a distinction between sense theory and reference theory. Similarly, with the. Mimamsa tradition which accepts the centrality of verbal endings and bhavana pradhanata. Classically, in the West, a referential theory of meaning would be a theory of names and classes to which pronouns refer. In that sense, one could loosely call apoha theory as nominal’s since each entity is constructed through infantry distancing from the rest and this procedural syntax can be called a naming syntax. Even the compatibility of entities as entities (e.g., sentence) is constructed through the same syntax. Such an interpretation would indicate that apoha theory is a nominal’s theory and hence a referential theory rather than a sense theory. Moreover, this syntax does not yield a privileged form of proposition so that one could locate a referential or sense component of meaning. Besides, we have seen earlier that Buddhists do not accept the Parmenidian principle with the help of which Husserl could delineate sense structure from what is popularly understood as.a referential meaning. The Buddhist belief in sanikatva of external reality gives the impression that apoha meanings are constructions, in the sense of predications, and hence the apoha theory is a sense theory of meaning. The point being made here is that the distinction between sense and reference and its background apparatus provides only indeterminate criteria for classifying Indian theories of meaning as sense or reference theories. Such indeterminate criteria will not be able to yield a determinate understanding of Indian theories of meaning.

Mdhanty's comments, once again, reveal the discursive limits of the West when he refers to Indian philosophy's 'ontolomcalfy oriented mode of thinking' [p.10]. This comment is significant, since it shows phenomenology projecting its own distrust of ontology on to Indian philosophy. Mohanty uses the term ontology to mean the theory of the thing itself as opposed to the theory of the constitution of sense. Perhaps, the morpheme on of on-to-logy is taken in its existential meaning. Such a usage does not help Mohanty take note of judicative ontology in pure
phenomenology (for instance, that of noemata and apodictive givenness in general) and makes ontology a polemical term through which pure phenomenology distances itself from other philosophies. That is why the phrase 'ontologically oriented mode of thinking' is bound to signify ambiguously. We have used the term ontology in the determinate context of the Parmenidian principle. This, we believe has historical and philosophical merit. In our sense of the term there is no question of an 'ontologically oriented mode of thinking' in the Indian philosophical tradition. Our usage of the term is narrow but determinate compared to the popular usage of the term. If one is to be taken in its existential sense alone then ontology would be a theory of the objects of a' proposition or a theory of the referents of predicates. Then, the sense of the term ontology would be narrower still but determinate. Thus our usage of the term ontology and phenomenology could be called ontology-free since the existential object is, anyway, rendered empty by phenomenology. Thus, the phrase 'ontologically oriented mode of thinking' would not describe even fragments of the Indian philosophical tradition. For, neither the theory of padartha-s of Vaiseshika-Nyaya, nor the theory of tattva-s of Sankhya-Yoga, nor the theory of dravya-paryaya of Jains would qualify as ontologies since they do not constitute the theory of referents of predicates. Rather, they implicate predicates within their structure or more exactly, they defy the idea of proposition as an object being copulated with meaning or sense. They are simply not the theories of beings known through the authority (copulative, judicative or other) of the verb on and its synonyms. In fact, Indian theories help us unask questions regarding ontology posed by transcendental phenomenology.

The sense/reference distinction Mohanty insists on only serves to confuse his understanding in a particular instance, that of sabda pramana. In the theory of sabda pramana, sense, as grasped in understanding the utterance of others, is taken as amounting to knowing that something is the case, which is a matter of reference, since it is reference which is grasped in knowing as distinct from mere understanding [p. 16]. This violation of sense/reference distinction, which, after all, even Mohanty has to acknowledge, sustains a modernist impression that 'at worst it (the theory of sabda pramana) appears to be a device to justify scriptures, at its best it amounts to stopping the process of critical enquiry by appealing to the competence, and noble intentions, of the speaker or of the author' [p. 15]. It is here that matters turn out to be political. If one accepts the authority of sense/reference distinction and its presuppositions one can force an interpretation of other discourses accordingly through an intellectual exercise, but if the authority of the distinction is seen to be violated, then the terms of discourse become overtly political. Here Mohanty takes an unexpected turn. After all sabda pramana deals with matters moral, political and spiritual and not merely empirical matters. Moral rules are learnt 'only through reading/hearing and interpreting verbal instructions'. Even 'if an accepted set of moral rules is given up, it is given up by imbibing another set of moral rules on the basis of another set of verbal instructions. In this case sabda amends sabda, much as perceptual error is corrected by another perception' [p. 17], In this moment of faltering authority of .pure phenomenology Mohanty wonders: "whether we need to distinguish between sense (which is grasped in mere understanding of a sentence) and reference (which is grasped in knowing), there are domains such as moral rules where it is through interpreting linguistic discourse (and not through any further empirical verification) that one determines what one ought or ought not to do' [p. 16]. Sense/ reference distinction with its defensive paraphernalia seems to falter here and Mohanty conveniently invokes the authority of hermenutic phenomenology to deal with sabda and makes the point that a text does not have a monolithic interpretation but leaves room for interpretative differences as well as for possibilities of new interpretations. This hermenutical detour helps Mohanty in overcoming the impasse the sense/reference distinction is forced into, in the case of moral laws. However, as an evaluative critique of sabda pramana this move reduces the import of sabda as a concept and brings it under the authority of Western hermenutics.

Such a hermenutical exercise confuses the understanding of particular texts and instances of sabda as was clear from J.L. Mehta's "Reading the Rgveda: A Phenomenological essay", where he draws authority from modern Western hermenutics in an attempt to 'interpret' the 'text' of the Rgveda. According to him in India the 'exegesis was from the beginning geared to the perspective of the use of the Vedic mantras for ritual purpose, without much concern for the understanding of the text by itself, as autonomous and constituting a coherent world of meanings' fp. 24]. Rgveda in this tradition was never 'read' but used is his claim. With modern Hermenutics the time has, now, come to read the Rgveda Samhita. Mehta tries to give a Heideggerian (inspired also by Gadamer and Ricoeur) 'reading' of the text of the Rgveda. Mehta makes an interesting critique of Luder's interpretation of Rta as truth, since according to his analysis it is a hegemonic interpretation based on the correspondence theory of truth presupposed in the Western metaphysical tradition. Instead, he proposes an interpretation of Rta as aletheia (personified Goddess of truth in Parmenides' poem) in the technical sense of Heidegger fp. 25]. He attempts to draw a wedge, thus, between action, reduced by him to use, and interpretation. Oblivious of the Mimamsa tradition of exegises based on the actional theory of interpretation, he dogmatically accepts the wedge. The artificiality of the wedge merely mystifies the relationship of authority with interpretation and action and allows one to indulge in an interpretative game with beginnings and ends mystified. The hermenutic circle closes on itself, hermenutical phenomenology asserts itself and questions of authority as they inhere in the Indian text are deferred.

More significant, however, in this context are Mohanty's two interrelated proposals that he advances as philosophical tasks for Indian philosophy. These are:

1) 'One cannot prima facie rule out sabda, but has to question, from within the tradition of Indian philosophy if it deserves a place in the list of pramana-s' [p. 16].

2) 'the laying bare of the rationality of our (Indian) beliefs and cognition, of moral rules and artistic creations, confronts, in Indian thought, an absolute limit. The pramana-s "establish" them, the consciousness evidences this act of establishment, but the judicative authority of ihc pramana-s is not, and cannot be traced back to their origin in the structure of that consciousness. What, then, is the source of their authority?' [p. 19]. 'Whcrcfrom does a school, Nyaya or Samkhya or Vedanta or any other, derive its basic concepts, its list ofprumana-s which it so vehemently defends? This limit to rationality was operative but never thematised by the Indian philosophers. Now is the occasion to thematise it, and thereby to press relentlessly towards the ground that supports the alternate conceptualization’s [p. 20].

Both these projects are outlined as part of a determined effort to disambiguate the theoretical implications that inhere in sabda. It is in the domain of sabda that 'the issues of authority are raised in Indian philosophies. On the one hand, one encounters an opacity when sources of judicative authority of the pramana-s is sought. On the other hand, one runs into an equal opacity when sabda is assigned the status of a pramana. There is this circularity which makes the Indian philosophical tradition apparently opaque. Both projects suggested by Mohanty are construed around the same plea - to thematise this opacity and transgress its limits. The opacity has to be understood in contradistinction from what Husserl called 'self- transparent omniscience in hand1. The plea is to regain hermenutic transparency by foregrounding the original text (the source of authority) from where interpretative departures, as supposedly
epitomized in classical Indian philosophical schools, can be understood and further fresh
departures can be construed.

The Graeco-European philosophical tradition presumes a transparency of knowing, in this instance, a transparency that is seen to reside in a "root" text that also inheres in other, subsequent texts-in one form or the other. It is this transparency which bestows such a pan-historical confidence in Western philosophers that Hegel could confidently declare his philosophy as the last philosophy, as .the fulfillment of the original text or- Husserl could declare that, with him, ends the era of pre-scientific philosophy and that his is the first philosophy or even Heidegger could declare the end of metaphysics and the beginning of true thinking with his philosophy. Similar attitudes can be traced even in Newton and in Marx. All these thinkers confidently declare their own departures as final departures, as the final fulfillment of the "original" text or the original enterprise of 'philosophy’ as inaugurated by the Graeco-European civilization. For each of these thinkers all earlier philosophical endeavours in their tradition prior to their decisive intervention were mistaken interpretations of. the text. For instance, Husserl reads the'root authoritarian text of Graeco-European civilization as 'presupposition less self-transparent omniscience in hand* and seeks to fulfill it in phenomenology. This hermenutical disposition presumes the presence of an authoritative commanding text which fixes the quest and is rationally mterpretable and around which is involutes the quest of philosophy. Projects such as those suggested by Mohanty stem from such a hermenutical disposition.

But such a hermenutics makes sense only in a universe that is seen as having beginnings and ends. The Graeco-European hermenutical disposition is rooted in a thesis of origins in the sense of a historical project as well as in the thesis of an ending in the sense of a finally fulfilled authoritative text. This adi-anta bhava as a civilization disposition is radically different from the anadi-anarita bhava (beginning less-endless disposition) as a civilization disposition. Adi-anta .disposition can situate judicative authority in the original self-transparent text but what does it mean to found authority in a tradition which internalizes no beginning and no end? I think this is the basic question that enables us unmask old questions of Indian philosophies and perhaps other non-Graeco-European philosophies. If there is no beginning and no end what would be the purpose of life (or for that matter even that of srshti) or on what ground would manners and morals be instituted or on what fulcrum would rest the possibility of determinate action or how could sureness in knowledge be founded? Will not determinateness, definitiveness, security and directedness (purpose) crumble up in the womb of a beguiningless endless disposition? Will it not mean the return of apeiron (infinity, indefiniteness) so dreaded by the Greek philosophers? How these queries are resolved in various ways can be witnessed in the sophistications and subtleties of Indian philosophies. Indian civilisation does not offer an origin, the text, an ab initio ground for the rational resolution of life, given its. anadi-ananta disposition, To demand it from Indian philosophy is to force its mutilation. The Indian notion of sabda pramana is, of necessity, situated within the anadi-ananta disposition in an attempt to found authority. The anadi-ananta disposition is intimately related to the thesis of anadibandhatva (begjnningless bondage), to the ideal of moksa or nirvana (liberation), to the theory of.kannasiddhanta and to the notion of sabda. These are some of the unique features enshrined in Indian philosophies and must be reckoned with in any comparative endeavor. The appraisal of sabda pramana by embedding it in the adi-anta disposition is bound to be a reductive appraisal and will only refound the notion of sabda along the lines of Western hermenutics and its status as pramana, would thus, be lost.

The pramanatva of sabda directly cuts into the possibility of "self-transparent omniscience in hand" implied by the notion of a root text arid in the project of a transparent rational resolution of an ab initio ground. It is no wonder, then, that Mohanty issues a call for the re-examination of the place of sabda in the list of pramatia-s (sic, ‘from within the tradition of Indian philosophy'). For, the rational criteria ('critical norm') for sabda amending or correcting sabda cannot be founded. For that matter, even the rational authority (or self transparent critical norms) of pramana-s in general can also not be instituted. The ultimate dependence of pramana-s on their ability to generate.successful action (saphalapravrttijanakatva) would lead to opacity if rational limits to this dependence are sought. Saphalakriya itself is normatively dependent on the judgment about successful result which itself would depend on dharmartha, a matter of sabda. These dependencies give the impression of opacity, largely because action itself is seen as an opaque limit of 'rationality’ and a theory of successful action is an 'irrational' impossibility. The contestable issue is - can these dependencies be rationally resolved to yield a 'self transparent omniscience in hand' or an authoritative text as demanded by the Graeco-European philosophical and hermenutical traditions? This is exactly the task that Mohanty advances for contemporary Indian philosophy. Why it is that such a task was never undertaken by the Indian philosophers? Could it be that the notion of 'rationality itself is an ethnocentric and limited notion and cannot be used as a constant category in a comparative discourse? If the 'reliability’ of actions is not decisively defined how can the notion of 'rationality’ adjudicate over the claims of a theory of moral action?

But let us consider the other extreme option: What if questions of authority and rationality are not raised at all? What is at stake if pramanatva of sabda is withheld? The instituted manners and morals in Indian civilization on the basis of the sabda pramana would stand unauthenticated. The authority of a particular civilisational disposition and faith which is philosophically founded through the theory of sabda pramana would be nullified. Besides, such a move would mystify the determinate workings of authority in general (even authority enshrined and commandeered within the Graeco-European tradition) and evade the issue of political hegemony. Sabda pramana ensures jural autonomy of each within the anadi-ananta disposition which, if suspended, would lead to, either the reign of arbitrary positive law hopping from crises to crises in-accordance with the will of the sovereign authority, or an imposition of text Christianized as 'natural' law, or as a source of authority.

The theory of sabda pramana is then, not merely a device to ensure openness in an interpretative enterprise (the ultimate 'either-or' [p.20], but a theory of determinate moral action making possible the quest of life, purusartha, embedded within the anandi-ananta disposition. The theory of sabda pramana within the background of anadi-ananta disposition founds authority (jural as well as epistemic) as apaurusheya, as prior to life or constitutive of life or more exactly as primordial disposition of life. The apaurusheya sabda is not a text nor is the enterprise of Darsana Sastra an interpretative enterprise of that text. It is loka siddha (established in the people at large) and accessible as sruti (heard) to each jiva (life form). It is the words of elders, of trusted and dependable persons, of epics, of recalled episodes, of recalled feats. The concept of apaurusheya sabda makes possible an understanding of the primordial jurally situation of life as well as primordial jural disposition of fife. The distinction between dharma-adharma is founded by apaurusheyatva and is realised in feats or successful actions or saphalakarya. All right cognitions and norms of distinction between error-free or error full cognition are eventually resolved in feats as distinct from facts or reasons. It is in feats that the alleged distinction between knowledge and action is resolved. Without the pramanatva of sabda, feats will not be possible as the distinction between dharma and adharma will not be realisable. Apaurusheya sruti founds life's faith in feats in which is resolvable dharamartha, a condition for the ultimate quest of life, purusartha. One cannot but more than agree with the final apprehensive words of Mohanty regarding originary ground in Indian philosophies-'... if we can find anything but.... the words of apaurusheya sruti'.

One cannot, then, transpose, without a risk of losing comparative ground, the idea of ratio-ability and its residual consequences for interpreting other philosophical traditions which did not install or institute self-transparent ratio-ability in their endeavours. The apparent opacity of sabda pramana is a result of this transposition, a residual consequence of 'reading' ratio-ability or ratiocination in the Indian philosophies. Such a transposition would .be justified if self-transparent ratio-ability can be shown to be implicitly instituted in Indian philosophies and only, in that case, definite projects on the basis of its authority can be authentically advanced. On the other hand, there is sufficient prima facie evidence to suspect deep problems with the idea of a self-transparent ratio-ability from the perspectives of Indian philosophies and to press for a concrete and determinate project to deconstruct the idea in its various ramifications in the Graeco-European philosophies. The popular and often enough polemical term 'rationality’ needs to be disambiguated by foregrounding its prejudgments, presuppositions and supportive paraphernalia so that the authenticity of its transposition can at least be evaluated and moreover, if need be, its absolutist features or limits can be delineated.

In fact, at this juncture, an important task for the Indian philosophical tradition is to develop a stance from within to overcome these hegemonic transpositions which invariably lead to a residual relativism. To develop such a stance one will have to domesticate major traditions of the Graeco-European philosophies; a task which requires a development of their critique and an appropriation of their absolutist features, limits and horizon from the standpoints of Indian philosophies. Only such a task would open the possibility of a non-hegemonic discourse across traditions. The successful feats in logic and mathematics founded on the Graeco-European idea of self-transparent ratio-ability or form will have to be deconstructed in order to advance foundations of lope, linguistics and mathematics from the standpoint of Indian theoretical endeavors.

It must be said here that critiques of phenomenology from within the Western philosophical traditions are not entirely absent. Apart from Heidegger, both Theodor Adorho and Jacques Derrida, and, to an extent, Jacques Lacan have consistently questioned the central notions of phenomenology, especially, the concept of thetic intentionality and of a transcendental subject that arches over material reality and the notion of pure form.

This tradition of critique owes much to Nietzsche, to whom Adorno, Derrida and Heidegger are indebted in different ways. The context of these critiques has been the intellectual debates concerning the "rationality" of Western civilization itself that were spawned in the aftermath of World War I and which came to fruition with the repeal of Reason by the philosophers and writers of the sixties, especially in France. Adorno, in Germany,' had already noted in his doctoral dissertation the problem of temporality with regard to thetic consciousness. Derrida, after Heidegger, carried over the latter's criticism of the 'metaphysics of presence' to a criticism of what has been termed the 'metaphysics of origins'. Both Adorno and Derrida have undermined the thetic unity of consciousness by situating it in time and language respectively. Both temporality and linguistic activity defer meaning and signification and hint at a process that exists in excess of the transcendental consciousness conceived as a unity.

It is not the intention of this essay to detail these various arguments and critiques. It seemed important to advance this information, though especially, since these critiques from within the Western tradition did not figure in the comparative discourse at all. The privileged position accorded phenomenology by Mohanty, in this context, figures as a hegemonic position, constructed and maintained by a politics of knowledge that does not see its own deployment.

It is largely a result of the current weak political state of Indian philosophies that serious discourse across Indian and - Graeco-European philosophical traditions is not possible. Mohanty's attempt in organizing a dialogue at this conference, at least, provided an opportunity to reflect on ways through which comparative discourse can be opened further or ways through which these may be rendered impossible.

The apex moment of the conference was the concluding act when Chairman of CARP, Laster Embree, allegorized Mohanty's role by recalling the small lonely trail which Mohanty had left when years ago he moved from the Indian philosophical world to the West and it is the same trail which his Western colleagues have followed back to this conference. Embree was confident that back and forth traffic on the trail would increase day by day and amidst applause he christened it as the "Mohanty highway". One has to tread cautiously for no highway is good if it drains the composure of home.

Author: Navjyoti Singh

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