Kinds of Padaarthavaada

of Indian philosophical systems

A cognitive science perspective


The word Padaartha, used as a technical term by different Indian schools of thought with different senses will be brought out. The meaning and intonation of the word Padaartha as used in the Upanishads, Brahmajnaana, Advaitha Philosophy, Sabdabrahma Siddhanta (Vyaakarana), the Shaddarshanas will be discussed. A comprehensive gist of this discussion will be presented relating to human consciousness, mind and their functions. The supplementary and complementary nature of these apparently “different” definitions will conform from cognitive science point of view in understanding and a modern scientific model of human cognition and communication, language acquisition and a brain modulation and demodulation model of human cognition / communication can be developed.


Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of how information is represented and transformed in the brain. It consists of multiple research disciplines, including psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, learning sciences, linguistics, anthropology, sociology and education. It spans many levels of analysis, from low-level learning and decision mechanisms to high-level logic and planning; from neural circuitry to modular brain organization.

Cognitive sciences often rediscover philosophical analyses painstakingly. A better policy to understand and model human consciousness and mental functions would be first to learn what philosophy (Eastern or Western) teaches us about human consciousness and mind in this regard, and then move on to experimentation and model–building within the scope of positive sciences. The information available in Indian philosophical systems is correlated from cognitive science point of view and this Indian spiritual wisdom is used to model and understand the form, structure and functions of human consciousness and mind, and to provide as well necessary hints to software which would model the tasks of mind.

The Upanishads, The Brahmajnaana, The Sabdabrahma Siddhanta, The Bhagavadgita, The Shat Darhasnas and the like are replete with many expressions which deal with human faculties and mental processes which can be used to understand and model human cognitive processes. Indian spiritual wisdom contained in the Upanishads, Advaita siddhanta, Shtd Darshanas and similar texts is not necessarily theological but is also psychological and scientific The Upanishads and other spiritual and philosophical texts are traditionally commented on as theological texts. But Upanishads and the rest of thought systems are also texts of science of mind. The concepts and definitions of Padaartha, Advaita and Dvaita can be successfully used to understand the theory of human mental processes. .Atmajnana, the Upanishadic wisdom and other philosophical content available is Shaddarshanas and Vyakarana, when interpreted from psychology and modern science point of view, yield a mine of information about phases of mind, states of mind and functions of mind. The physical structure of mind and a model and possible theory of human cognition and language learning and communication processes can be presented when the ideas from all these systems, though they apparently “differ” in vocabulary and paths. Advaita thought, Shat Darsanas and Sabdabrahma theory are clubbed in this article.

Sphota Vaada of Sabdabrahma Siddhanta, Saddarsanas [(Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Samkhya, Yoga, PoorvaMeemamsa, and UttaraMeemaamsa or (Vedanta)] are distilled expressions of the Upanishads, the texts of Buddhism, the texts of Jainism and related ancient Indian spiritual and philosophical texts. And are evolutionary products in nature, in advancing, and improving, substantiating, opposing, inducting, deducting contemplating over earlier texts and are codifiers of Indian philosophical essence having implications and applications to cognitive science.

This paper lists and correlates from cognitive science point of view such apparently ‘different’ usages of the same term padaartha; and a comprehensive outlook of various Indian spiritual (the Upanishads, Atmajnaana/Brahmajnaana, advaita philosophy, etc.,) and philosophical (shaddarshanas, sabdabrahma siddhanta – vyakarana) perceptions, insight, will be presented from cognitive science point of view. A brain-wave modulation/demodulation model of human cognition, communication and language acquisition and communication process based on Upanishadic expressions and Sabdabrahma Siddhhanta is also presented here. Brahma Jnaana or Atma Jnana is the basis of both Vedanta and Sabdabrahma Siddhanta.

Cognition insight from Brahmajnaana and other philosophical systems:


Naama roopa vinirmuktam yasmin samtisthate jagat
Tam aahuhu prakrutim kechin maayaam anye paretva cha anoon

Meaning: The material / energy which is sans name and form, and in which the jagat - retrieved dynamic form of inner mental world - (the mental impressions of external physical world and the experiences caused by it as moods, experiences, senses, thoughts, feelings, utterances) is sustained - is called as prakruti by some; as maayaa by some; and as anoon by still some more.

Human cognition takes place sequentially in three stages and human communication takes place sequentially in the reverse order under the observation of human consciousness. Consciousness acts as non-transforming awareness - untouched, uninvolved seer, witness or observer - being present through the series and sequence of cognition and communication, playing the dual role of material (upaadaana kaarana) and instrumental cause (nimittakaarana). This is technically called padaartha by Upanishads, meaning that consciousness – the result of breathing process – is the source of energy / matter by / with which the cognition is made up of and carried through. Upanishads use the terms Brahma padaartha to signify, quantitatively and qualitatively, aatma sakti generated to create various phases of mind or conscious states of mind, which provide consciousness and in which mental functions are conducted and also mind ceases to function mentally. Vaisheshika, nyaya, saamkhya, yoga and vyaakarana also proposed cognition elements as padaarthas.


Naama bhaava vaasanaa rahita vastu padaarthaha iti, Brahmapadaartha [Upanishads/Brahmajnaana].

Atman or Brahma padaartha (both are one and the same - the term for human consciousness ) and Maayaa, the virtual reflected energy sourced from Atman / Brahman is the material / energy and its reversible transformations are responsible for the structure, function, and cessation of humand mind and its functions in four conscious states, jagrat (wakeful state - bahirmukha dristi), swapna ( dream state antarmukha dristi), sushupti and jagrat sushupti ( the last two are called visraanta dristi - the atman dristi during which phases of mind mental functions take place or cease to take place).

Padaartha is also used by Vaisheshika School of Shaddarshanas, and says:


Dravya-guna-karma-saamaanya-visesha-samavaayaaha - padaarthaas [Vaisesika – argues for the existence of the self from bodily functions/activities]. Abhaava is added later.

+ Sakti (potentiality)-asakti (non-potentiality)-saamaanya (general), visesha (commonness) – abhaava (non-existence / non-cognition). [Substance has quality and action].

Prithivi-appaha-tejaha-vaayu-aakaasa-dik-kaala-mana-aatmaa – iti dravyaani.

Says that all these are constructed by anoon (atoms - but not in the sense of atoms as understood in physics and the other natural sciences) - the hardware of cognition and communication.


Validity of cognition is provided.

Pramaanaihi artha pareekshanam nyayaha.

Pramaana (means of knowledge)-prameya (the objects of knowledge)-samsaya (doubt)-prayojana (purpose/use)-dristaanta (syllogism/examples)-siddhaanta (accepted truth)-avyaya (members of syllogism)-tarka (indirect proof)-nirnaya (determination of the truth)-vaada (discussion)-jalpa- (wrangling)-vitanda (cavil or destructive criticism)-heetvaabhaasaa (fallacious reasons)-chala (quibbling)-jaati (futile objections)-nigraha sthaana (occasions for reproof) – The first nine are more strictly logical than last seven (which have the negative function of preventing erroneous knowledge). The last seven are more weapons for destroying of error than the building of truth.

Four Kinds of valid knowledge: Patyaksha (Perception)-lyingika (inference)-smriti (remembrance/ memory)-aarsha jnaana (intuitive knowledge/confirmed by earlier scholars) - [Nyaaya - says Self is the basis of mental phenomenon.]

Provides software for mind and its functions. Nyaaya accepts the anu theory of Viseshika.

All Indian philosophical schools of thought have taken pramanaas from Nyaaya only.

Samkhya and Yoga:

Saamkhya – 24 – taanmaatraas –objective energy forms – 5; sense organs (jnaanendriyas) – 5; communication / action / reaction organs – 5; kinds of action by action organs- 5 (karmendriyaas); antahakaranas (manas. buddhi, ahamkaaram and chittam) – inner mental tools – 4 = 24

Pratyaksha, anumaana, aagamaaha pramaanaaha (Yoga Sutras).

These pramanas are taken from Nyaaya.

These schools analytically give composition and construction of cognition and also methods to stall such congition / communication (yoga).

They say prakruti the material / energy that composes and constructs congition / communication.

Uttara meemaamsa or Vedanta:

Vedaanta – 25; the above 24 proposed by Saamkhya and Consciousness/awareness = 25;

This school takes atman / maya concepts and phases of mind from the Upanishads and also analytical mind from samkhya and pramanaas from nyaaya.

It proposes the reversible becoming concept - vivartanam - purodhaana tirodhaana yuta vaartanam - to give the theory of human congition and communication processes.

Vyaakarana – Sabdabrahma Siddhanta:

jaati, guna, kriya, yadruchcha

Sphota is the material / energy with which the four modes of language acquisition and communication - para, pasyanthi, madhyama, vaikhaari - are achieved. Sphota is same as maaya and pranava of advaita/dvaita system of thought (Brahmajnaana).

In all these systems, padaartha thus is defined and used as raw “material” / energy constituting the consciousness/awareness, mind, cognition/communication, the instruments of cognition/communication, objects of cognition/communication, phases of mind in which cognition/communication takes place or not, functional / cognitive/communication states of mind, the tie-ups of mind with object-energy forms, storing and retrieving inner mental world through instruments of cognition/communication, [moods/senses/experiences/meanings/senses/ - feelings/thoughts/logic/sentence- utterance in expresser/teacher and in reverse order in the listener and vice versa.

The construction, structure, storing/retrieval of cognition/communication can be modelled from a comprehensive, supplementary and complementary use of these point of view using advaita and dvaita concepts of mind and its functions correlating with brain wave modulation/demodulation of mental energy waves. The nature of current of awareness can alsobe proposed using these concepts which underlies all cognitions/communications and its reversible being creates, sustains and dissolves cognitions/communications.

Ramabrahmam, V., Paper presentation at International Conference on Indic Studies, 2013, on the theme – Ancient Indian wisdom and modern world, March 29-31, 2013, Delhi, India. Sub-theme: Ancient Indian Vision and Cognitive Science. Title: A COGNITIVE SCIENCE CORRELATION OF THE MEANING OF PADAARTHA IN RELATION TO HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS, MIND AND THEIR FUNCTIONS


More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam

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