Introduction to Sat Darshana Bashya I – On Non-Duality
Let us take the instance of a pot. When the form of the pot is perceived without the knowledge that the pot is made of clay, no one denies the truth of this form or the validity of its perception on the ground that he has no knowledge of the substance of which it is made, and thus of the true character of the pot.
Similarly, we do not deny the form or its perception when we gain knowledge of the true nature of the pot, viz, that it is made of clay. Both the statements that the material of the pot is clay and that it is of a particular shape, can be truly made of the pot. The knowledge that the pot is of clay neither contradicts nor is incompatible with the knowledge that it has a particular shape. Nor does the predication that the pot has a particular form negate the substantial truth that the pot is of clay. Therefore, it has to be admitted that the truth of the thing is two-fold according to the view-point and understanding capacity of the enquiring mind. That the pot is made of clay may be termed the substantial truth of the pot and that it has a particular shape, its formal truth. Both are true and together give the whole truth of the pot.
To sum up: To know the world as it appears to my imperfect understanding is a partial knowledge which ignores the substance. A knowledge of the world of name and form without knowing its substantial reality is imperfect knowledge. Partial knowledge, as such and in itself, is only imperfect but not false. It is the mistaking of the partial truth for the whole that is false knowledge. As this partial knowledge is an imperfect understanding, too gross to penetrate to subtler truths, it is almost like ignorance. Since it moves in a futile circle, apprehending only the formal without getting at the substantial truth, and often leads to error and mischief, it is referred to by the disparaging term ajnana (ignorance). It is when Brahman, the root-substance of all existence, is realised that there is clear realisation of the whole truth that Brahman, the Self of all existence, is not different from its own formation as world- existence and soul-existence. That alone is complete knowledge, that alone is integral truth.