By Swami Harshananda
Dṛṣṭi-sṛsṭi-vāda literally means ‘the doctrine that the world is created simultaneously with its perception’.
Sṛṣṭi or creation of this world has been an important topic of discussion in all the six philosophical systems of the religion. Though the philosophers of the Advaita Vedānta school admit the existence of the external world and its creation because the topic has been dealt with in the Upaniṣads, they do not accept it as a permanent reality.
Out of the several schools of Advaita Vedānta in the post-Śaṅkara period, school developed by Prakāśānanda (A. D. 1550-1600) is also the one. It deals in subjective idealism. His view of creation is known as ‘dṛṣṭi-sṛṣṭi-vāda’. It emphasizes on the opinion that creation of the external object is simultaneous with its perception by the seer. According to this school, a thing existed only when it was perceived and not before or after perception.
For example, a blue lotus and its awareness are one. There is no external object apart from the cognition. The dream state is purely mental and there are no extra-mental objects. Similarly in the waking state, the so-called external object is only a mental state and there is no real distinction. The whole world is thus only a psychic modification and has no reality outside the mind. This view is similar to the idealism of the Yogavāsistha and is perhaps derived from it. The Vijñānavāda of Buddhism is also almost the same.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore