dharmakIrti’s proof for the nAstika mata

That learned pAShaNDa among the brAhmaNa-s, AchArya dharmakIrti, is said to have once enjoyed the beauty of a woman. His protégé asked him if he was ensnared by the wonderfully unattainable object of his vision. He remarked that he was struck not just by the pleasure of his visual sensation but by the vindication of the nAstika mata. How so his protégé asked. He responded with this ornate verse:
yAtA lochana-gocharaM yadi vidher eNekShaNA sundarI neyaM ku~Nkuma-pa~Nka-pi~njara-mukhI tenojjhitA syAt kShaNaM |
nApy AmIlita-lochanasya rachanAd rUpaM bhaved IdR^ishaM tasmAt sarvam akartR^ikaM jagad idaM shreyo mataM saugatam ||

Roughly: If this doe-eyed beauty, with a golden face and vermillion mark had come in the range of vision of the creator then he would not let her go from his sight even for a second;
If he had closed his eyes then he could not have created a form with such features; hence this entirely world is uncreated; the saugata-mata is superior.

While belonging to the pAShaNDa camp it must be admitted that dharmakIrti was a formidable opponent of the Astika-s and made some genuine contributions to our larger philosophical sphere.

Legend has it that the great pANini similarly encountered a great strI. When asked what he saw, his expression was one of the pure rasa, with no philosophical undercurrents. But then paNini’s words are for another day.

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