The function of perception is to directly reveal the object present to the senses. Subsequently, it is interpreted by associating the object perceived with a verbal designation (nama) and concepts (vikalpa). It is then called perceptual judgment (adhyavasaya). However, this interpretation is the function of constructive imagination.
Acharya Dignaga states: “The visual consciousness perceives something blue, but does not conceive that ‘this is blue’. In respect to an object, perception presents the sensation of the object itself, but does not possess any notion of its name.”
Perception is a direct awareness of a unique particular (svalakshana), bereft of any conceptual understanding. As all conceptual understanding is the result of constructive imagination (kalpana), conceptual knowledge is neither a direct awareness nor an acquaintance with a real object as it is.