Indic CosmologyJyotishaKalpa

Indic Cosmology | The Vedic Paradigm for the development of knowledge

Mathomathis would like to present an article on: Vedic Glossary documented by Indic Cosmology, Kosla Vepa (INDIC STUDIES FOUNDATION), on the context of: THE STORY OF THE INDIC COSMOLOGY AND THE CELESTIAL TIME KEEPERS. The article would consists of Vedic Epistemology | The Vedic Paradigm for the development of knowledge

Para Vidya (Sciences of the material world) and aPara Vidya (Transcendental Sciences)


Adhi Daivika represent Cosmic phenomena such as Meteorites, sun spots which cause a disruption in the planet; Adhi Bhautika encompass Terrestrial phenomena such as fire floods, landslides and Adhyatmika, are purely subjective traits such as inertia, lack of faith, insincerity and such , arise from our own negativities. The following article will present on  Epistemology of the Dharmik tradition (Epistemology is the study of the origin, nature and validity of knowledge).

  • Darshana: Vision, philosophical doctrine
  • Pramana: Right Knowledge. There are several approaches to accumulating and fine tuning knowledge
  • Pratyaksha: Direct perception, for example ocular proof Anumaana, अनुमान , inference
  • Upamaana: Use of analogy,simile
  • Shabdabodha ( शब्दबोध ): Cognition caused by an utterance based on Authoritative or scriptural testimony e,g, The Bhagavad Gita. Who determines whether a particular scripture is authoritative. Ultimately it is the individual.
  • Arthapaati: (Postulate)
  • Upapatti: Necessity of proof or demonstration
  • Viparyaya: (Wrong knowledge or lack of discrimination)
  • Vikalpa: (Fancy or Verbal delusion)
  • Nidra: (sleep)
  • Smriti: (Memory)

The Shad-Dharshanas: The Shad-Dharshanas are six great works (Philosophical systems) that shed light on Indian Ethos, the way the Indic looks at the world, which many mistakenly consider to be based on blind belief. Explaining the Vedas explicitly, they share with the world the wisdom contained therein. The six texts are based on: The Veda, Non-belief and Inner Vision

They explain incidents and events that pertain to all the three times of past, present and future. They have taught man how to do away with suffering, restlessness etc., and lead a good life by removing the dirt in him. They explicitly state that the Vedas, the Vedanta and the knower of Vedas are all one and the same. They explain the nature of the mind which is responsible for all Intelligence, intellect and discrimination. These six great Dharshanas (texts) are:  Nyaaya, Vaisheshika,  Saankhya,  Yoga, Puurva-Mimaamsa and  Utthara Mimaamsa.

Valid knowledge and its means Valid knowledge (prama) is defined as that knowledge which has for its object something that is not already known and is uncontradicted (anadhigata-abaadhita arthavishayaka-jnaanam). The qualification ‘something that is not already known’ is meant to exclude recollection. The word ‘uncontradicted’ excludes illusion or error, as when a rope is mistaken for a snake. The Mimamsakas hold that time is also cognised through the organs of sense. Thus, when an object is seen, the cognition is connected with the moment when it is seen. As a result, when an object is seen continuously for several moments, the cognition at each moment is considered to be different from the cognition of the same object at the previous or next moment. In this view, the cognition at each moment is a new cognition and so the qualification ‘something that is not already known’ applies and the definition is applicable. According to Vedanta, however, a continuous cognition for several moments is one single cognition. The knowledge of a pot, for example, is Consciousness reflected in the mental modification (vritti) in the form of the pot and this is just one throughout the time the same pot continues to be seen. In this view also the definition applies. Objection: According to Advaita Vedanta, all objects such as pot are unreal, being ‘mithya’, and so the knowledge of the pot is contradicted and it cannot be valid knowledge.

Answer: It is only after the realization of Brahman that the pot is contradicted. In the above definition, ‘uncontradicted’ means ‘not contradicted during the transmigratory state’. The following is adapted from Dattapeetham

What is Nirvachana (definition)? For properly understanding a topic, we should be conversant with the correct definitions of the words we useIt was in this context that the question ‘what is Nirvachana?’ had come up. Nir-Vachana means, to elucidate appropriately and precisely. It means ‘to explain with the help of unambiguous terms what has to be explained’. In the present context of understanding Vedanta, we were trying to understand the phenomenon of the manifest world and the Knowledge of the Self. Understanding itself is Jnana (knowledge).

Jnana: Jnana is of two types. 1. Yathaartha Jnana and 2. Ayathaartha Jnana.

Yathaartha Janna means understanding an object as that of the literal object only. For example, in the example of rope snake, to understand a rope to be a rope is Yathaartha Janna. Wrongly understanding an object (to be something else) is Ayathaartha Janna. This is also called Asatya Jnana (false knowledge). In the analogy of rope and snake, assuming a piece of rope to be a snake is Ayathaartha Janna.

Objection: When simple terms such as Satya Jnana and Asatya Jnana are available, why should difficult words (Yathaartha Jnana and Ayathaartha Jnana) be used? Reply: It is true that they are difficult terms. But they possess more clarity. There are two words Yatha + Artha (in the word Yathaartha). ‘To perceive an object as that very object’ is the meaning of these words. That is, to perceive a rope as rope is Yathaartha Jnana. Using the word Yathaartha, rather than Satya conveys this meaning better. Because the term is difficult, the men of wisdom have used another simpler word ‘Pramaa’ in place of Yathaartha. Pramaa means Yathaartha Jnana.

Pramaa (True knowledge, accuracy of perception). Pramaa is of two types. 1. Smriti (remembrance) and 2. Anubhava (experience).

Smriti is recollection of what has been experienced in the past. Anubhava is perceiving in the present. Anubhava comes from Pramanas (testimonies) such as Pratyaksha (direct perception). When the knowledge thus obtained with the help of Pramanas remains in the Antahkarana (inner instruments) as Samskara (latent impression) and after some time, due to some reason gets recollected, it becomes ‘Smriti). Therefore, it can be said with certainty that for Smriti to occur, the reason can be anything other than testimonies such as Pratyaksha. Viewed from this angle, there is clear difference between Anubhava Jnana (knowledge obtained from experience) and Smriti Jnana (knowledge obtained by recollection). The former comes from testimonies such as direct perception etc., while the latter comes from something else. Because of this difference, some argue that Smriti Jnana can not be considered as Pramaa and that only Anubhava Jnana should be considered as Pramaa. From the above discussion, it is clear that ‘to perceive an object as that very object’ is Pramaa. Some scholars have explained this in a different way.

Viphala Pravritti (Viphala=failure, futile, fruitless. Pravritti = attempt) To perceive a snake where there is only a rope is Ayathaartha Jnana. That is, it is Apramaa. (the opposite of Yathaartha is Ayathaartha; the opposite of Pramaa is Apramaa). How could it be known that this is Ayathaartha Jnana (not true knowledge)? The person who had perceived it as a snake took a club and poked at it. After poking several times, he realized ‘this is not a snake; this is only a rope’. In other words, his attempt to find a snake there failed! Here, he faced failure. He was subjected to Viphala Pravritti. To understand this better, let us consider another example. A person is wandering in the seashore on a sunny afternoon. He is alone. In a distance, he saw a shining piece of silver. Immediately he ran to pick it up. By the time he reached that place, he was gasping for breath. To his disappointment, he found that it was not a piece of silver, but only a seashell. This very seashell, when seen from a distance on a sunny afternoon appeared to him as a piece of silver. At that moment, he was under the impression that it was a Yathaartha Jnana (true knowledge). Therefore, he ran towards it. But when he neared that object, he realized that his effort (to find silver) had failed. That is, he was subjected to Viphala Pravritti. Because of this Viphala Pravritti, he now realised that the knowledge that he had in the beginning was in fact Ayathaartha Jnana.

If he had actually found a piece of silver there, his effort would not have become futile. That is, his Pravritti (attempt) would have been Saphala (fruitful). Then he would have got the confirmation that the knowledge he had in the beginning was Yathaartha Jnana. Therefore, to confirm whether the knowledge is Yathaartha or Ayathaartha, one should try to procure the object about which the person got the knowledge. If the attempt (Pravritti) becomes successful (Saphala), then it is Yathaartha Jnana. If the attempt becomes futile, it becomes Ayathaartha Jnana. The above discussion can be condensed as:

‘That knowledge which produces Saphala Pravritti is Pramaa; that which produces Viphala Pravritti is Apramaa’. Thus, two types of definitions have come up for the word Pramaa.

  • To perceive an object to be that very object is Pramaa and
  • That knowledge which brings about Saphala Pravritti (fruitful attempt) is Pramaa.

In the background of the above two definitions, it must be said that Smriti can be considered as Pramaa. Let us see how. Smriti shows the past experience as it is now. Therefore, according to the first definition, it can not be anything other than Pramaa. Let us now see if Smriti can satisfy the second definition. Certain knowledge was obtained by recollecting. For example, the recollection “I was short when I was a boy” came now. With the help of reasoning, it was established that I was indeed short then. Thus, the attempt in this regard was Saphala (fruitful). Therefore, Smriti (recollection) too should be considered as Pramaa. However, some scholars do not accept these verifications or the above definitions of Pramaa. It might be true that you have established (with the help of reasoning) that you were a dwarf in your boyhood. But can you take upon yourself that form now? Certainly not! Thus, your Pravritti (attempt) here is not Saphala (fruitful). ‘Thus Smriti (recollection) is not Pramaa’ is their conclusion. It is not proper to say that one should always make an effort to confirm the knowledge one gets before accepting it to be true and that only after such confirmation one should accept it as true. For example, dense smoke is visible on a hill.

Common sense says that there is forest fire on the hill. Because this knowledge is true, the farmers are taking precautions to prevent their cattle from going in that direction. If it is said that this knowledge is not true, it would mean that every farmer should climb the hill, see the fire there, and then realise that the knowledge that they had got in the beginning was correct. This is impracticable. Therefore, the scholars have given another definition for the word Pramaa: ‘The knowledge that is obtained with the help of Pramanas (testimonies) such as Pratyaksha etc., is Pramaa’. What are Pramanas? How many are they? What is Pratyaksha? What is Pramana? It appears as though this discussion is drawing us very far. In whatever way we define it, the summary is ‘Pramaa is that knowledge which produces Yathaartha and that which produces Pramaa is Pramana’.

It means that to know the definition of the word ‘Pramana’, one should first know the definition of the word ‘Pramaa’. In this lesson, two definitions for Pramaa were proposed and subsequently both the definitions were discarded in favor of a third definition. But according to the third definition, Pramana and Pramaa are interdependent. That is, to understand one, the other has to be understood first. It is like saying ‘one can not marry unless one is cured of madness and madness can be cured only if one marries’. This is called as Anyonyaashraya Dosha (fault of mutual dependence) In order to come out of this catch-22 situation, Vedanta proposes a different definition for the word Pramaa.

Definition of Pramaa: The Vedantic science postulates that Pramaa is “that knowledge which has as its subject, an object which has no Baadhaa (contradiction)”. The word Baadhaa generally means distress. However, here the meaning is different.If an object is destroyed along with its Upaadaana Kaarana, then such destruction is called Baadhaa. Every Karya (result) has many Kaaranas (causes) in the background. For example, if a pot has to result, it requires various causes such as the potter, clay, wheel, the stick that is used to turn the wheel etc.. Even if one of these is not present, the pot can not result. Therefore, for the resultant pot, all these are causes. Among these, it is only the clay that enters the result and stays with it (with the Karya). That cause which enters in to the result is called Upaadaana Kaarana. Assume that the pot breaks. What is destroyed then is the pot, not the clay. In other words, the result is destroyed, but its Upaadaana Kaarana (material cause) still remains. This phenomenon of the pot ceasing to exist is called Naasha (destruction). Baadhaa is quite different from Naasha.

A person mistakes a rope to be a snake. What happened here? The person knows that some long object is there. However, he does not clearly know what it is. Ignorance (of not knowing the real nature of that object) itself resulted in the form of snake. (We had discussed about this in the 15th and 18th lessons). Therefore, here, snake to result, the ignorance acted as the Upaadaana Kaarana. When a torch was held near this object, the snake as well as its cause, namely ignorance about the object vanished simultaneously. What truly existed was perceived. Observe here that both the result and its cause vanished simultaneously. This process of vanishing of the Upaadaana Kaarana along with the effect (Karya) is called ‘Baadhaa’. The knowledge of that object which does not have such Baadhaa is termed Pramaa.

To know if the knowledge obtained by us is Pramaa knowledge or not, we must first see if the object we perceive has Baadhaa (hindrance, contradiction) or not. We saw a pot. The pot may undergo destruction. It can not be subjected to Baadhaa. That is, it can not be annulled. Therefore, its knowledge is Pramaa knowledge. We ‘saw’ silver in the sea shell. Subsequently, when the knowledge that it is only a seashell dawns, the silver undergoes ‘Baadhaa’. In other words, as soon as the reality is known, the silver as well as its cause, namely ignorance, will cease to exist. Therefore, such knowledge is not Pramaa. It is Apramaa. A person remembered the pot that he had seen the day before. Here, the remembrance may have destruction, but it does not undergo Baadhaa. Therefore, according to the above definition, even Smriti (remembrance) is also Pramaa knowledge.

Even while inferring that there is fire on the mountain (by the sight of the smoke), the fire there does not become subjected to Baadhaa. Therefore, that knowledge is also Pramaa knowledge. Some scholars thought it prudent not to include Smriti (remembrance) in Pramaa and thought that it should be considered as separate. They modified the definition of Pramaa slightly as follows: “That which is not hitherto known and that knowledge which is not subjected to Baadhaa, is called Pramaa”. Although the object that is perceived by remembering does not become subjected to Baadhaa, because the knowledge of that object was there already, it does not become Pramaa knowledge according to the above definition.

Objection: There seems to be some hitch in this definition. A person is continuously and looking at a pot. What happens here? As soon as he sees it, he will get the knowledge –‘this is a pot’. Any knowledge remains only for a moment, is it not? Thus, in the second moment, he will get a fresh knowledge – ‘this is a pot’. Similarly, he will get the same knowledge again, for the third time and so on. The knowledge – ‘this is a pot’ which comes in quick successions is called as Dhaaraavaahika Buddhi. (dhaaraa=stream). In this situation, the same knowledge that was acquired in the first instance is acquired in the subsequent instances too. Therefore, the knowledge gained in the second, third, forth etc., instances is something which was already known and therefore, according to your new definition, the knowledge of the pot is not Pramaa knowledge.  Do you agree?

Reply: Hold a minute! Your question is based on the assumption that knowledge has momentary existence. Any object or phenomena takes birth only if there is a cause behind it. Also, it will undergo destruction only if there is a cause for destruction. There is no reason or cause for the knowledge (of the pot) to vanish. The knowledge of the pot comes in to being because the Chaitanya reflects in the Vritti (modification) of the Antahkarana (inner instrument). As long as there is no obstruction to that Vritti and till such time that another Vritti takes birth in the Antahkarana, the first Vritti remains unaffected and unaltered. Therefore, there is no such thing as stream of knowledge here.

Objection: In the opinion of Vedanta, is not the entire creation false? Therefore, the parts of the creation (in this context the pot), are also do not have real existence. That is, everything must undergo Baadhaa at one point of time or the other. Thus, the knowledge that the person got when he saw the pot is not Yathaartha Jnaana (true knowledge). In other words, in this world no person can have any knowledge of any object at any point of time. Do you agree?

Reply: All our discussions are taking place in the mundane level. The manifest creation will be subjected to Baadhaa (i.e., the knowledge that the world is unreal will dawn) only after Brahma Saakshaatkaara (realization of Brahman) takes place. Before this, i.e., while we are still in the mundane level, the expression ‘that which does not undergo Baadhaa’ actually means ‘that which, in the mundane level, does not undergo Baadhaa’. It does not apply to the Baadhaa that takes place after the Brahma Jnana is acquired. By the above discussions, we understood two things very clearly.

  • That knowledge which has as its subject an object that is not subjected to Baadhaa is Pramaa knowledge.
  • That which is not hitherto known, and that knowledge which has as its subject an object which is not subjected to Baadhaa is Pramaa knowledge. The difference between the two definitions is that, in the first definition Smriti (remembrance) too is considered as Pramaa, whereas in the second definition, Smriti is not considered as Pramaa. That which is the instrument for such a Pramaa is called Pramaana.

Pramaana: What is Karana? To understand this properly, we should understand the meanings of the words such as Kaarana, Kaaraka and Vyaapaara.
Kaarana: That which is the direct cause of an action, and in the absence of which, that action does not take place, is called as Kaarana. For example, in the production of pot, there will be in its immediate past, several factors such as clay, wheel, the shaft that turns the wheel, the potter, Kaala (time), Adrishta (the unseen) etc. Even if one of the above is not there, the pot cannot result. Therefore, all these are considered as Kaaranas. Kaaranas are if four types.

  • Saadhaarana Kaarana (common cause)
  • Asaadhaarana Kaarana (special cause)
  • Upaadana Kaarana (explained earlier)
  • Nimitta Kaarana (explained earlier)

In the above set of causes (for the pot), aspects such as Kaala and Adrishta have also been considered as Kaaranas. They are Kaaranas not only for the pot, but also for anything and everything in the manifest universe. Thus, they are called as Saadhaarana Kaarana. (common causes). All causes other than these two (clay to potter) are causes only for the pot. They cannot be causes for say, a knife or an arrow. Therefore, they are considered as special causes for the pot. Thus, those causes that are specific in producing a result are called as Asaadhaarana Kaaranas. Among the special causes, it is only the clay that remains even after the effect (that is, the pot) is produced. Such causes are called as Upaadaana Kaaranas. Thus, such a cause, which is present before, during and after the result is produced, is called as Upaadaana Kaarana. All Asaadhaarana Kaaranas that are not Upaadaana in nature are referred to as Nimitta Kaaranas.

Kaaraka: Just as the factors behind the effect are called as Kaarana, the factor behind the action is called as Kaaraka. What does ‘being behind the action’ mean? It refers to that aspect which actually carries out the action. That is, that which is immediately behind the action. For example, we say ‘this axe is cutting the crop’. Here, an action, namely cutting of the crop is taking place. Who is doing that? The axe is doing. Is axe alone doing it? No. There is a hand behind it and there is a man behind that hand. All though all the three take part in the action called cutting, it is the axe that is actually doing the cutting. Such a factor is called as ‘Kriyaanirvartaka’.

Vyaapaara: Vyaapaara means transaction. For a result to manifest, many transactions have to take place. For example, for the pot to manifest, several transactions have to take place. The wheel has to turn. Here, the turning of the wheel should also be included in the list of Kaaranas. But, this is present hidden in the Asaadhaarana Kaarana group. It does not have independent existence. That transaction which is dependent on one of the Asaadhaarana Kaaranas and behaves as a cause is called as Vyaapaara.

In the above illustration, the wheel is one of the specific causes for the pot. The transaction called turning is dependent on it. In other words, the turning takes place only in the pot. This transaction of turning also takes part in the production of the pot. Here the transaction called turning is referred to as ‘Vyaapaara’. That transaction which takes birth along from an Asaadhaarana Kaarana, and takes part along with it in the production of the end result (thus acting as a cause itself) is called as Vyaapaara.

Karana: For any Kaarya (effect) to manifest, it is not enough if all the causes are present. In order to produce the result, at least some of them should work or transact. That which carries out the transaction is called the Karana. In the above illustration, the wheel is the Karana. If this concept can be presented in the form of a definition as follows: In the production of a Kaarya (effect), the cause that transacts is called Karana. All this discussion came up while defining the term Pramaa. It was said that that which is the Karana for Pramaa is Pramaana. That is, among the various specific causes present in producing correct perception, that which has transaction is called Pramaana.

For example, assume that we see a beautiful tree and develop liking for it. Here, both the eyes and the light are the causes for the liking. The light does not do anything. The eye, on the other hand, does the transaction called seeing. Therefore, for the liking the eyes serve as the Karanas. Therefore, the eyes are considered as Pramaana. How many Pramaanas are there? Different scholars have given different opinions. Let us discuss about them later. Pramanas – their number. Different scholars have given different opinions about the number of the essential pramanas. Charvakas, (the atheists) have declared that there is only one Pramaana and that is Pratyaksha. Bouddhists and the scholars belonging to Kanaada school of thought include Anumaana also and say that Pramanas are two in number. Anumaana is inference. It is not proper to think that everything in this world can be understood by Pratyaksha (direct perception) alone. Inference done with due caution also worthy of believing. Therefore Anumaana is also a Pramaana – opine these scholars.

The proponents of Saankhya school of thought say that along with Pratyaksha and Anumaana, Shabda is also a Pramaana. Shade means words of an intimate and trustworthy person. It is not enough to limit ourselves to direct perception or inference. We should believe the words of men of wisdom – this is the idea of the Saankhyas. The Vedas are the most superior in this category. Therefore, the Vedas are referred to as. They are also called as Agama. The scholars belonging to Tarka (logic) school of thought say that along with Pratyaksha, Anumaana and, even Upamaana (simile) should also be considered as a Pramaana. Upamaana is similarity. For example, we showed a flying animal to a person and told him that it was a crow. After sometime, a similar looking animal came there, this person can easily say that it is also a crow. From where did he get this knowledge? He got this knowledge by comparing this object with the one he had seen earlier. Because Upamaana helps in knowing an object, it should also be considered as a Pramaana – is the opinion of the logicians.

The scholars of Meemaamsa Shastra (particularly the Praabhaakara school) include Arthaapatti along with the above four. Arthapatti is postulation. It is described as the necessary supposition of an unperceived fact that demands an explanation. For example, if a person is fasting during the day and yet is growing fat, we are forced to conclude that he is eating at night. Such postulation is Arthapatti. In simple language, Arthapatti means that which easily becomes evident. This is not mere imagination. Here there is a clear understanding that in the absence of a particular act, what has become evident could not have happened at all. We see many such examples in life. Therefore Arthapatti should also be considered as a Pramaana is the opinion of the Meemaamsa scholars. Another school pertaining to Meemaamsa Shastra, the Bhaatta school opines that along with the above five (Pratyaksha, Anumaana, Upamaana and Arthapatti), another Pramaana, namely Anupalabdhi should also be included. The knowledge that a particular object is not present (here) is Anupalabdhi. If there is a tree before us, we will perceive it. For this, the eyes serve as Pramaana. If there is nothing before us, the eyes do not say ‘there is no tree here’, ‘there is no jar here’, ‘there is no rock here’ and so on.

Therefore, there is a Pramaana that tells us about the non-existence of objects. It is called Anupalabdhi. When we do not perceive a pot on a table before us, we come to know that it does not exist. Thus, it is a negative means of knowledge. The Pouranikas (mythologists) suggest that two more Pramanas, namely, Sambhava and Aitihya should also be considered along with the above six Pramanas. Sambhava means educated guess. For example, when we take a vessel to an experienced cook, he can say with certainty that a particular amout of rice can be cooked in that vessel. That which brings about such knowledge is called as Sambhava Pramaana.

Aitihya means traditional instruction that has been handed down though generations. Mythologists say that even this should be considered as a Pramaana. The Vedantists have thoroughly examined all the above Pramanas and have declared that Pramanas are six in number. According to Vedanta, Pratyaksha, Anumaana, Upamaana, Agama, Arthapatti and Anupalabdhi are the six accepted Pramanas. Therefore Vedantists are also referred to as Shat-Pramaana-Vaadins. (Shat=six, Pramaana=evidence, Vaadi=proponent). Let us try to understand the six Pramaanas with the help of definitions.

Nyaaya Dharshana forms the life for other dharshanas it is also called Gautama Shaasthra. This forms the life for the remaining five Dharshanas. We have measures to judge the quantity and volume of material in the world. Even in respect of Divinity, a measure must be available by which the proof may be obtained. Vedas speak of four kinds of proofs. They are

  •  Pratyaksha (direct perception),
  •  Anumaana (inference),
  •  Upamaana (comparison)and
  •  Shabdha (sound).

Prathyaksha pramaana: This is called direct proof, as it is perceived by the sense organs. These organs are only instruments. The mind enters them and helps them to function. There are some limitations on the senses like disease and imperfection, that make proof obtained by this method to be infirm. For example, a normal eye can see all colors, a jaundiced eye sees everything as yellow. Though the laddu is sweet, the tongue of a malaria patient classifies it as bitter. Here, there are two points of view. From the point of view of the matter it is sweet. But from the point of view of the senses it is bitter. It can be concluded, therefore, direct proof is not complete evidence for real justice.

Inference Anumaana pramaana: This is based on doubt and inference. One sees cranes in the distance, for example, and infers that water Could be available there. Similarly, one infers about fire by seeing the smoke, from the Svabhaava (natural traits), one. makes out about the Svaruupa (the real form). Inference or anumaana is defined as that cognition which presupposes some other cognition. It is knowledge which arises (anu) after another knowledge. It is mediate and indirect and arises through a mark, linga or hetu (middle term) which is invariably connected with the saadhya (the major term). Invariable concomitance (vyaapti) is the nerve of inference. The presence of the linga in the paksha (minor term) is called pakshadharmataa. The invariable association of the linga with the saadhya is called vyaapti. According to Nyaya, anumaana (inference) is the efficient instrument (karana) of inferential knowledge (anumiti). Anumiti is knowledge that arises from paraamarsa. Paraamarsa is a complex cognition which arises from a combination of the knowledge of invariable concomitance (vyaaptijnaana) and that of the presence of the linga in the paksha — technically known as pakshadharmataajnaana.

Upamaana pramaana: This kind of testimony is based on comparison. It enables us to understand many things that cannot be otherwise easily understood, by comparing them to some others that can be. By studying the Praathibhasika (apparent reality) and the Vyaavahaarika (empirical reality), one can infer about the Paaramaarthika (transcendental). For example, by studying the foam (empirical reality) that originates from the waves (apparent reality), one can understand the reality of the Ocean (transcendental reality). This is possible because both the foam and the waves originate from the Ocean, and mirror its character in them. This is the example cited for all beings emanating from the Ocean of Divinity as waves.

Shabdha pramaana: It is the proof garnered on the basis of sound. It is considered to be the ultimate proof. It is based on the testimony of the sound that the Vedas, Vedaangas, Upanishaths and the Bhagavath Geetha came into existence, But, to be able to perceive this testimony, one must be properly attuned and extremely careful. It needs one to travel beyond the mind and the senses. At this stage of Samaana chittha (mental equanimity), sound becomes the very form of God. The eight forms of God are Shabdha Brahma mayee (sound), Charaachara mayee (All pervasiveness), Paraathpara mayee (Transcendental nature), Vaang mayee (speech), Nithyaanandha mayee (blissful), Jyothir mayee (Effulgence), Maaya mayee (illusion) and Shreemayee (prosperity).

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