The Pramanas

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The first, pratyaksa-pramana, is the knowledge that can be obtained from the perception of the senses and of which we have already spoken; simply put, a thing is true to the extent that we can perceive it with our senses. This text has its usefulness but, due to the limitation and imperfection of the senses themselves, the sages do not give it great importance.


The second, anumana-pramana, is the knowledge that can be obtained from the action of our intelligence, that is, by deduction. This also has its usefulness, but it is limited. Our intelligence has the same defects as the senses, because our intellect is constituted fundamentally by the result of the elaboration of sensory experiences.


The third, sabda-pramana, also called aitiya-pramana, is knowledge of the scriptures or realized saints: in other words, information of divine origin. All the Vedic sages accept this sabda-pramana as the final and perfect test, and the other pramanas also find their perfection in the context of sabda-pramana. This does not mean that the senses or intelligence should be set aside, but that they are subordinate to the force of divine witness.



This is a section of the book “Tattva Sandarbha”, in English.

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