Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 7 10:09:34 CDT 2000

On Fri, 7 Jul 2000 09:55:47 EDT, S. V. Subrahmanian
<svs_shankara at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Shri Anandji and Shri VidyaShankarji (anybody else who may be able to
>I am reading Vidyaranya's introduction to Upanishads, as translated by Sri
>Alladi Mahadeva* Shastry.  He indulges in a discussion of the pramanAs.  I
>would like to know in detail about the discussions on the pramanAs and
>validity (or invalidity).
>Have any one of you written about it ?  Or is there is a standard text
>Shankara's works) where they are discussed and invalidated in a cogent
>argument ?  Also, the author says that the 3 pramaNAs are pratyakSa,
>and 'Agama'.  Is 'Agama' the same as 'sabda' pramanA (doesn't seem like) ?

 I had written on Shankara's views of pramANas a while back. Please

 MadhusUdana's advaita-siddhi also deals with the issue of validity
 of pramANas, but we have a lot of material to cover before we
 get there.


bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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>From ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG Fri Jul  7 17:08:57 2000
Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2000 17:08:57 PDT
Reply-To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
From: Vishal Agarwal <vishalagarwal at HOTMAIL.COM>
Subject: Conception of Pramanas according to Vrittikara Upavarsha
Comments: To: ADVAITA-L at
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Someone recently asked a question on the Pramanas. I enclose herewith a note
on the conception of Pramanas according to Vrttikara Upavarsha as discussed
in the Tamil Epic Manimekhalai. I am leaving out the references that form
the basis of the introductory discussion but can supply them upon request.
Manimekhalai: This is a Tamil drama belonging to Buddhists and  clearly
predates Samkaracarya. It is said to have been composed in the 6th-7th Cent.
C.E. according to Basham. Danielou et al however think that the work
predates 4th cent. C.E. The text, while discussing instruments of knowledge,
states that three teachers were recognized as of authority among them
(Pramanavadis in Vedavada), namely Vedavyasa, Krtakoti and Jaimini. These
three have recognized pramanas to be 10, 8 and 6. In the Prapancahrydaya,
Krtakoti is another name for the Bhasya of Bodhayana on the entire Mimamsa
Sastra. The meaning of the statement is not clear. Dramas like the
Avantarisundarikatha of Dandin, Sanskrit lexicons like the Vaijayanti of
Yadava Prakash, the Shashvata Kosha and so on give ‘Kritakoti’ as a synonymn
of Upavarsha. The Vrttikaragrantha quoted by Sabara is actually a paraphrase
and a summary of the original and seems to recognize only 6 Pramanas. The
Slokavarttika of Kumarila Bhatta accepts the 6 pramanas of Sabara but adds
that some describe 2 more pramanas. Therefore, it is possible that Krtakoti
first discussed 10 pramanas, then subsumed them under 8 and probably
subsumed these 8 under the 6 recognized by Sabara. Or perhaps, the epic
defines all the 10 different Pramanas for the sake of completeness.

We reproduce the entire passage of the Buddhist epic below:

“Before inquiring of the chief representative of the Vedic tradition,
Manimekhalai first contact a Pramanavadi who belonged to this sect. He
expounded to her the logical conceptions amd "means of proof" (pramana)
envisaged by Mimamsa, or theological reflection.
In explaining the means of knowledge, the logician referred to three
teachers or sages: Veda Vyasa, who divided the Vedas into four parts;
Kritakoti (the commentator); and the infallible logician Jaimini. These 3
thinkers have established that the instruments of knowledge through which
the validity of any theory can be determined are, according to the school,
either 10, 8, or 6 in number.

The means of proof are
1.      Pratyaksha: Direct Perception.  This Pramana, free from doubt, is of 5
kinds (depending on which of the 5 senses is the intermediary): perception
of color by the eyes; of sound by the ears; of odor by the nose; of taste by
the tongue; of touch by the skin. It is through these perceptions that the
sensations of pain and pleasure are felt. Perception, in contact with the
pranas, reaches manas through ida, pingala, sushumna. The manas, which
functions ceaselessly, receives the message. Thus is obtained an adequate
knowledge of an object situated in a given place: its name, its nature, its
activities, and not only knowledge of its appearance, without confusing it
with another object, but without leaving the least doubt as to its nature.
2.      Anumana: Deduction (Inference). It allows what is not perceived to be
deduced according to what is perceived or seen. This kind of knowledge is of
3 types: simultaneous (samanya); derived (sheshavat), proceeding from cause
to effect; and ascendant (purvavat), returning from effect to cause.
·       Samanya: Although 2 things are not necessarily connected to one another,
the perception of one may lead to the deduction of another, as in the case
of the deduction of the presence of an elephant in the forest on hearing a
trumpeting-like noise.
·       Sheshavat: Deduction of the cause according to the effect. On seeing
rivulets pouring into a river, we may deduce that it has rained on the
·       Purvavat: Deduction of the effect from the cause. On seeing black clouds
gather, we may deduce that it is going to rain.
Perception exists only in the present, whereas deduction is equally valid
for both past and future.
3.      Upamana: Analogy.  The 3rd instrument of knowledge is analogy, which
consists of comparing what is not known with what is. For example, to
somebody who has never seen one, a wild ox may be described in terms of a
domestic bull.
4.      Agama: The sacred texts or Shabda, the words of the wise: The cultural
heritage. This means of proof by quoting authors considered to be
authorities. On this basis, heavenly or infernal worlds are admitted to
exist where beings dwell in beatitude or suffering.
5.      Arthapatti: Presumption, implication. An approximation is used to make an
assertion understood. If for example, we say that the cowherds live "on the
Ganges", we mean "on the banks of Ganges."
6.      Svabhava: Commons sense, evidence inherent in the nature of a thing. The
meaning of a word is determined by its context. When a man perched on an
elephant's neck says: "Pass me the stick", he means the goad he uses to
guide the animal, since he has no other stick.
7.      Aithiya: Tradition, popular belief. One accepts the fact that a certain
spirit dwells in a certain tree because this fact is generally accepted.
8.      Abhava: Non-existence. The fact that an object is not to be found in a
given place at a given moment means that it is not in that place, but not
that it does not exist elsewhere.
9.      Parishesha: Implication by correlation. Saying that Rama was victor in
his fight with Ravana implies that Ravana was the loser.
10.     Sambhava: Probability. On seeing a piece of iron move, it can be
concluded that a magnet is present, since otherwise the iron would be unable
to move.

Appearances of Proof (Pramana Abhasa): Besides these 10 means of examining
the real, there are also 8 appearances of proof that could lead us into
1.      Inexact Perception: Seeing from afar, we cannot discern whether it is a
man or a tree trunk: we merely know that something is there.
2.      Deceptive Appearance: One thing can be mistaken for another, as, for
example, mother of pearl for silver.
3.      Indecision: We are incapable of deciding whether a distant object is a
man or a tree trunk.
4.      Arbitrary Choice: In the palace stable, there is a post for attaching
horses as well as a stable boy standing nearby; we take the post for the
stable boy with out checking.
5.      Inattention, seeing without understanding: Seeing something move, we do
not realize and do not warn the person it is approaching.
6.      Mistaken Association: Believing in the reality of something that exists
only in words: to speak of hare's horns is verbally comprehensible, but the
thing described does not exist in reality.
7.      Truism, Demonstration of what is evident: For example, deciding after due
reflection to sit near the fire to counteract the cold when one knows with
certainty that heat is the opposite of cold.
8.      Indirect Knowledge: The fact of recognizing a couple as our parents can
only be based on the affirmation of others.”

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bhava shankara deshikame sharaNam

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