Pramana: Definition, Types As Per Sushruta And Charaka

By Prof. Vd. Rangaprasad Bhat
Pramana is the means to gain knowledge. For example, we see an object and understand it as a bird. This is called Pratyaksha Pramana – knowledge gained through sense organs. 

The knowledge which provides the real or genuine experience (yathārtha anubhava) is : pramā. The scale of measurement (sādhanaṃ) of that pramā is pramāṇa.
Pramāṇa is sādhanaṃ (tool) and pramā is the sādhyaphala / jñānaṃ (i.e., knowledge).

Different denotions of pramāṇa:
Upalabdhi, sādhanaṃ, jñānaṃ, parīkṣā pramāṇam though seems to be wrong meaning, the interpretations based on eloquent efficacy. The one that which gets examined and analysed before accepting it as a true knowledge is parīkṣā pramāṇam. And by means of such parīkṣā, the measuring of the truth of the knowledge happens. hence is denoted as pramāṇa.

To understand the aihika & pāralaukika  principles, the knowledge of pramāṇa becomes essential.

Categories of jñānaṃ:
“सामान्य-विशेष रूपे बुद्धिमात्रे, ज्ञानं द्विविधा – वस्तुमात्र ध्यौतकं; निर्विकल्पं । सविकल्पन्तु संज्ञा विध्योतकत्वाद् अनेकधा ।” – शब्दस्तोम
“sāmānya-viśeṣa rūpe buddhimātre, jñānaṃ dvividhā – vastumātra dhyautakaṃ; nirvikalpaṃ | savikalpantu saṃjñā vidhyotakatvād anekadhā |” – Śabdastoma

Based on the commonality / similar and specificity / dissimilar features, the , jñānaṃ is sub categorized into two.
1. Nirvikalpaṃ
2. S
avikalpam

Based on the lone factor of general appearence (vastumātra), the illustrative knowledge (dhyautakaṃ) thus obtained is termed as nirvikalpaṃ (Definitive knowledge).

Contrast to above, based on the specific traits or characters of that partcicular object (saṃjñā vidhyotakatvād), when the differential knowledge gets recognised by the mind it gets termed as Savikalpam.
For example, recognition of vātarakta becomes Nirvikalpaṃ and differential diagnosis of the same based on its presentation, area affected getting daignosed as uttānavātarakta & gambhīravātarakta

the knowledge thus obtained is considered to have been accrued through the savikalpa pramāṇa. Where in the common or provisional diagnosis of vātarakta gets anekadha and gets categorised into more than one category.

Yathārtha & Ayathārtha jnāna:
 “yatra yad asti tatra tasya anubhava: pramā, tad vat tat prakāraka anubhavo vā” || Tatvacintāmaṇi: ||

The pramā is the knowledge gained from the experience of cognition of objects or events as seen and felt in their actual form of manifestation or appearance.

The knowledge is also categorized based on the cognition level as Yathārtha & Ayathārtha jnāna. Out of these two sub types, the pramā (real perception) occurs only in the former category, the yathārtha jnāna. For the pramā is directly proportional to the truth.

Sushrutokta four pramāṇas:
“तस्याङ्ग वरं आद्यं – आगम; प्रत्यक्ष;अनुमान; उपमानै: – अविरुद्धम् उच्यमानं उपधारय” । सु.सू.१/१६
“tasyāṅga varaṃ ādyaṃ – āgama; pratyakṣa;anumāna; upamānai: – aviruddham ucyamānaṃ upadhāraya” | su.sū.1/16
Ayurveda and its branches especially the surgical branch is obtained through the pramāṇas like āgama(āptopadesha); pratyakṣa;anumāna; upamānai.

 

डल्हन सु.सू.१/१६ –
“प्रत्यक्षमिति – यत् किञ्चिदेव अर्थस्य साक्षात्कारी ज्ञानं तदेव प्रत्यक्षं । तथाहि- “मनोऽक्षगतमभ्रान्तं वस्तु प्रत्यक्षमुच्यते। इन्द्रियाणां असंज्ञानं वस्तुतत्वे भ्रमः स्मृतः । प्रत्यक्ष अविरुद्धं यथा – सूर्यावलोकनात्, नासान्तः सूत्रवर्ति प्रवेशनात् च क्षुतः प्रादुर्भावः ।
ḍalhana su.sū.1/16  –
pratyakṣamiti – yat kiñcideva arthasya sākṣātkārī jñānaṃ tadeva pratyakṣaṃ | tathāhi- “mano’kṣagatamabhrāntaṃ vastu pratyakṣamucyate| indriyāṇāṃ asaṃjñānaṃ vastutatve bhramaḥ smṛtaḥ | pratyakṣa aviruddhaṃ yathā – sūryāvalokanāt, nāsāntaḥ sūtravarti praveśanāt ca kṣutaḥ prādurbhāvaḥ |

Pratyakṣam is the exact perception of knowledge of the object. The un-perplexed (abhrāntaṃ) observation and registration of the physical traits of the object over the axis of mind is pratyakṣam. Example for pratyakṣa aviruddhaṃ (perceptible knowledge) is manifestation of sneezing (kṣutaḥ) upon gazing the sun for a longer time and upon inserting a thread inside the tip of the nasal cavity.

आगमो वेदः आप्तानां शास्त्रं वा, तथाहि – सिद्ध सिद्धिः प्रमाणस्तु हितं च अत्र परत्र च ।  आगमं शास्त्रं आप्तानां आप्ताः तत्वार्थ वेदिनः ॥ आग्माविरुद्धं यथा – पुरानादिषु अपि श्रूयते रुद्रेण यज्ञस्य शिरश्च्छिन्नं अश्विभ्यां  संहितमिति ।
āgamo vedaḥ āptānāṃ
śāstraṃ vā, tathāhi – siddha siddhiḥ pramāṇastu hitaṃ ca atra paratra ca |  āgamaṃ śāstraṃ āptānāṃ āptāḥ tatvārtha vedinaḥ || āgmāviruddhaṃ yathā – purānādiṣu api śrūyate rudreṇa yajñasya śiraścchinnaṃ aśvibhyāṃ  saṃhitamiti |

Āgama is related to the vedās, śāstrās and āptāvacana (authoritative statement from the learned and elderly persons). The inputs of Divine intellect (siddha siddhiḥ) from the nearby and elsewhere locations (ihaloka & paraloka) by means of āgamaṃ, śāstraṃ, āptānāṃ(words from Aptas) are referred to as āgama / shabda pramāna.
Example for āgama pramāna (āgmāviruddhaṃ yathā ) is “ the story of decapitation of the head of dakṣā by rudrā during brahma yajna, which was surgically reconstructed by Aswini Kumarās, being heard through purānās and other scriptures.

anupaścāt avyabhicārī (definite)  liṅgātliṅgī (by characteristic traits recognising the signs)  mīyate (to fix) jñāyate (knowing) yena tadanumānam, tena anumānena aviruddhaṃ yathā – pranaṣṭa śalye candana,ghṛta upadigdhāyāṃ tvaci viśoṣaṇa ājya vileyanābhyāṃ anumīyate atra śalyaṃ iti,

– On observing the definitive; characteristic traits and        the  signs,begetting some  fixed and inferred knowledge  is termed as anumānam.
Example:- In an impacted foreign body underneath the surface of skin, inferring the presence of the foriegn body by applying candana,ghṛta and observing for the drying and liquifaction of those dravyas, respectively is indicative of obtaining the knowledge through anumānam.

प्रसिद्ध साधर्म्यात्, सूक्ष्म व्यवहित विप्रकृष्टार्थस्य साधनं उपमानं । तेन अविरुद्धं यथा – माषवत् माष:, तिलमात्र: तिलकालक:, विदारिकन्दवत् विदारी रोग, शालूकवत् पनसिक इति आदिकम् ॥”
prasiddha sādharmyāt, sūkṣma vyavahita viprakṛṣṭārthasya sādhanaṃ upamānaṃ | tena aviruddhaṃ yathā – māṣavat māṣa:, tilamātra: tilakālaka:, vidārikandavat vidārī roga, śālūkavat panasika iti ādikam ||”

Based on the popular instrument or object, denoting an object which is away from that place having the similiarity or homogenousness of the popular object by means of comparison, the knowledge of upamānaṃ is achieved.

Example:-
1. māṣavat māṣa :- The Kshudra roga maṣaka is named based on the comparison of the lesion rembling the black gram. Charaka explains so in the chapter KShudraroga nidAnam as माषवत् कृष्णं उत्सन्नं अनिलान् मषकं वदेत्

2. vidārikandavat vidārī roga :- The Kshudraroga named vidārī gets it’s name so as it rembles the tuber of vidārī. Charaka explains about it in the chapter KShudraroga nidAnam as,-

विदारिकन्दवत् – वृत्तं: कक्षा वन्क्षण संधिषु | रक्तं विदारिकां विद्यात् सर्वजां सर्वलक्षाणां ||२४||

The reddish swelling of the lesion present over the axilla, groin & joints that which is round in shape resembling the underground tubers of the Pueraria tuberosa (vidarikanda), caused by the tridoshas is known as vidārī kshudra roga (regional lymph node swellings).

Carakokta caturvidha pramāṇa: –
“द्विविधं एव खलु सर्वं सत् असत् च । तस्य चतुर्विधा परीक्षा । आप्तोपदेश:, प्रत्यक्षं, अनुमानं, युक्तिश्च इति ॥”
“dvividhaṃ eva khalu sarvaṃ sat asat ca | tasya caturvidhā parīkṣā | āptopadeśa:, pratyakṣaṃ, anumānaṃ, yuktiśca iti ||” caraka saṃhitā.sū.11/17  |

The jñāna is boadly of two types – sat jñāna & asat jñāna. The means of examining those jñānas are the four following pramāṇas –
1. āptopadeśa:,
2. pratyakṣaṃ,
3. anumānaṃ and
4. yukti – C.S.sU.11/17

gaṅgādhara: – “…….tasya bhāva abhāva rūpeṇa siddhasya sarvasya dravyaguṇakarma samavāyākhyasya sāmānyaviśeṣa bhūtasya parīkṣā parīkṣaṇa hetu: caturdhā bhavati |
Gaṅgādhara commenting on the above verse states – The existing and non existing knowledge related to sat and asat jñāna of the dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma (Action) based on the commonality and diffrentiative factors of traits gets examined through the parīkṣaṇa hetu (examining factors) named pramāṇas, which are 4 in number.

kā keti ?
What are those (four)?
1.” tāṃ vivṛṇoti āptopadeśa ityādi, āptai: upadiśyate yad idaṃ eva idaṃ na evaṃ iti upadeśa aptopadeśa: |śabda parīkṣā pramāṇa śabda ete anena iti śabda: |”
Āptopadeśa:- The definitive knowledge provided by the āptās, through directives like “this is this”, “this is not that” etc, is known as  āptopadeśa. Since it is carried over from eras back to centuries forward through the “mouth to ear” mode of Oral vocabulary and  syntaxes (śabda parīkṣā pramāṇa), it is also known by another name śabda pramāṇa

2.pratyakṣamiti – akṣayasya indriyasya prativiṣayaṃ vṛtti: pratyakṣaṃ | vṛttistu saṃnikarṣo jñānaṃ vā, yadā hi saṃnikarṣa: tadā jñānaṃ paramiti: | yadā jñānaṃ tadā n upādān apekṣā buddhya: phalamiti |”
Pratyakṣaṃ:- The definitive cognition of objects through the sensory organs with detailed observation of the characters and traits of the objects is referred to as pratyakṣaṃ pramāṇa. The examination and resultant cognition of the object from its close quarters is understood to be known as para jñānaṃ.

  1. “anumānāmiti – mitena liṅgena upapascād arthasya mānaṃ anumānamiti |”
    Anumānam:- The measurement of knowledge by means of firm inference is known as anumānam pramāṇa.

    4. yuktiśca iti – yujyate yayā buddhyā sā parīkṣā sādhanaṃ parīkṣā | pramīyate anena iti kāraṇa artha abhidhāna: pramāṇa śabda: |
    Yukti :- In conjunction with the incidences involving  the objects, examining them collectively, through the mind and obtaining the knowledge through reasoning is known as Yukti pramAna.


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