Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
The pramanas other than "pratyaksa" and "anumana" are "upamana" and
"sabda". What is "upamana"? It is knowing what is not known by means
of comparison with the known. There is an animal called "gavaya". We do
not know what it looks like. It is like a wild buffalo: to look at it is
cow, so it is said. We go to the neighbourhood of the forest and there
spy an animal resembling a cow, so we conclude that it must be a gavaya.
Here we have recourse to upamana.
"Sabda-pramana" is verbally testimony, the pronouncements of the
Vedas and the words of great men. When the scriptures speak of things
that we do not know, their words must be accepted as authority. The
naiyayikas, or exponents of Nyaya, believe that the Vedas are the words
of Isvara. The words of great men who are wedded to truth are also
These four pramanas are accepted in Kumarilabhatta's school of
Mimamsa. To them he has added two more: "arthapatti" and
"anupalabdhi". Thus there are six pramanas in all and they are part of
non-dualistic doctrine also.
Our Sastras give a clear idea of arthapatti through an illustration. "Pino
Devadatto diva na bhunkte". What does the statement mean? "The fat
Devadatta doesn't eat during daytime". Though Devadatta does not eat
during daytime, he still remains a fat fellow. How? We guess that he
be eating at night. There is something contradictory about an individual
not eating and still not being thin. Here arthapatti helps us to
cause of Devadatta being fat. Our guess that he eats at night does not
belong to the category of anumana. To make an inference there must be
a hint or clue in the original statement itself. There must be a "linga"
smoke from fire, thunder from clouds. Here there is no such linga.
It is the same with upamana. When we come to the conclusion that the
animal we have seen is the beast called "gavaya", it does not mean that
we made an inference or anumana. We did not recognise the animal by
means of any sign but from the fact that its appearance tallied with the
description we had been given.
The last pramana is anupalabdhi. It is the means by which we come to
know a non-existent object. I spoke about "abhava", the last of the
padarthas according to Nyaya. Anupalabdhi is the means by which we
know abhava. Suppose someone tells us, "Go and see if the elephant is in
the stable". We go to the stable to see for ourselves whether or not the
elephant is there. We find that there is no elephant in the stable: to
recognise such absence (non-existence) is anupalabdhi.
Arthapatti and anupalabdhi are part of Mimamsa and Vedanta, not of
Nyaya. (However, anupalabdhi is mentioned only in the Kumarilabhatta
school of Mimamsa, not in the Prabhakara School)