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Anumaana Pramaan`a

Dr. Rajeshree Chitre
M.D. (Ayurved)

Anumaana Pramaan`or knowledge through inference. In this type of knowledge the sense organs do not come in direct contact with the object of perception and cognition is done by inferencingknowledge by observation of different Hetu, or factors proving the presence of the objects.

But this type of knowledge is dependent on previous direct, object cognition. The relation between the Hetu and the object is previously observed and memorized leading to correlate both and inferring the presence of the object without its being directly seen.

This process is scientifically elaborated by the oriental sciences. The different terms are defined and explained in detail in order to understand this process easily. These terms will be well understood when explained along with an example. Lets take an example to prove the presence of a fire and a mountain.

SaadhyaIs the object whose presence is to be proved e.g. fire

Hetu: Is the factor, which is in constant relation with Saadhyathe object. Hence leading to confirm the presence of Saadhyawithout directly bringing into contact the sense organs with the subject i.e. smoke.

Pakshya: Is the site where the presence of Saadhyais to be proved e.g. The Mountain where the presence of fire is to be proved.

SapakshyaSite where the relationship of the Sandhya and the Hetu is assertively confirmed.

E.g. the kitchen where smoke and fire are always present.

VipakshyaIt is the site where the Saadhya or the object is definitely absent. E.g. the water bodies where fire is never present.

Pakshadharma: The Pakshya is the site where the object is to be proved. So the main purpose of the site is that is has the presence of the object.

e.g.: The presence of fire on the mountain is the Pakshyadharma or the purpose of the mountain for that period.

VyaaptiThe invariable relation between the Hetu and the Saadhyatechnically termed as the Avinabhava. The status of non-existence if the other one is not present is called Vyaapti. In other words it is defined as the certainty of association of the presence of smoke only in the presence of fire. Concomitance of smoke and fire. To have a flawless inference Vyaaptishould be clear.

Paraamars`haIt means knowledge of qualified reason existing on a subject. Thus to know the concomitance of smoke and fire and to also directly cognize the presence of smoke on the mountain, leading to inferring the presence of fire on the mountain.

Anumitee: It is the knowledge achieved due to Paraamars`ha.


Concomitance is ascertained by the presence of association and absence of variation. But mere concomitance is not sufficient. The presence of the smoke on the mountain is also important.

The fire should not be seen along with the smoke on the mountain. If it is seen then the knowledge thus gained will be termed as direct perception instead of inference as the sense organs come in direct contact with the Saadhyaor object whose presence has to be proved.

Hence for inference one should note that there should be some doubt about the subject to be proved prior to the judgment. To know the concomitance of smoke and fire and to also directly cognize the presence of smoke on the mountain leading to the inference of the presence of fire on the mountain is known as Paraamars`ha.

Sad Hetu / Valid reason:

Hetu or reason means the symptom or the factor by which, the Saadhyaor subject is to be proved. The other synonyms for Hetu are or Sadhan i.e. reason.

Sad Hetu means the factors, which lead to the inference of true knowledge. The criteria for calling any symphonic HetuSad Hetu i.e. valid reasons are as follows:

  1. It should exist on the subject
    I.e. presence of smoke on mountain,
  2. Presence of reason on similar instances Sapakshya
    I.e. presence of smoke and fire together in kitchen.
  3. Absence of contradictory instances
    I.e. absence of smoke on water bodies.
  4. .Absence of contra indicatory factors in the presence of the Hetu.
    I.e. absence of rain in presence of smoke
  5. Presence of Hetu along with subject even when assertion of the subject is done by direct contact.
    I.e. Presence of smoke along with fire, when seen directly or when climbing the mountain.

All this mental exercise of inference and judgment is done for drawing some conclusion. Positive or negative, the Hetu should be true and not fake.

Five of the valid reasons have been explained

The Hetu described are of 3 types
Purely positive Hetu Kevala Anvaya Hetu
Purely negative Hetu Kevala Vyatireka Hetu
Duly positive and negative Hetu

After seeing the nine technical terms of Anumaana, we need to understand Vyaaptiand Paraamars`hain detail as knowledge obtained from inference is based on correct knowledge of these two.

Vyaapti or Concomitance:

It is the invariable relation between the Hetu and the Saadhya, the Avinabhara status of the non-existence of one if the other is not present.

Vyaapti therefore is the rule of being together (Sahaacharya Niyatataa a technically termed) e.g. the invariable concomitance of fire and smoke where there is smoke there is fire invariably. Smoke is pervasive but fire is pervading.

That which is wide spread is Vyaapakaor fire and that which is pervaded is Vyaapakaor smoke = fire and that which is pervaded is Vyaapya= smoke

Wherever there is Vyaapyathere always will be Vyaapaka. But the reverse will not be true. Hence it is important to know the differentiationof the Vyaapyaand Vyaapaka.

The Naiyayikas explain this difference by explaining two types of Vyaaptior concomitance.

The Anvaya Vyaaptior the Vyatireka Vyaapti

Anvaya Vyaapti means stating putting forth a statement

  • Wherever there is smoke, there is fire
  • This is a positive statement is Anvaya Vyaapti
  • To say wherever there is fire there is smoke is a wrong Anvaya Vyaapti, because it is not true.
  • Wherever fire is not present smoke will also be absent
  • This is a negative way of putting across the Vyaaptiand is known as Vyatireka Vyaapti
  • Wherever smoke is not present fire will also be absent is a wrong way of putting Vyatireka Vyaapti
  • To attain the correct knowledge or flawless knowledge of Vyaaptiis important
  • The rules for achieving flawless, Vyaaptiknowledge are as follows
  • Frequent self-experience of the same Sahacharya Niyatatva i.e. Vyaaptii.e. being together always.
  • Vyabhichardynabhara i.e. absence of false knowledge of correlation between the Vyaapyan, and the Vyaapaka.
  • Variation should not be noted in concomitance, as it will lead to false inference.

E.g: Having seen one poisonous snake if one holds each and every snake is poisonous. Then on seeing a non-poisonous snake there will be variation in the Vyaapti of snake = poisonous hence leading to the inference that false knowledge has been gained.

Hence to avoid false knowledge, examining the Vyaaptiby repeated exposure to the Vyaapyaand Vyaapaka relationship has to be done. If any doubts are present in relation to established Vyaapti_they should be eliminated by a thoughtful evaluation of the facts or Tarka.

Keval Anvaya Vyaapti Hetu: This type of Hetu or factor can put forth only positive statements. No negative statement can be stated by this Hetu. E.g. The object of knowledge i.e. Prameya always has a name (Abhidiya). A jar is Prameya; the jar is denotable because of its cognoscibility; here deniability is the Hetu.

We cannot turn this statement into a negative Vyatireka statement by saying that the jar is not denotable because it is not cognizable, it will be a false statement.

Keval Vyatireka Hetu: This type of Hetu or factor can state only negative statements. No positive statement can be stated by this Hetu. E.g. the earth element is distinguished from others by its quality of smell. So we can state that, which is not distinguished from another does not possess the quality of smell. Here smell is the Hetu.

Anvaya Vyatireka Hetu: This type of Hetu or factor states both positive as well as negative statements. E.g. where there is smoke there is fire present as in a kitchen and wherever there is fire absent, smoke is also absent, as in a lake. Both the positive as well as the negative statements hold true. After knowing the types of Hetu_s we need to see how to derivate and communicate these inferences. For self-derivation of inference known as Svaarthaanumaana, one has to repeatedly observe and draw inferences from previous experiences and in newer and newer situations

To communicate the inferences to others a systematic five component method, is prescribed as follows:

  • First pronounce the subject, which you have inferred.
  • Give the reasons for the inference and point out the relation of the reasons with the other components.
  • Site an example that can be understood by the learner or others establishing the concomitance of reason and subject,
  • Spell out application of that example in the situation of inference and correlative.
  • Reiterate the conclusion, which is initially pronounced.

This is the systematic method of rational submission for any topic. Lets see this with an example.

  1. Pronouncing the mountain has fire on it
  2. Reason Because there is the presence of smoke on it
  3. Example That which has smoke has to have fire, same as that in a kitchen
  4. So is seen here ———- so in conclusion
  5. Therefore is fire on the mountain


On account of the smoke it is proved that the mountain is fiery. The entire logic is based upon reason. A said Hetu improper reason to begin with should be avoided. Fallacious reason leads to definitely wrong inference and consequently wrong judgments. Wrong or fallacious reasons are those which do not possess even one of the qualities describing valid reason or Sad Hetu.

These Hetu areas are known as Hetvaabhaasa. The synonyms of Hetvaabhaasa are Asad HetuDusht`ahetu, Ahetu. They are of five types.

  1. Vyabhichaara Discrepancy: Means absence of co-existence. The Saadhana will exist both on Saadhyaand Saadhyaabhaava. It may be a) Over- wideb) un-common or c) Non-conclusive

Over wide E.g. Branding of animal as a cow by examining existence of over widenorms. Many other animals have norms without being a cow. So it roves the subject and simultaneously others too.

Uncommon Discrepancy Some one makes a statement that sound is eternal because of its S`habdatva. Here the reason taken is no likely to depend on other Dravya_s like soul etc. they have eternity as the reason, which does not exist on other Dravya_s of eternity nor does it depend on a jar, which is not eternal. So the Hetu is not present on the similar or negative factors, hence it cannot prove anything transitory because it is knowable. Here no similar or contrary instances are present. Since everything is included in the subject, no other item can be similar or contrary. Knowledge or reason for everything transient is inconclusive.

Contradictions: It is contradictory to the thing to be proved. It proves the animal is a horse because it has horns. Here having horns is not proved on horses. There is negation of the existence of a horse. The contradictory reason therefore is defective.
2. Opposable: Another reason, which conclusively negates the first reason, is opposable. Sound is eternal because it is audible in a statement. This audibility is the reason of sound being non-eternal, because it is created artificially so the artificiality is the opposing reason on the same subject so the reason of being audible cannot stand.
3. Ambiguous: There is the presence of the opposable
4. Fluidity: Sky lotus is fragrant, because it is lotus like the lotus in the lake. A non-existent subject cannot be pursued. The sky Lotuscannot have nexus. The Aas`hrayasiddhi spells this. In a statement like sound is a quality because it is ocular as color. Here the reason used ocular is not there as sound is strictly auditory and never ocular. Here the character chosen is erroneous. When a statement comes with reason, which has non-existent concomitance it is another futile reason.
5. The mountain is smoky because it is fiery contact of wet fuel is the condition for proving the absence of the co-existence of smoke. In a hot iron rod there is fire but the fieriness cannot be proved by wet fuel contact. Therefore the reasons for fierinessto prove smokiness are improper.
6. Falsity (Baadhaa) Fire is cold as it is a substancelike earth. This statement is with false reason. The inference,that fire is cold is derived by the Dravyatva of fire. The Dravyatva is not qualified essentially with all coldness. The every day experience is that fire is hot. The negation of coldness is proved in fire by direct perception. The false reason therefore cannot stand.

Now we will see the types of inferences described in Oriental Sciences.
Poorvavat Bhavishyakaaleena Future event inference
S`heshavatBhootakaaleen Post event inference
Saamaanyatodrasht`a Vartamaanakaaleena Present event inference

  1. Poorvavat: In this type of inference the knowledge gained is indicative of events occurring in the future e.g. by seeing dark clouds the inference of rain is drawn.
  2. S`heshavat In this type of inference the knowledge gained in indicative of events that have occurred in the past e.g. inferring coitus by observing present pregnancy
  3. Saamaanyato Drasht`a In this type of inference the knowledge gained is by observing present factors to infer present conditions. E.g. by observing smoke we can infer the presence of fire. In life science the information available is on very few occasions direct. Hence on the basis of certain signs and symptoms one has to infer the condition of the body. For this very reason inference as a means of cognition is scrupulously dealt with. As a result of this the chances of committing a mistake are minimized. Direct perception is comparatively easy to communicate. But it is substantially limited. The hidden treasure of knowledge is used for a systematic method of arriving at a judgment. And for this a human or inference is the broadest base in life sciences.

According to Charaka, a human essentially expects reasoning with Yukti. In Yukti multiple causes are there. Therefore in a human related to Ayurvedic aspect a single cause is never anticipated. A shortlist of the inferences, which can be made by observation of Hetu is given below:

Hetu Inference

  1. Digestion of food Type of Agni
  2. Capacity of exercise the strength of the body
  3. Attachment to worldly pleasure the presence of Raja Dosha
  4. The instinct to hurt others Anger
  5. Prayer Faith
  6. Cognition Intelligence
  7. Arisht`a symptoms Nearness to death
  8. Proceeding on the right track Forhonaticperiod

There are many more observations, which lead to correct inference and they are to be done using the right methodology.

Dr. Rajeshree Chitre
Lecturer – Ayurved College Wagholi, Pune

Last updated on February 9th, 2021 at 06:20 am

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