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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Acceptable Evidence

In the Vedic psychology and logic, three kinds of evidences are admissible during debates. They are prathyaksha (perceptible), anumaana (inference) and aagama (testimony). I learnt this from the Nyaya Sastra of Gautama.I did not know that there are subheadings in each one of them.

Prathyaksha is not only what is seen and heard but also what is perceived by the “inner self”, consisting of ego, intelligence and wisdom. This is elaborated in the Buddhist psychology with variations. There is a set of Greek Philosophy on this issue beautifully summarized in a book written in the 6th century called “Consolations of Philosophy” by Boethius.

Anumaana can be poorvaka, feeling the effect and inferring the cause, samaana, seeing the same in two different places and dhrishtru, seeing the cause and inferring the effect. These are the foundations of modern day scientific approach.

Aagama is testimony from a reliable source, like the Vedas, of course. The testimony can also come from sampragnaatha, one who has “known”. They are of two kinds: one who has realized the “Truth” and is able to explain the experience. (Modern day experts in scientific disciplines come close to this category) The other is one who has merged with the Primordial Source and has no separate identity, like Ramana Maharishi.

There are several other kinds of proofs acceptable to other systems of philosophy. It is not surprising that our point of view is colored by the accepted and acceptable points of view. (see my post on Means of Valid Knowledge from February 16, 2009)

Only recently I realized a major point. The best proof is direct perception. Our Vedas say that each one of us can experience the Supreme here and now. In other words, direct perception of the Supreme is possible. Why then depend on other kinds of proof?

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