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Six Types of Evidence Accepted in Vedanta Philosophy

Jiva, jagat, and ishvara are the three aspects which philosophical speculations address.

Jiva means the embodied being, which expression itself implies that there is something, the Atman, which gets an embodiment; and by stating that of all such births, birth as a human being is the grandest, the idea conveyed is that the Atman takes on embodiment in various forms, not only human.

The Vedanta philosophy acknowledges the following six classes of evidence:

Pratyaksha is direct perception. This is the most important one among the six classes of evidence. A person can tell you thousands things about the moon. But you really understand what moon is only when you see it real.

In Kali Yuga, importance should be given to direct perception. It is easy to understand the Supreme Truth with very little effort in this age. We only need to keep our mind clear of desires.

Unwavering devotion is another method to realize Bhagavan in the Kali Yuga.

Anumana is inference. It is agreement by presence; if x is there, y is there too. Agreement by absence; if x is not there, y too is not there. And both agreements by presence and absence. Then x is the cause and y is the effect.

This path is best for scholars. This step focuses on the reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation.

Upamana is analogy. An inference that if things agree in some respects they probably agree in others. This involves drawing a comparison in order to show a similarity in some respect.

Shabda is scriptural statement. The evidence furnished by the Upanishads falls under the shabda pramana. This is ideal for devotees. All that a devotee can be found in the Upanishads and in the Bhagavad Gita, which is essentially a condensation of all the teachings found in the Upanishads.

Arthapatti is presumption. This is an inference of the truth of a fact from other facts proved, admitted or judicially noticed. Like the seed is the reason for the huge tree. Similarly, the primordial Supreme Truth is responsible for the universe.

Anupalabdhi is arriving at a conclusion through various hardships including fasting and putting the body through various penance.

Sourcenotes taken from Prabuddha Bharata January 2018 page 78



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