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Lingaparamarsha – Term in Hindu Logic – Linga Paramarsha

Lingaparamarsha is a conceptual term in Hindu logic or tarka. Linga Paramarsha – linga means sign and paramarsha denotes consideration of the sing as valid reason for inference. The term denotes consideration of the sign as a valid reason for inference.

Lingaparamarsha is a part of the doctrine of inference in Nyaya Vaisesika. According to some logicians, the name anumana or inference is properly applicable to the linga paramarsha alone, because “consideration of the sign” is alone the cause of both judgment for one’s own sake and that for another’s.

Paramarsha has been said to be a combination of two distinct notions, those of hetu or linga (sign) and vyapti (invariable concomitance) as Viseshya and Vishesana or subject and attribute.

To clarify, let us take the example of a smoking mountain which, we infer, is on fire. We first observe the smoke on the mountain, then remember the concomitance of fire and smoke and suspect that there is fire with that smoke also, as always.

Thus we remember the vyapti. Now joining this vyatismarana (memory of the invariable concomitance) with the pakshadharmatajnana (knowledge of smoke on the mountain) got by actual perception, we obtain the complex paramarsha denoted by vahnivyapyadhumavan parvatah, the hill “that is smoking on fire.”

Here mountain is called paksha and its smoking is termed as pakshadharma. The paramarsha is variously called lingaparamarsha (consideration of the sign) or trtiyalingaparamarsha, because it is the last of the three cognitions of smoke (linga or sing) that are required for the inference of fire.

The first cognition is the knowledge of smoke as associated with fire in the kitchen (udaharana); the second is the perceptive knowledge of smoke on the mountain (hetu or linga) and the third is the complex and extrapolated knowledge of the same smoke (upanya) as invariably concomitant with fire (vyapti).

The paramarsha necessarily gives rise to “inference (nigamana) for one’s own (Swarthanumiti). When this process is put in the form of a syllogism having five components (avayava) for the edification of another it becomes “inference for another” (or pararthanumana).

For Linga Paramarsha, the vyapti (invariable concomitance) of linga (sign) and sadhya (provable) is determined not only by regular coexistence of the linga with the sadhya, called anvaya, but also by the absence of the linga where sadhya is absent (vyatireka).
In the above example, smoke is seen only where there is fire as in the kitchen and there is no smoke where there is no fire as in the water pool.

Determination of vyapti is further strengthened by non-availability of any instance which could defy this vyapti. This is called vyabhicharagraha. Still more confirmation can be obtained by removing all doubts (upadhinirasa) and by tarka (logic).
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism volume VI pae 285 – 86 – IHRF
  • Nyayasutra – Gotama (1984) Ganganath Jha – Motilal Banarsidass  
  • History of Indian Logic (1971) Satishchandra Vidyabhushana – Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi.