Valid Means of Knowledge


From the very beginning of the cosmos man is trying to find out the answers of various complex and eternal questions about its creation and about its creator both. Scientists are claiming with the help of new and advanced technology they shall be able to recreate the Big bang like situation in their labs which will give us the answers of most of those questions. They shall study the laboratory observation and on the basis of analogy will try to make out what would have happened at the time actual Big Bang or at the start of the creation. But this whole observation will be based on the fact or assumption that the cosmos actually starts with a Big Bang. In our Sanatan Dharma shastras we call such means of acquiring knowledge as Anumana(Inference) and Upama (Comparison).

Even if we are able to make out the facts about the cause of start of the universe, mysteries about its creator will remain unresolved. The ultimate Cause of this cause, the Supreme Brahman- GOD will remain undiscovered. Shastras scriptures advise four valid means of knowledge (Pramanas) to know more about Supreme Brahman

  1. Pratyaksha Pramana (Direct Perception)
  2. Anumana Pramana (Inference)
  3. Upama Pramana (Comparison)
  4. Agama Pramana (Tradition)

Pratyaksha Pramana:- God has given us five kinds of instruments to perceive his creation – The Cosmos. There are five sensory organs to perceive this cosmos in the form of shabd (Voice), Sparsh (Touch), roop (vision), Rasa (Taste), and Gandha (smell). We perceive the diversity and beauty of this world through these five organs, which also keep us indulged in enjoying the   earthly objects craving for more and more sense pleasure. In spite of the fact that human body   is the most fine tuned with best of the sensory organs among all other species that share this planet with us, we still get restricted knowledge of world keeping in view the limitations of our perceptory organs and infinite expansion of Cosmos. We with our limited senses can never perceive all pervading infinite Brahman.

Anuman Pramana and Upama Pramana:- This is the other valid means of acquiring knowledge,  where if we cannot realise the truth directly we try to gather the data and find out the truth through Inference. We imagine the vastness of the Universe and infer the nature of infinite Brahaman who actually created it. If there is smoke there has to be fire some where nearby. Similarly if every thing is in order in the Universe and is governed by some laws of nature, if human race is not created just by accident, if all the parts of human body is having some utility and help human being in surviving and works on some intelligent laws of physiological body, if all the planets of the cosmos, Sun, Moon and stars are governed by some intelligent laws, Then there must be involvement of some intelligent Supreme behind the creation of all these. There must be some Supreme intelligent force behind all these forces and above all these forces, knowing which or realising which will lead to realisation of all other forces.

Agama Pramana:- Another means of attaining knowledge is through Agama Pramana or through Shruti- ie. Knowledge that is passed from Gurus to their shishya through verbal teachings. Vedas is one such example where the knowledge attained by ancient seers is passed on to next generation through Shruti.

All the above means can be sufficient for a seeker of truth who may be pursuing the same for the sake of curiosity or for satisfying is intellectual thirst, but ultimate knowledge or truth can be realised only after direct experience of GOD- Supreme Brahman. Where one is able to see that we all are actually connected to all pervading Brahman and hence is also interconnected with each other. Hence every positive contribution of us to this society will matter in the overall harmony of the cosmos. At the same any negative action of us is also able to disturb the same harmony. Since each one of us are having our own unique existence and are able to contribute to the cosmic equation in positive as well as negative way. All our actions should be associated with the welfare of cosmos ie for Yagna Bhava.

About the Author Rajneesh

Rajneesh Chaturvedi is the author and owner of the "Indian Ethos" Blog which aims to explore The Sanatan Dharma and discover the deeper insights of Hinduism and its relevance today in modern world, not only at personal front but also at professional front at work place. Connect to Rajneesh on Google+

Leave a Comment:

Matty says July 31, 2011

Keep it coming, wrtires, this is good stuff.

    Kayli says September 7, 2011

    I might be baeitng a dead horse, but thank you for posting this!

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