kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at YAHOO.COM
Tue Jun 18 05:45:24 CDT 2002

--- "Subrahmanian, Sundararaman V [IT]"
<sundararaman.v.subrahmanian at CITIGROUP.COM> wrote:
> Ms. SS,
> I think the usage of the word jnAna is getting a
> little confusing in your
> mail.  I will explain what I know:
> mA in Sankrit means knowledge, knowledge of anything
> - apple, pen, calculus,
> poetry etc.  The prefix "pra" accentuates the noun
> it precedes.  So the word
> pramA means knowledge.  For knowledge to happen
> there have to be three
> entities: pramAta (knower), pramEya (known) and
> pramANa (means of
> knowledge).  When all three are in alignment, then
> pramA takes place in
> other words knowledge or jnAna takes place.
> Example:  You have pen in hand (object to be known),
> eyes are open (means of
> sensing color/form) and the mind is attentive
> (knower), then the knowledge
> of the presence of pen happens.
> In brahmavidya, pramAta and the pramEya are the same
> - one's Self.  Sruti is
> the pramANa.  So if the Sruti is understood properly
> then pramAta and
> pramEya will be known to be the same.  If it is not
> understood properly,
> pramEya will seem to be something different than
> pramAta ie., brahman as
> something different from one's self - which is
> ignorance ie., jnAna has not
> taken place.
> Regards,

If I can add to the explanation of Shree SVS, Pramaa
also is used specifically in the Vedantic terminology
-as  the valid knoledge in order to sepearate it from
bhramaa - illusory knowledge. Valid knowledge is that
which stands un-negated. There have been extensive
discussions in the Vedanta following nyaaya what
constitutes a valid knowledge and what constitutes
invalid knowledge.  Each of the achaarya-s have
differed in their defintions and interpretations -
these are considered as khyati vaada-s.  The famous
examples of vision of snake where rope is or silver in
a shell etc are examples taken to separate what is
pramaa and what is brhamaa.  Bhagavaan Shankara
discusses this aspect only in the Adhyaasa bhaashya -
how the error of superimpostion occurs - ultimately
relates this to perception of the world on Brahman as
bhramaa only - which Ramanuja interpretes as pramaa
only.  Interestingly for Ramanuja the silver in the
shell is real which is reflected in the shell as a
shining part.
Shree Madhva provides another explanation - It is
pramaa when it is not invalidated by Sakshii
knowledge.  All experiences for example come under
valid knowledge since sakshii experiences these.
Hence experience of snake and associted fears are real
even when the object that turned out to be rope
instead of snake. The point is each one approched the
problem from different perspective and one has to be
carefull when disussing these acrosses the -isms since
the definitions in each system is different.

Hari OM!

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