[Advaita-l] Re: Women and Vedas
svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 8 01:35:21 CDT 2006
>In mathematics, A Pramana could be equated to a Theory(or a corollary) and
>it defenitely needs proof, comprehensible by the human mind-intellect.
The Sanskrit word pramANa is not to be translated as theory or corollary.
There are other terms for these concepts, e.g. paksha (theory/position),
siddhAnta (conclusion, that which has been proved), rAddhAnta (same as
siddhAnta, related to the word Rddhi, just as siddhAnta is related to
siddhi), upagamana/abhyupagamana (in most contexts, this word refers to that
which is assumed as true at the start of a reductio ad absurdum argument),
abhyupagantavya (corollary, as it follows from a previously established
In vedAnta, a pramANa is pure and simple, a means of knowledge. Perhaps the
best English word to capture the spirit of the word pramANa in this context
is "axiom," not theory nor corollary. By definition, an axiom is not in need
of proof, because otherwise, you will land in an infinite chain of unproved
statements. If you say that a statement A is a pramANa, and also that that A
needs proof by something else, then that something else, B, will need proof
from a third statement, C, and so on, ad infinitum. At the root, you need to
accept some axiom as not requiring proof. That is your pramANa. An axiom
need not even be comprehensible by evey human mind, e.g. some axioms in
certain non-Euclidean geometries that cannot grasped by our minds, which are
conditioned by the Euclidean world that we perceive, or some axioms of
quantum physics, which are incomprehensible to most of us, conditioned as we
are by the classical world that we perceive. Yet, there is no doubt in most
educated people's minds that quantum physics accurately describes some
aspects of the universe that we live in. The point is, what we perceive may
have to be set aside, if we are to gain a superior understanding. Asking for
"classical" proof of an axiom in a system that goes beyond the "classical"
world is to miss a vital opportunity for better learning.
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