Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Mon Sep 2 00:24:04 CDT 2002

I'm sorry although I took a week off, my work didn't so when I came back I
had all that to deal with plus the regular amount and it looks like my
deputies failed to follow up with you. :(

Anyway, I'm now caught up with the backlog of messages to the list.

On Sat, 3 Aug 2002, vidya jayaram wrote:

> It would be helpful if someone could throw light on this pramANa in
> laymans' terms.- basically my questions boil down to this :
> 1.What exactly is anupalabdhi
> 2.Why is it dealt as a separate pramANa
> I would be grateful if someone could explain this in a little more
> clearly or give me some pointers in the archives or in the site.

Advaita Vedanta following the Bhatta Mimamsakas accept six valid means of
knowledge.  of this is abhava or non-apprehension is one.  The other
school of Mimamsakas, that of Prabhakar Mishra, as well as the other
darshans deny the validity of abhava as a pramana.

Let us imagine an empty floor.  If we say "There is no pot there."  Is it
a valid cognition?  We say it is and anupalabdhi is the means by which
cognize non-apprehension.

The Naiyayikas would argue that this is a perception.  Our eyes perceive
the absence of a pot.  However how can this be?  The senses operate on
objects and there is no such object as a no-pot.  Sight, touch, hearing
etc. all depend on the contact of an object with the sense organ.  If a
no-pot was such an object practically every waking moment you would be
cognizing no-pot and again that clearly isn't our experience.

Ok so what a case where we think there isn't a pot but in fact there is a
pot there?  Isn't this a case of superimposition of no-pot on top of pot.
Vedantins believe maya is the superimposition of the unreal onto the real.
However in cases such as the superimposition of the snake on the rope,
there is a positive projection on a substratum.  If we followed the
objectors reasoning, what we should see on the rope is a no-rope not a
snake.  That we can see a snake is due to a *lack* of valid perception.

Can abhava be subsumed by inference?  The objector says what we know as
potness is a serious of qualities (lakshanas)  When we realize that the
empty floor lacks those qualities the cognition arises "there is no pot
here" (or more accurately "A pot has certain qualities. this floor is
devoid of those qualities.  Therefore there is no pot.")  But we point out
that a succesful inference requires there to be an invariable relation
between a quality and its object.  I.e. we see smoke on a hill.  It is
only by knowing, "where there is smoke there is [always] fire." can we say
therefore that there is a fire on that hill.  In this case
empty-floor-ness is not always accompanied by lack-of-potness.  It could
just as easily be accompanied by lack-of-bowlness or lack-of-tableness.
So if anumana is only syllogistic reasoning one is not really entitled to
use it here.

Therefore Mimamsakas class this type of reasoning as a seperate pramana.

So far, this discussion has mainly been of interest to the pot industry.
:) but the reason it is of interest to the Mimmasakas is to help explain
how an unperceived force can have perceivable effects or for the
Advaitins, how an unreal cause can have real effects.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
It's a girl! See the pictures -

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