Definition - What does Pramana mean?

Pramana is a Sanskrit word that means "source of right knowledge." In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali categorizes the activities of the mind into five vrittis, or fluctuations of mind, of which pramana is first. The other four vrittis are viparyaya, vikalpa, nidra and smriti.

Understanding the fluctuations of the mind leads to realizing one's true Self. By being able to analize one's thoughts, the vritti can be stilled and the yogi can gain right knowledge.

Yogapedia explains Pramana

According to Hindu philosophy, there are six pramana:

  1. Pratyaksha - Perception - Acquiring knowledge from experience
  2. Anumana - Inference - Gaining right knowledge from logical conclusion
  3. Upamana - Comparison - Learning by observing similarities
  4. Arthapatti - Postulation - Supposition of a fact to support a well-established fact
  5. Anupalabdhi - Non-apprehension - Understanding non-existence by non-perception
  6. Sabda - Verbal testimony - Gaining authentic knowledge from spoken and written words

The ability to understand how the mind functions leads to better understanding of self and a given situation, thereby aiding in acquiring the capacity to avoid baseless agonies.

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