Definition - What does Anupalabdhi mean?

Anupalabdhi is a Sanskrit term meaning "non-perception." In the yogic and Hindu philosophy of the Advaita Vedanta system and the Bhatta school of Purva-Mimamsa, it is said to be one of the six pramanas, or means of obtaining knowledge. Anupalabdhi is the last of the six pramanas.

Anupalabdhi refers to the way in which an absence of something is perceived. It is a way of apprehending that absence. Something that does not exist cannot be perceived through the senses; instead, another source of knowledge is needed. Anupalabdhi is when the non-perception of an object gives information as to its non-existence.

Yogapedia explains Anupalabdhi

Anupalabdhi recognizes that things exist either in a positive or a negative relation to the observer and their surroundings. Positive relation means that they are perceived by the senses. However, in negative relation, or non-existence, they cannot be perceived by the senses, so an alternative “mode of movement” of the mind is needed. This mode of movement of the mind is referred to as anupalabdhi.

Anupalabdhi is the last of the six pramanas, with the first five being:

  1. Pratyaksa, meaning "perception."
  2. Anumana, meaning "inference."
  3. Sabda, meaning "testimony."
  4. Upamana, meaning "comparison."
  5. Arthapatti, meaning "presumption."

Within the concept of anupalabdhi, there are said to be four kinds perception:

  1. Karana-anupalabdhi, which is non-perception of the causal condition.
  2. Vyapaka-anupalabdhi, which is non-perception of the pervader.
  3. Svabhava-anupalabdhi, which is non-perception of the presence of itself.
  4. Viruddha-anupalabdhi, which is non-perception of the opposed.
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