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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

The Prama@na of Non perception anupalabdhi


The

process by which according to Prabhakara the meanings of words are acquired maybe exemplified thus: a senior commands a junior to bring a cow and to bind a horse, and the child on noticing the action of the junior in obedience to the senior's commands comes to understand the meaning of "cow" and "horse." Thus according to him the meanings of words can only be known from words occurring in injunctive sentences; he deduces from this the conclusion that words must denote things only as related to the other factors of the injunction (_anvitabhidhana vada_), and no word can be comprehended as having any denotation when taken apart from such a sentence. This doctrine holds that each word yields its meaning only as being generally related to other factors or only as a part of an injunctive sentence, thus the word _gam_ accusative case of _go_ (cow) means that it is intended that something is to be done with the cow or the bovine genus, and it appears only as connected with a specific kind of action, viz. bringing in the sentence _gam anaya_--bring the cow. Kumarila however thinks that words independently express separate meanings which are subsequently combined into a sentence expressing one connected idea (_abhihitanvayavada_). Thus in _gam anaya_, according to Kumarila, _gam_ means the bovine class in the accusative character and _anaya_ independently means

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justify;">[Footnote 1: According to Nyaya God created all words and associated them with their meanings.]

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bring; these two are then combined into the meaning "bring the cow." But on the former theory the word _gam_ means that it is connected with some kind of action, and the particular sentence only shows what the special kind of action is, as in the above sentence it appears as associated with bringing, but it cannot have any meaning separately by itself. This theory of Kumarila which is also the Nyaya theory is called abhihitanvayavada [Footnote ref 1].

Lastly according to Prabhakara it is only the Veda that can be called s'abda-prama@na, and only those sentences of it which contain injunctions (such as, perform this sacrifice in this way with these things). In all other cases the validity of words is only inferred on the ground of the trustworthy character of the speaker. But Kumarila considers the words of all trustworthy persons as s'abda-prama@na.

The Prama@na of Non-perception (anupalabdhi).

In addition to the above prama@nas Kumarila admits a fifth kind of prama@na, viz. _anupalabdhi_ for the perception of the non-existence of a thing. Kumarila argues that the non-existence of a thing (e.g. there is no jug in this room) cannot be perceived by the senses, for there is nothing with which the senses could come into contact in order to perceive the non-existence. Some people prefer to explain this non-perception as a case of anumana. They say that wherever there is the existence of a visible object there is the vision of it by a perceiver. When there is no vision of a visible object, there is no existence of it also. But it is easy to see that such an inference presupposes the perception of want of vision and want of existence, but how these non-perceptions are to be accounted for is exactly the point to be solved. How can the perception of want of vision or want of existence be grasped? It is for this that we have to admit a separate mode of prama@na namely anupalabdhi.


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