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"Direct perception, inference, and testimony are the valid sources of knowledge."
Translated - Swami Satchidananda
Breaking it down: Pratyakṣa: Direct Perception Anumāna: Inference Agamāḥ: Testimony Collectively, these three refer to "pramāṇāni," which are the valid sources of knowledge or means of knowledge. Pratyakṣa: Direct Perception is the most fundamental and immediate source of knowledge. It involves direct sensory perception of objects in the external world. This could be seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, or smelling things directly through our senses. The information gained through pratyakṣa is considered reliable, as long as the senses are functioning properly and there is no ambiguity. Anumāna: Inference involves drawing conclusions or knowledge about something based on reasoning and evidence. It's a process of logical thinking where one establishes a connection between a known fact and an unknown fact. For example, if smoke is observed on a distant mountain, the inference might be that there is fire because fire is the known cause of smoke. Agamāḥ: Testimony refers to knowledge gained through reliable testimony or authoritative sources. This could include scriptures, teachings of wise individuals, or trustworthy people who share accurate information. The credibility of the source is crucial in determining the validity of the knowledge gained through agamāḥ. Overall, these three collectively contribute to a comprehensive understanding of reality.
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