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Shabda Pramana or Aptopdesha: A Tool of Correct Cognition (Prama)

Dr. Ashwin P.V., PG Scholar, ALNRMAMC, Koppa

Dr. Sandhya Krishna K.T., PG Scholar, ALNRMAMC, Koppa

Dr. Aby Mathew Jose, PG Scholar, ALNRMAMC, Koppa

Dr. Akhila Vinod, PG Scholar, ALNRMAMC, Koppa




To achieve anything in life knowledge is most powerful weapon. It is understanding of information about a subject by experience or study1. The correct cognition about an object is called as Prama2 in Indian Philosophy. Prama is medium to present an object with real characters (Tadvati Tatprakaranakanubhava)4. The tools of correct knowledge are called as Pramana2. Fourfold examination procedures are mentioned by Charaka Sutrasthana (C. Su.) 11/17 to verify the information as correct viz., Aptopdesha, Pratyaksha, Anumana and Yukti3. Aptopdesha is statement of Apta.
C. Su. 11/18-19 details the qualities of Apta as those who are free from Rajas and Tamas, and are blessed with positive attributes of austerity and knowledge5. Knowledge of Apta is said to be flawless and compatible in past, present and future5. They are awakened (wise and learned), disciplined and their sentences are without doubts. They speak truth. They can’t deliver lie as they are devoid of Rajas and Tamas. The description of objects is revealed by Apta in real existing forms (Yatharthagyana). Assertion of Apta comes in forms of word (Shabda). So, Nyaya Sutra 1.1.7. refers Aptopdesha as Shabda (verbal evidence). For authentic meaning, words are delivered in forms of sentence (Vakya). Shankhyakarika of Ishwarkrisha mentions that verbal evidence as source of knowledge for whatever lies beyond perceived or inferred existence6. Shabda brings about cognition through denotation7. Denotations may be for shape, size, appearance, characteristics etc. of any object. It’s not only Shabda which gives the proper apprehension as Pramana, but the sentence constituted from Shabda has separate meanings and that is taken as proof. Shabda in forms of sentences are used to express all Pramanas. So, such sentences or statements delivered by Apta have specific characteristics.

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