Pramana, aka: Pramāṇa; 24 Definition(s)


Pramana means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, the history of ancient India, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shilpashastra (iconography)

Pramāṇa (one of the six types of measurement (māna)) is the horizontal measurement or breadth such as the distance between the two shoulders, the width of the body at the chest level, the width of the belly or tehe width of the arm or of the thigh.

Source: Google Books: The Theory of Citrasutras in Indian Painting

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) refers to “valid perception, measure and structure” and represents one of the six limbs (ṣaḍaṅga) of the ancient Indian art of “painting” (citra), according to the Vātsyāyana’, Kāmasūtra (2nd century CE). These “six limbs” (eg., Pramāṇa) were the basis of the Indian art of painting.

Source: Knowledge Traditions & Practices of India: Painting: A Survey

Pramāna (प्रमान) refers to the “breadth of the icon” and represents a type of measurement, as defined in the texts dealing with śilpa (arts and crafs), known as śilpaśāstras.—The measurements described in Sanskrit authorities are altogether of six kinds: māna (the proper height of the icon), pramāna (the breadth), unmāna (thickness), parimāṇa (the circumference), upamāna (the space between the limbs) and lambamāna (surface of the image).

Source: Shodhganga: The significance of the mūla-beras (śilpa)
Shilpashastra book cover
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Shilpashastra (शिल्पशास्त्र, śilpaśāstra) represents the ancient Indian science (shastra) of creative arts (shilpa) such as sculpture, iconography and painting. Closely related to Vastushastra (architecture), they often share the same literature.

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Vastushastra (architecture)

1) According to the Kātyāyana Śulva Sūtra (I.24), the word pramāṇa refers both to the “authority” of the Śāstra and to “the measure” of a geometrical figure. The “authority” of the Śāstra refers to the science of geometry derived from the Vedas. Pramāṇa as “the measure” of a geometrical figure is understood in a conceptual sense from which the actual measurements of he figure are derived

2) According to the Mānasāra (VI.96-100), Pramāṇa is mentally conceived by the sthapati (‘architectural student’) as the generative and referential measurement for the whole architectural object. This measurement is applied to the ‘measuring cord’ (or, mānasūtra), the length of which then embodies or carries the pramāṇa. The result of this is that when the ‘measuring cord’ is stretched (in the site) to delineate the architectural object, the pramāṇa of the object is “obtained” from it.

2) Pramāṇa (प्रमाण):—One of the “six iconographic measurements”, according to the Mānasāra LV.3-8 (sanskrit literary treatise on vāstu-śāstra, or, ‘architectural science’). The measurement unit is used in the process of procuring/securing the height of the principal image and secondary images. Breadth, circumference, and other dimensions are derived from the height using rules of proportion.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vāstu-śāstra

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—In architecture, pramāṇa is of a conceptual, axiomatic, nature; it plays a generative and referential role, and subsists in the breadth. On the other hand, in iconography, the nature and role of pramāṇa as breadth is less conceptual and more actual. In classical epistemological discourse of the six darśanas, schools of systematic thought, pramāṇa is the foremost category, and is understood as “authority, norm of knowledge.” If one includes also the instrumental definition of pramāṇa, as “the essential means of arriving at valid knowledge or pramā,” it may then be understood as both means and end.

In the Mānasāra, the particular way of giving measurements in connection with settlements and buildings is to first list a set of breadth measurements followed by a set of corresponding length emasurements, and then state the rule of proportional relationship between breadth and length.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra
Vastushastra book cover
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Vastushastra (वास्तुशास्त्र, vāstuśāstra) refers to the ancient Indian science (shastra) of architecture (vastu), dealing with topics such architecture, sculpture, town-building, fort building and various other constructions. Vastu also deals with the philosophy of the architectural relation with the cosmic universe.

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Ayurveda (science of life)

Ayurveda uses four Pramāṇas (or, “fundamental tools”) to acquire and test knowledge, viz.

  1. āptopadeśa (textual evidence),
  2. pratyakṣa (knowledge acquired through one's own senses),
  3. anumāna (inference)
  4. and yukti (rational derivation).

Logically, these tools are also extended to assess and verify the pharmacological properties and actions of the substances.

Source: PMC: The scientific basis of rasa (taste)
Ayurveda book cover
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Āyurveda (आयुर्वेद, ayurveda) is a branch of Indian science dealing with medicine, herbalism, taxology, anatomy, surgery, alchemy and related topics. Traditional practice of Āyurveda in ancient India dates back to at least the first millenium BC. Literature is commonly written in Sanskrit using various poetic metres.

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Nyaya (school of philosophy)

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Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) refers to the “means of valid knowledge”. It is one of the sixteen categories of discussion (padārtha) according to the doctrine of the Nyāya-sūtras by Akṣapāda. The sixteen padārthas represent a method of intellectual analysis and categorize everything that is knowable and nameable.

Source: Wisdom Library: Nyāya

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—The school of Nyāya (Logicism) which is its sister school (of Vaiśeṣika), adds to these ( pratyakṣa, perception, and anumāna, inference), śabda, verbal testimony (which encompassas revelation and tradition), and upamāna, analogy or comparison.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (nyaya)

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) is an epistemological term and the Nyāya school accepts four means of obtaining knowledge (pramāṇa), viz.,

  1. Perception (pratyakṣa).
  2. Inference (anumāna).
  3. Comparison (upamāna).
  4. Word (śabda).
Source: WikiPedia: Nyāya

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) refers to the “instrument” or “means of valid knowledge” and is the first of the sixteen padārthas (“categories”) in the first chapter of Gautama’s Nyāyasūtra (2nd century CE). Pramāṇa gives true knowledge. The Nyāya system assigns utmost importance to pramāṇa. There are four pramāṇas accepted in Nyāyasūtra. These are: pratyakṣa (perception), anumāna (inference), upamāna, (comparison) and śabda (verbal testimony).

In the Nyāyasūtra of Gautama, pramāṇa is the first category. Valid knowledge is called pramā and the means through which this valid knowledge is arrived at is called pramāṇa. Thus pramāṇa is the means or instrument of valid knowledge.

According to Gautama, there are four means of valid knowledge or pramā (pramāṇa) these are:

  1. pratyakṣa (perception),
  2. anumāna (inference),
  3. upamāna (comparison),
  4. śabda (verbal testimony).

Following Gaṅgeśa, Annaṃbhaṭṭa also defines pramā as the experience of a substantive possessed of a particular attribute which is really possessed by it. Annaṃbhaṭṭa has also clearly said that valid experience (yathārthānubhava) is called pramā in scriptures. He has given the example of pramā as the experience ‘This is a pot’ (ayaṃ ghaṭaḥ).

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories
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Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.

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Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

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Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—Ancient Mīmāṃsā’s central concern was epistemology (pramāṇa), that is what are the reliable means to knowledge. Unlike the Nyāya or the Vaiśeṣika systems, the Prābhākara sub-school of Mīmāṃsā recognizes five means of valid knowledge (pramāṇa). The Bhāṭṭa sub-school of Mīmāṃsā recognizes one additional sixth, namely anuapalabdhi (non-perception), just like Advaita Vedānta school of Hinduism.

These six epistemically reliable means of gaining knowledge are:

  1. pratyakṣa (perception),
  2. anumāṇa (inference),
  3. upamāṇa (comparison and analogy),
  4. arthāpatti (postulation),
  5. anupalabdi (non-perception),
  6. śabda (relying on word)

An interesting feature of the Mimāṃsā school of philosophy is its unique epistemological theory of the intrinsic validity of all cognition as such. It is held that all knowledge is ipso facto true (Skt. svataḥprāmāṇyavāda). Thus, what is to be proven is not the truth of a cognition, but its falsity.

Source: Wikipedia: Mīmāṃsā

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—The school of Mīmāṃsā expands the scope of pramāṇa even further, to include arthāpatti, hypothesis or presumption, as well as anupalabdhi, non-apprehension. In line with the Mīmāṃsā view, any pramāṇa, as the predetermined reference measurement of an architectural obejct, is self-valid, and therefore, can be theoretically posited.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (mimamsa)
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Mimamsa (मीमांसा, mīmāṃsā) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

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Samkhya (school of philosophy)

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Pramāṇa (प्रमाण, “proof”) literally means “proof” and “means of knowledge”. Sāmkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepts three of six pramāṇas (proofs) as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge.

  1. pratyakṣa or dṛṣṭam (direct sense perception),
  2. anumāna (inference),
  3. śabda or āptavacana (verbal testimony of the sages or śāstras).
Source: Wikipedia: Samkhya
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Samkhya (सांख्य, Sāṃkhya) is a dualistic school of Hindu philosophy (astika) and is closeley related to the Yoga school. Samkhya philosophy accepts three pramanas (‘proofs’) only as valid means of gaining knowledge. Another important concept is their theory of evolution, revolving around prakriti (matter) and purusha (consciousness).

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Vaisheshika (school of philosophy)

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) is an epistemological term and the Vaiśeṣika school accepts 2 pramāṇas as valid sources of knowledge:

  1. perception (pratyakṣa)
  2. and inference (anumāna)
Source: Wikipedia: Vaisheshika

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—The school of Vaiśeṣika (Atomism or Particularism) has two modes of pramāṇa that are admitted: pratyakṣa, perception, and anumāna, inference.

Source: McGill: The architectural theory of the Mānasāra (vaisesika)
Vaisheshika book cover
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Vaisheshika (वैशेषिक, vaiśeṣika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. Vaisheshika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similar to Buddhism in nature

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Vedanta (school of philosophy)

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Pramāṇa (प्रमाण) is an epistemological term and in Advaita Vedānta, the following pramanas are accepted:

  1. Pratyakṣa (perception), the knowledge gained by means of the senses;
  2. Anumāṇa (inference), the knowledge gained by means of inference;
  3. Śabda (verbal testimony), the knowledge gained by verbal testimony;
  4. Upamāṇa (comparison), the knowledge gained by means of analogy
  5. Arthāpatti (postulation), the knowledge gained by superimposing the known knowledge on an appearing knowledge that does not concur with the known knowledge;
  6. Anupalabdi (non-cognition), non-apprehension and skepticism in the face of non-apprehension.
Source: WikiPedia: Advaita Vedanta
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Vedanta (वेदान्त, vedānta) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. There are a number of sub-schools of Vedanta, however all of them expound on the basic teaching of the ultimate reality (brahman) and liberation (moksha) of the individual soul (atman).

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Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar)

1) Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—Authority; authoritative proof; cf. लोकः अवश्यं शब्देषु प्रमाणम् (lokaḥ avaśyaṃ śabdeṣu pramāṇam) M. Bh. on I. 2.64 Vart. 29;

2) Pramāṇa.—Measurement, measure; cf. प्रमाणे द्वयसज्दघ्नत्र्मात्रचः (pramāṇe dvayasajdaghnatrmātracaḥ) P. V. 2.37; प्रमाणत (pramāṇata); अकारो गुणः प्राप्तः (akāro guṇaḥ prāptaḥ) Kas. on P. I. 1.50.

Source: Wikisource: A dictionary of Sanskrit grammar
context information

Vyakarana (व्याकरण, vyākaraṇa) refers to Sanskrit grammar and represents one of the six additional sciences (vedanga) to be studied along with the Vedas. Vyakarana concerns itself with the rules of Sanskrit grammar and linguistic analysis in order to establish the correct context of words and sentences.

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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Pramāṇa (प्रमाण, “approved knowledge”).—What is valid /comprehensive or approved knowledge (pramāṇa)? The knowledge which knows an object completely and exactly e.g. by saying ‘substances’ (dravya) we talk of all six types of substances like living beings etc. is called pramāṇa. The word crisp (viśada) was used by Ac. Māṇikya Nandi to differentiate between approved and non-approved knowledge.

How many types of approved knowledge are there and what are their names? Pramāṇa is of two types’ namely direct or immediate (pratyakṣa) and indirect or acquired (parokṣa).

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 1
General definition book cover
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—n (S) Proof, evidence, authority. Four kinds are enumerated,--pratyakṣa, anumāna, upamāna, śabda Perception by an organ of sense; inference; analogy or comparison; testimony; and (in cases of disputed property) four other kinds, viz. bhōga, lēkha, sākṣya, divya The evidence of actual possession; that of a grant or other written document; that of witnesses to the right; and that of an appeal by ordeal. pramāṇa is further any seat or form of Evidence, or any ground or basis of Evidencing or establishing. Ex. (from vivēkasindhu) arthāpatti upamāna itihāsa pariśēṣādi pramāṇa tayāsī hi svatantra kavaṇa pramāṇa tō bōlēla ||. 2 Support, sanction, warrant, grounds for assurance or admission. Ex. āja pā- ūsa lāgēla asēṃ pra0 nāhīṃ; tō āja yēīla udyā yēīla hēṃ sāṅgavata nāhīṃ tyācē yēṇyācēṃ pra0 nāhīṃ. 3 Ordeal- 4 Definiteness or exactness of amount. Ex. śabda kitī āhēta hyācēṃ pra0 kōṇhāsa lāgalēṃ nāhīṃ; tyā laḍhāīmadhyēṃ kiti mēlīṃ tyācēṃ pra0 lāgata nāhīṃ. 5 Measure, magnitude, quantity: also a dose. 6 A measure (whether of weight, length, capacity, or time). 7 The rule or standard by which a thing is determined, adjusted, or proportioned. 8 The name of that term of the Rule of three which expresses the rate. See trairāśika. naikō ṛṣiryasyavacaḥpramāṇaṃ || &c. A part of the Shlok śrutiśca bhinnā smṛtayaśca bhinnā naikō ṛṣiryasyavacaḥpramāṇaṃ || dharmasyatatvaṃ nihitaṃ guhāyāṃ mahājanō yēna gataḥ sapanthā ||1||- (Inspired authorities differ and) it is not one ṛṣi, if the word of the ṛṣi might stand as pramāṇa, then there are, not one, but many.

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pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—a (For prāmāṇika or, elliptically, for the noun pramāṇa; as hēṃ pramāṇaca āhē or hēñca pramāṇa) True, just, right, authoritative, the measure or standard itself.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—n Proof, evidence. Grounds for assurance. Ordeal. Definiteness. The rule or standard.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—1 A measure in general (of length, breadth &c.); न प्रमाणेन नोत्साहात् सत्त्वस्थो भव पाण्डव (na pramāṇena notsāhāt sattvastho bhava pāṇḍava) Mb.3.33.63. ('pramāṇaṃ nityamaryādāsaṃghavādipramādiṣu' Viśva.); Mb.1.222. 31; दृष्टो हि वृण्वन् कलभप्रमाणोऽप्याशाः पुरोवातमवाप्य मेघः (dṛṣṭo hi vṛṇvan kalabhapramāṇo'pyāśāḥ purovātamavāpya meghaḥ) R.18. 38.

2) Size, extent, magnitude.

3) Scale, standard; पृथिव्यां स्वामिभक्तानां प्रमाणे परमे स्थितः (pṛthivyāṃ svāmibhaktānāṃ pramāṇe parame sthitaḥ) Mu.2.21.

4) Limit, quantity; वञ्चयित्वा तु राजानं न प्रमाणेऽवतिष्ठसि (vañcayitvā tu rājānaṃ na pramāṇe'vatiṣṭhasi) Rām.2.37. 22.

5) Testimony, evidence, proof.

6) Authority, warrant; one who judges or decides, one whose word is an authority; श्रुत्वा देवः प्रमाणम् (śrutvā devaḥ pramāṇam) Pt.1 'having heard this your Majesty will decide (what to do)'; आर्यमिश्राः प्रमाणम् (āryamiśrāḥ pramāṇam) M.1; Mu.1.1; सतां हि संदेहपदेषु वस्तुषु प्रमाणमन्तः- करणप्रवृत्तयः (satāṃ hi saṃdehapadeṣu vastuṣu pramāṇamantaḥ- karaṇapravṛttayaḥ) Ś.1.22; व्याकरणे पाणिनिः प्रमाणम् (vyākaraṇe pāṇiniḥ pramāṇam); Ms.2.13; Pt.1.24; sometimes in pl.; वेदाः प्रमाणाः (vedāḥ pramāṇāḥ).

7) A true or certain knowledge, accurate conception or notion.

8) A mode of proof, a means of arriving at correct knowledge; (the Naiyāyikas recognize only four kinds; pratyakṣa, anumāna, upamāna and śabda, the Vedāntins and Mīmāṃsakas add two more, anupalabdhi and arthāpatti; while the Sāṅkhyas admit pratyakṣa, anumāna and śabda only; cf. amubhava also.).

9) Principal, capital.

1) Unity.

11) Scripture, sacred authority.

12) Cause, reason.

13) Rule, sanction, precept.

14) The first term in a rule of three.

15) An epithet of Viṣṇu.

16) Freedom from apprehension.

17) The prosodial lengh of a vowel.

18) An eternal matter; L. D. B.

19) (In music) A measure (such as druta, madhya, vilambita); Rām.1.4.8.

2) The measure of a square.

-ṇaḥ, -ṇī A rule, standard, authority.

Derivable forms: pramāṇam (प्रमाणम्).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary

Pramāṇa (प्रमाण).—n.

(-ṇaṃ) 1. Cause, motive. 2. Limit. 3. Proof, testimony, authority. 4. A scripture, a work of sacred authority. 5. Measure, (whether of weight, length or capacity.) 6. Magnitude, extent. 7. Standard, authority. 8. Correct knowledge, accurate perception, (in logic.) 9. Unity. 10. Quantity. 11. A speaker of the truth. 12. Always, eter- nal. 13. A title of Vishnu. 14. Principal, capital. E. pra before, to measure, aff. lyuṭ; that by which all is measured; this word is generally restricted to the singular number, as vedāḥ pramāṇaṃ the Vedas are the authority; it is also confined to the neuter gender, as puttraḥ pramāṇaṃ the boy is a witness; some exceptions occur however, as pramāṇaḥ puruṣaḥ, pramāṇā strī the man witness, the woman witness; and in the following rule, pratyakṣānumānopamānaśabdāḥ pramāṇāni perception, inference, comparison, and sound, are proofs. According to the Naiyayikas anupalabdhi or non-perception and arthāpatti or the inference from circumstances of the Mimansakas being exempted by them; the Sankhys recognize pratthakṣa, anumāna and śabda only.

Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: Shabda-Sagara Sanskrit-English Dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

Search found 134 related definition(s) that might help you understand this better. Below you will find the 15 most relevant articles:

The subject of this sentence is ayuhpramanam, nominative singular of the neuter noun pramana...
Pramāṇabhūta (प्रमाणभूत).—(°ṇībhūta) a. authoritative. -taḥ an epithet of Śiva. Pramāṇabhūta is...
Pratyakṣapramāṇa (प्रत्यक्षप्रमाण).—1) ocular proof, evidence of the senses. 2) an organ of per...
Pramāṇakoṭi (प्रमाणकोटि).—A sacred place on the banks of the river Gaṅgā. There is a great bany...
Śabdapramāṇa (शब्दप्रमाण).—verbal or oral evidence. Derivable forms: śabdapramāṇam (शब्दप्रमाणम...
Pramāṇasūtra (प्रमाणसूत्र).—a measuring cord. Derivable forms: pramāṇasūtram (प्रमाणसूत्रम्).Pr...
Svataḥpramāṇa (स्वतःप्रमाण).—a. self-evident, self-proved, axiomatic.Derivable forms: svataḥpra...
Pramāṇajña (प्रमाणज्ञ).—a. knowing the modes of proof, (as a logician). -jñaḥ an epithet of Śiv...
Pramāṇa-yaṣṭi.—(LL), measuring rod. Note: pramāṇa-yaṣṭi is defined in the “Indian epigraphical ...
Alpapramāṇa (अल्पप्रमाण).—a. 1) of little weight or measure. 2) of little authority, resting on...
Kathampramāṇa (कथम्प्रमाण).—a. of what measure. Kathampramāṇa is a Sanskrit compound consisting...
Pramāṇābhāva (प्रमाणाभाव).—absence of authority. Derivable forms: pramāṇābhāvaḥ (प्रमाणाभावः).P...
Pramāṇaśāstra (प्रमाणशास्त्र).—1) scripture. 2) the science of logic. Derivable forms: pramāṇaś...
Pramāṇadṛṣṭa (प्रमाणदृष्ट).—a. sanctioned by authority. Pramāṇadṛṣṭa is a Sanskrit compound con...
Tārāpramāṇa (ताराप्रमाण).—sidereal measure, sidereal time. Derivable forms: tārāpramāṇam (ताराप...

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