Part 2 - Basic terms of anumAna
The basic ingredients in anumAna are the effects
that are perceived, technically called hetu, and the
inferential knowledge, which is the basis on which
the inference is made, which is called sAdhya. There
has to be some basis for the deduction and that forms
the relation between the effects and the cause. That
relationship is called vyApti, and must have been
established a priori by a direct, perceptual process.
Hence, the inferential knowledge is essentially based
on the vyApti, the relation between the cause and
the effects, which western epistemologists call ‘invariable
concomitance’. vyApti means pervasion or inherence.
Here, it is the inherence of sAdhya with hetu. I.e.
wherever sAdhya is present, hetu should also be there
or there should be universal inherence of one with
the other. This forms the core of inferential knowledge.
The simple example is that, wherever there is smoke
there must be fire. Here, smoke is the hetu and fire
is sAdhya. This vyApti or concomitant relation between
smoke and the fire is established by perceptual knowledge
in the past, as in the kitchen. Here, the relation
between the hetu and sAdhya is direct, while the converse
relation is not true, i.e. wherever there is fire,
there need not be smoke, as in the case of a red hot
iron ball. Hence, the pervasiveness of hetu and sAdhya
are not necessarily reciprocal. This we will establish
later by the logic called ‘anvaya and vyatireka’,
which provides the relation between two things. Once
this vyApti j~nAnam, or the knowledge of the concomitant
relation between smoke and the fire, is established
then, whenever I see smoke, I can infer that there
must be fire, even if I cannot see the fire. Hence,
vyApti forms the basis of the interferential knowledge.
Thus, the basic ingredients of the inferential knowledge
are: hetu – the perceptual data based on which
the inferential knowledge is drawn; sAdhya – the
inferential knowledge or conclusion that is made;
and vyApti – the basis on which the conclusion
is made that is the inherent relation between the
hetu and sAdhya.
In the example of smoke and fire, the relation between them
is not reciprocal. It is unidirectional, not bidirectional – this
is called asama or unequal vyApti.The naiyAyika-s have developed
anvaya and vyatireka logic to talk about the relations between
two entities. These logical deductions are based on navya nyAya
developed extensively by Gangesha UpAdhyAya in the 11th century.
There are cases where reciprocity is valid. For example,
let us examine the propositions: ‘whatever is
namable is knowable’ and conversely, ‘whatever
is knowable is namable.’ Here, the vyApti is
called sama vyApti since reciprocity is a valid means
of knowledge. Coming to anvaya, this refers to the
affirmative relation where ‘one is’, and ‘the
other is’. In the case of smoke and fire, we
have the case: smoke is, the fire is. Here one is
dependent and the other is independent. Hence, the
independent can exist independently of the other.
Here, vyatireka vyApti does not hold - this is expressed
by ‘smoke is not, but fire is’. That is,
fire can exist independent of having smoke. The example
we have is the red hot iron ball, where there is fire
but no smoke. The independent variable is called vyApaka
or ‘principal concomitant’ and in our
example it is ‘fire’. The dependent variable
in the example is smoke, and is called vyApya or ‘subordinate
According to nyAya, starting from a vyatireka vyApti or negative
invariable concomitance, one can infer the presence of one
thing due to the presence of the other. Negative invariable
concomitance means their agreement in the absence of one due
to the other. In the case of fire and smoke, the vyatireka
vyApti could be: If there is no fire, then there is no smoke,
as on the lake. Advaitins do not subscribe to this. For them,
the above is a postulation (arthApatti) and not an inference.
We will look at this pramANa later. anumAna is based on anvaya
vyApti or positive concomitant relation between sAdhaka (hetu)
and sAdhya. I.e. knowledge of a positive entity, such as the
perception of smoke, from which the presence of an unperceived
entity such as fire is inferred. It becomes round about to
infer that when there is no fire there will not be smoke, and
since there is smoke now there should be fire.
Inference does not refer only to cause–effect
relations either, as some Buddhists claim. In the
cause-effect relation there is tAdAtmya or identity in essence.
I.e. the effect is nothing but the cause itself in a different
form. Hence, the perception of an effect is perception of the
cause itself in a different form. However, inference is different
in the sense that there is no tAdAtmya or identity in their essence
between hetu and sAdhya. For example, there is no identity in
essence between smoke and fire. With this background, we are
ready to examine the vedAnta paribhAshA text on inference.
Proceed to the next essay.