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The elaboration of the term 'Pramēyaṃ' is pramā viṣayaḥ. Pramā means valid knowledge and being a subject to it is pramēyaṃ. According to Gōtamaḥ the world is of seven elements, which were named in the first sūtraṃ of Nyāya sūtraṃ. After defining Pramāṇaṃ or means of valid knowledge and its types, definition of the second element pramēyaṃ is discussed. Even though there are many things that might be accounted to be valid knowledge, but Gōtamaḥ mentions only twelve pramēyāni or the subject to validate knowledge. These are especially significant because the true knowledge about them dispels all the delusions and lead to freedom from suffering; while the false knowledge concerning these topics perpetuates rebirth and suffering.

Types of Pramēyaṃ as per Gōtamaḥ

आत्मशरीरेन्द्रियार्थबुद्धिमनःप्रवृत्तिदोषप्रेत्यभावफलदुःखापवर्गाः तु प्रमेयम् । १.१.९
ātma- śarīra- indriya- artha- budhdhi- manaḥ- pravṛtti- dōṣa- prētyabhāva- phala- duḥkhāpavargāstu pramēyaṃ। 1.1.9

According to Gōtamaḥ, there are twelve number of pramēyaṃ. They can be enlisted as follows:

  1. Self - It is called as ātmā.
  2. Body - It is called as śarīraṃ.
  3. Senses - It is called as indriyaṃ.
  4. Experiences - It is called as arthaḥ.
  5. Intelligence - It is called as buddhiḥ.
  6. Intellect - It is called as manaḥ.
  7. Activity - It is called as pravṛttiḥ.
  8. Imbalances - It is called as doṣaḥ.
  9. Re-birth - It is called as prētyabhāvaḥ.
  10. Consequence - It is called as phalaṃ.
  11. Suffering - It is called as duḥkhaṃ.
  12. Liberation - It is called as apavargaḥ.

Ātmā or soul

इच्छाद्वेषप्रयत्नसुखदुःखज्ञानानि आत्मनः लिङ्गं इति। १.१.१०
Ichā- dvēṣa- prayatna- sukha- dukha- jñānāni ātmanō lingam iti। 1.1.10

It means that the ātmā cannot be known by the sense organs, hence it can be inferred that ichā means desire, dvēṣa means aversion, prayatnaḥ means internal effort, sukhaṃ means happiness, dukkha means unhappiness and jñānaṃ means cognition. Then the question arises that from where does these six emotions initiate from. It originates from the ātmā and not body oor manas. As we can sense desire etc. easily, we can infer the ātmā with them.

Śarīraṃ or body

चेष्टेन्द्रियार्थाश्रयः शरीरम् ।१.१.११
Cēṣṭēndriyārthāśrayaḥ śarīraṃ।1.1.11

This verse denotes that the body is the place which has cēṣṭā/motion, indriyaṃ/sense organs and arthaḥ/experiences. It has been widely accepted in the tradition that how the knowledge of an object leads to an effort. A person first knows about something and then starts liking or disliking it and then makes an effort to own or disown it[1]. Here the actions which leads to obtaining or leaving an object is called cēṣṭā.


घ्राणरसनचक्षुस्त्वक्श्रोत्राणि इन्द्रियाणि भूतेभ्यः। १.१.१२
Ghrāṇa- rasana- cakṣhustvak- śrōtrāṇi indriyāṇi bhūtēbhyaḥ। 1.1.12

Here the sūtrakāra states the five indriyāṇi or sense organs namely:

  1. Nose/ghrāṇaṃ
  2. Tongue/rasanaṃ
  3. Eye/cakṣhuḥ
  4. Skin/tvak
  5. Ear/śrōtraṃ

At the end of the sūtraṃ we can see the word bhūtēbhyaḥ which is the plural form of bhūtāt. Hence it can be inferred that the cause for each sense organ is different. The sūtraṃ defining Pancha būtāni/ Five elements are:

पृथिवी आपः तेजः वायुः आकाशं इति भूतानि। १.१.१३
* pṛthivī- āpaḥ- tējaḥ- vāyurākāśaṃ iti bhūtāni।1.1.13

Pancha bhūtāni are referred to as five elements of nature. Here:

  1. Nose/ghrāṇaṃ is related to earth.
  2. Tongue/rasanaṃ is related to water.
  3. Eye or cakṣhuḥ is related to fire.
  4. Skin or tvak is related to air.
  5. Ear or śrōtraṃ is related to Space.


गन्धरसरूपस्पर्शशब्दाः पृथिव्यादिगुणाः तदर्थाः।१.१.१४
Gandha- rasa- rūpā- sparśa- śabdāḥ pṛthivyādiguṇāstadarthāḥ।1.1.14

Five sense organs sense different types of objects via. smell, taste, color, touch and sound. These senses are objects derived from pancha bhūtāni or five elements.


बुद्धिः उपलब्धिः ज्ञानं इति अनर्थान्तरम् ।१.१.१५
Budhdhirupalabdhiḥ jñānamityanarthāntaraṃ।1.1.15

There is no difference between the words Buddhi, Upalabdhi and Jñānaṃ which means that the meaning of these words are same. They all represent cognition.


युगपत्ज्ञानानुत्पत्तिः मनसः लिङ्गम् ।१.१.१६
Yugapat jñānānutpattirmanasō lingaṃ।1.1.16

According to nyāya darśanaṃ there are many reasons behind the birth of a cognition. A unique relation between manaḥ and indriyaṃ is also one of them. Not every object related to a sense organ is known except the manaḥ is related with that sense organ. That is why we cannot identify different types of cognition at any given point of time.


प्रवृत्तिः वाग्बुद्धिशरीरारम्भः इति।१.१.१७
Pravṛttirvāgbudhdhi- śrīrāraṃbhaḥ iti। 1.1.17

The extrovert activity which sets mind, body and voice in motion for good or bad. In general, the word buddhi refers cognition but here the sūtra kāra is referring to manaḥ.


प्रवर्त्तनालक्षणाः दोषाः।१.१.१८
Pravartanālakṣaṇāḥ dōṣaḥ।1.1.18

Here pravartanā means the cause of extrovert activity. Sutrakarā concludes that every dōṣaḥ will be the cause of extrovert activity.


पुनरुत्पत्तिः प्रेत्यभावः।१.१.१९
Punarutpattiḥ prētyabhāvaḥ।1.1.19

It explains the re-embodiment of the Self/jīva in another physical form after death. Birth consists of the connection of the jīva with a new body and mind complex. Therefore, birth is not the production of a new circumstance, but only re-association; while death is not the destruction of anything, but only separation.


प्रवृत्तिदोषजनितः अर्थः फलम् ।१.१.२०
Pravṛttidōṣa- janitōrthaḥ phalaṃ।1.1.20

The reason behind extrovert activities are attraction[2] or aversion[3] or delusion.[4] Any persons extrovert activity results in pleasure[5] or pain.[6] Sutrakara described this as phalaṃ.


बाधनालक्षणं दुःखम् ।१.१.२१
Bādhanālakṣaṇaṃ duḥkhaṃ।1.1.21


तदत्यन्तविमोक्षः अपवर्गः।१.१.२२
Tadatyanta- vimōkṣōpavargaḥ।1.1.22

Apavargaḥ[7] is defined after describing duḥkhaṃ i.e suffering. In the āstika doctrine, we believe that there is always a birth after death according to our sins and virtues. This cycle is called sasāraḥ. By contrast, apavargaḥ is a state where one comes out of that cycle and never takes birth. Gōtama states that suffering starts from birth, so the complete end of the suffering would only be possible by the absence of birth and re-birth.


  1. Jānati ichati yatati
  2. Here Attraction is denoted by rāgaḥ.
  3. Here aversion means dvēṣaḥ.
  4. Delusion here implies mōhaḥ.
  5. It means sukhaṃ.
  6. It means dukhaṃ.
  7. upāttasya janmanaḥ hānaṃ anyasya ca anupādānaṃ, ētāṃ avasthāṃ aparyantāṃ apavargaṃ vēdayantē apavargavidaḥ